Though we've not heard that Zelina Vega was escorted from the arena following her firing, we were told that she was denied an opportunity to speak with Vince McMahon. One of the stories Fightful heard about from a wrestler was that Zelina had asked to speak to Vince McMahon to tell him goodbye, and the offer to do so was declined.
A wrestler on the Raw side of things did not sound surprised by the situation, noting that it's hard enough to get a meeting with Vince McMahon when you're employed by the company, much less when you've just been fired. One Smackdown performer noted that they waited weeks even after their call-up to talk to Vince McMahon, and mentioned that hadn't really changed in the pandemic era.
We're told several wrestlers shared personal words of encouragement to Zelina following the move.
As mentioned last week, all throughout Friday, the plan was for Chelsea Green to win the Smackdown match in which she debuted. After sitting on the sidelines for months, we're told that Vince McMahon had a meeting with Green about the creative plans for her moving forward, and to inform her that she'd be move up to Smackdown imminently. Most within creative and the WWE staff said that they heard the meeting went positively, and Paul Heyman pushed hard for her and believed in Chelsea Green as a top women's star before he was ousted.
Fightful has learned the creative plans didn't stop with Vince McMahon's meeting with Chelsea Green. Up until at least the day of the show there were also creative plans for her to either have a name change or nickname. The proposal? "Victorious." There were some concerns raised by some within the company that there could be trademark issues in making that happen. Both Green and "Victorious" appeared on the internal rundowns, though Green was scheduled for a post-match promo where she'd refer to herself by the new moniker. Obviously that didn't happen due to injury.
IMPACT Wrestling Tapings
IMPACT Wrestling filmed their last set of tapings of the year last week. There are several wrestlers who have not re-signed new deals, and unless terms are reached you won't see them on the next set of tapings. One of those is Ethan Page, who reaches free agency at the end of the year. For those wondering, Josh Alexander does not.
The tapings wrapped up on Saturday after what was called a "grueling" four days. Most of the talent left the tapings on Saturday, after arriving Monday. We're told that the tapings go all the way up until Hard to Kill weekend, which is January 12. Impact has flexibility as to whether or not they want to tape their television before or after Hard to Kill, as there's no audience to leak results of the show.
Fightful has learned a little more about Jade Cargill in the past couple of weeks. We've heard that she's been training in Atlanta, which will help her progression now that she's signed with AEW. WWE had interest in her in the past and brought her in for a tryout. There were some tweets indicating she was Shaq's girlfriend, which isn't true. She's in a publicly known relationship with former Cincinnati Reds all-star Brandon Phillips.
Survivor Series team
There was a plan for Big E's qualifying match to air on the November 13 episode of Smackdown before it was pulled due to time constraints. Much of the decision making Survivor Series teams was done weeks ahead for this year's show, but a pivot to Otis was made the week of the event.
Victoria Making A Finisher
One of our most sought out Making a Finisher episodes was Victoria talking about the Widow's Peak. She dropped a bombshell in that and 18-year old Roderick Strong actually invented the move. Molly Holly saw the move and told Victoria she needed to adopt it. They tried it out ahead of a WWE show, and Vince McMahon asked if Molly was okay afterwards.When he found out she was fine, he signed off on the move. Stacy Kiebler was the first that took it on TV, and Victoria was very pleased about how it turned out.
Victoria noted that her favorite she ever did was with Christy Hemme, and the fact that Christy suffered from lumbar lordosis made it look even more damaging. Christy took it pretty hard, but it ended up looking the best the move ever looked, after a bikini contest at that. Victoria tried a couple of other moves, but they were quickly nixed because the Widow's Peak was established. She got the name because Sgt. Slaughter wanted her to shave her head and do a Demi Moore-GI Jane esque character, so she named the move the "Widow's Peak" after her hairline in an effort to save it.
We have our big feature with Nidia dropping this weekend, and in case you were curious, she has no desire to return to the ring or wrestle again. In our interview, Nidia closed the door and said she's moved on to a life of motherhood and isn't interested in getting banged up again. She clarified that no companies really reach out to her these days.
As far as leaving WWE, she'd actually planned on quitting when she was fired but feared breaching her contract and said there was no ill will. She was ready to move on and never wrestled in the United States after that. Instead, she only took bookings in places that she wanted to vacation at, and ended up only wrestling for about a year. She decided to disconnect entirely from the wrestling world as to make things easier for her, since it's hard for a lot of people to get out of the business.
Fightful has learned that Arturo Ruas sustained an arm injury, feared to be a torn biceps on last week's episode of NXT in his match with Kushida. Ruas filmed some additional content for WWE digital, but it didn't end up making air. When we asked about his status on Raw, we're told that the company sidelining Raw Underground set the stage for his NXT return, as many expected. His NXT appearance was not scheduled to be a one-off, as there were creative plans for him moving forward in NXT.
WWE is moving Thunderdome to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. This wasn't a surprise to much of the talent we've heard from, as they were given a heads up if they asked as much, and were specifically told St. Petersburg.
The Tampa Bay Rays are back in the stadium at the end of March, and there had been talk of using the Capitol Wrestling Center as well. The drive is between 90 minutes to 2 hours for those who live in Orlando to Tropicana.