Shane Helms continued to get bookings for Ring of Honor in a really competitive wrestling scene that has been a big benefit for him up until his new deal with WWE. I talked to him about how he ended up there, and much like several of his other bookings along the way last year, Helms said social media was a big part of it. He wasn't too familiar with "The Villain" Marty Scurll, but knew their gimmicks were natural to play off of one another. Helms ran the idea by Christopher Daniels, who relayed it to those in the ROH office, and a deal was put in place. Originally the match was just supposed to be a one-off, and Helms even said he would have been fine with it being a quick shut-down of "Hurricane." The two ended up working four matches, including a street fight that saw Helms taste thumb tacks. He said he did it because Scurll did, and he wasn't going to be the old guy refusing to do spots. Helms also openly said that his ankle still gives him trouble from his motorcycle accident years ago.
I asked Jimmy Jacobs about talent that he pushed for Impact to acquire since he's been there, and off the top of his head he said that Tessa Blanchard was one that he wanted in the company. He also said there was a great sense of excitement when they were able to land Pentagon, Fenix and Brian Cage, going as far as saying that Pentagon and Fenix were the hottest talents on the indies at the time they were acquired.
Jacobs' 2017 Bound For Glory appearance was a last minute addition as they didn't really know what he was going to do. Scott D'Amore was originally planned to manage Kongo Kong, but Jacobs offered to move into the role at no additional rate while still serving on the Impact creative team. Jimmy has actually known Kongo Kong for over 20 years and jumped at the opportunity to manage him.
Elsewhere in the interview, Jacobs also riffed about the interesting importance in the difference in planning surprises as opposed to promoting them on television prior, and the way that skews viewership numbers.
We've had a lot of discussion lately about the use of Canadian Destroyers in WWE after Rey Mysterio and Andrade used them on Smackdown Live. Well apparently that conversation wasn't had by Punishment Martinez and Matt Riddle, who did it on a WWE live event. The two were told pretty clearly after to not do the move again without clearance before hand. Meanwhile, Adam Cole got clearance to do it at Halftime Heat.
When I asked Triple H about this personally, he said that it's largely a case-by-case basis and WWE takes the decision to approve moves very seriously. If it's something they think the performer can pull off and is experienced enough to do, it's okay.
Fightful was able to speak to American Top Team's Dan Lambert again, who told us that he doesn't expect WWE's Bobby Lashley will be returning to MMA. Lashley, who is now in his 40s competes in an already shallow division. Lambert says that he thinks Lashley could still pick up some good wins based on his skill, experience and athleticism but thinks something would have to go terribly wrong in the WWE in order for Lashley to move back to MMA.
Lambert also discussed Colby Covington, who has aspirations to join WWE eventually and team with Ronda Rousey. Lambert told us he never really had much of a relationship with Rousey, but talked to her backstage at WWE Raw recently. He also briefly spoke about Jack Swagger making the move to MMA, which he says age could play a hindrance in. As far as American Top Team MMA fighters making the transition or vice versa, he said you never know what wrestlers will have "it" in MMA until you see them train, and most of the fighters that he brought to Impact Wrestling weren't keen on the idea of taking the type of physical damage that pro wrestlers do.
Fightful was able to speak to Jack Swagger around his first MMA fight about the status of Lucha Underground. Swagger, who is the current Lucha Underground Champion as Jake Strong, says he hasn't heard a peep about the new season. He claims that while the fourth season was being filmed, the idea being pitched was that filming of season 5 would happen shortly after season four was completed. However, we're a year past that and there's still no word.
Swagger also opened up about the positivity he felt towards All Elite Wrestling launching. It's no secret that Swagger would like to end up working there.
Ronda Rousey - Fightful
The popular "Point at the fucking sign" shirt from our Pro Wrestling Tees store was pulled last week when Ronda Rousey's lawyer hit PWT with a cease & desist claiming the silhouette resembled Rousey too much. We will retool the shirt and have it back up, as well as several other new designs.
Speaking of Rousey, I was told that her match with Sarah Logan on Raw was largely called in the ring and that one of the hip throws wasn't expected, but since it's Ronda Rousey there wasn't much that could be done to stop it.
As we revealed on Fightful Select earlier this week, Mustafa Ali has been working hurt of late as he's battling a tailbone injury. He's not thought to be in any danger of missing his WWE Title match at Elimination Chamber. The injury looked to be healed ahead of the Royal Rumble, but popped back up in the match. Those on Smackdown spoke highly of him.
Meanwhile, Becky Lynch is not injured as many speculated after she missed live events last weekend.
Randy Orton News, Usos
I posted this week that Randy Orton has expressed a willingness this week to speak to AEW. That doesn't mean he has or is signing a deal, or that they've made an offer. Also, The Usos' contracts expire in April and they have not re-signed. WWE is hopeful they can get a deal done. The Usos are very popular backstage and their work is applauded.