Joe Koff was pretty honest in saying that the Coronavirus could end up affecting Ring of Honor shows, but says that it's really in the hands of New Japan. As of now everything is still on and planned and they've had inquiries about it, but will monitor the situation as it's very much still developing and early.
Davey Boy Smith Jr, NJPW, More
Davey Boy Smith Jr., Harry Smith, DH Smith, depending on the promotion, had a specifically odd exit from New Japan Pro Wrestling. When he asked NJPW if he could work IMPACT Wrestling last year, they said no because of Jeff Jarrett screwing them over, and how Okada was booked back in the day. Davey Boy chalked it up to a cultural thing, saying that the Japanese don't really forget things like that. Jeff Jarrett had been long gone from Impact by the time that NJPW declined DBS' idea. He doesn't even think the Okada booking has anything to do with it, but thinks it was a bit of a cover as he believes it may have instead been more recent business dealings. He asked for permission, and NJPW considered it before shooting down the idea.
He recounted the story of why his face was blurred in a catch wrestling seminar/instructional video. He was in WWE developmental at the time and hadn't really considered that and had to ask Jake Shannon to blur his face. Smith is an integral name in professional wrestling as it relates to spreading the word of catch-as-catch-can wrestling.
Court Bauer contacted Smith to form the new Hart Foundation and actually was familiar with him because of the first iteration of MLW. He seemed thrilled with the quality of wrestling that takes place there and specifically his match with Otani.
Joe Koff- ROH
Joe Koff of ROH tells us that ROH gets "very little" feedback from Sinclair Broadcasting, but admitted that ROH uses it's support systems a lot and helps them expand the brand. Koff doesn't think that they'd be where they are if not for Sinclair. They want the maximum audience reach they can get, even if they can't necessarily catch the fabled "casual" viewers, they think that they'll attract people even if they aren't quite sure why they like it. They're not taking their fans lightly.
As far as recruiting new talent, he says it's no different than free agency periods in sports and the business is healthy so there is going to be a lot of talent moving back and forth. Competition drives prices up, and that's basic economics, but they can usually tell when someone is in the locker room if they'll be a good fit for the company or not.
Independent wrestling breakout star Danhausen told Fightful this past weekend that although he's been working dates for Ring of Honor, he doesn't have a contract with the brand and is a free agent. He seemed flattered that Cody Rhodes and AEW name dropped him ahead of Revolution, and said he'd love to end up working there and he has lots of friends in the company. He was not present at AEW Revolution.
Jazzy Gabert told Fightful contributor Kristen Ashly that she saw walking away from WWE as not an easy decision, but saw it as the only option. She didn't want to let the company renew her deal. Gabert says she's busier than ever, and is starting her new promotion -- SIRIUS Sports Entertainment. She's free until May and has the time to do it, and after urging from people local to her, thought it would be a good idea. Gabert also says she's going on tour with a "rock star," training for an upcoming marathon.
She spoke highly of competing at Stardom, Mae Young Classic, and Pro Wrestling EVE, as well.
Willie Mack says he still has plenty of states to check off that he hasn't wrestled in and wants to accomplish them all in IMPACT. He's very humbled and proud that seemingly wherever he goes, he gets a reaction. Even Lexington, Kentucky where we did our interview. He says that when Rich Swann is healthy, they're going to resume their team and go after the tag titles. Initially going back to singles was an adjustment for him.
Willie said that the main difference in Lucha Underground and IMPACT is one was a movie company and the other was straight up wrestling. In Lucha Underground, sometimes you'd have days to work on things, and other companies you have one shot for a lot of stuff. He put over the talent roster that they had in Lucha Underground and said that the success they've enjoyed isn't surprising to him.
Sonjay Dutt brought Willie Mack into IMPACT Wrestling by contacting him for a WrestleMania week appearance in New Orleans. They liked him and offered him the Bound For Glory spot. He said that moving over from NWA was because people were telling him what to do and how to do it, and he wanted to do what was best for him.
Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder have been off the road with WWE of late. When Fightful inquired within WWE why they weren't in this weekend's WWE Elimination Chamber match, we were told that the two had been "at home," though they hadn't requested any time off. Scott Dawson's deal is up in roughly a month, and Dash Wilder had about ten weeks tacked on.
Ring of Honor's side of things still say that they're loyal and happy with their relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling. They were clued in on New Japan's plans to to run a USA leg of their tours, saying there were "no surprises," and that ROH understands New Japan believes that they have an expandable product.
Marty Scurll's ROH Role
Joe Koff said that obviously Marty Scurll is a big part of the company's plans moving forward, and he believes in the brand and wants to show that ROH is relevant. It wasn't a situation that ROH took lightly by bringing him in and giving role. They want to reward creativity, and have made a similar offer to Cody in the past, and Koff put over Young Bucks as being creative, and professional and easy to deal with.
Koff said that the NWA partnership being reignited wasn't just a Scurll idea, it was a collaborative effort between people in ROH and NWA. He put over that collaborative effort as being something that helps out Ring of Honor behind the scenes.
- Daniel Bryan was originally set to face Drake Maverick on last week's Smackdown.
- Vince McMahon made a rare appearance at the show.