Exclusive News Broken By WNW Premium this week.
-Something interesting to note with Zach Sabre Jr winning the EVOLVE title over the weekend. He set to work with NJPW and the WWE has influences in EVOLVE. It is something that seems like it could be a strategic move by WWE to get him not to be swayed to sign NJPW contract.
-We previously reported Finn Balor replacing Seth Rollins if he can't get medically cleared to wrestle at Wrestlemania, however, there is zero update from the doctors as of today. The belief is still he will me working Wrestlemania. Seth will meet with the doctor again midweek to check his progress.
-For those wondering yes the plan in ROH/NJPW is for Kenny Omega to beat Adam Cole out of the Bullet Club preparing for his inevitable departure.
-WWE did a tour of Germany this weekend as many know, however many flights returned late this morning. This will make for a lot of workers working with jet lag for Raw. It wouldn't surprise me to see a lot of tag matches, possibly even an 8 or 10 man tag match, and long promos to give the workers a chance to recover.
-Asuka is taking the spot of the injured Naomi on the March 12th MSG show. She will be teaming with Becky, Tamina, and Nikki Bella to work Alexa Bliss, Mickie James, Carmella, and Natty. It's interesting with Asuka being the top heel in NXT yet will be working on the face team during this show.
-There is some rumbling in regards to the Shaq and Big Show match. It is worth noting that there is talk of the match not going on as planned and the Shaq camp not taking the gig seriously. We'll have more information moving forward.
(Big M Reacts: At this point, I doubt Big Show vs Shaq will happen!)
-Once again Jimmy Jacobs and Paul Heyman wrote the Goldberg/Owens promo on Raw as that duo seems to work well on getting a strong delivery from Goldberg.
-The Oscars rib on Raw was something Vince wanted and that's why we saw it in the New Day promo.
(Big M Reacts: All these Oscar jokes were old before WWE starting getting in on the act.)
-They sent Bayley out early to save Charlotte's promo on Raw as the references were falling off the tracks.
(Big M Reacts: Why can’t they do this with every Charlotte promo?)
-The Seth Rollins in-ring promo on Raw was not well received backstage from the start prior to Hunter coming out.
Some notes on the Rollins current situation, besides his rehab, he is meeting with the specialist every other week to check his progress. As of now, they think he will make WrestleMania however they are leaving themselves multiple outs. This includes more of a call out and brawl than a match if Seth is limited. Obviously, they will do the match if Seth is ready to go. Finn is the likely replacement if Seth cannot go in any fashion.
(Big M Reacts: Given the fact Seth missed Mania last year due to injury, I’m sure he will try to work the event this year even if he isn’t 100%.)
-The current plan is to transition Austin Aries as the face of the Cruiserweight Division and the plan is for him to win the Cruiserweight Championship in a match at WrestleMania. There is word it might be a multi-man match.
Some rumours have the Cruiserweight Championship being defended in a ladder match instead of the Intercontinental Championship as tradition has been the last several years.
-As first reported by us here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com, Beth Phoenix was officially announced for the WWE Hall of Fame. Her husband Edge is working on a second addition of the Edge and Christian show with a bit of a spin.
-Sami Zayn was a little shaken up backstage from his dive off the stage on Raw coming down hard and knocking the wind out of himself. He is fine but was iced down when he got to the back. He has been told before to tone back the style a little bit, but Sami is considered one of the better storytellers in the business.
-Officials including Vince are all high on Samoa Joe right now they feel his mic work is so much better than they expected and he has a big star, big fight feel to him.
(Big M Reacts: Samoa Joe should’ve have been signed by WWE YEARS ago!)
As noted by many and confirmed by the Hardy’s their TNA contracts as officially up. They also stopped taking indy booking past April 30th, which is partly true. I say this because they are booked WrestleMania weekend to work at ROH Supercard of Honor and another weekend in April doing a promo event. With Easter being the 16th it is unlikely they will take a show that weekend. This leaves many to believe they are WWE bound after they finish their previous obligations. As previously reported here on WrestlingNewsWorld, WWE would be interested in bring back both Matt and Jeff. They would love to see if they could pull off the Broken Matt gimmick in WWE. WWE and Matt may have some back and forth where it comes to creative and Matt wanting to do most of his own stuff.
Jeff is a different case, Jeff on many different occasions has stated that he wants to finish his career in WWE. Jeff sees the big picture as much as he is very much financially set. He knows if he retires with WWE, it comes with merchandising expansion and possible work outside of WWE in film, and it could also include a Legends deal that he can collect off for much, much longer than anything else.
So why does this get tricky? Well for possibly the first time in their careers Matt is hotter than Jeff right now and has one of, if not the, hottest gimmicks outside of WWE at the moment with his Broken Matt gimmick.
Jeff does not want to leave his brother at this point, so WWE has to play to Matt as much as they play to Jeff.
Where are we as of today? I'm told WWE is willing to give Jeff a deal with limited dates, not to the extent of Brock Lesnar, but similar to Jericho where he works a few house shows a month, TV, and the PPVs. Likely, 10 dates a month. This would make sure they could push him and his body does not breakdown on the road. They would be giving Jeff a monster face push if he returns. As for Matt, if they can come to terms on a creative end then they would bring both in to run with the Broken Hardy Boys angle.
As of this writing, I'm told WWE thinks they will land Jeff with almost certainty, however they aren't as confident with signing Matt. They will try to convince Matt that this is best option for him, however with him having a family, one young child and another on the way, and his merchandise and booking outside WWE already generating considerable amount of income it will be difficult to spin that Matt needs to return to WWE.
Everyone, however, feels that if deals are reached they will be returning much sooner rather than later and this will not be a long and dragged out process. One source feels it's a very real chance WWE locks up Jeff immediately and Matt later in the year.
(Big M Reacts: I wouldn’t surprise me if Jeff were to return first with his original gimmick and then “Broken” Matt would return a few months later and feud with Jeff)
-Vince is beyond down on the Cruiserweight Division. I’m told if he had a big enough roster for a Monday 3 hour show they would be down to 1 segment. He feels none of them can get over and that the fans don’t care. If we take a look at this there are multiple reasons why the cruiserweight division is not working and let's all be honest it’s not. Why though? Well, they never spent any time slowly introducing characters and everyone got lost in the shuffle. Then, when they tried to develop characters it was too late. Their matches do not get enough time to showcase and tell stories, and their style has been toned down greatly.
205 live is filmed in a death spot after SmackDown in front of an audience whom most have been sitting down for over 2 and half hours before it started. Plus, the fans in attendance have already seen the big stars they paid to see and are ready to leave. It’s trying to serve a salad after dessert, most people don’t want it. What worked for the Cruiserweight Classic was the in-ring work and match quality in front of die-hard fans.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the best thing they can do for the Cruiserweight Division is move 205 live to Full Sail Arena where NXT is held. The fan base there will be much more receptive to the Cruiserweights and having a crowd that is made up of “regulars” will do wonders for the crowd reaction. Having big reactions will build fan interest and the division will start to course correct.
(Big M Reacts: Vince has NEVER believed anyone but his beloved big men can draw money)
-There is at least talk still of turning Roman Reigns heel at WrestleMania vs the Undertaker and, while we all know it’s long overdue, the thought process is more long term and trying to level out the top heels and faces headed into the next draft. If that were the case we’d have the top faces as Rollins, Finn, Nakumura, and Orton and the top heels being Owens, Roman, Braun, AJ, Bray, and Samoa Joe, with Cena and Brock as extra part time faces. One of the issues, however, is the officials aren’t as stubborn about turning AJ face as some may think. They know how over he is and they wouldn’t mind making him the #1 face on a show, if they have to, but are trying to keep him heel as long as they can.
As for the actual draft, the plan is not to redraft entire new rosters they would be doing something along the lines of each show having certain number of picks they can take from the other show and NXT, with champions not eligible to be drafted, and each GM can "protect" a certain number of workers. They will be planning out the draft for a while to make sure the rosters are even and they work to maximise fan interest and long term depth on each show.
-With Jeff Jarrett back in power at Impact Wrestling, and now bringing Bruce Prichard back to help him run the company, Jeff is also looking to bring in as many wrestlers from Global Force Wrestling as possible. With so many recent departures from Impact, with more still to come, there are going to be several roster spots open. For his own political protection, Jarrett is pushing to fill those spots with friends and GFW talent to make sure he has more guys (and gals) on the roster that are allies and will be loyal to him. He's pushing hard right now for Magnus to be brought back as well as Sonjay Dutt. Sonjay is actually trying to get a job with WWE right now, but if he doesn't get signed by WWE, he's told Jeff he does want to return to Impact Wrestling.
Speaking of TNA, Matt Morgan is headed back to TNA as a headliner with the new management. Matt is down to 286 pounds of all muscle and has been working bodybuilding contest.
(Big M Reacts: No matter how you feel about Jarrett, TNA got steadily worse the less involved he became with it during his first run with the company. His return is definitely a step in the right direction, but it may be too late to save the sinking ship knows as Impact Wrestling!)
The Biggest Stories This Week.
Details On WWE Women’s Tournament!
-After alluding to the fact that he would love to stage an all-female tournament much like the WWE has done with the Cruiserweights and the UK talent, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer is now reporting that Triple H has apparently started making phone calls to some female talent that the company is interested in utilising for these spots. There are no further details on when it will take place but the wheels seem to be in motion.
(Big M Reacts: Personally, I can’t wait to see this tournament take shape.)
Updated Fastlane Card!
-Below is the updated WWE Fastlane card coming out of tonight's go-home episode of WWE Raw:
WWE Universal Championship Match
- Kevin Owens (c) vs. Goldberg
Raw Women's Championship Match
- Bayley (c) vs. Charlotte
Raw Tag Team Championship Match
- Luke Gallows & Karl Anderson (c) vs. Enzo & Big Cass
WWE Cruiserweight Championship Match
- Neville (c) vs. Jack Gallagher
- Roman Reigns vs. Braun Strowman
- Sami Zayn vs. Samoa Joe
- Sasha Banks vs. Nia Jax
- Rich Swann & Akira Tozawa vs. Brian Kendrick & Noam Dar
WWE Fastlane will take place this Sunday, March 5, 2017, from the BMO Haris Bradley Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We'll have live coverage right here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
Rey Hardy Lets Rip On TNA!
-As more and more details begin to come out regarding Matt Hardy's release from TNA, the situation is starting to get a bit uglier. While we found out earlier that Matt and Jeff weren't fond of the new contract offers from the company and they were feeling disrespected, we still saw Matt deliver a message that was somewhat in-character and remained respectful about his time in the company. However, Reby Hardy (Matt's wife) delivered a message of her own and was a little bit less grateful-sounding:
“UNREAL WITH THE LITTLE B***** S***. U N R E A L. Why try to do things the right way when you get bs & drama in return? Matt is a nice guy. I’LL keep the sh**s “hostage”.
F outta here. If mfers don’t start coming correct, I’m bout to melt some gold & have me some new gold hoops.
Sigue y vas a ver. I’ve said it many times TNA was the perfect situation for our family & how grateful I was for professionalism/open communication/respect…now think about what kinda negative changes & straight f***ery would have to go down for us to leave.”
(Big M Reacts: Remind me to never write anything negative about Matt Hardy! I’d rather like to avoid Reby Hardy’s social media Wrath!)
Big News On Kurt Angle!
-We already know that Kurt Angle will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on Wrestlemania weekend and there were additional rumours of Kurt actually getting in the ring to wrestle, albeit in a limited manner, as long as he could pass a physical test. There are additional rumours that are being leaked now though via PWInsider. The website reports that Kurt Angle is expected to make an appearance on RAW the night after Wrestlemania to ultimately replace Mick Foley as the General Manager. RAW has already been teasing a lot of tension between Stephanie McMahon and Mick Foley in order to ease Foley off TV and give him time to recover following his upcoming hip replacement surgery.
“Fake News” Barrett?
-Stu Bennett aka Wade Barrett is apparently still working in the wrestling business after having asked for his release from the WWE last year. After taking a hiatus, Barrett is at least back for an appearance as he will be at a Wrestlecon event in Orlando, Florida on March 31st and April 1st. Barrett will be going by the new moniker, "Fake News Barrett," a humorous play on his old wrestling persona along with being topical by invoking a sort-of catchphrase utilised by President Trump.
(Big M Reacts: Not to get political, but I’m getting tired of talking about the madness that is Donald Trump! Especially as I’m not American myself.)
Mixed Tag Match Announced For Next Weeks Smackdown!
-As was announced tonight on Smackdown Live following a segment with John Cena, Nikki Bella, James Ellsworth and Carmella, the four of them will face each other in a mixed tag team match next week. This is probably going to be a preview for the rumoured match between John & Nikki vs Miz & Maryse match at Wrestlemania, which has already begun its build-up tonightduring a MizTV segment.
More Names Leave TNA!
-According to PWInsider, Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis-Bennet are gone from Impact Wrestling. The couple joined the company in January 2016 and were a key figures throughout the year. As of this writing, neither have commented on social media, but Bennett did a post a photo of them on Instagram with the caption "Me and you kid..." Mike and Maria join The Hardy's and Drew Galloway as top stars who have departed since new management took over at the start of the year.
(Big M Reacts: Due to the bad blood between Maria and The Bella’s, I suspect Mike and Maria would return to ROH rather than sign with WWE.)
Jack Swagger A Free Agent!
-Jack Swagger appeared on Chael Sonnen's"Beyond The Fight" podcast to announce that he has been granted his release from WWE. The former World Heavyweight Champion said it came down to contract negotiations.
(Big M Reacts: I had honestly forgotten Swagger worked for WWE.)
More Names Expected To Leave TNA!
- After already having seen the Hardy Boyz, Drew Galloway, Jade, Mike Bennett and Maria leave TNA/Impact Wrestling, don't look away now because there are probably more to come! According to PWInsider, Anthem Sports is playing hardball with a lot of wrestler contracts and not obliging to the demands of some long-time talent and thus they are feeling ripped off, which is why they are leaving in such large numbers. Apparently, the new method to pay the stars is to do so on a per-date basis rather than a per-episode basis, which means that they would only get paid once even if they taped something like three episodes of Impact Wrestling at one taping. Accordingly, don't expect Lashley, Moose, EC3, Eddie Edwards, Davey Richards or Eli Drake to go anywhere soon as they have already signed contract extensions.
Naomi To Miss Wrestlemania!
-Ever since the injury she sustained at Elimination Chamber, Naomi's recovery status in time for Wrestlemania has been in doubt, which is why she was stripped of the title two weeks later when Alexa Bliss was able to capitalize and win back her title in a match with Becky Lynch. Naomi's situation has not really gotten that much better as she recently tweeted that her recovery is going a bit more slowly than she would like and she's not sure if she'll be healed in time for the biggest show of the year.
(Big M Reacts: Speaking as a Naomi fan…THIS SUCKS!!!)
Rumoured New Content On The WWE Network!
-There are current rumours floating around that the WWE is close to signing a deal with other promotions to allow them to appear on the WWE Network. One in particular is the UK promotion Insane Championship Wrestling, which could allow for other promotions (like the WWE-affiliated EVOLVE) to sign similar deals in the future. According to the Wrestling Observer, the WWE wants ICW to get all their trademarks worked out before they make any deal official and they may also want to debut their own weekly UK series before broadcasting ICW on the network.
Eric Bischoff Thinks CM Punk Should Join TNA!
-On a recent episode of Eric Bischoff's podcast, he was asked about Impact Wrestling garnering some new stars in the coming weeks with Eric bringing up an interesting point. Eric stated (after noting that he had never met him in his life) that CM Punk and his business manager should really look at the financial benefits of Punk signing up with a company like TNA/Impact Wrestling. Eric said that Punk has so many fans still behind him that a tremendous amount of money could be leveraged out of the deal and made while another guest on Eric's podcast didn't think that it would ever happen in a million years.
(Big M Reacts: I think “Easy E” has been drinking too much Buffalo Bill Cody Beer!)
ADR Joins TNA!
-Alberto El Patron (formerly known as Alberto Del Rio in WWE) debuted at Thursday's Impact Wrestling tapings. During the event, El Patron beat Lashley to win the Impact World Heavyweight Championship.
(Big M Reacts: Before anyone asks, this probably won’t affect Paige’s contract status with WWE. She is signed for several more years, and the Rock is producing a film based on her life story.)
TNA No Longer TNA?
-During tonight's Impact Wrestling tapings, Bruce Prichard hit the ring and basically buried the old management in the company while claiming that Anthem Sports would make the company great again. Pritchard killed the old "TNA" name and there was no mention of it throughout the whole night with the branding also being removed from the ring apron and entrance.
The show opening and graphics have also had the words "TNA" completely removed.
Josh Matthews Screws Himself!
-After Josh Mathews has made himself persona non-grata with fans and colleagues alike because of his rather boorish demeanour, Impact Wrestling felt it best to add someone to the announce table that fans actually seem to like - Jeremy Borash, who made his debut at the most recent tapings. Borash had previously gone back-and-forth with Mathews on Twitter, who spent most of his time berating fans online during the last few weeks. Mathews said that he was under the learning tree of Jim Ross and called Wrestlemania while Borash remarked that he was friends with JR, who thinks that Mathews sucks.
Ambrose And Young Discuss Creepy Fans!
-During an interview with Vegas Seven, real-life couple Dean Ambrose and Renee Young were asked about dealing with various things but most interestingly, they mentioned dealing with creepy fans, stalkers and death threats that they have personally received. Renee has seen tons of anti-Renee Young sites most likely due to jealous female fans of Dean Ambrose and Dean has admitted that he's even received unsettling calls to his hotel room before. You can read a snippet of the interview below:
Dean: "I have a particular demographic. I think I appeal to a lot of people who might have problems of their own [and] they relate to me. It’s cool when you can help and inspire people and stuff, but sometimes people just attach to you for strange reasons, [and] their behaviour is not the best. I’ve been stalked, I’ve been..."
Renee: "I get many a death threat. Well, I mean, there’s a lot of anti–Renee Young pages out there."
Dean: "It’s actually good to make this point. But without going into too much detail, I’ve been stalked on the phone and my home and hotels, to the point where it’s a little Single White Female scary, though I’m pretty sure I’m not gonna get beaten up and kidnapped by a 15-year-old girl."
Renee: "I don’t know…there are a lot of steroids in foods now."
Dean: "I’ve been stalked fairly regularly for the last two years. I have to go to great lengths to keep that s--t at bay."
(Big M Reacts: A lot of weirdos out there!)
Big Match Announced For Next Weeks Smackdown!
-WWEhas announced Royal Rumble winner Randy Orton will face AJ Styles in a number one contender's match on Tuesday'sSmackDown Live. The winner will challenge Bray Wyatt for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 33. We'll have live coverage right here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.
Where Are The Hardy’s Headed?
-We are glued to the news regarding the Hardy brothers leaving Impact Wrestling and where the next step of their journey could begin. The most hype right now is leaning towards a WWE return but that is not set in stone as of yet. However, the good news is that ProWrestlingSheet is reporting that apparent negotiations have begun between both parties. While there is no official word yet, the rumours are that the negotiations are going well so far, which is a good thing and will hopefully lead to something more. Stay tuned to Wrestling News World for all the breaking news on this situation.
Jim Ross Joining TNA?
-During a recent taping of Impact Wrestling, a graphic was shown on the big screen advertising "Ringside with Jim Ross" to be taking place on April 1st and 2nd in Orlando, Florida. Nabbing JR for the Impact announce team would not be a huge shock as Jim already has a very good working relationship with Jeff Jarrett, having called Wrestle Kingdom 9 and a few Global Force events. It could also just be Impact Wrestling advertising Jim Ross' events because of a working deal but it's worth noting in the midst of all the company shake-ups lately.
(Big M Reacts: I seriously doubt Jim Ross has signed with TNA!!!)
The Deadman Cometh!
-The hot rumour going around now thanks to the PWInsider is that this Monday on RAW will see the return of the Undertaker so that his build to Wrestlemania 33 may begin. It is still expected that Taker will face Roman Reigns at the big event but there are still other matters up in the air like if Roman will be presented as a heel in the lead-up or aftermath of the match and the physical condition of the Dead Man come match time as well. Taker could even be making an appearance as early as Fastlane tomorrow night.
The Hardy’s Win The ROH Tag Team Title!
-In a surprising turn of events, The Hardy's appeared at a Ring of Honor event Saturday night in Manhattan to beat The Young Bucks to capture the ROH Tag Team Championship. Post-match, Matt announced they have signed with ROH and will defend the titles at the company's big pay-per-view on April 1, the night before WrestleMania 33. While this is a shock considering the rumours of the brothers returning to WWE, this certainly doesn't rule it out yet. Stay tuned for the latest.
(Big M Reacts: It doesn’t matter how long Matt and Jeff’s run in ROH will be, but it will definitely help get more eyes on this wonderful promotion)
Bubba Ray Joins ROH!
-Adding onto the legitimate shocker involving the appearance of the Hardy Boys appearing at a Ring of Honor event in Manhattan and defeating the Young Bucks for the Tag Team Championship. There was also another surprise that night as WWE/ECW stalwart Bubba Ray Dudley made his Ring of Honor debut and attacked Adam Cole by putting him through a table! Bubba was originally there to make the save for Bobby Fish, who suffered a beatdown following a loss to ROH Champion Adam Cole.
(Big M Reacts: “Bully” Ray in ROH…TAKE MY MONEY NOW!!!)
New Episode Of Ride Along To Air After Raw!
-The long-running series Ride Along, which documents the lengthy road trips superstars must make between wrestling shows, will make its return on Monday night focusing on pairings of Neville and Sami Zayn as well as another vehicle containing Seth Rollins and Cesaro.
The show will air immediately following RAW on this coming Monday night.