Fightful was informed Tuesday afternoon that a deal had been reached for Eminem to make an appearance on WWE programming this fall, where he would be presented a championship as a part of the promotion of Fox's launch of Smackdown Live. In addition, it was also agreed that he would be a part of creating the soundtrack for WWE's video game series WWE 2K.
A few hours following the story, Fightful started receiving messages from both WWE and Eminem's side of things, informing us that not only was the management team of Eminem upset, they were in the dark about how or why the information leaked, and didn't seem to anticipate the story being as big as it ended up being.
Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet reached out to Eminem rep Dennis Dennehy, who admitted there was a meeting and a discussion, but that it did not go past preliminary discussions and there are no plans to further pursue it. The latter -- no longer further pursuing it -- may be in the cards, but as of the time our story ran on Tuesday, all other parties were under the belief that the deal was agreed on.
That's not quite settled yet.
I asked about the other offers Hangman had on the table and he said that he did think long and hard about all the offers he was given and the pros and cons of it. He said the route he went was the riskiest of all, but the ability to help change the landscape and tilt things more in favor of wrestlers than companies was the biggest selling point that he could have been given.
Page was involved in the infamous "Penis Druid" angle, and said that he didn't even tell his friends or family about the magnitude of All In, much less the situation he'd find himself in during the show. However, he's proud of the angle because within the context of the show it made sense, was a highlight for many watching, and was outside the box.
Page told me that he was hopeful he'd end up getting to work Madison Square Garden on G1 Supercard weekend, but that the AEW signing made that an impossibility. However, he wants to work there with AEW as the draw. He also named both the Budokan and Korakuen Hall as two of his favorite venues to perform in, and hopes he gets to again.
WWE's Gerald Brisco made an effort to bring a recently signed UFC fighter over to WWE. Deron Winn, a friend of Daniel Cormier's, spoke with Brisco, who tried to talk Winn into transitioning. Winn is not a pro wrestling fan and saw Kurt Angle moving over as "selling out." He's also much smaller than many pro wrestlers, standing at 5 foot 5 inches. He competed against UFC fighter turned pro wrestler Tom Lawlor last year and emerged victorious.
Brisco also pushed hard for Jessamyn Duke to move to pro wrestling years before she did, and was a proponent of Matt Riddle.
Ivelisse has been helping train wrestlers at the oft-controversial Team Vision Dojo, and says she's taken to it very well. She told us that whenever it is that she hangs up the boots she would love to get into training wrestlers more often.
Finally, I asked Ivelisse about her backstage reputation within FCW/NXT as being hard to work with and outspoken about things that eventually led to her release. Ivelisse was very vocal about Bill DeMott's methods years before he eventually got fired, and pushed for more serious women's wrestling. With DeMott gone and the latter being the norm in WWE these days, she said hearing it back kind of made her sad.
Fightful reported this week that there is an internal push within WWE to feature women on upcoming shows in Saudi Arabia. The push actually started a couple of weeks ago -- towards the end of February. The idea has been floated to those in charge of running the show, and those who tried to put it together seemed optimistic about how receptive they were to the idea. Fightful reached out to both WWE and several women's wrestlers for statement, comment or thoughts, but none got back to us. In addition to Sami Zayn, Roman Reigns, John Cena and Daniel Bryan, there were several backstage employees who have refused to go on any number of trips WWE has taken over there. We're also told that this push has absolutely no bearing on whether or not a second Evolution pay-per-view happens or not.
Raw + Smackdown + Fastlane notes
A source backstage at Raw called the episode "very laid back" and noted it was one of the few to go down recently without timing or production issues. Everything ran smoothly as far as timing and production from a WWE standpoint for last night's Fastlane. Most we spoke to were very happy with how the show came off. WWE has had a lot of timing issues of late.
We've also been getting a lot of positive reception to the new WWE producers/road agents that have been brought in to WWE, both from veterans and new names. A lot of the new hires have contributed to the new "brisk pace" that we saw on WWE Fastlane and the pre-show.
To expand on the rumor killer about WWE Superstar salaries, one person noted that they left their previous job to join WWE, but the article last year had their salary as listed at well below the position they left for.
WWE actually had produced and submitted the commercial announcing DX's WWE Hall of Fame induction before Billy Gunn was even made aware of the induction, in an effort to prevent leaks. Unfortunately for them, they leaked it to the CARTOON NETWORK before the announcement and it ended up getting spoiled that way anyway. They had also produced the King Kong Bundy tribute video by Tuesday afternoon, I'm told.