Rocky Romero has been an integral name in NJPW USA, if you couldn't tell already. We've had several names mention that he was the person who brought them in to work, and that he's known for his eye for talent. We're told by those in NJPW that the company has been happy with the output from the show and the crop of talent that has appeared
Shibata Training Info
Katsuyori Shibata can't wrestle anymore, but he's still heavily involved in New Japan Pro Wrestling as a trainer at the LA Dojo. We spoke to Danny Limelight about Shibata's training method, who said the respected veteran is a perfectionist who hands out tough love and very stern training. Shibata is not cleared to wrestle, and doesn't get too physical during the training sessions, but Limelight also said that he won't hesitate to get in the ring and show the trainees holds and guide them through things if he needs to.
Speaking of Danny Limelight, he said he was brought in to AEW by contacting Christopher Daniels and then getting booked by QT Marshall. He made it pretty clear that after appearing for several promotions throughout late 2020, that he's hoping to land full-time with All Elite Wrestling, though he's open to a variety of options.
Chelsea Green Debut
As if the issues surrounding Chelsea Green's debut couldn't elicit any more news, we learned this week that after Green was injured, Vince McMahon was very indecisive about who the winner of the match should be. Originally scheduled to be Green, Vince called for Natalya, then Tamina to get the victory before landing on Liv Morgan.
Zelina No Meeting Reactions
Fightful spoke to several wrestlers in the weeks following Zelina's release about the fact that she wasn't granted an “exit” meeting with Vince McMahon. Most everyone that we heard from were not surprised by the fact this happened, and we got stories from virtually everyone we asked about planned meetings being delayed weeks, and having to wait by his office for an hour at a time to get face time with him. One wrestler noted that it didn't instill a lot of confidence in them that Zelina had an actual concern over a hot button issue and wasn't heard out, and was promptly fired. A Raw wrestler mentioned that the shift over the last nine months had been evident, with WWE not letting disgruntled wrestlers go, to releasing talent with upside, to firing people with grievances.
We've had a lot of people curious as to how contracts are affected by the pandemic and the lack of shows. We can't necessarily speak to WWE outside of the releases and recent pay cuts, but we've had a lot of people within Ring of Honor specify to us that in addition to Ring of Honor treating them exceptionally well, that they've not extended any contract time after being out of action for several months. We've not heard of WWE doing this, either, but it should be noted that they don't have to do it immediately, as they can extend the deals based on inactivity or injury later.
Matt Riddle contract
Fightful has verified the terms of the contract in which were recently reported in regards to Matt Riddle. From the information we gained, Riddle was made an initial offer and didn't seem too interested in renewing. However, after the new terms were brought forward, WWE were hopeful that he'd sign before the calendar rolled over, and according to sources within WWE, that happened last week. Prior to the re-signing, his contract was set to expire in August after his initial contract that he signed in 2018.
Several new contracts were offered in mid-late 2020 that were said to be "disappointing" in comparison to those handed out last year. In 2019, WWE was handing out huge money contracts in an effort to retain talent with all of the money being spent in wrestling. Since the pandemic started, many within WWE have told us the company is out of "talent hoarding" mode. As a result, many of the contract offers were well below what was offered last year. This has led at least a half dozen talent to shuffle their feet or outright pass on signing new deals presented to them. Some that Fightful have spoken with have said they're opting to wait until things get "more normal" to improve their situation. WWE has been said to be open to this, as well. We've heard of names across each brand that this applies to.
Zicky Dice is a free agent, leading to many speculating what his next step will be. Despite training with multiple WWE superstars and spending time around Doc Gallows of late, we've learned that Dice is actually angling to get into All Elite Wrestling.
Dice indicated that he had heat with NWA Worlds Champion Nick Aldis immediately upon entering the company and that it didn't seem to subside. He was thankful for the platform NWA provided and the friendships he made along the way, noting he still keeps in touch with most of the roster.
Dice stated that he asked out of his NWA deal back in June when an email was received stating that if anyone didn't believe in the vision of the NWA, they could get out of their deals. He asked out, but an NDA was requested, and he didn't want to sign that and got a lawyer. He knew he'd be dropping the NWA TV title when he was booked for the UWN shows in the fall.
Ethan Page has confirmed to Fightful that he's finished up with IMPACT Wrestling and will be pursuing free agency. He seems open to WWE, AEW and ROH if things are right, and indicated he'd work with IMPACT if it were under an AEW/IMPACT partnership. Otherwise, he seems as good as finished with the company and ready to move on after contract negotiations did not end in the two sides coming to terms.
It was well known that Page had pitched helping with agenting, producing and other things to help bump his money up, but the two sides could not come to terms. He'd been under a consistent contract since his Chandler Park days, and had re-signed during one of those periods to extend his visa. He can't work in the United States until he signs a deal, as his visa is contingent on his IMPACT contract.
After weeks of speculation, we finally have an update on Eva Marie. At one point she was internally scheduled for Legends Night WWE Raw, but Fightful can confirm that Eva Marie was backstage at the December 14 WWE Raw dressed to do promos. She was brought back to the company this fall and hasn't made her debut yet.