I spoke with Alex Gracia about the constant looks she's got by ROH, AEW, WWE and IMPACT. She's gotten feedback from all of those companies, and WWE seemed to think she needed a bit more experience after her 2019 tryout. Her 2020 tryout came as the pandemic was ramping up, and they had to cancel the tryout midway through, fly her home and quarantine her as a result. She was disappointed, but knew there was nothing that could be done about it.
She put over Thunder Rosa as someone who has went above and beyond to help her during her career, whether it be from a training standpoint or just being a familiar face when she went to do appearances in AEW. Gracia told us that she's received a lot of positive feedback from Cody and Dustin Rhodes, which stood out the most to her during her appearances in AEW.
Speaking of Alex Gracia, she spoke highly of the late Hana Kimura. When Gracia was in Japan, she says that Kimura took care of her and went out of her way to check on her and wanted the wrestlers to speak English to her to help practice. Gracia said Kimura was working hard to learn several languages and made the process of coming to Japan easier.
BRASS RING: Candice LeRae
The latest subject of our Brass Ring series saw members of the NXT roster putting over Candice LeRae as a helpful veteran, regardless of the experience level of those that she's working with.
"Candice LeRae falls into the same category in NXT as Deonna Purrazzo, if she has a switch you're going to see even more out of her than you realize she's capable of" a wrestler had stated, right before Purrazzo was actually released and Candice was given a heel turn. Obviously that ended up working out.
"Even though she's more experienced than almost all the women here, she never acts like she's too good to learn something else or even help out other people," said a female PC recruit.
"Everybody likes Candice. You have to be hard to deal with to not like her," another PC recruit noted.
Vince McMahon Update
Based on what we've heard, the move to Amway didn't have Vince McMahon popping up any more than usual. At the WWE Performance Center, McMahon was stowed away in his office throughout most of the day and didn't appear outside of it much. We have been told that he has been attending the tapings and sitting in Gorilla for the shows, which wasn't happening very often on the Smackdown side for the months leading up to the pandemic. It had got to the point where Vince was rarely even at Smackdowns on Fridays before the move to Orlando.
Survivor Series bonuses
We heard from several people within WWE that there were flat bonuses determined even before Survivor Series happened. There were several people that were told they would be given $15,000 bonuses for appearing on Survivor Series in a highlighted match. We aren't sure if that's across the board or if there are additional levels. Several WWE contracts are constructed to feature television and WWE Network bonuses.
As of the last word, WWE will got to Tropicana Field this Saturday and run through December 10. The company is expecting a much longer setup than they had for the Amway Center -- possibly even twice as long. Though Amway's contract with WWE was originally up last week, we're told the current plan is to run shows from the Thunderdome at Amway until at least December 7, at which time WWE will immediately tear down there.
I spoke with Kenny Omega about a new project, as well as his move to heavyweight and tag team wrestling. He said he felt like he was going against his body and against the grain to remain a Junior Heavyweight, and was keeping a pretty rough NJPW schedule. He admitted that his schedule these days is even more unpredictable as he does a lot of overseas business and has to adjust to their convenience.
He never lost faith of tag team wrestling or the pursuit of success there, and spoke highly of the commitment the AEW tag team division has. He's excited that they were able to utilize and promote the division while still working towards individual goals and developing characters stronger for both he and Hangman Page.
I also asked him about stepping into the entrepreneurial side of things as he gets older. He said there was a point in 2015 where he feared he'd have to call it quits due to a neck herniation and actually started to wind things down. He called being able to decide when he's going to retire one of the greatest things he could ask for.
Fightful's Jeremy Lambert and Joe Hulbert spoke to AEW's Luther for a show that drops Tuesday. Here are a few notes ahead of the hour long dicussion.
- He was not fond of his time in WCW.
- He cites Lee Johnson as a big future star, and wants to wrestle Young Bucks in a match that is less than four minutes.
- Luther hasn't been scanned for any AEW games as of yet.
- Luther is planning on launching a podcast in the near future.
- He's switched up his shoes and admitted they were slippery in his Dynamite main event match, which got into his head. He was told about the Dynamite main event a week or two prior and says Serpentico was particularly excited.
More IMPACT notes
There have been numerous names from the IMPACT Wrestling tapings noting to us that the turnover in the company among prominent stars has led to them filming multiple top angles with different finishes. In addition to different finishes, we've heard that alternative wrestlers or personnel are used in a variety of situations that way they're not constantly showing recent footage of wrestlers celebrating with people who are no longer involved in the company