La Rosa Negra
La Rosa Negra spoke with Carlos Toro and said that she's reached out to All Elite Wrestling personally about coming in and doing some work with the company, but is waiting to hear back about it.
Toro also asked about the Tessa Blanchard situation and reiterated that the heat was real, and said that the situation helped her heal. La Rosa Negra said she struck Tessa Blanchard after being spit on. She noted that she doesn't really care about what Tessa Blanchard does, but that she approached Tessa at WrestleCade and said she forgave Blanchard, and didn't want to hold a grudge. She doesn't want an apology from Blanchard and said it was too late for that and she thinks already moved on since she denied it.
Bad Bunny was a gigantic merchandise hit. At one point last week, Bad Bunny held all four of the top merch selling spots, with his popularly received t-shirt taking spots 1, 3 (women's) and 4 (youth), and the pullover hoodie at number 2. This drove over $500,000 in sales to WWE and Bad Bunny as a result. At the time we got the information, the only other person in the top five was Roman Reigns. Even then, the #5 spot did about 65 percent of the sales of the number four seller, and less than five percent of the top seller. To say that Bad Bunny was a big success is an understatement.
Fightful has learned that there were "numerous" names planned for the WWE Royal Rumble that ended up having to be pulled from the match. Jey Uso was advertised for the match before being pulled, and wasn't at that week's episode of Smackdown. Fightful was told that Keith Lee and Robert Roode were supposed to be in the match as of several weeks ago, but also ended up being pulled and unable to compete.
We've heard some more about the recent WWE Men's Royal Rumble match. There were several pitches that didn't end up happening, and changes to the match. Originally, the match was laid out to have Ricochet come out late in the match, before that was changed. Another pitch featured the members of Retribution at ringside, with one on three different sides causing mayhem. That obviously didn't end up happening, but a similar spot with Omos did.
For those who were wondering where Buddy Murphy is, he was slated as a Royal Rumble alternate for the show. In addition, we're told that Cedric Alexander was set for that role, as well. Montez Ford was at the venue for the Royal Rumble, but wasn't listed internally as an alternate. We've heard nothing about whether or not Andrade being at the building, but we can confirm he wasn't listed as an alternate, either.
We've learned a few details about the upcoming Filthy Island show from MLW, based off of UFC's Fight Island. Dom Garrini tells Fightful that he felt like UFC sold fans a bill of goods by implying that fights would be on a beach, only to not have anything resembling that. In conversations with MLW, this was communicated to them, and they didn't want to make the same mistake in that regard, as the thematic element to the show is an important one. Garrini also noted that the matches will take place in a no ropes ring, which has surged in popularity with Bloodsport and other crossover shows.
We spoke to Matt Cardona for a new interview, as many of you have seen. He confirmed to us that his original WWE contract was actually going to be up in August of 2020. He'd told us before that he'd passed on signing a new deal in 2019. However, the nature of his contract means that WWE cutting him in April 2020 put his no-compete clause through mid-July. This means WWE effectively only missed out on paying him roughly a month of his originally agreed contract by releasing him. Several of the released April 2020 active wrestlers were people who had indicated they wanted released or had yet to sign new WWE contracts
Dominic Garrini indicated to us that the "multi-year deal" he's under with Major League Wrestling is actually a three-year contract, which would put him under contract through September 2022. Garrini told us that MSL actually reached out to him first, and when he was weighing his options about his future in late 2019, he reached out to All Elite Wrestling's BJ Whitmer. Whitmer advised him to go to Major League Wrestling and assess where his career was in three years, which is what he ended up doing. Garrini stated that during the pandemic he was out of work during his day job and Court Bauer spoke with him weekly to go over things and talk over MLW's plans and strategies.
Fightful has learned that independent wrestling standout Christian Casanova has signed a WWE deal, and will be a part of an upcoming Performance Center class. Casanova is a seven-year pro, who WWE has had their eye on for quite a while. Based out of the northeast, Casanova is the current Limitless Wrestling Champion and has worked for Beyond, GCW and EVOLVE. We're told that WWE has resumed signings as usual after laying off for a few months during the pandemic, and having some smaller classes of late.
In addition to Christian Casanova, Fightful has learned that WWE signed another independent wrestling standout in Blake Christian. Speculation of the signing was fueled recently when Christian lost a career vs. title match in Game Changer Wrestling. In addition to a surging indie career, Christian has been working for IMPACT Wrestling of late, including an impressive Super X Cup run. He also working NJPW Strong tapings. Fightful reached out to Blake Christian for confirmation, but have not heard back.
In a follow up to the Sammy Guevara-AEW-Impact story, Fightful had been told during the IMPACT tapings that an AEW wrestler was supposed to come in but that someone "had issue with creative." At that time the talent scheduled had not been identified, but this morning waa confirmed to be Sammy Guevara.
Guevara leaving Daily's Place on AEW Dynamite was used to set up his quickly planned appearances on IMPACT, but it might be a little while before we see in-ring integration from AEW wrestlers to IMPACT again. Several IMPACT staff and talent have told us that nobody from AEW was seen around at the tapings last week. There's always a possibility that something could be added to post-production as was originally done with Kenny Omega in IMPACT.
We can't speak to any alleged heat from either side or who specifically took issue with the creative planned.
It was announced that the team of FinnJuice-- David Finlay and Juice Robinson would be coming to IMPACT. This further bridges the gap between NJPW and IMPACT Wrestling. Robinson has at least been in the states since around New Year's, and Fightful had heard that they could be coming in as of two weeks ago, but were unable to get a second confirmation. We have heard that the two were at the most recent IMPACT tapings this past week, however.