Last Thursday I received a press release e-mail from El Rey touting the premiere of the season four finale of Lucha Underground. The show had aired over twelve hours before, which should tell you plenty about El Rey's level of dedication at the end of any given season of Lucha Underground.
I interviewed Aerial Monroe ahead of Ladies Night Out 4 from Title Match Wrestling, and was fortunate to also speak to her about another recurring series that Fightful has picked up in the same line of Wikipedia Fact Check and Making a Finisher.
We discussed the differences in working in an all-female event compared to a mixed-gender event. We also talked about her brief runs in WWE in the Mae Young Classic and teaming with Candice LeRae, who had infamous run ins on the indie circuit with Monroe's husband, Cedric Alexander. She said that Cedric hilariously showed her one of the more infamous Lungblowers he did to LeRae the night it happened, and expected it to go viral, as it did.
We'll have more on the ins and outs of our interview with Monroe in upcoming weeks. She takes on Kiera Hogan on Title Match Wrestling and Reality of Wrestling's Ladies Night Out 4 on Saturday.
I was able to speak to Triple H this week as a part of the NXT Takeover WarGames media call (just a week after his surgery). I asked him about the shift in hiring practices for WWE, specifically in regards to WWE now hiring older talent than they were before -- citing Punishment Martinez and Shayna Baszler as prime examples. Triple H said there was no hard and fast rule against it, it just became the norm. He specified that he wouldn't have a long list of people in their late 30s that he'd be hiring looking to get them started in WWE. It would have to be a special kind of talent, and one that they see being successful for the investment. He brings in a lot of talent later in their careers to get them up to speed on their style primarily so they can end up developing into player-coaches and help relay that style and give younger wrestlers hand on guidance. Triple H mentioned that he had the benefit of having a lot of veterans to work with, and wanted NXT to be able to do that, too. He said that the "backup role" has also been an option for some of their international talent as well.
I asked him about the Breaking Ground series and the possibility of a second season. Triple H told me that he believes in the series and loves how well it was received, but didn't think that the company did it in the best way possible and probably would do it way different another time around. Strictly from him speaking, Triple H said that he could see that type of show come back.
HHH put over the culture of what they're doing at the WWE Performance Center, and said that if someone is going to threaten the culture and the morale of the WWE PC, he'll eliminate them before it becomes an issue. Triple H cited Tommaso Ciampa, Adam Cole, Johnny Gargano as experienced names that are helping out the wrestlers underneath them. The coaches being invested in the success of NXT stars is something he says goes a long way in helping out the culture of the Performance Center and a secret to the success of NXT.
The Becky Lynch story may have led many of you to discover Fightful this week. There was a major shift between Monday night and Tuesday afternoon, after it became clear that Becky Lynch's injury would hold her out of WWE Survivor Series on Sunday. Initially there was a "well, shit happens, it ain't ballet" mentality that is thrown around all the time. After the video footage came through, that changed rather quickly. While the rest of the "invading" Smackdown Live stars traveled out of Raw together, Becky Lynch did not.
Tuesday as I went on the air with the Fightful MMA Podcast, I had a source reach out and said that Becky had a concussion and a possible broken nose (later confirmed), and journalist Ted Gruber messaged saying that Lynch would be out of her Survivor Series match, which I confirmed with two sources shortly after. The Smackdown Crew was upset about Jax's punch square to Becky's face, as they are legitimately a tighter knit group than the group of women you see on WWE Raw on a weekly basis. Jax's reputation has preceded her and possibly caught up with her after Monday, as the footage showed what many wrestlers at Smackdown were saying was a blatant punch to the face, void of any attempt to use a "worked punch."
As if you had to ask, Becky Lynch and Ronda Rousey have influence over their own promos, and at least a couple of writers are aware that Rousey's words aren't resonating quite as well as she'd like them. There is also no timetable for Becky Lynch's return, but WWE recognizes the hot hand they have with her. I'll have more on that in the coming weeks.
All day on Tuesday the backstage listing for the main event was simply "MATCH." WWE has altered several of their documents this year to avoid us finding out some of the happenings on the show, but don't usually go to this length in order to prevent people backstage from knowing. Obviously, this was because of the major AJ Styles vs. Daniel Bryan WWE title change that would go on to happen that night. Ironically, the last time that WWE had "MATCH" as the listing on the board backstage, a lot of wrestlers thought they were swerved because Daniel Bryan vs. AJ Styles went on first (a few weeks ago.) That wasn't really the case, things were just moving fast and furious in regards to Bryan refusing to work Crown Jewel, and WWE trying to plan a Performance Center match between the two that didn't end up happening.