We've heard from several ROH stars who are happy about the changes in production, and notably those who are doing the camera work. LSG noted to us that the shows carry a different intensity without a crowd and with a lot of the adjustments made. ROH has made a huge effort to change production and take input specifically from wrestlers over the last year, as highlighted by the talent meeting they flew everyone in for last year.
Big E Theme
Big E debuted his new theme on Smackdown to positive reaction, but it wasn't him who pushed for the new theme, it was the WWE office. Fightful learned that Big E did want Wale to do the theme specifically, however, which lends more credibility to the word we've been given that WWE has been receptive to input when changing themes for wrestlers over the last several months.
We also got word that the theme was supposed to debut months ago, around the time of the Big E vs. Sheamus feud happened, but there needed to be some tweaks made to the song.
Lee Moriarty is one of the top wrestling free agents in the world, but multiple companies have had interest in him. Ring of Honor planned to bring in Moriarty twice this year, but both were prevented. Earlier in the year, Moriarty was set for a Future of Honor appearance before COVID sidelined things and put that on hold. Then, Moriarty was set for a block of tapings that were prevented this past fall. Based on those we've spoken to in ROH, they still hope to be able to bring him in the future. Alex Shelley had put in a good word for him to get Moriarty booked for the Future of Honor spot.
Moriarty was brought in to IMPACT Wrestling in the fall, however. He got the invite on about a one week notice after Alex Shelley recommended him to higher ups. It was his first television wrestling experience, and mentioned that Chris Bey specifically helped him out with adjusting to wrestling on television and helping find the cameras. Moriarty also mentioned both Tommy Dreamer and Matt Striker giving feedback and advice.
Charlotte NXT Plans
If you're upset over NXT's handling of Charlotte Flair earlier this year, you're definitely not alone, but it might not necessarily be their fault. Fightful was told that often times when the NXT team would come up with creative or plans for Charlotte Flair when she appeared on their brand, it would often need to go through Raw, but would get shot down. Originally, Rhea Ripley was planned to win the match, then changed to Charlotte. There was a big push within NXT to have Bianca Belair added even sooner than she was to their feud so that Charlotte could lose the match without taking the pin.
One wrestler in NXT that we spoke to about the situation responded in a pessimistic manner, saying that those involved in the creative of NXT should have known what they were getting into when they booked it.
There have been a lot of questions about Tessa Blanchard's status after she was announced for a December signing and was listed as "a part of AAA." Based on what we'd heard, Blanchard is not nailed down to an AAA contract, and has been taking time away from the ring.
EC3 indicated to Fightful that he would be "freed up" again when 2021 hits, and indicated that he was on good terms with IMPACT Wrestling. He said that the two sides had talks and they seemed interested in a long-term deal, but he wasn't sure that he actually wanted to be nailed down long term.
Also, he and Moose had actually filmed their cinematic match on their own, but IMPACT wanted to make sure that it was filmed a certain way, so there's another match that was left on the cutting room floor. About halfway through the angle, IMPACT decided to switch plans from a standard match to a more cinematic one.
In reference to his concussion issues, before the one he sustained that sidelined him for Q4 2019, he actually suffered one earlier in the summer as well. He said that he didn't know at the time that he was dealing with a concussion, but his appearance started to change and was told to get tested.
We spoke at length about Jon Moxley bringing him up in an interview last year. He noted that the shout out helped him feel validated, but couldn't put to much stock into it because it's just one man's opinion. However, he has a creative plan for a potential Moxley/EC3 feud where EC3 blames Moxley for his WWE shortcomings as a result of the interview.
It was revealed Friday that EC3 was pulled from ROH Final Battle because of COVID protocol. We mentioned that EC3 was having multiple discussions about his future, but he confirmed that he fully intends on returning to ROH in order to fulfill his story with Jay Briscoe because he wanted to see things through creatively.
Vince McMahon GOES OFF
Fightful learned more about the edict to send several big men to take classes at the Performance Center under Drew Gulak and Adam Pearce.
Those that we spoke to say that many wrestlers were told to keep this quiet for obvious reasons, but word inevitably leaked.
Otis, Omos, Dabba Kato, Dio Maddin (Mace) and Keith Lee were among the names mentioned, but we're told there's supposed to be more. We're told this isn't in relation to heat on any specific wrestler.
Understandably, the locker room, and those at the PC I spoke to were baffled about the decision to send Keith Lee there, as he's considered one of the better workers regardless of size. Many believed and shared the sentiment that he was caught up in the group based on his size and otherwise would not have been included.
Dabba Kato was planned for Raw Underground, and since that was nixed, there have been no firm plans for him. The same happened with Arturo Ruas, Ruas was mentioned in the original report, he's not a part of this class and is out for a "significant amount of time" with surgery.
Otis is well liked backstage, but we were told of a couple of spots in recent months that got the attention of people at Gorilla Position that believed Otis could also be safer in the ring. There wasn't said to be heat in association with that.
Omos was a name that many expected to be sent to the class, but we were told that WWE had planned to have him on Raw during WrestleMania season, and didn't do much to prepare him for the spot from an in-ring perspective. He's had a half-dozen matches and is said to need either a lot of work, or some major smoke and mirrors at this point.
Most chalked up Dio Maddin/Mace, to being out of the ring for the majority of a year after being taken off WWE Raw as an announcer. He wrestled house show matches in prominent spots earlier this year.