Fightful spoke with several people within WWE who made sure to stress to us that Charlotte Flair's return was not in the cards or considered when the build to the Lana vs. Nia Jax feud began. Most within WWE hoped and expected Charlotte Flair would return in the fall or winter, but wasn't really factored in to this aspect of the story until after Survivor Series. There were also plenty of members of the roster who were left in the dark about the return, though it was a badly kept secret over the past three weeks.
NJPW Not Happy About Taping News
After we'd reported that New Japan USA ended up mass taping content for NJPW Strong, we later heard that the company wasn't happy about that emerging, and asked talent to not reveal any more about the taping process. When we reached out to another person involved, they told us that they didn't really see the negative associated with revealing that the tapings happened in huge blocks, due to the nature of the world and the things that everyone had to work around
We've been told to expect "contract season" to last much longer this year. Typically, a bunch of wrestling contracts are up at the end of the year specifically for New Japan Pro Wrestling and Ring Of Honor, but there are some IMPACT deals coming due at that time as well. Many WWE deals typically expire around WrestleMania time, but those are a little more spread out now than before. However, we're told that there are currently several AEW deals that should be due in the first half of 2021 as well. IMPACT wrestling announced several "multi-year" signings in the Spring of 2019, though many of those were actually signed prior.
I talked to Ring of Honor's Josh Woods about the ROH bubble, his WWE release and a lot more. He said that he wasn't exactly sure where his career would take him after he left WWE, but getting the eye of ROH at one of their paid tryouts ended up working out for him. We spoke a little about his time in NXT, where he said that he got to do some legit grappling with Chad Gable, Jason Jordan and Tucker Knight, who all had legit experience.
Woods spoke very positively about the ROH locker room changing of late. He said there were a lot of cliques and segregation of talent. He said that has broken up a lot, and office has been good about keeping in touch with talent about things. Woods noted that the talent meeting at ROH HQ that was held had talent and office on even footing providing their opinions.
I spoke to the very colorful Voros Twins for an upcoming interview. The went viral with their "Da Vinki" TikTok after Colt Cabana turned them onto the platform. Their approach is "quantity over quality."
They've had tryouts for WWE and ROH, and say that it's hard to get a lot of opportunities like that because they're in Canada on the west coast. WWE were really positive about their tryout and told them to focus on improving their social media, which they've done.
They were motivated to review cereals on their channel because they needed content and saw Mandy Rose & Sonya Deville reviewing Donuts for DaMandyz Donuts. They also put over Luther for being instrumental in their careers and helping them become accepted in their local area.
If you're expecting to see a lot of new gaijin talent in New Japan Pro Wrestling since they were able to get a few overseas, you probably shouldn't. NJPW has told even high profile free agents that for the time being, they didn't plan on bringing many new names over from the United States. NJPW brought several over, and put a lot of New Japan USA content in the can. We've even heard that New Japan passed on one significant US free agent in the summer of 2020, but let them know that the possibility would be there in the future for them to work together.
Brass Ring Liv Morgan
It probably won't come as a surprise, but Liv Morgan was highly regarded among her peers that we spoke to.
"Someone else that stands out is Liv Morgan," a top talent told us. "She's is obsessed with improving and becoming one of the best. She cares more than anybody, I think. It's great to see that kind of passion. Not everyone has it."
A female wrestler on the roster would follow up and say "Liv is one of those people that everyone wants to work with because you know that she'll do whatever it takes to make the match, the angle, the interview as good as possible. Even if she's not winning or even coming out looking good, she always wants what she's a part of to be good because she knows how it reflects on her, win or lose."
Another person close to the writing team told Fightful that at least three times over the last year, there have been bold or significant plans for Liv Morgan that just ended up getting abandoned or halted. We were told that none of those were circumstances of her doing.
We got more responses regarding Liv Morgan for this series than anyone else.
For those wondering how it worked with Su Yung's trickery in she and Susie both appearing on screen in a recent episode of IMPACT, there was obviously creative editing to get her in the Susie outfit, and then back into the Su Yung makeup. For those asking who portrayed the Su Yung stand-in, we're told that it was a stage hand that is often at the IMPACT Wrestling tapings.
A portion of the Jey Uso vs. Daniel Bryan match was re-shot this past Tuesday at the tapings for the Christmas Smackdown. Bryan was instructed to sell the attack of Uso more, and the Thunderdome audience was put on a commercial for several minutes while the spot was re-shot. The edited version aired on Friday.
There was also a minor spot edited where Sasha Banks literally dropped her title belt on the ramp.
More names being discussed for WWE Legends night
WWE has dozens of legends coming in for their Legends night, and Fightful has heard of a couple of more at least under consideration internally. Teddy Long, Ron Simmons and Molly Holly were all discussed for the show. We are unsure if they've come to an agreement to appear as of yet, but all are on good terms with WWE and the company was hopeful to bring them in