The big story of the week is it’s the first full week with Triple H in charge and there has already been a lot to discuss both in front of and behind the scenes.
The backstage atmosphere since Triple H took over has been said to be very positive. In perhaps a silly update, WWE is loosening its restrictions on the terms “wrestler” and “wrestling,” two phrases Vince McMahon was not fond of. Also, some wrestlers are being allowed to improvise their promos some more as well as call some of their matches in the ring, as opposed to having every move scripted out.
Some wrestlers expressed to Dave Meltzer that they are afraid they might lose their spot with the new regime in charge and different goals than from when Vince was in charge. Still, there is a feeling of excitement from most on the roster. The women in particular are excited for what they assume will be a renewed focus on the division.
As further proof that Vince is totally gone, he was removed off the internal available talent roster sheets, according to PWInsider.
Sasha Banks, who is reportedly on her way back to WWE, is making her first public appearance this weekend at a fan convention. She tweeted out for the first time since being released, sharing her excitement for the weekend. Surely, more than a few fans are going to ask her if she’s coming back.
Could Banks be debuting on Smackdown tonight? Or perhaps she would join the Bayley feud on RAW on Monday. Speaking of Bayley, she was recently on WWE After the Bell and explained her vision for her new faction with the returning Dakota Kai and Iyo Sky. “This is something that I’ve wanted for a while — I would say a couple of years. And actually something that I’ve talked to [Triple H] about before. Just wanting something different for the division and using girls that I think were either underutilized or that didn’t get that opportunity or didn’t get that spotlight. And just a way to evolve myself [in] many different variations of this faction or group that I wanted.”
“But as I got injured and got to spend more time really thinking about it, I knew that I wanted literally girls who haven’t had the opportunity for Raw or SmackDown or that haven’t been given the opportunity to feel what WrestleMania is like. Because that’s the ultimate goal of everybody. I just felt like if I looked for girls that haven’t had that yet, just the hunger is gonna be that much stronger. It’s just gonna be fresher for the fans and fresher for the locker room where they’ll get excited to work with different people. So once I thought of it like that and thought let me look at NXT, it was so easy. I knew who I wanted and I knew who could benefit from it. I knew who I can benefit from. And I knew who would give to the locker room, really.”
Fightful Select is reporting that Killer Kross might be returning to WWE, now that Triple H is in charge. While nothing official has been signed, several people expect him back. If they do bring Kross back, I sure hope it is with Scarlett. She added a lot to the presentation in my opinion. Dave Meltzer speculated (but hasn’t confirmed) Johnny Gargano and Candace LaRae are two other names that have since come up as returning to WWE as well. It’s telling that neither had yet signed with AEW, despite being available for months.
Tonight’s Smackdown on Fox at 8pm will see:
AEW Rampage is live tonight at 10pm on TNT will see:
Tomorrow AEW is back on TNT at 8pm for a special edition of Battle of the Belts with a must-see main event:
Here is the news and gossip in the wrestling world going into the weekend:
Ric Flair’s Last Match was a huge success when it came to the box office. Wrestling Observer reports the event drew 6,800 fans and made $448,502 at the gate. Additionally, they did nearly 30,000 buys on traditional and streaming PPV. It was the largest modern American indie event, only behind All In a few years ago.
Meltzer also reported that Logan Paul is not expected back in a WWE ring for a while as he is preparing for a boxing match in December. I assume he will be back for the Royal Rumble in January.
WWE Senior Vice President James Kimball recently spoke with Bleacher Report and explained the current philosophy of the developmental program and how the expect to sign new recruits and avoid bottlenecking with the churn of releasing talents. “We come into each [tryout] week with gaps that need to be filled. At that two-year mark, if you’ve not made it on NXT TV on a regular basis, it’s just not for you and it’s not for us.” Kimball notes WWE evaluate each talent every six months. They are avoiding signing people of similar builds, opting for a wide variety of shapes and sizes to avoid any bottlenecking. According to Kimball, the evaluations come every six months. Kimball also said that the company is preventing “bottlenecks” in developmental by never signing too many people of similar heights, weights, and builds, opting for a wide variety of shapes and sizes for their limited spots. “Our goal is to add volume, quality and depth to developmental,” Kimball said. “Coming into this week, we have a 110 talents in developmental. The goal at the end of this year is 130. The sweet spot for us long-term is around 150.
AEW star MJF has gone completely radio silent since the Los Angeles AEW show a few months back. Reporters and fellow wrestlers have not been able to get a hold of him. He did apparently stay in LA for a few weeks to work on some acting gigs. Also, I heard a rumor last week that he was spotted on Long Island shooting with Impractical Jokers.
WWE Hall of Famer Kane, Glen Jacobs, won re-election for the position of mayor in Knox County, TN with an edge of 4,400 votes. Jacobs, a Republican, was expected to be re-elected as the town is mostly Republican. More here.
CJ Perry, the former Lana in WWE discussed how she was called into Vince McMahon’s office to rehearse kissing Dolph Ziggler for the first time. She told Renee Pacquette on her podcast, The Sessions, “The crazy thing with Dolph that was super awkward was that we actually had the practice the kiss in front of Vince and Miro. So the funny thing is, Summer [Rae] was telling the story of how she had the practice kissing Dolph in front of Vince. I was like, ‘What? You had to practice in front of Vince? Yeah, right.’ She’s like, ‘Be ready. You might need to do the same at some point.’ I’m like, ‘Oh my God. Okay.'”
Perry continued, “A week later, we got called in. It’s Ace, Vince, Dolph, and Miro. We had to practice the kiss and Miro is turning red in the corner. Vince is like, ‘What? We’re all adults. What’s the problem? We’re all adults. It’s professionalism. Don’t be weird.’ So we do it, and Vince goes, ‘No, no, no, no, way slower.’ He doesn’t fully kiss Johnny Ace, but he gets like this close. I mean, it was hilarious. Dolph is dying. That’s why we went so slow in that segment. I recently watched it with one of my friends, and I was like, ‘This is so slow’, but everyone was like, ‘You look so innocent like you’ve never done it before’, and that’s what Vince was going for. He wanted it to be innocent like she had never kissed anyone before.’ It was very weird.” [h/t to WrestlingNews.co for the transcription.]
AEW star and Ric Flair’s son-in-law, Andrade, shared a photo of himself and Undertaker backstage at Flair’s last match.
Here is a silly video of Ricky Starks outdancing VENY/Asuka (not to be confused with WWE’s Asuka) at an indie show a while back:
Don’t forget, every Monday, at 7pm eastern, hosts Alicia Atout, Colin Young, and Jordan Olds will be talking about this entire insane week of on the Knotfest Youtube page.
You can always follow me @robinjection on Instagram and Twitter and @Squaredcirclpit