I spoke to James Storm about his TNA run, which is a fascinating subject to broach considering he was there for all of their run as "TNA." He told me he's open to the idea of running a podcast about it and thinks it could be fun.
He told me that the Boozer Cruiser was his idea, and joked it was so he could drink beer and not walk to the ring. It took some convincing to get TNA to relent and let him do it, but was happy it got over to the level it did. He discovered it on a late night commercial.
We also spoke of the famous Elix Skipper cage walk spot. He said that the crew didn't get the cage up in time for Elix to walk through things, so when he did it was the first time Elix went through it. Storm was afraid Harris would end up landing on him, so he stayed under the ropes and prayed.
Darren Young/Fred Rosser
Rosser lives in Los Angeles now, and has been pursuing acting. He's landed a few cameo roles to help gain experience, and is working with a clothing brand. He talked to me and underscored the importance of pushing forward when things don't go his way. When speaking with Fightful, he kind of jokingly challenged us to get him to say something negative about WWE or even their trips to Saudi Arabia. He has reached out to several wrestling companies, but says he hasn't quite heard back as of yet. He called himself a professional "waiter," -- waiting on calls, flights, and to wrestle.
Rosser is still confused why him being the first openly gay WWE Superstar wasn't utilized on screen or within story on WWE programming. He said that the shift from Vince McMahon and Pat Patterson to a bunch of people running WWE booking affects the ability to push some things through on creative. He says he can talk badly about WWE, but doesn't want to be a hypocrite. Finn Balor flying the LGBTQ flag instead of him did impact him and bother him, and he wished that he was there to help represent them. He said regardless, Balor is a friend of his, but he's a straight guy, so he didn't understand the connection.
According to Rosser, "90 percent" of the WWE roster uses marijuana, and he says while that can lead to a fine, CBD can't. That helped lead him to get into the CBD business, and claims it helps him with anxiety and dealing with the road.
- Velveteen Dream has still been at the WWE Performance Center, despite not being on television in months.
- Jessamyn Duke had surgery on her elbow area recently, which has her sidelined. We didn't hear as to why Marina Shafir was left out of the battle royal.
- Deonna Purrazzo was originally set to be kept out of the battle royal because her status with NXT is unclear after her Raw debut. However, she was a fairly late addition.
- Kavita Devi has been healing up from her knee injury in India as opposed to the WWE PC.
- The women found out about the battle royal late the week before it happened
- We're told after a slow start. EC3 is progressing well after sustaining a concussion months ago. Drake Maverick joked about his concussion in the pilot episode of EC3's Magic City Live show, which was filmed back in October.
- Lars Sullivan's knee recovery also started to recover a lot slower than anticipated. WWE always had him marked down to miss a full year, but he was of the belief he'd be back sooner, having recovered from a knee injury prior.
- I was told pretty directly to not expect Killer Kross to be available for bookings during WrestleMania week. It was also denied to me that Killer Kross met with Triple H last week.
A member of the WOW roster that opted to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation spoke with Fightful and said that Tessa Blanchard would have it out with WOW trainers, telling one that she shouldn't be teaching and didn't belong there. The trainer was said to have cried in front of the group, and when someone tried to reach out to Blanchard about it, she wasn't interested in talking and said that it was being blown out of proportion.
As Tessa gained influence in the company, certain things needed to be approved by her, which really accelerated in season 2. As season 2 went on, Tessa became the face of the company, head trainer, and worked in talent relations.
There was a confrontation between Tessa and another top name in WOW, after weeks of tension that escalated into a verbal battle in front of others as well. It wasn't revealed who was at fault in that particular situation. There was another fairly public shouting match between Tessa Blanchard and Malia Hosaka, which led to Malia being the only person getting reprimanded, which some members of the roster saw as unfair.
Several longtime members in WOW also felt as if they lost their pushes once Blanchard showed up and made heavy changes.
Hunter Johnston/Delirious remains executive producer of ROH, and the roster is under the impression that there's already been some collaboration and ideas together with Marty Scrull. Delirious is still responsible for how the show looks and feels, and is expected to mentor Scurll in the role. Those we talked to said that Scrull is in "good hands" starting out.
One talent told us that there's some hesitation internally, not because anyone likes or dislikes Scurll or Delirious, but because the change is scary in general.
It was thought last year that Bully Ray would end up gaining influence in Ring of Honor, but instead only had a "handful of programs." However, we're told he's considered very helpful and knowledgeable backstage.
Fightful has learned that there were "generous" offers made to Cody Rhodes at the very least to retain him. It was confirmed to us that in negotiations the idea of being a booker was broached there, as well, and that both sides seemed to leave with a positive interaction.