Bellator MMA fighter and standout boxer Heather Hardy casually mentioned in an interview with James Lynch last week that WWE Hall of Famer Johnny Rodz offered to get her into pro wrestling when she was training as an amateur boxer. She said it in such passing, that I'm not sure she was aware of his background to that degree. Rodz trained the Dudley Boyz and Tazz, but some of his more recent students are Big Cass and Marti Belle. Rodz was instrumental in several ECW names, but would have been in his early 70's by the time Hardy was an amateur.
I mentioned last week that there were some higher ups in WWE who were interested to see how Emma, now known by her real name Tenille Dashwood, would handle the indy circuit. WWE has released many women in the past who simply stop wrestling, but the odd thing about me hearing that is there was never any negativity or questioning her work ethic or desire to be in wrestling.
Either way, her appearance drew a huge crowd to WrestlePro and she was said to have been great to deal with in all regards both there and Ring of Honor.
As of Tuesday, WWE talent had not been told that co-branded pay-per-view shows would be the standard moving forward.
Elgin's Lawsuit, Powerbomb TV
Fightful got word this week while writing the Powerbomb TV story that Michael Elgin would be suing his accuser, known online by the nickname "Mo." Mo actually found out about the lawsuit because of the article. Elgin's side had issues serving Mo via the sheriff's office, and had to request a special process server, which they did gain. As of Wednesday morning, Mo hadn't been served, and contacted Fightful, asking about the report of the lawsuit. We learned that a Fightful article was going to be used in an exhibit for the lawsuit.
Elgin and Powerbomb TV both didn't respond to Fightful.com's request for comment. Neither did Smart Mark Video, whom were also named in a series of tweets by Adam Lash, who was fired by Powerbomb after speaking out about Elgin being booked on an event that would eventually stream on Powerbomb TV.
The situation is an extremely messy one, with a major fracture at the top of Powerbomb TV. It seems as if a lot of the good will they helped establish after FloSlam left was eroded. That being said, options for services of the like are somewhat limited. Not in the grand scope of wrestling streaming services per se, but independent wrestling streaming services.
My exclusive interview with Raven dropped on Monday, and it was a battle to make it happen. I first reached out to Raven in August or September of 2017 when we changed the guest format on The List & Ya Boy. I heard back, but there were delays aplenty. I'd then decided to use the interview with Raven for my NWA: From Old To Gold feature as he's a former NWA World's Champion, but it was pushed back again. After about six scheduling conflicts, he and I were able to make it work, right smack in the middle of the Super Bowl. It ended up being the best timing to conduct an interview of all, as he was fresh off of a WWE lawsuit, I could use him as a guest on The List & Ya Boy, and I'd get his take on the WrestleMania 17 match that we'll be doing a Fightful Alternate Commentary for.
Raven will also be the first guest on the unnamed Finishing Moves recurring feature where a wrestling star will discuss the ins and the outs of a finishing move. He told me why he renamed his Evenflow DDT, and what moves he used before it and why.
After I interviewed Raven, he admitted that he wasn't particularly looking forward to it, and perhaps understandably so. I'd never really spoken to him before and he didn't know much about me. Fortunately the interview clicked, we got along great, and had a really entertaining hour that was supposed to be more like 15 minutes. We agreed we'd reconnect in a few months and talk for another interview. Thankfully, too -- I had a ton I still wanted to pick his brain about.
Wikipedia Fact Check
At long last, Wikipedia Fact Check returned to Fightful with a new name. My first guest was Muhammad Hassan -- one I've had in the can for quite a while. Probably the biggest reveal on the feature was the fact that he was told while still in WWE that he was planned to go over Batista for the WWE Championship in 2005. He didn't seem too bothered by the fact that he didn't get that opportunity.
A funny tie in with Raven -- he was completely tuned out during this period. In a deleted part of my interview with Raven, I had to explain to him the situation in which Muhammad Hassan, real name Marc Copani, left the company. It came up when discussing how WWE sometimes picks and chooses who they have on their DVDs, but often end up repairing a lot of bridges in doing so. Hassan hasn't been contacted or seen on any WWE programming since he and WWE severed ties, and he was a part of a lawsuit last year.
Several photos were shared this week on social media that featured former UFC Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey training in pro wrestling. These shots are from as early as last summer, and also show Brian Kendrick and Jessamyn Duke training at Santino Bros. in California. Since the photos were taken, Rousey has started training on and off at the WWE Performance Center, and Brian Kendrick sustained an orbital fracture that will keep him out of action for several months. Duke has since relocated to Orlando, Florida herself, where she lives with NXT Superstar Shayne Baszler and former Impact Knockouts Champion Mia Yim.
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