Fightful has learned of WWE plans to induct a new Hall of Famer at this year's ceremony.
Rob Van Dam is slated to be added to the 2021 WWE Hall of Fame Class. RVD has been out of the WWE for well over six years, not appearing since a run that ended in 2014. He'd noted in the past WWE would not clear him for a return, but that didn't stop him from working for IMPACT Wrestling for about a year and a half under a newer "lady killer" gimmick between 2019 and 2020. Van Dam is slated for the WWE Icons documentary series as well, which we've been told is supposed to feature the Hall of Fame news. Within WWE, RVD won seven separate titles, and a Money in the Bank match.
Maria Manic hasn't wrestled for Ring of Honor for over a year after sustaining a concussion, but still remains with the company. We updated you on Maria Manic's status back in January, confirming she was in the Ring of Honor bubble, and we've heard the same for last week's ROH tapings that cover the 19th Anniversary PPV. We haven't heard anything about her status in the ring, but were told she was one of a few people in the gym in the wee hours of the morning staying in shape in the bubble.
It seems like IMPACT Wrestling is restocking their cupboard as far as women's talent goes. Fightful has learned that Taylor Wilde is finally set to make her return to IMPACT Wrestling, which has been in the plans for well over a year. Wilde was originally slated to come back ahead of the pandemic last year, when IMPACT went nostalgia heavy and brought back a lot of TNA-talent. Wilde told us last summer that the pandemic made the return an impossibility for the time being because of travel restrictions, but she was hopeful that she'd be able to make a return. She was at the most recent set of IMPACT tapings
Fightful spoke to EC3 ahead of Ring of Honor 19th Anniversary this week. He says that he still has a good relationship with Dixie Carter and they're in contact often. In addition, he says that he's living with Moose and the two push each other to improve.
EC3 has bold plans for The Narrative, and a whole new set of stuff out at FreeTheNarrative.com. He told us that he doesn't necessarily want The Narrative to be cinematic, as much as a fight filmed in a cinematic style.
He stated that he was contacted by Virtual Basement via email for their game, and the "One Percent" version of him will be in the game at first, followed by the "Narrative" version.
The Tian Sha gimmick seems to have made a good impression among NXT highers ups. Fightful was told that Triple H and Shawn Michaels specifically have taken a liking to the gimmick, and see it having a long-term future. We're also told by those backstage that they've been very hands on with the character and presentation. Thus far on screen, the Mei Ying character has been portrayed by the former Karen Q, who had not wrestled since July 2019 since suffering a knee injury. She hasn't appeared on-screen for WWE since the 2018 Mae Young Classic, where ironically, she faced Xia Li.
Brass Ring Denzel Dejournette
Another NXT name that was brought up to us by a top wrestler on the brand was the former Denzel Dejournette, now Desmond Troy. We were told by that top name that Troy had a “great attitude,” and when poking around backstage, learned that he's particularly open to criticism and working on holes in his game. A third wrestler we conferred with stated that Troy is always willing when called upon, regardless of brand, to show up and work, and understands his spot at this point of his career is to make his opponents look good. A main roster source told us they put great trust in him, having one of Jinder Mahal's only matches back after injury as they prepared Jinder for a big program that didn't end up happening.
Keith Lee hasn't been seen on WWE Raw in well over a month, and Fightful was able to clarify why. While it is true that Keith Lee isn't currently factored in to WWE creative plans at the moment, this isn't a case similar to Andrade or Aleister Black where he's simply not used. Lee was sidelined for health reasons in February, and WWE have not cleared him for a return as of yet. Lee underwent some testing following being sidelined, and WWE sources have indicated that he is actively trying to get cleared. WWE had discussed plans for him to win the WWE United States Championship before he was removed from the WWE Elimination Chamber show. He was later replaced by John Morrison, as WWE sources told us, because the match with Lashley and Riddle being a triple threat was "integral." As we saw, WWE was protecting Lashley from taking a pinfall ahead of his WWE Title run.
Triple H Availability To Talent
Last year, we ran a story about Zicky Dice almost getting kicked out of an NXT tryout a couple of years back for attempting to talk to Triple H after being instructed to by numerous producers. This led to us asking several members of the NXT roster and staff how that has changed in recent years. One that has had experience in dealing with Vince McMahon has said that Triple H had hit the "hard to meet with territory" and that even some of the higher ups were difficult to get through to sometimes, but that Triple H had opened up a bit more in recent months. He's been present at more Raw tapings than usual in 2021, as well.
Myron Reed has been with MLW since 2018, and opened up to us about how he signed there. Reed tells Fightful that when he was living with members of the Rascalz, now MSK, he saw their careers taking off and them signing with IMPACT. He wanted to follow suit and land a contract, and actually reached out to Major League Wrestling, who had mutual interest in bringing him in. Reed told us the non-exclusive nature of the deal and the ability to work indie dates was a big deciding factor for him.
MLW Covid Protocol
MLW talent that we've spoken to shed a little more light on the COVID protocol that we reported on months ago. MLW talent are tested upon arriving at the tapings, and we're told that in addition to all of the protocol that we'd mentioned in the past, talent are tested upon leaving the tapings.