For those unfamiliar with the Fightful Wrestling Weekly, it's about 1,000 words of exclusives or behind the scenes info from Fightful staffers that may be unique to this column, or may be something you've missed from recent interviews. This week's edition drops one day early since Wrestle Kingdom is Friday. With Impact and NWA both running shows this weekend, this will be centric to their product.
All Elite Wrestling
All Elite Wrestling was announced this week, with not a ton of info that wasn't provided via trademark filings and the original SEScoops somewhat correct report in October. When I asked a source close to the situation in October, they said off the heels of All In's success, there wasn't a reason to work with JR and Jericho, but elements of the Tony Khan story were true. I've been told that some of the people involved will be clear to speak to media after the press conference on January 8.
In regards to the talk of television executives being impressed, I'd mentioned on previous episodes of the Select Weekender Podcast that WGN was particularly impressed with how Zero Hour unfolded. Considering that WGN has been in and out of the wrestling business for over two decades, there was some sense of cynicism involved with many in the company about the possibility of running a show like this.
When Fightful spoke to Cody in September about landing on WGN despite the Tribune-Sinclair deal being negotiated, he said that if they were anyone other than a few guys running a show, it probably wouldn't have ended up coming together. It's worth noting that TNT has also dipped their toes into the combat sports world and this type of programming would be in line.
There are rumors of co-opted media in relation to All Elite Wrestling. Let me be clear: I have no definitive evidence of this, and Fightful has never and will never (as long as I have any say in the matter) be co-opted by any company we potentially cover. The only companies I accept money from are ones that I provide commentary for (and I subsequently don't cover). Any time I wrestle for a company, the money is donated. While I'm doing this job, that's how it will be and the same is expected of our staff. If we hire a wrestling personality who wrestles or works in the wrestling business to write or appear on shows about their experiences, that is an exception. Our news will remain unbiased.
NWA 70 Audio Issues (Jazz, Audio Issues)
I spoke to NWA's Dave Lagana ahead of their pop-up show on January 5. We talked for nearly 45 minutes about a ton of topics, including him addressing the production snafus that happened at NWA 70th. Lagana claims that the production company that NWA contracted had a personnel change at the last minute and the person slid into the role wasn't fit for it, and NWA wasn't made aware until the problems were already plaguing the broadcast.
Jazz was brought up during the Lagana interview, as was her extended schedule. Lagana put over Jazz as one of the few people that didn't try to carnie he and Billy Corgan when the acquisition went down. She was obviously concerned and curious about her role moving forward, but Lagana (who has known Jazz for over 15 years) was able to put his trust in her where he wasn't able to with a lot of the other title holders at the time of the purchase. Lagana also spoke highly of Jazz's husband Rodney Mack. Lagana stated that Jazz calls him. weekly to go over rules about the title and what promoters can and can't do in regards to the title.
The original plans of Jazz's confusing NWA 70 post-match promo were addressed as well. Jazz has mentioned it in some interviews since, but the idea was for her to ask for her own Ten Pounds of Gold, much like the title belt that Nick Aldis has because "her belt isn't as good as the one he carries." The miscommunication in the ring on a missed three count was also talked about, with Lagana admitting that he wishes they would have had about 25 more minutes in the day to go over some things.
We have a Jimmy Jacobs interview in promotion of his Zelo Pro appearance on January 4 at the Pabst Theater in Milwaukee. We spoke for nearly a half hour total, and I got him to dive in and talk about his decision to start doing live streams about creative writing, which opens him up to an awful lot. He said that instead of viewers saying that wrestling shows suck, he wanted to open up a discussion about it. Jacobs is open to ideas from everyone, and isn't of the mindset that you have to have a ton of pro wrestling experience just to have a good idea.
Jacobs also seemed to identify himself as the brain behind the Allie, Su Yung and Underworld storyline that has unfolded throughout 2018 on Impact Wrestling. Jacobs said that the lack of restrictions in creative in that sense is one of the benefits he has of working with Impact over WWE. A couple of more included the fact that once they have their six weeks of television done, there aren't the late changes that he would experience when he was working in creative with WWE. There was a time Jacobs remembered when Vince McMahon was late getting to the site of a Houston episode of WWE Raw after visiting his mother and made major changes to a show that was about to happen. A writer had to rush a script over to Roman Reigns, who was on the concourse preparing for his entrance to kick off a show. Despite the big changes, Jacobs said that it made him appreciate how well oiled the WWE machine was to be able to pull it off.
I reached out to Matt Riddle after the UFC 232 location change snafu happened. Despite his beef with the UFC and UFC President Dana White, Riddle took no joy in the company's misfortunes. He said that he felt really bad for all of the fans who lost out on thousands of dollars and New Year plans, and the fighters who had to relocate for the card without any notices.