Originally published at Tony Khan discusses recent TNT Title changes, reaction to Scorpio Sky's second win
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.
** Prior to the 5/11 AEW Dynamite, Tony Khan sat down with Brandon Walker of ‘Rasslin and as their conversation rolled on, Khan spoke about the recent TNT Title changes and short gaps between those title switches. He thinks Scorpio Sky’s second win was better than the first and feels that putting the title back on Sky was the right thing to do.
It happens Sky, I thought Sammy and Sky, the Ladder match was tremendous and I thought Sky’s second championship win was better than the first win for him in many ways which is hard to do and to say, I think that meant it was the right thing to do.
** On May 15th, New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament will kick off and Hiromu Takahashi was interviewed by the official NJPW site to promote the tourney. Takahashi will meet IMPACT X Division Champion Ace Austin in the tournament and said he can ‘see something’ happening if he is to beat Ace.
I think the X Division title has a long history, and Austin is a wrestler who has already won it three times. Well, if I win against the reigning champion here, I can see the… I want to take what I can get! I want to take what I can get.
Takahashi was asked to elaborate on that and if he thinks he could get an X Division Title match. Here was his response:
With famous overseas wrestlers participating in this event, I think local fans will pay attention to BOSJ. I think this is a chance to turn those people into fans of Hiromu Takahashi. However, Austin definitely has pride as a champion, and he will come to all official matches as if they were title matches, so I would like to break him up.
** At ‘For the Love of Wrestling’ in Liverpool, England, Billy Gunn and Brian ‘Road Dogg’ James were the focus of a Q&A session. Billy was asked to compare the backstage environments between AEW and WWE and said the loose environment in AEW drives him nuts a little bit. He added that the environment is good and everyone helps one another, but he did enjoy the structure that WWE has in place.
Gunn: The locker room difference is there’s not as much pressure with AEW as there is at WWE. There’s a little bit lighter structure which kind of drives me nuts just a little bit, but I feel we’re a lot younger. We don’t — a lot of the guys in WWE have been through developmental system and stuff so they’ve been through that system.
But it’s just a younger locker room. I think everybody’s into helping everybody and trying to understand what’s going on. They all haven’t been in that system up there. That system up there for me is a lot more structured, which I like kind of so it’s a little bit loose in our locker room but it’s still good, it’s still fun. You know, of course I get all my information through my boys because I don’t hang out with anybody anymore because that’s just not in my wheelhouse.
Road Dogg: He’s in the office.
Gunn: No, I am not in the office. I’m not there yet. I’m just in my own room.
At the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame ceremony, Paul ‘Triple H’ Levesque referred to AEW as a ‘pissant company’. Billy shared his thoughts about that comment and said he primarily let it go because his wife asked him to.
Gunn: So I let it go . No, it’s… so when everybody starts chanting ‘AEW’ at the Hall of Fame, he’s gotta try to shut it down somehow and whatever goes through his head, goes through his head. I am not in control of that other than I could have punched him in the mouth and it — you know, but it is what it is. You feel — I don’t know. So I’m gonna bypass that because I’m gonna get…
The New Age Outlaws returned to WWE in 2014 and went on to become Tag Team Champions. Both Billy and Road Dogg talked about how much they enjoyed working with The Usos (Jimmy & Jey Uso) and being able to help elevate them.
Gunn: So I loved working The Usos. They were fun. You know, The Usos were good because we got to — kind of got them on a roll… like The Road Warriors did for us, we did for The Usos. We just put the rocket ship on their ass and look where they’re at now. Thank you and that’s all due to us. You’re welcome .
Road Dogg: I agree, The Usos for sure. Not only are they from where I’m from in Pensacola, Florida but, they’re Rikishi’s kids and so it meant a lot to me personally to get to work with them and put the titles on them. I don’t know if I’d go as far as Billy and say we were The Road Warriors when we did it but, okay, we were cool too.
Gunn: No, no, that was my opinion. I have one.
Road Dogg: I know, but it’s kind of like an a-hole. Everybody has one, they all stink, you know what I mean?
** A highlight that Jack Evans looks back on from his time with AEW that he feels should have been more is his singles match with Kenny Omega for the AAA Mega Title. Evans told Chris Van Vliet that the match should have been a ‘classic’ but takes the blame for it not turning out to be that. He feels he was a ‘neurotic mess’ trying to put it together and was blown up.
For me, my AEW highlight might have been that match with the Best Friends. I don’t think I had many classics. Also, I would say my singles with Kenny Omega, but man, that should have been one of those 6 star classics. But I was so out of shape, I was a neurotic mess putting that match together. I was so blown up and it could have been a big break, but it should have been so much more. We cut so much out and so much was not executed properly, but that was again, 100% my fault. He just out worked me where we had to end the match early because I was done. That really should have been a classic, it came off good but that one hurts me.
As Evans reflects on his AEW run, he thinks the first year went well but the COVID-19 pandemic and being stuck in Mexico for four months stalled the momentum he and Angelico had going. When Evans returned to AEW, he dealt with self-confidence issues and felt that he deteriorated in the ring.
I feel like for the first year, the run actually started out good. We kind of had the place as the semi comedic tag team. Then me and Angelico were at the Mexican border, which got closed because of the COVID restrictions, we had this 4-month layoff. I had this practice match when I came back, and I actually got my face broken again, so there was another 2-month layoff. I feel like after that, I never came back full force, I really feel like I deteriorated. But I can’t blame it on ring rust, I just never had the same momentum, I felt like I was never wrestling good and had just deteriorated in the ring. This sounds weird, but it gave me loads of self-confidence problems. Anyone that knows me knows how nervous I am backstage, but when I step through the curtain and into the ring, I am all cocky and confident. But I would step through the curtain and would still be as nervous as hell. After the COVID layoff and the face break, I feel like on a personal level, I never came back as me in regards to in ring skill.
In a follow-up to the previous quote, Evans was asked if he thinks things would have turned out differently if he was not stuck in Mexico for that period of time. He thinks it would have resulted in more TV time, but the final result of him no longer being with AEW would have remained the same.
Yes, but I don’t think that it would have changed anything. In the end, it just came down to me having spent an extended period of laziness. During those 4 months, I maybe would have been used more and maybe I would have stayed on the ball more. But I didn’t have that right mentality when I was on a salary, I thought that this will go on forever.
** Referee Brian Hebner brought Kenny King onto his Refin’ It Up podcast to look back on King’s experience in TNA/IMPACT Wrestling. The Beat Down Clan became a topic of conversation and Kenny detailed how the group started and shared that the powers that be in TNA initially wanted Matt Hardy in the group. Neither Hardy nor the Beat Down Clan were big on the idea.
Man, the B.D.C. like, ‘Oh man, we gotta have Matt in there’ and we’re all kind of looking around like, what!? Matt’s my boy. Matt’s all of our boys, right? But it’s like, ah, one of these things is doing his own thing. It doesn’t make any sense and even when it was brought to Matt, Matt was like, ‘What? That’s stupid. Y’all do that. That sounds good.’
Before the ‘Beat Down Clan’ name came about, names like ‘The Row’ were suggested for the group. Kenny King recalled several test names before the final name was decided on.
The name … we got a very interesting list of the coolest names for Black guys that white guys could come up with.
I promise you, whatever you came up with would’ve been a million times better than — I mean they had ‘The Row’, I think was one of ‘em. Uh, something like — ‘The Blood Pack’, was something real terrible. So we were just like, ‘All right, we’re not gonna do any of that’ and I think it was… what it was? ‘Beat Down Production’ was something that — ‘What about the Beat Down Productions?’ But B.D.P. was already — is a big, legendary click in Hip-Hop, like Boogie Down Productions from the Bronx so, but we kept ‘Beat Down’ and then ‘Beat Down Click’, ‘Beat Down Clan.’ Just all kind of came together.
In totality, The Beat Down Clan consisted of King, MVP, Samoa Joe, Low Ki, Hernandez and Homicide. Kenny thinks it is one of the biggest missed opportunities in pro wrestling history and feels it could have been on the same level as Bullet Club.
Oh my God bro, are you kidding me? That’s what we were doing and it was mirroring and people were with it, fans loved it. It would’ve definitely been on like that Bullet Club level in 2014, 2015 had the ball not been dropped.
Kenny credited then-TNA/IMPACT writing team members David Lagana, Matt Conway and John Gaburick for putting the group in position to succeed, but said MVP was the individual that would always go to bat on behalf of the group to ensure that they had the best material possible.
I mean, I will give the Joe or look at — ‘Uh, what? We ain’t doing this sh*t’ and then he’s up and he’s off to the trailer, whose-ever trailer it was and like, ‘Sh*t, I ain’t got to say nothing.’ So, he was — they were pretty good about letting us do our own thing but MVP was definitely the catalyst of making that happen.
In late 2019, Kenny joined RUSH and Dragon Lee to form La Faccion Ingobernables in Ring of Honor. He shared that RUSH was instrumental in bringing him into the group.
Yeah, it was fun working with RUSH, working with Dragon Naito to all of it. You know, RUSH, he was really instrumental in bringing me in. He really wanted me to come in and I really dug it man. It was good for me because I got to really shine on the mic, I got to start cutting promos in English and in Spanish and that was something that I had never done before so, I really, really dug the L.F.I. faction.
As of this writing, Kenny is back in IMPACT Wrestling as a part of the ‘Honor No More’ faction. He is a former two-time X Division Champion and said it would make sense for him to jump back into the X Division Title scene.
I don’t know man. My knees aren’t the same as they were . Your ankles aren’t the same, they are not X Division sturdy as they have been in the past but never say never man. It is the quality of guys in the X Division. Guys like Trey Miguel, guys like ‘Speedball’ Mike Bailey, Ace Austin, Laredo Kid, you know, Rich Swann, I mean dudes like that because of the quality of matches that are sitting right there waiting for me, it makes a little bit of sense.
** SOUNDSPHERE conducted an interview with Malakai Black and Black expressed that he knows he’s not easy to collaborate with at times, but he appreciates that AEW President Tony Khan always does right by him in regard to their creative communication.
I think slowly but surely now, people are slowly coming around to what I’m trying to do and have a sense of intrigue with it because you know, if I look at our TV numbers, if I look at our merchandise numbers, you know, we’re doing really well for as limited as we’ve been to be honest… It’s also part of my frustration, right? Because I have this vision and I have to convey this vision to the man in charge and he doesn’t always agree so we have to find a level of what we agree on and that sometimes causes me to sacrifice part of my vision but it also causes him to sacrifice part of his vision. But, I will always say, he’s always done right by me and he’s always found ways to work with me and I also know that I’m not always the easiest to deal with in terms of that because I’m such — you know, if I see something and I know it’s gonna work, then I’m like, no, if we change one single thing about it, it’s not gonna come across the way it’s gonna come across, right?
For the House of Black, Malakai wants to the group to be in possession of AEW Trios Titles, the traditional tag titles or he wants one of the group members to hold the AEW World Championship.
Every single day, we grow stronger and every single day, we accomplish more and more and whether it takes us three weeks or three years or 30 years, eventually we will get what we are owed, which is the AEW, hopefully trios titles, which is the AEW Tag Titles, which is the most prestigious title in the world which is the AEW World Title being around either my waist, Brody’s waist or Buddy’s waist.
** The Ringer’s MackMania crew welcomed Keith Lee onto the podcast. Lee looked back on challenging Drew McIntyre for the WWE Title on Raw in January 2021. He feels that not many people expected him to go 20+ minutes with McIntyre and for them to push as hard as they did.
I think that all the goals in pro wrestling are there and they’ll stay there because it’s in my nature to want to be ‘the guy’. Everywhere I’ve gone, I was never ‘chosen’, you know? But I’ve always fought to be either at the top or somewhere around that realm and I, you know, I would take it as far back as my main event with Drew McIntyre . Like no one expected me to go 30 minutes with that guy or 25 minutes or whatever it was and push as hard as we did but, those things are the things that bring me the most joy a lot of times, like creating those special moments and I wanna create more of them. So I think — it’s in all of our nature as entertainers to wanna do that for people, so…
While further reflecting on his AEW debut, Lee recalled having to stay in an area that was two-to-three hours away from the venue so he could remain hidden. Lee had to walk around with a hoodie and an additional mask on but doesn’t think it helped him hide.
As far as the debut man, it’s just like, ‘Hey, you’re a big deal. We need you to hide’ and I’m like, ‘You know I’m 340 pounds, right? I don’t hide very well.’ So I had to stay like two or three hours away from everybody else and just drive in that day and I went in masked up, hoodie on and that doesn’t help me when I’m walking around because apparently, I have a very distinctive walk. But in a car that’s big enough, I can hide away so I wasn’t seen going in there or anything like that but, just stayed hidden away most of the day and then had just freedom to kind of have fun. When it was time dude, it was lit if you could tell, too much fun. Just freedom man. ‘Do what you want.’ ‘Okay, I can do that,’ .
** On the most recent Talk Is Jericho podcast, Chris Jericho heaped praise onto multiple AEW talents. He started off with FTR (Dax Harwood & Cash Wheeler) and The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson). He then mentioned how talents such as MJF, Eddie Kingston and Orange Cassidy ‘get it’ when it comes to pro wrestling and that’s why he wanted to work with them.
And I still don’t watch wrestling completely the ‘new age way’ shall we say. I appreciate — like FTR and The Young Bucks . I appreciate — just amazing, amazing, amazing. But I also always look for the story and the character and the connection with the audience because people will respond to high spots. They have a connection with The Bucks obviously and to FTR to an extent. They’re getting more there, but that’s what wrestling is and you know, it’s not a lost art because again, MJF gets it. He gets it, he understands. Eddie Kingston, gets it, he understands. That’s why I wanted to work with those guys because that’s what wrestling is. Orange Cassidy, doesn’t have to do anything, the people go nuts for him. That’s what a five-star wrestling match is to me along with the FTRs versus The Bucks etcetera, etcetera.
Jericho spoke about his on-screen feud with Shawn Michaels and shared that up until 2008-2009, viewers of the product had attempted to attack him in public because they were unaware of the scripted nature of pro wrestling.
Even up ‘till, gosh, probably the feud I had with Shawn Michaels, I still was getting attacked in the street at times which was 2008 or ‘9. People still kind of believed but that’s kind of pretty much done at this point.
** The latest guest on El Brunch de WWE was Mustafa Ali. He looked back on his on-screen feud with AEW’s Buddy Matthews that dates back to their time together on 205 Live. Ali talked about their chemistry and said Matthews is one of his favorites talents to work with.
You know, he’s no longer with the company but, Buddy Murphy who goes by Buddy Matthews now, he’s probably my favorite opponent to work with. We just had the best chemistry in the ring. Most of that work was done on 205 Live, but when we got to do it on SmackDown, it’s just bigger audience, bigger feel and one of my favorite matches with him.
The WrestleMania 34 pre-show featured Ali and Cedric Alexander competing for the Cruiserweight Championship. Ali described the nerves he felt going into the match and said it was WWE referee Jason Ayers that calmed him down.
I got the opportunity to wrestle Cedric Alexander at the Cruiserweight Championship finals and I believe that was New Orleans? Yeah, and it was so many weird elements to it that John Cena’s in the crowd watching us wrestle and we didn’t know about that ‘till like a little bit before the match. . It wasn’t a featured match but dude, I didn’t care. It was WrestleMania, it was a sold-out crowd. Like I said, Cena’s watching and me and Cedric Alexander had 15, 20 minutes just to tear the house down and we did exactly that.
** While speaking to Sports Guys Talking Wrestling, Deonna Purrazzo expressed that she would be interested in returning to STARDOM.
I don’t know . I would love — you know, I did two tours of Japan with STARDOM in 2017 and 2018 and you know, I know that not too many foreigners have been brought back yet just because the way the world was and the pandemic and things like that but I think if they were open to having foreign talent come in, I would jump on that opportunity 100 percent. I’m just in a different place in my career, I’m in a different place in my life and I think that it would be really interesting to revisit that and then they have so many new talent that I never got to be in the ring with so, I think it would make for really interesting matches.
** To promote the upcoming NJPW Best of the Supers tournament, NJPW1972.com caught up with tourney participant Clark Connors, who believes that the NJPW STRONG product has been better than NJPW’s Japan-based product for the past several years.
All the LA Dojo guys have said since day one that STRONG is our show. In Japan, you might have Okada, Tanahashi, Hiromu, and that’s their show, but if those guys come to STRONG, they have to do things our way. I firmly believe that STRONG is a far better product than anything that’s been going on in Japan for the last two years or so; it’s on me to prove that during BOSJ.
** It is official that KiLynn King is challenging for the NWA World Women’s Title at ‘Alwayz Ready’. She appeared on Busted Open Radio and shared her thoughts about the upcoming opportunity.
It was a really cool moment . You know, I just started my journey with NWA so, finding myself in that position so quickly was really, really cool and you could probably see it on my face after the one, two, three. I was like, oh my gosh, this is my hand being raised. It was a really special moment.
** On June 13th, WWE will reveal their next class of N.I.L. (Next In Line) athletes.
** New Japan Pro-Wrestling donated the proceeds (3,480,273 yen/$26,000 U.S. dollars) from their ‘Tongan Lion Mark’ shirt to the Japanese Red Cross. The money is going towards disaster relief in support of the South Pacific Island nation of Tonga which endured a volcanic eruption and tsunami.
** WWE named Suzette Ramirez-Carr as their new Chief Human Resources Officer. She’ll be reporting directly to Vince McMahon.
** NBC’s ‘Young Rock’ series has been renewed for a third season.
** Hijo del Vikingo, Octagon Jr. and AAA President Dorian Roldan were present at a ‘Smashing Pumpkins’ concert and took a picture with NWA owner Billy Corgan.
** Coming out of the 5/11 AEW Dynamite on Long Island, Nina Friedman, mother of MJF, appeared on Busted Open Radio to talk about her son.
** 2022 AJPW Champion Carnival winner Yuma Aoyagi is challenging Kento Miyahara for the Triple Crown Championship on 5/15.
** Kofi Kingston vs. Jimmy Uso – Tekken 7:
** The theme song for the 2022 NJPW Best of the Super Juniors tournament is ‘High Legacy’ created by the band ‘blank paper’.
** Following AEW’s event at UBS Arena on 5/11, Brandon Walker of Rasslin’ interviewed MJF. FTR joined in on the conversation as well.
** Dradition Pro Wrestling ‘Tatsumi Fujinami 50th Anniversary’ Results (5/12/22) Korakuen Hall
– Nobuyuki Kurashima & Sanshu Tsubakichi def. Hiroo Sakai & Rionne Fujiwara
– LEONA vs. TAMURA – Time Limit Draw (15:00)
– Masaaki Mochizuki & Yuji Okabayashi def. KAZMA SAKAMOTO & MAZADA
– Masakatsu Funaki & Yoshiaki Fujiwara def. Masato Tanaka & Tatsuhito Takaiwa
– Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shiro Koshinaka & Yuji Nagata def. Hiromu Takahashi, Shingo Takagi & Mitsuya Nagai (Following the match, Tanahashi and Fujinami agreed to have a singles match in the future)
** AEW Women’s World Champion Thunder Rosa appeared on ‘Inside DFW’.
** The May edition of Hiroshi Tanahashi’s Ace’s HIGH series is up on NJPW1972.com.
** To promote WWE’s house show in New Mexico on June 11th, Kofi Kingston did an interview with KFOX-TV.
** Britt Baker was a guest on Steven’s Wrestling Journey:
** Women’s Wrestling Talk welcomed Thunder Rosa onto their platform.
** Swerve Strickland – All Hustle :
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.