If you were excited to see Rik Boogz on WWE Smackdown, and just a new face in general, you're in luck. Fightful has been informed that there are plans for additional call-ups to Raw and Smackdown, including talent from both NXT and NXT UK. We aren't sure when or how many, but we've told that talent in NXT has been speculating among themselves who will be called up in recent weeks. Fightful has been told "multiple" have been planned or at least in the works for a while, spanning across both Raw and Smackdown.
Eva Marie's return to WWE has many questioning what the plan is for her after her vignettes. Fightful has been told the working plan isn't for her to wrestle, but to use as a vehicle to help get another female talent over. The deal to bring Eva Marie in was worked on for a long time before her vignettes appeared, and was in no way a response to WWE releasing other women's wrestlers.
Logan Paul Reaction
Logan Paul got booed heavily, and WWE read the room very well by having Kevin Owens hit him with a Stunner. We've heard from WWE staff that Logan Paul ha d been very easy to work with throughout the process. One said that he was very excited and massively respectful to the process, while another told us that he seemed open to working with WWE again in the future and treated it appropriately. We've not heard of any specific complaints regarding Paul from anyone we've spoken to.
Fightful has learned that the NXT EVOLVE content didn't come out quite as expected, and required a re-tape. We revealed details of the EVOLVE tapings recently, but as of now the project is not greenlit for a full run and is still in the "proof of concept" stage. We're told that the footage was pretty dark, and as of what was able to be viewed, the wrestlers were competing in relative silence. The program will be seen as an answer to AEW Dark to some, but was actually a planned well ahead of that. We're told that Rinku Singh and Tino Sabbatelli were involved in the tapings, which took place the first week of May.
Reaction to Two Nights
The two night WrestleMania seems to be a hit, at least with the talent and staff we've spoken to. Talent that Fightful heard back from enjoyed the two night move, citing the lack of crowd exhaustion as a huge benefit. It was also speculated among talent that WWE avoiding the announcement of a certain date for 2022 WrestleMania has the company considering continuing the two night method. There were multiple staff and wrestlers that we spoke to that said they were vocal to management about their preference
Michael Cole heat
We've had more inquiries than usual about Michael Cole, even in the weeks following WrestleMania, asking if there was any heat on him regarding the gaffe in the night 1 main event of the show. When we asked immediately following the show and subsequently, were told there was no heat on him and it was very much a "shit happens, that sucks" type of situation. Over the past month, some of the commentary woes were said to have made some talent we spoke to realize how good Cole can be. We have heard of Cole admitting the mistake to multiple people, but nobody we've spoken to backstage has made a big deal of it and chalked it up to accidents happening.
Fightful has learned that IMPACT Wrestling has already reached out to multiple WWE releases from this past April, though we haven't confirmed whether or not they have firm contracts or deals in place. Last year, IMPACT also reached out to the Good Brothers within 15 minutes of their releases, and Brian Myers within a week of his release.
For those of you attending AEW Double or Nothing live, Stadium Stampede is said to have a "significant live element to it." Sources we spoke to wouldn't give away exactly what that means, but said that it would be a "unique live experience."
Fightful spoke with EJ Nduka for an interview, where he clarified a few things. He said that he's going to continue wrestling and wants to show what he can do, and wants to learn and prove himself. He was surprised by the release as he was told as recently as the week prior that he was "going to make a lot of money in wrestling" by Terry Taylor. He spoke very highly of the WWE, PC and his time there.
Nduka actually filmed a Smackdown commercial a couple of weeks prior to his release, and got to speak with Triple H and Stephanie McMahon directly for a bit during the filming. He said that Matt Bloom informed him of that opportunity.
In regards to Drake Wuertz, Nduka recounted the situation that led to their confrontation. Nduka said that he felt like he was being spoken to in a disrespectful manner, and wanted to address it personally to assure that it didn't happen again. After it happened, Robbie Brookside credited him for standing up for himself, as did other talent, according to Nduka.
EC3 was recently hospitalized for what he said was cellulitis that led to stenosis. As a result, he confirmed to Fightful that he was not at the latest Ring of Honor tapings, as they encouraged him to heal up and not be in the bubble.
EC3's The Narrative features talent from AEW, IMPACT, ROH, MLW, NWA, and that participated in WWE tryouts. Fightful inquired about how they got all those moving parts to work, and were told that some competitors on the May 27 show had to be cleared, while others didn't require it. There were some hurdles over how some talent could be named and promoted, however. We're told the filming took place back in February, well before EC3 was hospitalized.
Adnan Virk left WWE in what the company called a "mutual" departure during another round of cuts. After only seven weeks, the partnership was terminated, and we were told the company was hoping to keep it amicable. Both sides, we're told, were very aware that the situation wasn't working out, and it appeared they knew it early on. In regards to the parting being mutual, Fightful was informed by WWE staff that WWE was going to make the move regardless, and had their mind made up even before the May 24 Raw.