Maria Manic had a huge breakout performance at ROH Final Battle 2019, but barely wrestled in 2020 after sustaining a concussion. She'd signed a big new contract in late 2019, but hasn't wrestled since February, fueling many to question her status with the company. Fightful learned that Maria Manic is still with Ring of Honor and was actually in the ROH bubble for a recent set of tapings, though she didn't wrestle during them. Those we spoke to said she looked happy and healthy and better than she had in a long time.
Ethan Page is advertised for an IMPACT PPV match against "Karate Man", but he's already gone from the company and his contract is in fact up. Page won't actually be at the PPV, and we were told that the match was actually filmed two months ahead of time when at the November tapings. Most of the show will be filmed in January as the roster will be showing up for TV.
We're working on our Inside The Royal Rumble feature, and have a ton of Rumble news coming your way. According to 2020 Rumble participants, there was heavy influence from the wrestlers themselves, but Shane McMahon, Michael Hayes and Jamie Noble all contributed to putting the 2020 Men's Royal Rumble match together. There was a huge meeting, and then the participants who were going to be in the match towards the end split off into a smaller group to help streamline the process.
You may have noticed in the past that Seth Rollins and Matt Riddle had a bit of heat, especially considering Rollins said on a WWE Draft special that he had no interest in working with Riddle. We spoke to numerous people who were backstage at WWE Survivor Series, who said that it seemed as if the two had squashed the issue between them. Rollins didn't look at Riddle during the entire match, but it was indicated to us that the two approached each other to discuss the issues and seemed to have rectified them and left open to working with one another in the future. Riddle was said to have apologized for his wife's comments body shaming Becky Lynch.
MLW TV Deal
Major League Wrestling continues to make moves throughout the broadcast world. MLW founder Court Bauer confirmed to Fightful Tuesday afternoon that the company is speaking to two networks that they consider "tier 1" networks about the potential of joining. When asked for more information, Bauer indicated that if the deals came to fruition, would likely be for content additional to their flagship Fusion program. MLW currently airs on DAZN, Fubo, and beIN sports, which are all still active, and Bauer called beIN a long term partner.
Word had dropped last month that Cody Hall had signed and promptly left Major League Wrestling. Court Bauer confirmed that did happen, but that Cody Hall said that he couldn't move forward with it and they granted him his release. MLW had their eye on Cody Hall as far back as 2018 for a spot in the Dynasty, but it didn't end up happening. They courted Hall for two years, but Bauer said that the fit wasn't good for either side. He said there was no animosity between he and Cody Hall and anything is possible for the future.
Goldberg - Drew McIntyre
If you thought the way that Goldberg and Drew McIntyre ended things on WWE Raw was off, there's a good reason for it. The show fell behind early in the night after scripts were already late for the show, and had the two stars pressed for time in the Raw main event segment. There was supposed to be supplemental actions and lines that helped make sense of Goldberg's promo about Drew McIntyre disrespecting legends. As they were facing a time crunch and had to set it up quickly, Goldberg delivered the lines as scripted, but then when they didn't make sense, ad-libbing had to be done by Drew McIntyre to add in the "fighting his dad" line. Those that we spoke to backstage say that they were hopeful that Goldberg would ad-lib during the promo to make up for things, but understand that he was just delivering the lines as instructed.
Court Bauer confirmed to me that MLW is hoping that they can eventually get Fusion on Thursday nights on primetime. Many suspected that MLW was trying to "ride the wave" of NXT and AEW by moving from Saturdays to Wednesdays, but as it turns out they just wanted weeknights in prime time. Bauer said he's seen increased engagement regarding the move, but hopes to eventually be on Thursdays.
He also didn't actually set out for Kings of Colosseum to be in such a crowded week with big Raw, NXT, AEW and NJPW shows. He says that when he started planning KOC in September, he only knew of Wrestle Kingdom being planned as a tentpole show.
Marty Scurll- ROH
Marty Scurll's ROH departure didn't seem like much of a surprise to many within the company, and those that we spoke with didn't seem surprised it took this long either. Due to the nature of the company, Scurll's deal had certain protections in them, and he had a huge deal. Among those we spoke to, they felt it was pretty sure back in September when Scurll was removed from the roster page that he wouldn't be back. There were plenty in the locker room that thought he should be given a second chance, but also plenty that just wanted to see him leave. He's still in Orlando at the moment, and hasn't been at any of the ROH tapings.
Snoop Dogg WWE Heat
Can't believe this is something I am reporting on, but based on WWE sources, there's absolutely no heat on Snoop Dogg in WWE. Most we heard from said they expected him to do something promotional with AEW considering that he likes wrestling and since Cody Rhodes was a cast member with him on the Go Big Show. One source said that WWE doesn't have a deal with Snoop Dogg and doesn't own him, so there's no reason for any sort of heat just because they've worked together in the past.
WWE announced Monday, January 11 that Drew McIntyre had tested positive for COVID-19 and was in quarantine, but he's far from the only one coming out of a busy holiday season. Another string of positive COVID tests hit the wrestling world. We're told that shows from WWE, All Elite Wrestling and IMPACT Wrestling were all affected, with several matches and appearances nixed as a result of this. Sources in WWE said that they expected positive tests after the holidays, and were surprised that things weren't worse considering the circumstances. IMPACT Wrestling tapes a couple months worth of shows this weekend into next week, and AEW filmed two weeks worth of shows last week. Fightful gained confirmation that people set for Raw, Smackdown, AEW and IMPACT tapings were affected as a result.