Originally published at Stephanie McMahon gives her take on who 'Ms. WrestleMania' is
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.
** Arda Ocal of ESPN’s SportsNation chatted with Stephanie McMahon prior to WrestleMania 37. Stephanie was asked who she would consider to be Ms. WrestleMania as Shawn Michaels is referred to as Mr. WrestleMania. She doesn’t think that person has come around just yet but does feel that it could be either Bianca Belair or Sasha Banks.
I don’t think we know who Ms. WrestleMania is yet. I don’t think it’s fair to say it would be Ronda or Lita, I don’t think it’s fair to say it would be any one of those women that you mentioned, only because I think she’s still yet to rise. I think Ms. WrestleMania could very well be either Sasha Banks or Bianca Belair as they compete as the first African-American women to be a part and headline WrestleMania. I think one of them could absolutely steal the show and carry the banner but you know, we’ll see. I think time will tell. But that’s an awesome handle and a great suggestion that we should absolutely be using as well in addition to earning it. It could be a great thing for a character to call herself. We’ll see how that plays out.
Looking back at some of Stephanie’s personal WrestleMania moments, she talked about the match with herself and Triple H versus Ronda Rousey and Kurt Angle. McMahon named Dakota Kai and Lacey Evans as two talents who helped her train for the match.
It was one of the most challenging things I’ve ever done. I doubted myself the whole time, I was fearful the whole time. But really fearful that I wasn’t gonna do a good job. Not fearful of the match itself but I never want to make our business look bad and you have Ronda Rousey, Olympic medalist, right? First-ever UFC Women’s Champion and Hall Of Famer. Kurt Angle, Olympic gold medalist. Triple H, one of the greatest of all-time, Hall Of Famer, 14-time world champion and me, like who doesn’t fit in this equation so, I was training about three times a day. Get up early, get my cardio in then I’d take my kids to school, come into the office, have my meetings, traveling, whatever I was doing then after work, I would actually go to the ring and train in the ring with various WWE superstars who were helping us, and Dakota Kai and Lacey Evans were actually two of those superstars who were very helpful and of course Sara Amato, trainer, and just again, getting in there and taking the bumps and reacclimating my body to what that feels like because I’m not a trained — I am trained but I’m not active all the time.
** The latest guest on the ROHStrong Podcast was Chris Hero and during his appearance, he discussed the transition from independent wrestler to being under the WWE umbrella. Chris feels that once talents get there, they are not really wrestlers in a sense. He also touched on how wrestlers’ styles are shifted when they come into WWE.
Oh man, I’ve had tons of that. Even my recent stint at NXT where they think there are certain ways that things should always be done and it is absolutely — now, not as much but it is still a knock on you to be an indie guy. They see ‘indie’ as kind of a bad word and I don’t know how many of them actually have a grasp of what the independent scene has done over the years. I think they just see it the way it is and they know that their boss likes things this way and, ‘We need to make sure the new guys coming in do it this way’ because if they don’t, they’ll get chewed out. So it’s very much a reprogram, retrain, reteach, break habits kind of thing when — these things don’t matter when you are a star, right? You could — I just mentioned his name a little bit ago but you could put on Ric Flair versus Steamboat from ‘89, and you could critique it with 2021 eyes and be like, ‘Oh my God, why is he doing this or why is he doing that?’ That is how people in certain positions now look at that and be like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe he’s turning his back to his opponent’ or, ‘Why is he interacting with the crowd, you know? You’re a star. You shouldn’t be talking individually with fans’ or, ‘Why is he pandering so much to the audience? You don’t do that on television, that’s a house show thing.’ There’s just these certain habits that we get because we’re in there figuring this stuff out and it’s a wash, rinse, repeat. Let’s do it this way, get the response. Okay, that worked this time, I’ll keep that in my brain so that next time when I need that response, I’ll try to do the same thing or I’ll change it up to try and get an even better reaction, right?
But when you’re in that system, what you have to remember is you’re no longer wrestling for yourself. You’re not even really a wrestler. You will have opportunities to wrestle, but you are a superstar that is telling these stories that they want you to tell and occasionally doing wrestling moves. That’s kind of how it breaks down, and it can be very frustrating for people who have pro wrestling tied to the identity of who they are and who they want to be because you — unless you become a huge star, you will not have the time on television to wrestle-wrestle. You’ll be in there for four minutes here, ten minutes here, maybe 15 minutes on a pay-per-view but it will be micromanaged and until you gain a certain amount of equity, you have to do things their way and if you don’t do things their way, you will not get to an opportunity where you can build that equity up, right? You see someone like Kevin Owens and he is basically himself, you know? He’s himself, he kinda does what he does but, he wasn’t afforded that from day one. He had to earn that over time. Same with Sami Zayn, same with a lot of these guys. You just have to work your way through the system, gain that equity, gain that trust and then they kinda let you do what you want.
Elsewhere in the conversation, Hero stated that when the Performance Center in Orlando was still new, Perry Saturn was supposed to come on as a full-time coach.
And he was actually at that time going to come on as a full coach when we started the Performance Center but, just had a little bit too much damage. Maybe his neck, maybe whatever. It just didn’t end up working out unfortunately but, it was Perry Saturn that told me, ‘Get more out of less. Less is more is bullsh*t man.’ So thank you Perry.
Transitioning over to the topic of Hero’s time in Ring of Honor, he was asked if he’d ever return to the company and here was his response:
Yeah, it is absolutely something that’s possible. It’s not something that has really been discussed. Like I said, I’m not taking any bookings at the moment, I’m not really — I don’t even have anything in the future. People message me about the Summer and the Fall and I just — I’m not okay, just confirming anything when everything is still so just up in the air so, it’s absolutely not out of the question but it is not something that is actually in the works. I’m saying there’s a chance.
Hero’s former tag team partner Cesaro was brought up. While speaking about The Kings of Wrestling reunion at an NXT house show, Hero heaped praise onto Adam Cole for being so smooth to work with.
We were in Orlando and I wrestled Adam Cole for the championship and God, he’s just one of my favorite opponents. I’ve gotten to work with him so many different times and it’s just — it’s always a night off in the fact that there’s no stress whatsoever. He’s so easy, his stuff is so good and I think we mesh very well together as opponents and just what a cool thing to have a main event match with him that night.
** Duncan Leslie, SVP of Event Technical Operations for WWE was the focus of a Sports Video Group piece about WrestleMania. Leslie commented on the night one weather delay for WrestleMania. Duncan stated that some equipment and gear was compromised but the company had back ups ready to go.
The weather was obviously a wildcard, but we got lucky that the bulk of our downtime due to storms was before the event. The first night, we had about half an hour of a delay, and then, magically, we were able to start with a show. Yesterday, it rained all day right up until showtime, and we were able to stay pretty much on time. Obviously, some gear was compromised due to the severe nature of the wind and water, but it didn’t really affect us since we had spares for anything that was taken out of action.
** Hollywood Life conducted an interview with Naomi prior to WrestleMania 37. She said she wants to take her character in a different direction by turning heel. Naomi added that she still has holes in her career that keep her hungry and believes that is why she’s still around.
At some point, later after . But I love that because it keeps me hungry and it keeps me focused, and it keeps me wanting to be better. And I think that is why I am still here.
** After retaining the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 37, Bobby Lashley joined the Rasslin’ with Brandon F. Walker podcast. Lashley spoke about the weather that caused a delay on night one of WrestleMania and said that talents were anxiously waiting for the delay to be over.
You know what? I was so in the zone at this time. I’m telling you, I’m a different breed. When I go in there, I was amped up. When we walked out on the stage and everybody was out there, if you watched back some of that video, everybody was trying to stay still but the crowd was so hyped, guys were like — guys that weren’t even wrestling yesterday, they were jumping up and down like, ‘Oh man, I can’t wait.’ So the adrenaline level was just on a whole different — I was just amped completely, and then we went back to the back, they said, ‘Delay.’ I was like, ‘I don’t know what to do with all this.’ I started doing sprints down the hallway, I’m doing push-ups, I’m shadow boxing. I was like, ‘Man, there’s no way they’re gonna stop this. We’re going out there’ and I told them, I said, ‘If nothing else, just put me and Drew out there. We’ll punch each other in the face until somebody goes down. This show is gonna happen.’
The main event of night one was Sasha Banks versus Bianca Belair. Lashley said everyone in the back was watching the match and he went on to praise several members of the women’s roster.
Everybody was standing watching the TV, everybody, and it was so cool because it was a huge level of appreciation and respect and that is what’s so cool about this roster. It’s like of course everybody was jockeying, everybody was fighting for that number one spot but when they , she’s been doing some great stuff. Bayley’s been doing some great stuff, Natalya’s always up there, Nattie’s always up there. Asuka’s there. I mean Rhea Ripley’s stepping up. There’s just so many people on the roster across the board. It is a great time to be a wrestling fan and it is a horrible time to be a wrestling writer because it’s like how do you put all these people on this card that deserve the spotlight? How do you do it? It’s impossible. How do you do it?
Lashley feels that there are a handful of talents who did not compete at WrestleMania who will have marquee matches on the show in the future. He feels that Mustafa Ali, Ricochet and Elias are people who are going to be spotlighted at WrestleMania one day.
Right now, on the roster, wrestling across the board, our roster is insane. We have guys that are sitting back that didn’t even get highlighted right now that could be in main event matches at WrestleMania, that will be in main event matches at WrestleMania for years to come. We have some guys that are sitting back there in the locker room that did not even get a match at WrestleMania that will — I guarantee you will be in a main event match at WrestleMania for years to come, and I can start listing off names: From the Ali’s to the Ricochets to the Elias’ to Sheamus has a match with — I mean Sheamus — there’s so many different guys out there right now. This is an incredible time to be a wrestling fan because of the amount of talent that we have.
** CM Punk made the media rounds to promote the ‘Jakob’s Wife’ film and one of the outlets he spoke with was UPROXX. While discussing the current state of the wrestling business and where CM Punk could fit into that, Punk says matches with Kenny Omega and Triple H could be intriguing on the business side of things.
From a creative mind standpoint, stepping back and looking at the landscape of everything, there are people in WWE that I have wrestled before that maybe, in a certain situation could be interesting. There’s also the business side of things. What’s the biggest possible match for CM Punk? I think there’s Kenny Omega on the one side. And, you know, unfortunately, ironically enough, for me to go back to WWE, who’s the biggest match for me? It’s probably Triple H. That’s ironic because it’s nothing I’m interested in. It’s just what it is. Am I going to be a businessman and say that’s the match, that’s the big-money match? Well, it’s not my money, so it’s not for me to say.
Continuing on the topic, Punk feels that things are good in the business and he’s not necessarily needed.
I think the right combination could maybe be figured out, but it’s also not for me to figure out. It’s not my world anymore. I’m certainly not Hulk Hogan, where I’m going to show up somewhere and like, ‘No, this is how it’s going to be.’ The wrestling world doesn’t necessarily need CM Punk and that’s absolutely fine. Everyone seems to be doing great. I don’t know, it’s like flavors of ice cream. I walk into an ice cream shop one time and I’m like, ‘Oh, that seems like a good flavor. Give me two scoops of that.’ It’s just gotta be the right time, right place, right situation.
** Major League Baseball hired Brian Stedman as their Executive Vice President, Strategy and Development. Steadman spent more than seven years with WWE and his more recent role with the company was EVP of Global Strategy. Steadman oversaw WWE’s corporate strategy, internal consulting, data analytics and corporate development functions.
** Booker T and Brad Gilmore hosted the post-WrestleMania edition of their ‘Hall Of Fame’ podcast. Booker touched on the comments from John Layfield on the night one pre-show about how Bianca Belair versus Sasha Banks was not about race. Booker said it is about Black history and added that he’ll correct JBL at a later time because that moment wasn’t ideal.
And JBL said that-that wasn’t Black history, it was just history and I didn’t — it wasn’t the right time. It was Black history as far as I’m concerned because the last time two African-Americans stood in the ring in the main event in that company was 20 years ago and it was me and The Rock at SummerSlam. So it was 20 years ago, two African-Americans stood across the ring from each other and combated with each other so it was Black history and I’ll correct JBL on that at another time.
** Lisa Marie Varon appeared on the Talkin’ Sass podcast and the topic of a possible WWE Hall Of Fame induction came up. Lisa said she wouldn’t be able to choose who would induct her because of the close relationships she has had with many people in wrestling. She mentioned that Jim Ross introduced her when she received the Cauliflower Alley Club’s Women’s Wrestling Award but her first option was Tommy Dreamer.
I couldn’t even tell you. I couldn’t even tell you. I really couldn’t — God, I have so many — I’m one of the lucky ones. Kindness pays off because you’re still friends with all the people you worked with, you know? Because if you’re bitter or snobby or like gotta get your sh*t in on matches, people don’t wanna work with you or if you’re too snug, you’re too stiff. I don’t wanna hurt anybody’s feelings. I would like a few girls. I would ask WWE if I could have a few girls do that and of course, I’m not one to rock the boat and I’d rather them just be in charge of assigning somebody that they think with the angles and all that kind of stuff and my close friends and I don’t wanna hurt anybody’s feelings, you know? I don’t know. There’s too many freaking girls that I loved working with. When I got inducted in the Cauliflower Alley in the Hall Of Fame there, my first request — Jim Ross was the one that inducted me, okay. But they asked me, ‘Who would you like to induct you?’ And I said, ‘Can I get Tommy Dreamer because that’d be a hoot’ because he knows stories about me but I would have to have a conversation, you know, ‘Hey, keep in mind I have a family. Don’t stooge me off too much.’ But they said, ‘Oh, he’s not part of the Cauliflower Alley’ and I’m like, ‘Oh man, that would’ve been so entertaining’ and I looked at all the guests and I’m like the only person that knows me well is Jim Ross. He’s the one that hired me, and he was the best Talent Relations guy ever.
Marie Varon, also known as Victoria further spoke about the 2021 women’s Royal Rumble match. She shared that when initially called by WWE about the appearance, she didn’t answer the phone due to the nerves as she had an idea of why she was being called.
They called me two weeks prior to the and they’re like, ‘You better do it. Fans are waiting for you to come back’ and I go, ‘I don’t think I’m ready. These girls, the athleticism now and how fast they work and the spots they do, am I gonna be able to keep up?’ Like the insecurities came back.
** Following her SmackDown Women’s Title victory, Bianca Belair spoke to media members and one of the outlets she spoke to was TMZ Sports. She opened up about what it meant to her to be a part of the first WrestleMania main event with two Black women.
It’s very important and I am just blessed and honored that I could be the person to be in this position with Sasha Banks and create this history and it is so important. I always say representation is not a request. Representation is requirement and WWE is a perfect example of how people should follow by propelling women and representing women and treating women in sports and in the world. It’s an amazing moment to stand in the ring with Sasha Banks and be the first time — it’s the first two African-American women have had a title match at WrestleMania and we’re main event. That just shows the significance of this and Sasha Banks has this amazing legacy and to be able to pass this down to me, accept me picking her to face for the SmackDown Women’s Championship so that we can create this history. I wanted to win this and I’m proud of this but this moment was more than just about me, it’s more than just about Sasha Banks, it’s more than just about us. It’s about women and Black women and two alpha women and representing and being role models. Like, my role models inspired me and they are the reason why I’m here today so, we had the opportunity to just keep inspiring other people and can you imagine how many other people we’ve inspired and how we’ve changed their lives and that’s what this is about. It’s just inspiring people and putting a positive message out there.
** Matt Striker was a part of the latest ‘Rewind Recap Relive’ episode and he shared some of his favorite experiences as a commentator in WWE. Within that, Striker explained how pro wrestling commentators are akin to lawyers when presenting the product to the masses.
We and Brodus Clay and Sheamus and that to me was what always stood out.
** The latest installment of Arn Anderson’s podcast was a Q&A session. Arn dove into how he would react to ‘boring’ chants during a match. He feels the way to go is to sit in a hold to let the audience know that the wrestlers are in control and not them.
I’m sure I have , I’m sure I have. I know what you’re supposed to do. You’re supposed to get up and give them something to wet their beak on. I go the other way. I grab a hold, I sit in it until the chants stop. They don’t control me, I control the match. It’s my baby, I’m running the show here, they’re not. So, most times it’s just to be assholes because most wrestling fans… they wanna have a good time. The second you come to the ring, it’s usually you do one thing and they’re already chanting ‘boring’ because they wanna see something else on the card. Not because what’s going on in the ring is not any good or doesn’t fit or is a lousy story or anything like that. They just want you to somehow magically skip to the main event or whatever they paid to see and forget all the other stuff. That’s not the way it works and I just ignore it.
** Drew McIntyre joined the ‘To The Point Already’ show and when asked what matches does he still want to make happen, McIntyre stated that he wants to face the likes of John Cena, Cesaro and The Undertaker which he says he’ll push for forever.
There’s a bunch. I mean I always throw out a couple of ones that are unlikely. I’ll say Cesaro first on our current roster. We’ve never had a match before but I’m always saying John Cena and I have never had a singles match and he’s not disappearing from WWE forever without having that singles match and I’ll push for the Undertaker match forever. I was around The Undertaker when I was 24 years old. Vince McMahon allocated him as my mentor. I’ve been around him forever. I still speak to him to this day, such an inspiration for me and I want that last match with The Undertaker before he rides off for the last time
** Highspots hosted a virtual signing with Jay White. He named several of his favorite matches which include Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kenny Omega respectively.
You can’t really beat my New Beginning 2019 for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. You can’t really beat that.
Oh yeah, right. That one too. That’s another one. Any of those title wins are gonna be up there.
** Liv Morgan recapped the Child’s Play movie series on the ‘We Enjoy…’ podcast.
** POST Wrestling would like to send our condolences to WWE host Quetzalli Bulnes who lost her grandmother.
** Scott Fishman of TV Insider conducted an interview with Raw Women’s Champion Rhea Ripley. Ripley shared that Vince McMahon was pleased with she and Asuka’s match at WrestleMania 37.
One of the big ones was talking to Vince McMahon afterward, hearing him say ‘well done’ and that I did great. It was so surreal. It’s a dream, and I’m living it. To have the big bossman say well done was pretty insane to me.
** AEW Dark (4/13/21):
** Stephanie Chase of Digital Spy released a written portion of her interview with CM Punk.
** Jason Baker, partner of Tom Savini, posted about the creation of the headpiece that Alexa Bliss wore on night two of WrestleMania 37.
New @WWEBrayWyatt mask & @AlexaBliss_WWE headpiece & on set sfx @callosumstudios. Mask sculpt @brianmcguiresculpture Mold @rnzofx74 & @jasonadams4spfx. Fabrication @kendraxleighh. Paint @bakingjason. Headpiece @sandymimpson. On set sfx @bakingjason. supervisor @thetomsavini pic.twitter.com/TMzm8NcyK4
— Jason Baker (@bakingjason) April 12, 2021
** ESPN’s SportsNation program welcomed Bianca Belair onto the show. Belair says she wants to give Sasha Banks a rematch and also pin the remaining Four Horsewomen who she hasn’t beaten yet, Charlotte Flair and Becky Lynch.
The next EST for me, well for me, my goal is I’m always striving to be the absolute best version of myself and that never stops. You never stop learning, you never stop growing. The moment you think that you’re finished learning, you’re going to be complacent, you’re going to plateau so, I’m constantly striving to be the best version of myself and my next step for me is I want Sasha Banks to get a rematch right away. I want to prove that this wasn’t a fluke, that this wasn’t luck, that I am the best. I want to solidify it and prove that I am the best and go against the best of Sasha Banks and then I eventually wanna go against the rest of The Four Horsewomen. You know, I’ve pinned Bayley, I’ve pinned Sasha at this point. I feel like I’m at the forefront of a new era and generation of women wrestlers and I’m not saying you need to leave but you gotta make some space for us because we’re coming and I would love to eventually pin all four Horsewomen.
** NJPW Road to Wrestling Dontaku Results (4/13/21) Korakuen Hall
– Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) def. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) & Gabriel Kidd
– Jado, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa def. DOUKI, Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.
– EVIL, KENTA, Taiji Ishimori & Yujiro Takahashi def. Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomoaki Honma
– Dick Togo & Gedo def. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toro Yano
– The United Empire (Aaron Henare, Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Will Ospreay) def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito)
** Rhea Ripley chatted with the Herald Sun about her Raw Women’s Title victory and the coverage she received in Australia.
** Charlotte Flair, Kofi Kingston and The Miz did a WrestleMania report for Cricket Wireless.
** NBC News’ feature on Bad Bunny’s WrestleMania performance.
** Matt Cardona and Brian Myers presented their Figure Wrestling Federation show on April 9th that featured the return of former WWE talent Maven. Below is a video package with highlights from the show:
** John Morrison went live on Instagram with WWE host Quetzalli Bulnes. NXT’s L.A. Knight and McKenzie Mitchell appeared on camera as well.
** Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode chatted with the users behind the ProSieben MAXX Instagram page.
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.