This is the first edition of what I hope to be a weekly recounting of a few news stories from the world of wrestling. Inside you'll find a ton of exclusive info, links to stories you may have missed.
Matt Hardy is "Broken"
Matt Hardy's "broken" character returned to WWE Raw with a twist this week. When I inquired with those in WWE about the situation, and why the sudden change occurred, I was simply told that "Matt Hardy and Vince McMahon told Anthem to fuck off." Vince McMahon really enjoys Matt Hardy's character and his dedication to it.
In perhaps an even bigger twist, Anthem is altering Impact contracts to allow talent to portray their characters even if they leave the company. I can conirm this applies to currently contracted wrestlers, not just ones being signed from here on ou. As of right now EC3, Eli Drake, Abyss and Rosemary are likely the only ones standing to gain anything from it, but everyone I've spoken to within Impact is happy about the change.
Fightful hasn't reported on the new "news" that Ronda Rousey's WWE signing is close to happening, because that's been the case since she decided to step into a pro wrestling ring last summer. Rousey wasn't exactly looking to leverage WWE against EVOLVE, or anything. She's WWE bound if anything.
I guess I'll reveal it here, but my next long-form article is about the re-emergence of the NWA -- at least from a digital perspective. I've spoken to several former NWA Champions, and have more coming. I'm targeting an end of month release, as I like to leave you all with special content between Christmas and New Year.
We have a lot of people asking if the constant flow of stories Fightful breaks about WWN and Evolve's business with Floslam has affected our access. It hasn't. We stopped covering events live because the demand wasn't there, but still provide results and coverage when they run shows.
I've spoken to Gabe Sapolsky once since then, who clearly wasn't in the best of moods. While I've spoken to Matt Riddle, it hasn't been about anything related to the site in general, so I don't know if that's where he stands. Jason Kincaid continues to do awesome work for us, so either EVOLVE doesn't know or doesn't care.
WWE Releases and Interviews
WWE is continuing to prevent recently released performers from doing interviews for a certain period of time following their firing. This was the case last year as well, as we reported exclusively during the week of our launch. We're told this is more of a precautionary measure because tempers can run high right after a release.
Severn vs. Riddle
Speaking of the aforementioned Riddle, Dan Severn lit up when I spoke to him about their match during this year's WrestleMania weekend. Severn told me that he's never went into a match so loose, and found Riddle's use of "bro" pretty comical. Severn said that not many guys could go in there and have an "amateur wrestling exhibition" like that with him, and that he could have went ten hours, even though it was "well past his bedtime."
Severn also prepares his own press releases, which are incredible and sound exactly like you'd think a Dan Severn issued press release would be.
Fightful's James Lynch tried to get an interview with CM Punk at UFC 218 in Detroit last weekend. UFC officials intercepted the attempt, as Punk wasn't in town to do any media for the company. Punk was around to support his Roufusport teammate Paul Felder, and wanted to speak to UFC President Dana White about his future.
Everyone we've spoken to -- from Emmanuel Sanchez to Paul Felder to Sergio Pettis say that Punk has been well received in the gym and puts in the work for the team. Pettis told us in an interview this weekend that he didn't know who Punk was when he showed up last year.
WWE let me know they were "disappointed" in my tweet last week, saying that we get crickets from them when reaching out about information we need as a site. I won't get too deep into it here, but there's plenty of info on the pinned tweet I have up, as well as this week's episode of List and Ya Boy. Going from endless coverage of UFC 218 to not being able to get a straight answer out of WWE can often be frustrating, but they're able to use the crutch of calling themselves entertainment programming to excuse it.
In addition to Rousey and the Horsewomen looking to cross over from MMA, we heard from several other UFC stars who talked the pro wrestling connection. "The Karate Hottie" Michelle Waterson wasn't victorious at UFC 218, but told us that she'd be interested in making a jump for a one-off. Henry Cejudo elaborated on his talks with WWE before the UFC and why he decided to pursue MMA.
This has been an in for us in the past. In the middle of a brutal weight cut ahead of UFC 210, Daniel Cormier looked miserable while speaking to media in Buffalo. Fortunately for us, we had Brandon Howard on the scene who asked him about WrestleMania, which led to the two discussing gates and financial success.
TNA Wrestling Retro Deals
Kenny Dykstra opened up to us about his time out of the national spotlight in wrestling between WWE runs. He said there was a TNA offer on the table at one point during the Hulk Hogan - Eric Bischoff era, but he passed it up because his "take home money" would have been roughly $200 a week.
Cirque De Soleil
I heard from the former Mason Ryan about his gig with Cirque De Soleil's Ka. The interview will air on an upcoming List and Ya Boy episode, where he talks about how WWE helped him land the job. He actually beat out multiple other former WWE stars who tried out for the spot. Ryan, real name Barri Griffiths isn't wrestling as a professional courtesy to the Cirque brand for giving him the shot.