As odd as it sounds, I was told there was interest within WWE to see how Emma performed on the independent circuit, as this was her first week on it. Only odd because they had her under roster months ago themselves and didn't do much with her. Emma was looked up to by many on the roster for her work ethic, and some thought she got a raw deal from the company. As with anything, there are differing opinions based on who you talk to, but there were a couple who echoed a sentiment I shared on Twitter this weekend that WWE's lack of creativity and direction in some regards could lead to a new crop of independent stars who will have prior worldwide exposure. Both Emma and James Ellsworth were booked heavily almost immediately upon making themselves available.
It's worth noting that the reports we got from Emma's first independent appearance were positive, and that she was in good spirits in the ring, backstage and with fans.
Just a short note, WWE has refused to allow several NXT talent to do outside interviews until they've had "media training." This generally only extends to inquiries from podcasts and shows they're friendly with anyway, as they'll often not return inquiries for non-talent hosted shows in general.
DDP and Jay Z
I spoke briefly with Diamond Dallas Page recently about the story that rap mogul Jay- Z was hoping to register the "diamond" hand signal. DDP was very careful about what he said, and indicated that he couldn't and wouldn't say a lot, but also said that Jay-Z is a mogul who can do whatever he wants, and their situation surrounding the dispute of the hand signal was resolved long ago.
It became a bit of a story when TMZ stated that Diamond Dallas Page never trademarked the hand signal himself. DDP would respond by sending TMZ the paperwork for the registration in the form of a tweet.
Ouch. When we asked DDP about it, he said it was puzzling, because that type of information isn't very hard to come across and had been published all over the internet in the years prior. On top of that, TMZ never even bothered updating their story to reflect that DDP himself contacted them with the paperwork. This all unfolded about a week after DDP had spoken to TMZ for several stories.
WWE Merchandise News
- I mentioned last week that WWE weren't happy with the fact that Fightful got a copy of the Rusev Day calenders and rushed to release them the next day. However, I've also gotten word that their initial shipment of 2500 sold much faster than expected and the company ordered 5,000 more for production last week. This is good news for Rusev, WWE, and all involved. When we leaked the news on Instagram, the photos were posted to Reddit and the post got 2600+ upvotes, which is pretty big buzz on the platform. WWE would later confirm our report that it was an official item, and a source in WWE told us that they feel they could have sold more had they gotten the calendars out earlier in the month.
On Twitter, Fightful.com founder Jimmy Van joked with Rusev that us leaking the calendars created buzz, with Rusev saying that the calendars were only intended for his family.
- Another story that led to Fightful getting a ton of emails was the eBay - WWE snafu. The company's official eBay ended up listing and subsequently selling hundreds of WWE replica title belts for $40 each. Unsurprisingly, they all sold out within a matter of minutes. Not long after that, the orders were canceled, per eBay's terms of service agreement allowing them to do so. Many fans were livid that the too good to be true deal was rescinded.
I spoke with a WWE rep about the situation, and they brushed it off pretty casually as the error that it was. They offered those who purchased the items 20 percent off of another purchase as a make good. I was told by said WWE rep that the price listed on eBay was significantly less than what WWE actually has to pay in order to have each one produced.
A big point of contention among many who bought the items was the perception that WWE had negative feedback from the situation removed. After the items were canceled and refunded, the company's page was flooded with negative feedback complaining about it. This can have a major effect on how items and the store appear on eBay, so it was a rough situation for everyone. Ultimately, eBay makes the call on removing that type of thing, which they did. It shouldn't be much of a surprise that what's good for WWE here would be good for eBay in the end, as they do good business together. While I sympathize with the angry fans, most should have known this is how it was going to end up.
New Fightful Segments
- I've long touted the return (and renaming) of Wikipedia Fact Check. It was a popular feature that we ran in 2016 with the likes of Hurricane Helms, EC3, Chael Sonnen, Elijah Burke, Vince Russo and more. That should return this month, and we have guests like Muhammad Hassan, Jack Swagger, Gerald Harris, Sonjay Dutt, Tim Storm, Kazarian, Michael Chandler, Paul Daley Colt Cabana and more on the way.
In addition, I'll have a semi-regular feature that I've yet to name that will examine the anatomy of a finishing move. Getting inside the mind and line of thinking of wrestlers without doing something that has been done to death isn't easy, and I think this will resonate. I don't have a release date yet, but the first one I have in the can is Raven explaining his development of the Evenflow DDT, why he renamed it to the Raven Effect DDT, who took it the worst, and a lot more.