The Joey Mercury situation led to me asking several ROH talent their thoughts on production. One of the common complaint has been how nothing changes and the show has looked the same forever. You may remember that last year, the company switched to a different color ring mat in an effort to break up the almost camouflaged dark theme of the show. However, it was very quickly abandoned. One talent told me that they didn't like it, and they knew it was a visual thing, but the classic ROH mat was black with the logo in the middle, and that's how they prefer it. They know things have to change and go with the flow. They said it wasn't a problem, but they prefer the classic look. "The office does what they want to do, and I'm not going to complain," one person said.
We were able to find out some booking plans for the original Women of Honor tourney, and found out that $12,000 was the original standard offer to the women. Outside of that, non-contracted and non-exclusive talent would usually get $150 regardless of gender. We were told that Deonna Purrazzo was going to win the title from Sumie Sakai, and later drop it to Kelly Klein, but she left WWE. There were several in the company unhappy that Deonna was knocked out of the second round of their tournament, with the reason being given that ROH thought Purrazzo vs. Klein in the finals were too predictable.
After Britt Baker signed with All Elite Wrestling, she still had several dates remaining on her ROH deal, but some higher ups in ROH had no idea she'd signed with the company and still brought her to a show. When she got there, she was told they were canning the remainder of her deal. However, others went to bat for Baker and got what was supposed to be a ten minute match with Kelly Klein, a five minute match, after it had been scrapped altogether.
In addition to this, Fightful learned of another situation that happened last year that was taken care of pretty quickly, when a journeyman wrestler made a Women of Honor wrestler feel uncomfortable. However, Ian Riccaboni outright kicked him out of the locker room, and we were told that he was then informed by Hunter Johnston and BJ Whitmer that he was no longer welcome in ROH. The female wrestler in question stated that ROH has felt like a family to her and she's always felt safe there.
We spoke to Matt Hardy about his longevity in wrestling, despite the fact that most thought that everyone involved in the TLC matches would have their careers significantly shortened. They didn't realize that they were cementing their legacy and eventually creating a PPV based on it. He's honored by it, but as time goes on he had to adapt his style and his thought process to reflect things accordingly in the ring.
Helping younger wrestlers isn't really in his job description, but said that he was open to helping some and enjoys the various attractions that have developed within wrestling -- for example cruiserweights and the 24/7 Title.
Hardy is known for reinventing himself, but says it isn't always easy to explain his new gimmicks. He had to have a 30 minute conversation with Vince McMahon about the "Broken Universe," and though Vince didn't understand it, he recognized that other people seemed to like it. Jeff Hardy also required some explanation, but Matt said that Bray is similar to him as it relates to creative wavelengths. Hardy noted that he has two "really good" gimmicks and personas that he still has in his back pocket ready to use in the future. His latest is "You Don't Understand" which he says he started because he was in a transitional period, and wanted to utilize the fact that social media gives everyone a voice. He called the process cathartic to him and that he loves coming up with new, creative ideas and characters.
We're told that the original plans for Matt Hardy involved him returning towards the middle of December. He's not re-signed with WWE at this point and his contract is slated to be up in March. The possibility of him re-signing is almost completely dependent on creative satisfaction.
- Adam Pearce and Sarah Stock produced the WWE Survivor Series main event match between Becky Lynch, Shayna Baszler, Bayley match. We're told that there was a struggle to communicate from backstage to what was going on in the ring, but weren't told if that had to do with some kind of equipment malfunction or otherwise.
- In regards to the Britt Baker situation with her appearing on-screen, we're told that Triple H was quick to tell the director to get her off screen. There was some skepticism on the AEW side, but we were also informed that the person who usually directs Takeover shows wasn't doing so this time out. Triple H told a story very similar that matched what we heard.
- Sheamus, who has been out of action since earlier this year, hasn't been completely out of the ring. We were told that a little bit after he was sidelined, he was at the WWE Performance Center, and even worked a match there with Kona Reeves.
Big Swole's signing with All Elite Wrestling was reported by Squared Circle Sirens last month, but was a little foggy considering some follow up tweets from Swole herself. However, Swole, AKA Aerial Monroe outright confirmed the story to Fightful's Jeremy Lambert this past weekend at WrestleCade.
Corey Graves/Mauro Ranallo
Fightful heard a little more about Corey Graves and Mauro Ranallo over last week.
We're told that Corey Graves reached out to Frank Shamrock, a close friend and business partner of Ranallo's, after Shamrock seemingly took up for Ranallo to Graves. Apparently the convo started out smooth, but the tone of things changed when Graves asked Shamrock how Ranallo was doing. Shamrock was said to then start demanding apologies from Graves.
Dave Meltzer, who had originally reported on the story, reached out to Graves via his brother Sam Adonis on Tuesday, and asked to speak to Graves Wednesday night.