Fightful Wrestling Weekly (12/22): Rusev Day Shirt Impresses WWE, NWA Exclusives, Ciampa, Creative Efforts, WWE Christmas, More

Ten Pounds Of Gold

- Tim Storm gave me a great amount of time for the upcoming NWA long-form I'm publishing. It circles around the NWA Championship and Ten Pounds of Gold, and some of the insane things that happened ont he road to that series. There were promoters that offered him money to drop the title against Billy Corgan and Dave Lagana's wishes, among other things. Tim Storm admitted to me that he did consider it because anything with a monetary value is worth considering, but ultimately decided against it.

Last Man Standing And 8-Man Tag Announced For IMPACT Rebellion

In researching for the interview, I saw that Storm was a part of one of Ahmed Johnson's last programs in his wrestling career back in 2003. Storm said that Ahmed was really gracious in putting over everyone for about six weeks, but when his time came, he made sure he made an impact -- in the form of a splash through a table that was supposed to be an elbow. Storm is a particularly impressive storyteller, which makes sense given he's a history teacher.

I'll have some behind the scenes information on the making of this long-form feature -- who else I talked to, who didn't respond, and who put me off -- in future editions of the Fightful Wrestling Weekly.

WWE Notes

- WWE Superstars I've talked to are hoping that working Christmas and Christmas eve doesn't become a tradition. Many were disappointed -- and understandably so -- when they learned WWE was slated to work the holiday season. Next year's Raw and Smackdown are on Christmas Eve and Christmas respectively and it has been communicated to me personally that having to work Christmas isn't something virtually anyone on the roster is hoping to do.

- I've been told there's a big push to try to get more of the Raw cast "doing something" at all times, as opposed to having them lay dormant for months. That's why you've seen the likes of Dana Brooke, Heath Slater, and Rhyno integrated into storylines, and the Miztourage working a television program with Finn Balor while the Miz is out. This used to be a much more concentrated effort about twenty years ago, but with so much WWE programming, the idea of leaving someone off TV without anything to do has happened a lot more. 

- WWE was not prepared for the demand of the "Rusev Day" shirt. It quickly sold out in nearly all sizes. This isn't necessarily an indication that he's selling a ton more merchandise than top guys, as they generally produce an amount of shirts based on where people are on the card, and how they think they'll sell. However, merchandise moving heavily is definitely something WWE higher ups look at when considering who can be a marketable talent for them. Those who I spoke to in WWE said they thought the shirt would do well, but it exceeded expectations. 

For what it's worth, the same person also told me that Rusev is one of the easiest people to work with they've ever encountered in wrestling and is well liked backstage as well.

Impact

- There are no plans for Impact to run live events at this point, and those I spoke to said that growing Impact as a wrestling company is far from Ed Nordholm's primary concern. Despite this, every wrestler I've spoken to in Impact thus far is keeping an open mind to things since Don Callis and Scott D'Amore are taking things over with him, and they're very well liked. 

- By the way, Impact misspelled the word "inaugural" on an online ad they had set for an upcoming VIP Package. Woops.

- UFC star Colby Covington also has no plans to resume his work with Impact, at least of right now. He told Fightful's James Lynch that instead he's focused on gaining a UFC Welterweight Title shot when champion Tyron Woodley heals up from his recent shoulder surgery. 

ROH vs. UFC

- I went back and forth a bit with Daniel Cormier on Twitter this week about him trashing Ring of Honor for their six-man spot. The reason I opted to converse with him instead of some of the other MMA fighters involved is because I'm well aware that Daniel Cormier is a fan of pro wrestling and respects it. He's spoken to Fightful with nothing short of glee about Wrestlemania attendance and gate numbers. Ultimately, what he saw just wasn't his taste, but there's no need to denigrate it. It's not hurting anyone, contrary to what a Jim Cornette would have you believe -- he says it's killing the wrestling business.

I made an attempt to discuss things with Cornette, but just like every attempt I've made in the past with him in particular, it was ignored. It was really clear that so many different people tried really hard to make that one minute clip fit their agenda. Chase Sherman was challenging the manhood of viewers. Phil Baroni was angry that finishers weren't protected, specifically citing the Shake Rattle and Roll of all things. Cornette's thing was calling Young Bucks "grade schoolers." I don't know if that was about their size, but if so, that's odd. MMA has shown us for years that the most dangerous dudes on the planet aren't always the biggest. 

Again, I asked, but no dice. 

- Speaking of ROH, I was told that a Women of Honor Championship had been talked about for quite a while, but firm plans were put in order in the middle of 2017. ROH commissioned WildKat Belts to make the title, in addition to their new ROH World Championship that debuted at Final Battle. 

Injury Updates

- Tommaso Ciampa is nearing his return, and WWE is keeping very quiet about it. Also being kept relatively quiet is that Mark Henry has retired, but I've learned that he wouldn't be opposed to making a special appearance or working an angle that would explain the retirement. 

This and That

- A prominent podcast personality is looking to make a switch in networks soon, although specifics haven't been ironed out. I learned that the personality would be from Podcast One, which houses Chris Jericho, Steve Austin and Vince Russo. 

 

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