POST NEWS UPDATE: Scott D'Amore discusses Matt Striker's absence, Don Callis' exit as EVP

Originally published at Scott D'Amore discusses Matt Striker's absence, Don Callis' exit as EVP

If any of the quotes from the following podcasts or video interviews are used, please credit those sources and provide an H/T and link back to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.

** PWInsider has an extensive interview with IMPACT Wrestling Executive Vice President Scott D’Amore. D’Amore addressed Matt Striker’s absence from the commentary desk and said Striker will be back for Slammiversary. He had some personal dealings he had to take care of and was granted time away.

As for Matt Striker, I’ve seen comments, I’ve seen questions. So Ross Forman, for those that don’t know, is our Impact Wrestling publicist and so many other things that he handles, too numerous to mention. He’s going to give me crap for this, but I’ll say it right here, Matt Striker will be at the desk at Slammiversary. He’s chomping at the bit to get back. Matt needed some time and we gave that to him. We were happy to support him and give him the time he needed to take care of what he needed to take care of. And he’s excited to get back in that chair and call one of the best damn pay-per-views out there this Saturday night on Slammiversary.

D’Amore shared his thoughts about Don Callis no longer being in a executive role for IMPACT. Scott is confident in the team IMPACT has at the moment. He added that Callis is in a good spot right now as far as what he’s doing with AEW, Kenny Omega and The Elite.

No, no, no I’m good. I think we’re in a great place. I think Don’s right where he should be. I think he is one of the best talkers in the business. I think he’s a great mind. I think he’s a guy who’s also at a point in his life. It’s easy to forget that me and Don have been friends for so long. And when you’re in your 20s, your 30s… Whether you’re 23, or 29, or 30, you’re in a much different place. As we get older… I mean, Don respectfully has got a handful of years on me. I know, last week on the show, he said 47. But I think we all know that’s not true. Where he’s at in life, I think he’s in a great place. Me and him talked for 90 minutes last night. And it was just great. I think we have a great crew. One of the things that I’ve always strived to do and it’s not just with Impact Wrestling, it’s not just in the restaurant business but it’s with any business or any organization I’m involved in, I was taught this many years ago. If you really have built a strong organization, then you can take any one piece out, and the machine’s going to keep going. Because you’re going to backfill and go. And Don’s contributions over the years, we’re very grateful for having him. But this has been a process over the course of the last couple of years. Like it’s not like, ‘Oh sh*t, tomorrow we’re making this change.’ It’s been a gradual thing. From 2018 to 2019, 2020 and ’21, this is the direction we’ve been heading. And I think he’s where he should be. And I think we’re where we should be.

** Inside The Ropes conducted an interview with Levi Cooper, the former ‘Tucker’ in WWE. Towards the end of Cooper’s run with WWE, he had several singles matches post-Heavy Machinery. One of those bouts was against Ricochet in which he lost in quick fashion. Cooper felt that he should not be losing to someone the size of Ricochet in the manner that he did.

So, when we didn’t have a match and then kind of that next Monday… Well, it wasn’t the week after, it was the next week that me and Ricochet did the match because, the day after we split, I wrestled Humberto Carrillo on Main Event as a heel and – I don’t know if this is the truth or not, but people were like, ‘Well, this is kind of a test, just do it,’ and whatever. So I’m like, ‘All right,’ and then obviously the next week, I think Ricochet beat me – and no disrespect to him either, I’m a fan of his, he’s good athlete, great performer – but it’s not like it makes any sense for me to get beat by the guy that’s that size in 90 seconds. I had just kind of went about cutting my hair and doing some stuff because I’m like, ‘Well, I’ve got to change something here, you know?’ Yeah, I mean, it was kind of all downhill from there as far as things for me in WWE, unfortunately.

After that loss to Ricochet, Cooper went to speak to Vince McMahon and told McMahon that he could be doing so much more.

It’s actually funny because, after that Ricochet match, I talked to Vince in Gorilla right afterwards and I said, ‘Hey, whatever you guys me to do, I will always give you 100% no matter what – but I’m capable of doing so much more than this, and I hope I get the chance to prove it’ and obviously, I didn’t and it is what it is.

Levi opened up about the mental health struggles he dealt with dating back to April of 2020. He said he discovered that his ego was too attached to wrestling and the highs and lows. He had to learn to attach his ego to the overall process.

That’s kind of another long-winded story, I guess, but for me, mentally, things were fairly challenging, right? Especially once the pandemic started and things weren’t going that well for Heavy Machinery. I mean, even from like April – or after Otis won the Money in the Bank up until the split. I guess there was a chunk of time where things we weren’t really doing too much. He was just kind of doing his stuff. And then we ended up doing the Miz and Morrison, the court date angle, and that was sort of the end of what we had. I’m sure there’s a lot of people in the world that we’re… Everybody’s going through this crazy stuff in the last two years. Right? I mean, everybody’s world’s been thrown upside down. So mental health around that has been the challenge for sure. I’m sure it’s been a challenge for a lot of people. For me, I’ve discovered that my ego was too attached to wrestling and not just wrestling, but the highs and lows, if you will. As an amateur athlete, it was easier for me to attach my ego to wins and losses because I was in direct control of those things. But even then, I tell as many amateur athletes as I can now to try to detach your ego from the outcome and attach it to the process. I’ve shifted a lot of that ego energy onto my marriage and my ability to be a father – so what makes me feel good about me now is more about being a good husband and being a good father than it is about being a good wrestler. And being a wrestler is just a piece of who I am. It’s not the bulk of my identity. For a lot of my life, it was the bulk of my identity. That goes hand-in-hand with the yoga because, in my opinion, it gives you that time every morning to see what’s kind of coming at you.

You just take a stop, slow down a little bit and give not just your body, but give your mind a chance to tell you what’s kind of there and what are the things that are like cycling all the time for you, you know? And yeah, I mean, I could go on and on. I’ve done a lot of studying about this mental health thing because I believe it’s very important and it’s something that the world doesn’t talk about nearly enough – and self-care in general, I think, is a massive, massive thing and something I’m very motivated to try to help other people with, because I know it’s not something that I took as seriously as I should have for some of my life up to this point and it’s something that just a half an hour a day, in the morning, of a little bit of stretching, a little bit of mindfulness, I know it improves my day exponentially, and I think it has the power to do that for a lot of people and just kind of realize that the things that maybe you’re worrying about, all that negative self talk that you have in your mind is just your perception and it’s not the reality of the world. And if you can kind of take a step back and figure out what’s super important to you and what really matters in your life and you make decisions in service of those things, you’re going to be a lot happier person.

** The WrestleSlam podcast team conducted an interview with Moose ahead of IMPACT Wrestling’s Slammiversary event. Moose revealed that it was Don Callis who helped him piece together his persona that he has been presenting on IMPACT TV.

Yeah, I hate to put this guy over because I mean, he’s one of my friends but he’s annoying as f*ck, Don Callis, and one thing I learned from Don Callis is we actually spoke about . He helped me with this character that you would call it and he told me to watch this movie No Country for Old Men. I don’t know if you’ve seen it and the way that-that guy spoke, it was kind of like, he never really showed emotion, he never really showed anger or pain or… empathy. He never showed anything. He just talked in kind of a monotone set and we talked about me trying that and I watched the movie and I loved it and I was like, ‘Man, I see exactly what Don means.’ I forgot the guy’s name that we’re talking about but, yeah. So that character you see with Moose on TV, especially in his promos is a version of that character from No Country for Old Men.

** JBL hosted a Q&A on his YouTube channel and one of the questions asked of him was would he return to WWE as a commentator. He feels there isn’t a spot for him with Pat McAfee, Corey Graves and Wade Barrett filling those roles. Layfield also mentioned that he recommended Barrett to WWE when it came to joining their broadcast team.

There’s not a spot for me. I mean, Corey Graves and Pat McAfee are the only two spots that there’s a heel commentator for, you know? There’s SmackDown and Raw. I really don’t fit into the NXT mold because I didn’t come through NXT. I think Wade Barrett is much better in that role. Wade Barrett’s fantastic by the way and when I first heard he was going to potentially be a commentator for them, I sent a note in really recommending him because I thought he’d be awesome and he is. He’s a smart guy, great voice. But all these guys are smart guys with great voices and terrific insight. I think Corey and Pat and Wade do an outstanding job. So there’s not a job opening and plus, they’re all a lot younger than me so, there’s not gonna be a job opening anytime in the future. Would I come back? I don’t know because the option is not there. I don’t wanna get on a plane every week. That’s the reason I wanted to retire.

Layfield went on to explain that he does not watch any of his matches back because he wishes he could still wrestle. He admitted that it bothers him that he cannot get in the ring again.

No, I don’t . I don’t think I’ve ever watched one. I watch ‘em right after they happen, try to learn from it but now that I’m retired, I can’t do it anymore. I’d love to. I’m 54 so I’m past the age, way past my prime but I would have wrestled a lot longer if I could’ve, but I couldn’t because of injuries. You know, hurt my back, broke my back, couldn’t wrestle anymore and so I ended up retiring and it just kinds of bugs me. I wish I could still get in the ring and do it. I love what I did and really enjoyed it.

** In April of 2021, Mojo Rawley was one of many talents released from WWE. Fast forward to present day and Rawley is going to be featured in the ‘Snake Eyes: G.I. Joe’ film. As far as his in-ring career goes, Rawley told Shawne Merriman during their chat that he does not want it to be over.

Honestly, I hope so. I want to . I definitely think that will happen.

Oh 100 percent but at this point, being fresh out, I kind of wanna diversify, expand myself. Like try these new businesses and these new industries that I haven’t been able to do while I was under contract before, you know? With nine years, we can’t really do anything outside of the company so at this point, in the short-term, I wanna heal up, I wanna get my body feeling 100 so I can get back in the game and make the biggest splash but yeah, 100 percent, I don’t think my wrestling career — I don’t want my wrestling career to be done. I definitely plan on returning at some point. I just want to make sure that when I do, it’s with the biggest impact and I kind do the most, you know? Doing these other things is only gonna get my name out there more, kind of increase my star power so when I come back, it can be in hopefully a more favorable position. I built my equity up more so I can get a little bit more of a rub, a little bit more of an opportunity than I had before.

** According to PWInsider, Becky Lynch will be present backstage at WWE’s Money In The Bank pay-per-view on July 18thin Fort Worth, Texas.

** While speaking to Joey G. of Wrestling Headlines, Josh Alexander stated that people can expect to see him in New Japan Pro-Wrestling again but he does not know if that will be anytime soon.

I don’t know if it’s anytime soon. I think you can expect to see me there again. Whether New Japan likes it or not. I went out and I performed twice against Alex Coughlin and Rocky Romero and I have two W’s now so unless they’re going to leave somebody undefeated, you know, off on the bench. I think that would be a big mistake on their part. So I think you can definitely look to see me back in New Japan Strong representing Impact Wrestling.

** NWA lead referee Robert King guest appeared on episode seven of The Turnbuckle Sessions. King was asked for his thoughts about AEW’s referees being more noticeable and interactive in matches opposed to referees in other promotions and companies. He feels that it does take away from the match, but that could also be what the company is asking from said referees.

They obviously want a certain style of refereeing there, okay. I think they’re a little animated and to me personally, they kind of take away from some of the things that are going on in the match but I think that’s what they want, honestly, because all of them do it and I would love — at first, I was trying to get with AEW and I think it’s a great opportunity to give somebody else a chance outside of WWE and there’s something else competing with WWE so I think it’s great. However, you know, people are so used to referees being referees, being the law. That’s what we are. I was saying it earlier in the show, being the law and I think a lot of things get let go and they do a lot of catering, if that’s what you wanna call it and I don’t wanna rub anybody the wrong way because that’s not what I’m about. I’m not trying to rub people the wrong way. However, there comes a time where some people, especially in this day in age where the internet is readily available, social media is available, that fans are allowed to say — because back in the day, fans didn’t say anything because there was nothing for them to post on a platform and I think that-that was how we kept the business ‘the business’ and that’s what people say, the business, right? But we don’t have that anymore because people do know our real names, people do know we’re outside of wrestling doing other things, people do know I’m a police officer. They do know I have other things outside of this, other wrestlers have things outside of this and that’s that, but I think that fans are finally speaking up about things they don’t like, and I take nothing away from the AEW referees, I really don’t. I just feel like maybe it’s their refereeing style is not everybody’s cup of tea. Some people might not like the fact that we call a disqualification when we call ‘em or we call it in the corner because they haven’t gotten out of the five count or you’ve done something and you’ve gone over your five second time limit as a tag team. People might not like that we do that but guess what? That’s our rule, that’s what we do so maybe AEW tells them, ‘Hey, that’s what we want’ and they’re doing what the company wants so…

Robert King has been working with Billy Corgan dating back to Corgan’s days in TNA. King said he does not see himself working for anybody else and would love for his gig with the NWA to become a full-time thing.

I’m very content where I’m at. I don’t foresee myself going forward with anybody else. I love, love, love my promoter and I love Billy Corgan and I don’t foresee myself going anywhere else. My goal is to stick with him for as long as I possibly can and to keep moving forward, to keep helping the referees. I wanna help be a jerk towards Scott Wheeler if they chose to move on and we’re all in agreeance that this is what we wanna do. We’re all in agreeance that we wanna stick around in the NWA and I’d like to see the NWA go further than what they are right now. I don’t know what’s gonna happen in the future but, we’re on the right path with the FITE TV deal and all this stuff. We’re on the right path and I hope we can get a TV show eventually and I hope to do this as a full-time job one day.

When it comes to refereeing, Robert explained why he believes it is the second hardest job in wrestling behind being a promoter.

In the 15 years I’ve been doing this, I have realized this is the second hardest job in pro wrestling, is a referee. You got your promoter who is doing everything then you got your referee, because referees have to know everything. We have to know when this person is supposed to be here or that person is supposed to be there or how the show is running and where we are in the show. You have to know all these things in order to make the show run successfully. The promoter can only do so much so you have to have hands on deck to help and yeah, you got your agents and your producers but if you got good referees that know exactly what’s going on, those producers aren’t stressed, which in turn makes the wrestlers not stressed out, which in turn helps the promoter and a lot of people just don’t get that. They don’t get that training because they just jump in there and they’re working for — no offense — twenty dollars and a hot dog and that’s they’re showing up to get their ten minutes of fame. Well to me, it’s much more than this. This is a lifestyle and if you learn that lifestyle then it can take you far.

** Prior to AEW Fyter Fest night one, Dustin Rhodes sat down with Sports Guys Talking Wrestling. The next Rhodes Wrestling Academy showcase is scheduled for July 24th. Elsewhere during the conversation, Rhodes spoke about Malakai Black’s AEW debut. When the lights in the building began to flicker, Dustin questioned if there was something wrong with the lighting. He was not aware that Black was present at the show.

You know, I’m gonna be honest with you because I was backstage. I had a lot of matches to produce Black.

** FITE TV caught up with Sami Callihan ahead of IMPACT Wrestling’s Slammiversary pay-per-view. While promoting the show, Callihan expressed his thought that IMPACT has not presented a bad pay-per-view in over three years.

Ultimate X also, you can’t forget that. You know, IMPACT Wrestling does pay-per-views better than any other wrestling company on the planet. Everyone else will say, ‘Oh this company, this company.’ Pay-per-views come around, IMPACT Wrestling kills it. IMPACT Wrestling has not had a bad pay-per-view in over three years.

** Episode 195 of The A Show on RNC RADIO featured Drew McIntyre. As the conversation rolled on, McIntyre dove into the idea that he has been in and around the WWE Title picture too often and viewers want someone different in the mix. He had the following to say on the matter:

I think it’s gonna be interesting. The thing about my run is I lost a lot of those big moments with the live fans getting behind me and obviously from before Royal Rumble when I won in 2020 right up to Mania, I was getting the loudest reactions and Mania would have been incredible and I would have had those significant months of significant moments which I missed out on and like we talked about, I have been in and around the WWE Title since January 2020 which is completely insane in today’s day and age and understandably, people can say, okay — I don’t think they’ve ever said, ‘You know what? Drew’s terrible at his job, screw him. We want someone else.’ They’re like, ‘Okay, we like Drew, but we’ve seen him a lot in this situation. Let’s try him over here for a second and let’s see if someone else can step up’ which I’m all about and the trust is — obviously that’s our vocal minority and I’m the biggest wrestling fan ever. I still think like an internet fan if you like at times but also I think about the bigger picture and it’s gonna be interesting to have the live crowds, how they respond to certain talents and I don’t mind either way. All I care about is if people care enough to react, if they cheer, if they boo. As long as there’s not silence or indifference.

** Sami Callihan made the media rounds to promote IMPACT Wrestling’s Slammiversary pay-per-view. Callihan sat down with Darren Paltrowitz for a chat. Sami predicted that Slammiversary will be the pay-per-view of the year among all wrestling companies.

Dude, the whole show is stacked. When you look at the show, it’s not about just, ‘Oh, what’s the second best?’ That entire show is stacked. IMPACT Wrestling does pay-per-views like no one else. There isn’t no throw away matches. There ain’t no popcorn matches, there ain’t no, ‘Ah, that’s just a filler match.’ Every match at Slammiversary has a reason. Every match at Slammiversary is gonna have its time to shine, and that’s what’s great about IMPACT Wrestling. Like every time a pay-per-view comes around, we have one of the best pay-per-views of the year and this year’s Slammiversary, I’m calling it right now, gonna be pay-per-view of the year any company.

** While speaking to Fightful, Natalya shared that she would like to remain on-air after her in-ring career is over and used Booker T and Beth Phoenix as examples of what she would like to do on-screen.

I’ll probably end up eating my words one day, but for me, TJ (Wilson) and I have different personalities. He loves being behind the camera and is actually kind of shy. He’s outspoken but shy at the same time. He’s very lowkey and it doesn’t take a lot to please him and he loves helping others. So do I, but my personality, I love being in front of the camera. I love speaking, studying the business. I think it’d be cool to do more on-air stuff with WWE like what Booker T does and Beth Phoenix does. Of course, I’d love to be the star of my own reality show and actually produce my own reality show. One day, that is on my bucket list to do because I have a lot of experience with reality TV and I love being in front of the camera. The Hart family, we’re such a crazy family and there’s too much good stuff to not share.

** This past weekend, Major League Wrestling hosted their Battle Riot III tapings in Philadelphia. Lee Moriarty was one of many talents who debuted at the tapings. While speaking to Sam Roberts, Lee explained that he’s not against the idea of signing with MLW, but he is currently focused on what he can control.

I’m just gonna wrestle, I’m gonna have fun, I’m looking forward to wrestling for MLW. I’m excited about that because I like their product. I’m going in a free agent. That doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t sign there, that doesn’t mean I would sign there. It’s just I’m focused on what I can control and what I can control is me wrestling and me giving a good performance. That’s what I’m focused on.

In 2020, Moriarty participated in IWTV’s Masked Wrestler series which ultimately led to him winning the IWTV Independent Wrestling Championship. While he had his identity hidden, Lee attempted to confuse the judges and wrestle more like Wheeler YUTA so they would guess incorrectly as to who was underneath the mask.

It’s cool but I also hated it because I couldn’t fool people and I was trying really hard to convince people that I was Wheeler YUTA. I was doing a lot of his offense and things like that or I was at least trying to convince them that it wasn’t me, but it didn’t work out and I feel like I shouldn’t have had the pink mask because I wear pink all the time, because someone was like, ‘You wear pink’ or someone pointed out on my kick pads that I wore on a show like two years ago. They are Highspots kick pads, anybody could have them. I was like, ‘Alright, whatever’ but I couldn’t fool people but I’m happy I did come to the realization that I move in a way that’s unique to me or I present wrestling in a way that’s unique to me.

** The latest guest on ‘Shooting The Sh*t UNCENSORED!’ was Shazza McKenzie. With it being one full year since the #SpeakingOut movement began, Shazza reflected on how things have changed since many women began to share their stories of abuse and sexual harassment in wrestling. Shazza is hopeful that the next generation does not have to endure any of what past generations of women’s wrestlers have gone through.

Oh yeah, definitely that happening again and that is a very exhausting experience/thing to go through when you’re somewhat of a victim but you’re also a survivor and you’re trying to make it better so that there doesn’t have to be survivors later and it was a very exhausting two, three months from like June to August or whatever. It was a lot, but we got through it so, and I feel like we’re in a much better place now. I know a lot of people will — I’m not saying that we’ve cleansed the business and those sh*t people are gone forever but I think that a lot of policies have been put in place, especially within the companies I work for. I know a lot of places have done a lot of work to create policies and procedures to prevent situations happening again and it makes me feel a lot better for the future generations of women because I know what I had to go through as a female in wrestling in my generation was nowhere near as bad as what the generation before me had to go through and I think — well I hope that the next generation after me just doesn’t have to go through anything at all ideally, would be great, fantastic.

Elsewhere during their conversation, Shazza shared that she was initially not a fan of her on-screen name. It was given to her by Australian wrestler TNT.

So I hated the name. I absolutely hated it, did not want it. It was given to me. Absolutely did not want to be Shazza. Like, . There’s some movie, I don’t know the movie. Some movie where there’s a character called Bazza McKenzie so Shazza McKenzie is from that, I don’t know.

** Ring of Honor announced that Bandido is defending the ROH World Championship against Flip Gordon at Glory By Honor night one on August 20th.

** Wrestling Inc. pushed out their interview with Velvet Sky. She heaped praise onto the National Wrestling Alliance which is where she is currently working as a commentator. Velvet also looked back at her time in TNA/IMPACT Wrestling and Ring of Honor. She feels that in 2016, no one was happy in TNA including herself.

I don’t miss being in the ring and glad I’m on the other side of the ropes and watching all the amazing athletes do their thing. NWA has so many talented wrestlers on that roster of up and coming, as well as old faces. No one at the time in TNA in 2016 was happy. Though we were grateful for the opportunities we were given. At that point, I wanted my contract to run out.

They had given me a platform and good career there. I’ve done everything I wanted to do for the company. It was a pleasant exit for me. Since then I fell out of the wrestling loop. In 2019, Ring of Honor presented itself to myself and Angelina left you scratching your head. I dig Ring of Honor and TNA, but NWA is where it is at. I’m not saying it to kiss butt. It’s just a great place to work.

** Pro Wrestling Illustrated released the audio from their conversation with Britt Baker that was included in the latest P.W.I. magazine issue. Britt looked back on the crowd reaction she received at Double Or Nothing 2021 and brought up that she is an undeniable act on Wednesday night television.

You know, you can’t really plan to have a great reaction when you win a title. I think everybody hopes deep down that’s what’s gonna happen but I never planned in a million years that it would have been — these fans were incredible to me and I’m really thankful for them because they’ve been along for the ride with the growth of Doctor Britt Baker D.M.D. and now, it’s unreal how much I feel the fan support which is something I — you know, a year or two ago, it was the constant resistance. It was, ‘We don’t want Britt Baker. We don’t want her on our TV’ and now, I truly feel like I’m an undeniable act on Wednesday night television.

** TV Insider chatted with Sami Callihan. He was asked when he knew IMPACT Wrestling was the place he was going to be long-term and he said that moment came when Scott D’Amore and Don Callis ushered in the new regime.

My first show with Impact was still kind of under the old regime. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be in the company. I didn’t know if it would be a good fit for me. Then as soon as Scott D’Amore and Don Callis got into power and built up their team, I knew this is exactly where I wanted to be. I was always an Impact/TNA fan, even before I went to WWE. My number one goal was to be in TNA. I think I’m the wrestler I am today and the fan of wrestling I am today from TNA 2005 through 2011.

** ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey told Inside The Ropes that he is not signed to any wrestling company.

** IMPACT Tag Team Champion Joe Doering spoke to Lucha Libre Online. He explained how his return to IMPACT Wrestling came to be and it was through IMPACT Executive Vice President Scott D’Amore, who has kept an eye on Doering throughout his career.

Well again, Scott D’Amore, I kept in close contact with him throughout my whole career so and he’s of course the Executive Vice President of AXS TV and IMPACT so, he keeps a close eye on my career and it was time to leave Japan after all those years and start a new career here and now I’m worldwide, not just in Japan so, that’s great. The guys now are really — the locker room is very relaxed. Everyone seems to — there’s no real jealousies or backstabbing. Everyone is working as a team to, you know, make the entire product better. So there’s no… nasty things. It’s all positive.

** D-Von Dudley welcomed Austin Theory onto his Table Talk podcast. Theory discussed being a part of The Way along with Johnny Gargano, Candice LeRae and Indi Hartwell. He feels that there were mixed reviews of the group to start but now people think highly of The Way.

Yeah, it’s not a group across really well.

** Shingo Takagi is defending the IWGP World Heavyweight Title against Kota Ibushi at NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam at the Tokyo Dome. Ibushi spoke to and discussed the forthcoming event and his title match. The Olympics will be taking place in Japan and Ibushi is hoping to draw some spectators to the New Japan product that are solely planning to check out the Olympics.

In my book, this is the main event. We’re beating the Olympics. I’m not anti-Olympic or anything, but I think we can ride that wave. As everyone’s looking at the Olympics in Tokyo, we’re able to say ‘pro-wrestling is happening, too’ and take some of that focus, bring new fans in. It’s an opportunity.

** Jake Hager and Josh Barnett got into a back and forth on social media over who should be the person to get Fedor Emelianenko’s next fight. Barnett appeared on MMA Fighting’s ‘What The Heck’ show and explained why he thinks Hager’s initial approach about getting the fight was not sincere. He thinks Hager is of the mindset that if he loses, it will be no big deal because he’s only had several pro fights and he can step away gracefully, but if he wins, it will be a ‘hero’-type moment.

I don’t respect any of it because it’s false. It’s not real. This is not built from a real place, from a sincere statement. It’s bullsh*t. ‘I’m nobody in the realm of fighting. I’m 3-0 and I’m supposed to lose and if I lose, no big deal. If I win, oh look, I got my hero moment.’ He’s got nothing to lose about this. And he can always go back to AEW and, yeah, you lost to one of the best of all time, maybe the best of all time so no one will hold it over your head too much. And then, it’s a great way to exit and say, ‘I was an MMA fighter. Now check me out. I’m a pro wrestling-MMA fighter guy. This is for real, I fought the best.’ You fought one guy that’s the best. The rest of it was a combined record of 14-10, and then one of those guys bonked in the balls.

** Malakai Black was a guest on ‘Two Minutes to Late Night’.

** NXT UK commentator Andy Shepard was a guest on Wrestling Daily. He talked about how he and Nigel McGuinness are in separate locations when they are on the call for NXT UK TV tapings. McGuinness works remotely from Orlando while Andy is at BT Sports Studios in England.

Now, the last few isn’t there. Nige is in Orlando. He’s got his set up, I’ve got my set up so, we’ve got a whole lot of tech that wires us up and again, I’m looking forward to the days when I can sit next to Nigel and we can poke each other and put each other off because I miss him. I miss Nige.

** Natalya spotlighted WWE referee Jessika Carr for her latest Calgary Sun article. Here is an excerpt from the piece:

“Show up early, leave late, help and immerse yourself in the product so you can learn everything about it. The more tools you have in your toolbox, the better.”

Jessika said she has more goals in her future.

“Every time I go out there I’m being trusted with something special. Every opportunity I’m given makes me want to hit a home run both for the company and those I work with. Truly, I want to be around in this industry as long as I can, with as many roles as possible, showing that the women in WWE can do it all. I have a lot of passion and love for this and I consider myself lucky in so many ways.

“I get to make a living doing what I love. What could be better than that?! I’m so incredibly grateful I am a woman living my dreams in WWE.”

** Jake Lee is defending the AJPW Triple Crown Heavyweight Championship against Shotaro Ashino on 7/22.

** WCAX has a feature story about independent wrestler Ben Crenca (Ben Bishop). Ben recently competed on AEW Dark against Bear Bronson.

** Sami Zayn, Ricochet and Drew McIntyre talked to Sportsnet about WWE getting back on the road.

** Fightful caught up with Willie Mack:

** Inside The Ropes has highlights on their site from their chat with Kofi Kingston.

** Moses and Kaun of Shane Taylor Promotions sat down with Ringsiders Wrestling.

** Booker T and Brad Gilmore recorded an interview with Natalya.

** AEW’s Anna Jay turned 23-years-old on 7/15. Excalibur has a birthday today as well.

** Dalton Castle appeared on the Wrestle Buddies podcast.

** Nikki Cross (A.S.H.) spoke to Instinct Culture’s Denise Salcedo:

** That 90s Wrestling Podcast welcomed Todd Pettengill onto the show.

** WrestleZone has an interview on their site with Scott D’Amore.

** The latest episode of Battle of the Brands:

** Battleground Podcast welcomed Chris Dickinson onto the show prior to Ring of Honor Best in the World. Dickinson and Homicide won the ROH World Tag Team Titles at the event.

** Daily Star spoke to Rhea Ripley.

** Mickie James appeared on The Buster Show.

** WhatCulture ran their interview with Eddie Edwards.

** Drew McIntyre talked to ‘The Pitch’ and the two parties discussed WWE getting back on the road. WJBF News Channel 6 caught up with McIntyre as well.

** IMPACT Wrestling’s Heath turned 38-years-old on 7/15. Jesse Venture is 70 today.

If any of the quotes from the following podcasts or video interviews are used, please credit those sources and provide an H/T and link back to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.