WWE is interested in signing Viper to a short-term deal for the 32-woman Mae Young Classic. She recently appeared at the World of Sport TV tapings for ITV. It’s not sure at the moment if Viper’s contract is different from the other ITV talent or if WWE has some inside knowledge that none of the contracts with ITV are valid.
Former WWE star Cody Rhodes spoke with Double G Sports and talked about the success he has had since leaving WWE and modeling his attitude after Kane.
Rhodes on being in so many shows after he left WWE: “I feel really whole. It’s so easy to tell people that you are good or you’re great, and that they (WWE) didn’t give me the opportunities I deserved. There does come a point however, where someone says they will check out an independent show I’m at and if you suck I know you were lesser than. Those moments have actually been pretty cool, because it’s so fun to see negativity on social media and see it diminish. Its great to prove people right, but its even better to prove them wrong, and I’m obsessed with that. I’ve seen people admit that they have spoken too soon, and that they want me to win the ROH World Title (or any for that matter).”
Rhodes on his haters after he left WWE: “I think there are less haters than before. We did start off a little rocky though. It could have started with the Evolve audience. To start off, I love Gabe and Evolve, especially Ethan Page. My first two show’s there got a lot of viewers, but people judged me based off them. They weren’t seeing what I was doing week in and week out after. This is where it’s really happening, and I hope more people would check it out. The more streaming, the more FloSlam, the more FITE TV and the more PPV’s help. I believe I’ve shown people that there is a lot left in the tool box and gas left in the tank.”
Rhodes on on his backstage attitude: “I kind of model my attitude backstage and towards the business after Kane. He’s running for mayor now. He is the best example on how to be an older gentlemen, a veteran in our business. Everybody after two-four years goes through that phase where they think they are a veteran. After about six years in you start to think you’re really a veteran, and then you realize that it never ends. You should always treat everyone with fairness, kindness and shake everyone’s hand the same way you would shake Vince McMahon’s hand. Everybody matters. We all do this together. From the fan out there in the street who may or not be a collector to Vince, never devalue anyone.”
Former WWE superstar John Morrison said in an interview with Sportskeeda that WWE and Impact Wrestling have borrowed ideas that originated in Lucha Underground.
“I feel like Lucha Underground was the first promotion that’s really integrated the gritty, action movie feel with wrestling. Shooting the vignettes that stitch Lucha Underground together, with coverage like a TV show or a movie has set that trend. You’re right, the Total Deletion and WWE House of Horrors and even some of the costumes in WWE. I feel the trends were started in Lucha Underground.”
WWE is looking to protect Shinsuke Nakamura’s character as he has been recently called “Rock Star” on TV. The company filled out a trademark application for the term “WWE Rockstars” when they started using the term for Nakamura.
WWE also applied to trademark ‘Bruiserweight’ for Pete Dunne.
In an interview with Wrestling Reality, Virgil recalled his first WWE tapings, meeting Donald Trump for the first time and how Vince McMahon appreciates his talent.
On his first TV tapings in WWE with Ted Dibiase: “For about a year, we did nothing but vignettes all around the world, dogging people out, throwing money here and there. Showing everyone that everybody has a price. We proved that; we went in front of Judges, Lawyers, showing that everyone has a price and it showed.”
On how much money he was making as a manager: “It was good money. You are getting paid a percentage of the gate. Any house shows you are getting paid a percentage of the gate; or any pay per views, you’re getting paid percentage of the gates. You only got paid if you worked compared to today’s guaranteed money so you try to sell out everywhere you go, and we had sell outs everywhere we went. It was good to work with shows where Hulk Hogan and Andre the Giant worked. Andre was no joke. He was the real deal; WrestleMania 4&5 were with Andre. Trump Plaza in Atlantic City in 1988 and 1989 and it packed, they still can’t get that type of draw today.”
On working with Donald Trump: “It was great. He’s a great guy and he had all black hair. He was just as powerful now as he was back then. Donald is a cool guy, and Vince [McMahon] is a really cool boss.”
On how Vince McMahon was as a boss: “He cares about his talent, and he’s got a great work ethic and does things right; he wants you to be on time and have Part A and Part B did right, so when you work for someone you have to come on time and be there and do everything right.”
Brad Gilmore revealed that his podcast co-host Booker T will join the RAW commentary team for the remainder of the summer. Booker T was initially scheduled to only handle commentary duties while David Otunga was away filming a movie. Otunga will make his WWE return on the Extreme Rules Kickoff panel with Renee Young and Peter Rosenberg.
Indy wrestlers did a spoof of Randy Orton at last night’s Wrestle Circus Event. Shane Strickland, Sammy Guevara, and Mr. 450 each went on the top rope to perform a dive but then decided not to at the last minute. They then decided to repeatedly hit RKOs on their opponents.
With the sun making its best efforts to appear in the UK, my sleep pattern is at an all-time high on the screwed up scale. I’m considering becoming nocturnal just to alleviate the issue. But whilst the weather is undoubtedly having an effect on my sleep, rage and anger are also part of it. I tried to let most of it go, as who really wants to be bitter and angry all the time? Unfortunately some things won’t disappear from my brain. Anger is worse than insomnia. I think being so let down by Backlash put me in a foul mood for the week. But it wasn’t great. Anyway, to the things keeping me awake this week.
Shinsuke Nakamura – The (Unfortunately) Conventional Artist
I feared for Shinsuke coming up. I worried he’d be put into the pile and nothing would be done with him to make the most of his talents. Then Shinsuke showed up and my worries were lessened, by the constant putting over of the King of Strong Style, and making people wait to see what was one of the biggest in-ring debuts in a long while. Then there was a little physicality that I managed to let go, as I convinced myself that it was just a side effect of promoting. And then came the Backlash match.
I remain unshakeable in my belief and indignant in my anger regarding how the match played out and how I thought it should have. Dolph should have been squashed. Six minutes, a few rollouts from Dolph, serious frustration and pain from the Artist’s strikes. A relaxed and smiling assassin Nakamura waiting in the ring. Then a knockout with the Kinshasa. Nakamura should have walked out as a big deal, with fans getting their first taste of him blown away by what he can do, at the expense of one of the most resilient superstars they’ve seen over the years. Dolph could have spent the weeks after claiming he underestimated his opposition, cocky heels do that sort of thing.
Instead, we got a standard WWE match. Nothing particularly special. A lot of selling from the heavy hitter. A hard time for the first timer witnesses to spot the signature moves. A likeable new star, beating the whiny villain. People could be forgiven for wondering what the fuss was about. Nakamura should have walked out as a huge deal, as something unique to the Smackdown roster. Instead, he is now one of the pack. Which brings me to Money In The Bank.
I love the idea of building up the MITB match to be coveted, so much that former champions and established names would want to be part of it. But Shinsuke shouldn’t be in it. He should be dominating singles matches before entering his first proper feud. It is too easy to get lost in the shuffle in the six person ladder matches and that goes double for the build-up towards it, as evidenced by the tag match later on Smackdown Live. A first in ring match on the blue brand, teaming with AJ Styles no less, should have been treated as a big deal. But WWE is telling the audience that we should know he’s a big deal, rather than showing us. This is one of the (very few) downsides to NXT. It gives readymade stars but as not everyone who watches Raw and Smackdown watches NXT, WWE can’t just skip the introductions. They need main roster build, not just being thrown into the shuffle with five others who are all practically in the same spot on the card. Competitive, heavy on the selling matches with those five now await him.
In Shinsuke Nakamura, WWE has something special on their hands that will able to carry the big matches and pull in the big bucks. But only if they present him as something special. WWE did a great job until it came to the in-ring stuff, which is Shinsuke’s speciality. So who is to blame? Having seen Shinsuke in NXT, I’m putting the blame on creative. It needs to do better, before Shinsuke becomes another Samoa Joe (super talent being completely underutilized.)
Jindermania off to a lukewarm start
I didn’t mind Mahal winning the title. I wanted it off of Orton and was not concerned where it ended up. I would have liked Wyatt to have kept it if I’m honest but Orton has done nothing with it so I can live with his thirteenth reign being nothing short of transitional. Pretty sure it was actually his first defence. The House of Horrors was non-title so, first defence?
But we live in a world where Jinder Mahal is now the holder of a championship that can take its lineage back sixty years or so. The big title. (No, I’m not yet a believer in the Universal title; stuff at the back of my freezer has been around longer.) As I said, I don’t mind Jinder having it, yet. Whilst it does nothing for this TV viewer, the crowd are hating his anti-American rhetoric. He talks about their hate and anger and it’s there to see. My issue is what happened between the bell rings.
The match was not good. Jinder spent noticeable amounts of time being pulled out the ring or generally saved by the Singh’s. At no point was he treated as an equal or major threat to Orton. I watched the match back to see if I was being overly harsh but without the surprise ending, the match is even more disappointing. Whilst a great moment for him, Jinder’s title victory will not stand the test of time, or even a week. The Singh brothers are already reminding me of an Indian J&J security. Seth Rollins title matches became a chore with them around as the conclusion was always too obvious. I would hate to watch a repeat of that for Mahals title run, as he now has the opportunity to create something special for himself. But he will need to start carrying himself in the ring like a champion otherwise his title run will very much be a one off. But for now, congrats, may things only get better for the new champ.
Roode vs. Itami a one off
Takeover, the best one in a while and the superior show over the weekend from WWE, was just an enjoyable two hours. But as always, something can easily be found to make me angry and keep me awake. Of course, the only place it could be provided on that show was in the Bobby Roode match. I don’t like Roode, a poor man’s Triple H. Whilst I can’t deny he has talent and a main eventer’s poise, plus a sweet entrance track, he just bores me in ring nine times out of ten.
Just to be clear, I actually enjoyed this match up until the end. A complete 180 from how I usually feel about Roode matches. Then something happened that just blew my mind. Roode’s arm was injured, he was in trouble. Itami’s leg was in dire straits, he was not having a good time. Itami couldn’t power through the injury to deliver the GTS. Roode managed to persevere through the injury to drop two Glorious DDT’s (which have never looked better) on his way to retaining the title.
With Itami going off his head in backstage footage and reports from the tapings suggesting heel Itami is upon us, it makes sense. Nothing signalled the end of the program quite like the face being unable to power through but the heel managing it with aplomb. I usually love a new twist on a classic but whilst watching the match and over-thinking it later, I couldn’t wrap my head round it. Everything about the two separate moments told the world that Itami was beneath Roode and they didn’t need a three count to prove it.
It made me angry. Not because I dislike Roode, surprisingly it’s nothing to do with him. Just take a quick look at the women’s division. No one is ready for Asuka. By setting Itami as a lower level heel that will now be expected to feud with future contenders, it creates a tier that NXT has been better without for the longest time. We don’t need an NXT champion presented as so far above the rest of the locker room. Strong heel Itami would be great. Clearly not as good as the champ and pissed about it Itami doesn’t have the same appeal.
Money In The Bank
As I said before, I like the idea of the shiny briefcase being coveted. (I went to see Raw Live a few weeks ago and kids everywhere had the case and even I want one.) And this year the star power is there. Ignoring the fun dilemma Smackdown now faces as they try to fill the rest of the card with six of their higher echelon in the one match, I can’t get excited about it.
I think keeping AJ and Shinsuke apart as much as possible to save for their hopefully epic showdown would be a good idea. Keeping Sami and Kevin away from each other would also be a good idea, even if they are destined to fight forever. I imagine when there’s nothing left but cockroaches, even they will watch Zayn and Owens punching each other, although they’ll just be skeletons.
But my major issue with the match is very similar to the issue I have with the five way on Raw. For Raw, I expect them to foreshadow the winner before we get to the match. On Smackdown, I can’t shake the fact that Baron Corbin is going to win the case. Styles and Shinsuke don’t need it to get to the promised land. Neither does Owens and he’s currently the face of America (and was much better this week thankfully). Zayn’s character is probably too noble to cash in and I can’t see a Ziggler run anytime soon which leaves only the rapidly balding Corbin as the winner. WWE are said to be big on Corbin and he is just the right kind of character to cash in and take the title. Whilst I am open to anyone winning, and would not actually mind Corbin winning, I’m angry at myself for not being able to see it as anything but a Corbin win and basically ruining the match for myself before it even starts. I hate my brain. I hope I’m wrong, just for the surprise.
Does ‘MACHKA’ mean missing?
What happened to Rusev? Where is he? A few months ago, he was threatening destruction if he didn’t get the title match when he was fit at Money In The Bank. But that match is now going to be Mahal vs. Orton. He also threatened to come and see Shane personally regarding the matter, but there was no sign of him at all.
I get that WWE is pushing Mahal and the Rusev angle has in all likelihood been dropped. Or that we will end up with Rusev vs. Shane McMahon, but I’m praying that’s not the case. Rusev has a lot to offer the Smackdown brand and could be a great feud for any number of current face stars. Only if they bring back the angry Bulgarian brute. Whilst I did chuckle at the comedy Rusev, there’s just such an upside to him as a monster.
Whether or not that upside takes him through to the title picture in this new look main event section of Smackdown is a different question. But you would have to believe that bringing him back sooner or later would be for the best. The disappearing act after threatening to cause mayhem is not a good start to a monstrous tear.
Post Takeover NXT
Once again, the NXT shown after Takeover was a chore, despite the fun squash matches it provided. The problem with these shows is the heavy focus and reporting on the Takeover shows. I said earlier that not everyone who watches Smackdown and/or Raw watches NXT and I stand by that. But I feel fairly confident in saying everyone who watches NXT watches the Takeover shows. In fact, I know a few people who watch the Takeovers but not NXT, never the other way around however.
NXT spend these shows showing the matches in far too much detail and going through them as if the audience watching won’t be aware of what happened, rather than analysis or story focus. This is a bit ridiculous. A recap is fine. I’m quite a fan of the first seen backstage interviews after the matches. But these could be used at later dates, rather than watering down their potency by showing them all at once.
NXT is shown on the Network. The same Network that the Takeover shows are available on. It’s not too hard for WWE to realise that people who have the access and the inkling to watch NXT would have the same access to Takeover, and possibly give us a break. Character driven focus matches and squashes could fill the time, a look at rivalries not used on Takeover, a spotlight for newly arriving talent. If there’s a God, documentary style videos, like the ones for Roderick Strong, for other talent. NXT has time to fill and so many options. It makes me angry and inevitably sleep deprived when they pick the weakest one.
Cedric Alexander’s entrance music – Good to have him back. Hate his music though. It’s just not entrance music. Firmly believe in different types of music for hitting the aisle but it’s not a herald, it’s just a song. That needs to be changed.
Women’s Money In The Bank match – All for a women’s MITB match, just not sure why it would be the Smackdown crew. And will it be the four that lose the number one contendership match on next week’s Smackdown? Or will there be shenanigans? I’m all for the idea, and I’ve wanted MITB cases for the Tag and Women’s Championships for a while now. I just think more could be accomplished for the Women’s division by the Raw women in this kind of match. And even more by just having Charlotte vs. Natalya in a straight up match. They’re fantastic.
Mahal’s celebration – I usually hate championship celebrations but I will be so angry if this is not Mahal’s regular entrance from now. Ostentatious, overbearing displays would be perfect for him. Plus it looked brilliant. I’m gonna be so annoyed seeing his regular entrance.
Reigns and Rollins – These guys hate each other, right? They were tag champs together. Then the Shield broke up. Reigns can’t beat Rollins. For every bit as good as Jericho and Ambrose a few months ago acknowledging their past was, this was exactly the kind of nonsense that leaves me seething angry. They hate each other, they shouldn’t casually team and just sort of hang backstage just because they’re both faces. Unless there is a Shield reunion, this should not happen without one punching the other in the face.
Feel the desire to argue, agree, condemn or converse? Comment below or at [email protected] or @HeneghanCiaran.
We know about WWE’s upcoming women’s tournament. And now we know it’s name will be the “Mae Young Classic” which is awesome but that’s about it we know about the entire tournament. So, why are we all excited about it, and should we be excited about it?
Okay, I lied, we also know it will be a 32 women tournament and it will take place on July 13 and 14. Now that’s it. We are about a month and a half away from the tournament and everything else is pure speculation. I’m personally already excited about this tournament even though I don’t know the participants, or the announcers, or the actual prize, so I’m questioning myself if I should be.
The are huge rumors that WWE will be bringing a lot of former TNA knockouts like Talia Madison(Velvet Sky) and Ashley Lane(Madison Rayne), as well as STARDOM stars and apparently already signed Kairi Hojo and Io Shirai. There are also rumors about Renee Young commentating the matches along with Jim Ross. And maybe even along Charly Caruso or Cathy Kelley. Is this enough? No. It is not.
We all are trusting WWE due to their huge success with the 2 previous tournaments. That’s it. We are about 90 days away from the tournament and even if it sounds like a lot and it may be a lot we should be getting names or bits of information from time to time.
I personally feel like WWE are aiming for major, and I mean major excitement and hype for this tournament for about 14 days before it starts. But why give us that when you start building the tournament even from today? WWE could announce the prize or a few competitors or even build it on Raw, Smackdown Live or more realistically, NXT.
I’m beyond hyped just imagining who can be on the tournament and how it will play out. But ultimately my excitement will be dead until about 2 weeks before the tournament where we get major information. I don’t know how to feel about that.
I feel like we should not be feeling all this excitement about the tournament. Not yet. But it will probably deliver and it will probably be worth the wait. All I’m saying is I really want some information since we know about it since Wrestlemania weekend.
Lastly, I want Candice LeRae to win the tournament. That’s just me.
How about all of you? Are you excited? What do you expect from the Mae Young Classic?