NJPW - AXS - WOW
Following up on last week's news that NJPW and AXS were significantly more detached, I'm told that has more to do with the recent regime changes in New Japan Pro Wrestling as it does with the AXS side of things. AXS told Pro Wrestling Unlimited they haven't been told about any involvement in next month's Young Lion shows, something they would generally know about by now. In the past, AXS has been very transparent with media when they don't have a deal locked down to air a certain show from New Japan Pro Wrestling.
On the other side of things, promotion was heavy for the Women Of Wrestling tapings, with in-person interviews, credentials provided, and several members of the talent roster making appearances locally. They'll have a bigger media push ahead of the January 2019 premiere.
I spoke to a noticeably peeved (but still pleasant) "Filthy" Tom Lawlor ahead of the recent Major League Wrestling tapings. This was fresh off of the news of Jon Jones' USADA suspension coming to an end, and considering Lawlor's issues with USADA, he was reasonably passionate about the situation. I'd recommend listening to that if you're unfamiliar with it.
He talked to me about getting connected with MLW, which contrary to popular belief, wasn't his first run in pro wrestling, as he had matches in the mid 2000s as well. He said that he was pleasantly surprised with the opportunity presented to him after such little time on the indie circuit, and said the relationship is going well thus far.
In MMA, Lawlor was also known for his colorful entrances and weigh-in costumes. He'd emulated Hulk Hogan, The Shockmaster, Dan "The Beast" Severn, and several others. He told me that often, they'd be something he'd throw together at the last minute from a thrift store.
We'll have a ton from our interview with Tom Lawlor in the Weekly over the next few weeks.
Fightful talked to ROH World Champion Jay Lethal, specifically about the growth of Ring of Honor. He said that while ROH is experiencing incredible leaps in growth, he also attributes some of that to the fact that wrestling as a whole is in a boom period. He sees this as helping ROH and every other company, and helps encourage cross promotion. Lethal credited the Ring of Honor roster, and the ability to find a new puzzle piece that fits whenever there are pieces that leave. He mentioned Mark Haskins in particular as an emerging talent.
Last Saturday, WWE confirmed to Fightful.com that the venue for WWE Crown Jewel was switched from King Fahd International Stadium to King Saud University Stadium. King Fahd International Stadium has a noted capacity of 68,752. The King Saud University Stadium is listed at much less -- only 25,000. It's worth noting that this wasn't due to slow ticket sales as they'd not gone on sale as of yet. My request for comment on the move went unreturned beyond the confirmation after Fightful's Andrew Thompson spotted the change.
WWE had a really strict cut-off time of 9 AM EST for their WWE Super Show-down event last Saturday. Miz and Daniel Bryan was supposed to be a short match anyway, but had a few minutes cut from it as well.
We're told that WWE only flew over those that they needed for the show, and many who expected to be flown over were surprised that they weren't. WWE isn't making the amount of money on the Australian show that they are on the Saudi Arabia deal, so it wasn't an "all hands on deck" situation. Several people who weren't even on the Greatest Royal Rumble event were brought over, while mainly the people competing on the show were sent to Australia.
Vince McMahon didn't make the trip to Australia, according to one source, which is becoming more of a norm as he gets older. Triple H and Kevin Dunn were in charge of the show, and those we heard from who were there say that they considered it a success all around.
WWE actually changed the canvas out just before the main event, and they had something like three there, tied down to the ring just in case.
I had several WWE wrestlers who told me they were watching UFC 229. One group that was watching (NXT wrestlers) said that Derrick Lewis was a huge hit, and everyone came out of their seat for his comeback knockout over Alexander Volkov. There was also a lot of love for his post-fight promo where he said he took off his pants because "his balls was hot."
The only other "fight review" I got from the group was that the Anthony Pettis vs. Tony Ferguson went over really well, and the group lost it when the Khabib Nurmagomedov crowd brawl went down.
WWE has issued some members of the media Smackdown 1000 commemorative rings that are made up to look like the Smackdown Women's Championship, with "Smackdown 1000" across the bottom, and engraving on the back. This is used essentially as a WWE Shop promotion, which happens there and there across different divisions and is pretty common among wrestling promotions. Lucha Underground has sent out masks in the past, while a WGN wrestling themed funeral parlor show sent out shovels at one point.
During last Saturday's WWE Super Show-down, the company issued a full on press release, announcing that AJ Styles was defending the title against Bryan at WWE Crown Jewel. This is unusual for match announcements, excluding historical ones or "first-time-evers" that they really want to push. For example, when Rey Mysterio was announced for Smackdown 1000 this week, instead of a full press release, WWE just linked us to their own internal article. When I asked about the Crown Jewel press release (which as mentioned, revealed a change in venue), I was told that WWE was looking to make the show seem as big as possible, especially in light of the changes.