MLW Mance Warner
Fightful has learned that Mance Warner was not at the latest Major League Wrestling tapings for their restart after the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic. Warner has been stuck in a contract dispute with MLW of late, and has interest from multiple companies. MLW commented last month and said that Warner remained under a deal. It's worth noting that both Brian Pillman Jr and Davey Boy Smith Jr. had contract disagreements with MLW, but did appear at the tapings.
NXT Talent Frustrated With COVID Protocol, Part XXVII
Not much of a shocker here, and seems to be a weekly article at this point, but there was a lot of frustration about NXT's handling of COVID protocols heading into Halloween Havoc. Indi Hartwell was pulled from Halloween Havoc in a planned appearance, and several in NXT that we spoke to were frustrated with how things have been affected for a story that many looked at in such a positive light. As mentioned recently, NXT's ability to get Hartwell over without even having her on screen was acclaimed by talent we spoke to. Frustration was compounded when classes then resumed, and the same testing protocol was kept in place -- not daily testing.
All Elite Wrestling has officially announced the signing of Anthony Bowens and Max Caster via a Tony Khan interview with PWInsider.
Fightful did a feature on Bowens in Spring of 2019, and had learned that WWE had expressed interest in Bowens prior to that....and then just didn't get back to Bowens. Coaches and staff that Fightful contacted for the story on the condition of anonymity were puzzled by the situation, and said that he should be there, and under contract.
In regards to Bowens' signing with AEW, we're told it was made official before November, and WWE had been reaching out to numerous AEW Dark and NJPW Strong talent. As we've seen, Ben Carter landed with NXT UK.
AEW Dark stuff
Based on Lee Johnson being added to the Nightmare Family, it would appear that he's signed to All Elite Wrestling. We were actually set for an interview several weeks ago, but the day of I was told that we'd need to go through AEW PR. That's usually a sign that someone has been signed. Johnson hasn't been featured heavily on AEW Dynamite, but since then we've learned that he wasn't the only signing from AEW Dark. We were told "multiple" AEW Dark regulars are under agreements of some sort, but weren't specified if they were short-term, long term, or a set number of appearances. Max Caster and Anthony Bowens ended up being a couple of those.
It's worth noting that EC3 specifically went out of his way to put over Shane Taylor as being the only person up as early as him to get into the gym in the ROH bubble during their set of tapings.
He spoke highly of the experience in working on ROH Unauthorized, even though he's much more of a serious character. He also put over Todd Sinclair and Ian Riccaboni specifically. He'd told me that so many people are surprised when they see him cut promos because he's soft spoken, but people who really know him know that's the comfortable Shane Taylor coming out.
When asked who would be Shane Taylor's dream partner, he quickly pointed to Erik of the Viking Raiders. The two have remained close, and Erik is the godfather of Shane Taylor's children.
As of the end of October, there were no plans on adding another female member of Retribution. The word among talent is that Mercedes Martinez extended her desire to no longer be a part of the angle and was removed from the group before they all signed new contracts. There were briefly names tossed around from NXT as potentially joining the group before deciding to stick with things as they are for the time being.
We're told that EC3 has finished up with IMPACT Wrestling for the time being, after spending the last few months there. He's now working in Ring of Honor, and will at least be working with them through the end of the year. We're not sure if he has or had a contract with either company. There have also been talks of him creating a new project separate of both companies.
For those wondering Zicky Dice's contractual status after his messy situation with NWA, it's up at the end of the year. When the shakeup in NWA happened, NWA offered to let anyone go who didn't believe in their vision, and Dice asked for his release. Since he was TV champion, NWA rolled over his deal on September 1 to go through the end of the year. He dropped his title to Elijah Burke on a UWN show, which we're told took place without incident. We have heard that there have been some disagreements and heat between Zicky Dice and Nick Aldis in the past that were well known within the NWA locker room.
Thus far this year, James Storm's contract expired, Ricky Starks and Allisyn Kay left, Zicky Dice asked for his release and Royce Isaacs requested out of NWA.
WWE came under heavy fire of for their lack of COVID-19 testing in the initial stages, and we've heard a story related to that coming out of the AEW PPV this weekend. When discussing AEW COVID protocols with several AEW names, several told us that WWE stars visiting All Elite Wrestling for Double or Nothing in May actually claimed they got their first coronavirus tests from AEW the weekend of Double or Nothing, because otherwise they weren't permitted at the events or functions. Even after there were positive tests within WWE months prior, the company didn't do testing along the way until Mid-June.
I spoke with Gallows, Karl Anderson and Rocky Romero about the future of TalkNShopAMania, and Gallows stated that he's already had some conversations about what would happen. He wants to have the show in front of a live audience whenever the world opens up, and Karl Anderson specified that they already have a main event planned for that.
Rocky Romero and Karl Anderson seem to think the bridge between IMPACT an New Japan will be gapped soon. Anderson told us that personally, he thinks that by Summer of next year some big things will have happened then. Anderson said that he and Gallows are still very close to NJPW higher ups. Also, Gedo asked him to stop saying "fuck" on TV before they left. That's important to note.
Romero said that Chris Bey being involved in the Super J Cup is important in rebuilding the relationship between NJPW and IMPACT and is happy everyone is taking small steps. He said that IMPACT and NJPW are friendlier than they've been in a long time and believes there is a huge respect there.