NFL Player Wrestling
Impact Wrestling's Moose told Fightful that former NFL pro bowler Gary Barnidge has reached out to him about potentially getting involved in wrestling in the future. Barnidge is a 34-year old former tight end with a bright personality, who stands about 6'6", 250 pounds. He's appeared on Impact Wrestling in the past, as well as a couple episodes of Total Divas, where he went on dates with Rosa Mendes and Summer Rae.
As mentioned on the Raw post-show podcast, Angel Garza has been getting rave reviews from people I've been speaking to backstage on both Raw and NXT speak highly of Angel Garza. One person in NXT called him moving to Raw a "big hit" to NXT.
Drew McIntyre casting
WWE has put out a casting call locally in Glasgow looking for someone to portray Drew McIntyre's father in upcoming skits. Specifically the character is referred to as the GAMESKEEPER of the McIntyre family, and Drew's spiritual leader. The casting call ended last week.
I spoke with Moose about his move from ROH to IMPACT in 2016. He said he was ready to move on and needed a big change of scenery. It didn't make him nervous to move because he's been traveling around so much for football for most of his pro career that it was just another move for him. He's thankful and happy that he got so much experience and high quality opponents in Ring of Honor, but got to the point where it felt like he was wrestling the same people every weekend and needed a change.
He knew he wanted to make the move to wrestling long before he did, and switched while he probably could have still made an NFL team. Moose knows he could have went to the WWE's Performance Center straight away, but says he's happy he took the route he did because it's helped make him a better wrestler by traveling the world.
The Revival and WWE do not seem to be on good terms. After Fightful was told that the team was taken off the road last month, we inquired about their one weekend appearance on live events at the beginning of March. We were told that WWE brought them to the New York house shows to have bodies in case of another Saudi Arabia issue, but then learned that WWE had stopped paying the duo. They were taken off the road in February and the word backstage is that they were told that they've exceeded their downside guarantee, so they won't have any more money coming their way. When we asked people on WWE's side if they'd end up being paid for the March house shows, they said yes.
I spoke to WWE Superstar EC3 to promote his Magic City Mania show, April 2 at the Orpheum in Tampa. He's going to have Percy Watson, Drake Maverick, R-Truth and Braun Strowman there, and the proceeds will go to the Apple a Day foundation.
He wasn't too happy about the reporting of his injury, as it was reported without an effort to confirm it with him. EC3 wouldn't specify if the rumored concussion was true or not, but admitted that it was the toughest injury he's had to recover from in his career. We recounted his patella injury against Cesaro, and he joked that he tried to "Mel Gibson it" by popping it back into place.
That injury took place on Saturday Morning Slam, which outlawed moves to the head and neck. He liked the challenge of having restrictions and said that they often had to do that in FCW without the use of punches or the ropes. EC3 said that he wished he was interviewed for the FCW documentary, but wasn't on the road at the time of filming.
He asked for his IMPACT Wrestling release two years ago because they were in a state of flux and too many changes were going down for his liking. He's happy they're doing well now, but said that he knew he was WWE bound when he left Impact. EC3 said that his expensive contract was probably a reason why they ended up providing his release and that the company inherited a mess.
WWE at the PC notes
- WWE had a crew of dozens there at the WWE Performance Center to prep for Smackdown.
- Friday was very much a feeling out process. We're told the plan as of Saturday was for WWE Monday Night Raw to be much different than Friday.
- There were several wrestlers who weren't on Smackdown that were still brought to the PC on Friday.
- We spoke to numerous NXT talent who were not at Friday's show and weren't given any instruction as to whether they should be, were allowed, or anything of that sort.
- Fightful obtained a video of the Isreali broadcast that showed the action stopping during the commercial breaks. Michael Cole can be heard asking for feedback on how everything sounds. The referee switches the tag ropes into different corners, and the teams end up switching accordingly. Triple H also references them working to the audience that isn't there instead of the cameras, and jokes that someone should buzz them on that.
- We're told originally there wasn't supposed to be so much Triple H involvement on-screen on Friday's episode of Smackdown. Originally there were to be more guests featured, but Triple H's chemistry and social media reaction led to an on-the-fly call to have him stick around throughout the entire show.
As mentioned on the Fightful Podcast, contrary to rumors, WWE didn't call Jeff Hardy's move the "Twist of Fury," because Matt Hardy owns "Twist of Fate." Matt in fact doesn't own that trademark.
However, we were told that WWE officials mentioned to Jeff possibly using the "delete" terminology. Matt Hardy does in fact own all of those trademarks, and acquired them at a great expense. This includes the "Brother Nero" character name.