Jeff Jarrett is headed to the WWE Hall of Fame, which turned many heads. Jarrett has been involved in several lawsuits against WWE in recent years, and has had fairly public issues not only with himself, but with people that are in the company. Matt Hardy and his rather outspoken wife Reby are a couple of those, but given the fact that they won the rights to the Broken gimmick and WWE has licensed footage from Impact, there's really no beef left to be had. The point of contention between those two sides was the way that the situation was handled, and now that everything has been hashed out via other parties, no issues are expected. We're told that Kurt's wife Giovanna YannottI doesn't always see eye-to-eye with the Jarrett's but that WWE wouldn't have made the move anyway if they thought it would cause any turmoil or issues from the sides of either the Angle family or Hardy family, as they're both more valuable to the company than Jarrett.
Some saddening news came our way this week. Ric Flair has obviously been humbled by his health scare from late last year, and has resumed making appearances. However, we're told that because of the extreme nature of his situation, he's forced to use a colostomy bag. As a result, he often doesn't eat the day that he makes appearances. Fightful's Jimmy Van was given this info, as well as the first word that Flair had been placed in a medically induced coma last year when it first went down. Despite Flair's recovery, he still has plenty of hurdles that he has to overcome, and we're wishing the best for him in that regard.
Despite a report this week that WWE dropped Apollo Crews' name because it could be confused with that of the school shooter (Cruz) in Florida, WWE tells us that they never issued any kind of statement or official comment that specified such a thing. It could have been the reason, but it's not a public stance that WWE has made as of press time.
WWE has taken names from Big E Langston, Antonio Cesaro, Adrian Neville, Elias Samson, Colin Cassady, TJ Perkins, Luke Harper, Erick Rowan and several others. Whenever I've asked about this, which has been a few times, I'm given different answers by those who have either had their names taken, or are in the know. I've heard everything from the idea that it simplifies things and that it makes a name easier to remember, as well as Vince McMahon thinking that it makes the person in question seems tougher, more intriguing or intimidating. Another joked to me that they were surprised that Vince didn't leave Big E Langston with just an "E" instead of a full name.
Speaking of Apollo, we got word from Fightful's Aaron Hyden -- who was at both Monday Night Raw and Smackdown Live -- that security took a "push Apollo Crews" sign. There was no reason given for the decision outside of security saying that they were "given orders from upstairs."
Ronda Rousey vignette
WWE ran a Ronda Rousey hype vignette this week that showed off some of her pro wrestling training. Rousey has been at the WWE Performance Center getting some work in here and there, but a lot of the footage was filmed at the Santino Bros. Wrestling School in California months ago. I'd mentioned last week that a lot of the photos that emerged of her were from that period as well, and WWE cameras were present at the time. Rousey can be seen in the clips training with former WWE Cruiserweight Champion Brian Kendrick, as well as fellow UFC veteran and pro wrestling trainee Jessamyn Duke.
I had a report earlier this week that Jinder Mahal had gained the respect of a couple of people that I spoke to backstage because he worked through a shoulder and labrum injury that would have sidelined most men. He's often complimented for his work ethic in the gym, but could have easily taken time off after his title reign and didn't.
Had a trusted source indicate to me that Brock Lesnar told Vince McMahon he was out for Summerslam. The reason why Lesnar is contracted through that period is because his deal with WWE was frozen when he started to train for his 2016 fight. I put stock in the person who told me this because they've given me a ton of good info, but wasn't able to verify it with a second person because of the nature of the situation. Lesnar does this virtually every time his deal is coming up as a way to leverage his WWE contract into more money. As a heavyweight he has that realistic option to compete for the UFC even at age 40. However, he still has several months to serve on a USADA suspension that was paused when he "retired" and left he USADA testing pool one year ago.
In this week's pro wrestling - MMA crossover news, Fightful.com's James Lynch had a conversation with UFC veteran Pearl Gonzalez, perhaps best remembered for "ImplantGate" back in Buffalo in April. She told James that she grew up a pro wrestling fan and had actually been asked if she'd consider a crossover recently. In an unusual twist, she said that in her younger years, her aunt pitched her a gimmick of being "THE CLAM." I don't think that one would fly in mainstream wrestling, but obviously her aunt was pitching the Pearl-clam connection. Fortunately Pearl didn't end up going that route, although you never know what will catch fire these days. Self awareness, y'all.
Despite their lower budget, I'm told that Lucha Underground has continued to reach out to familiar wrestling names in order to add some name value to their program domestically. They tape soon in a new venue, as the Temple was a victim of cost cutting, too.