When speaking to Fightful's Jeremy Lambert, NWA's Ricky Starks told him that he and Aaron Solow helped get Undertaker back in ring shape for his quick match with John Cena at WrestleMania a couple years back. He got a lot of advice from The Undertaker, who actually sat next to him and gave him feedback on one of his matches.
Starks noted that he didn't really watch NWA when he was growing up, and had to go back and watch a lot of it. He admitted that the tournament format is really exhausting and taxing on him. He liked working with Trevor Murdoch because Murdoch lays his offense in, but never thought he would end up doing work with him.
He spoke about wrestling a broom as a form of entertainment for his social media followers, but that he doesn't have a method to his madness. He has to reconsider some stuff that he posts on social media because he thinks it might not be suitable to go online. Starks called on his e-fed experience in helping him out.
Starks is hoping to work with Zicky Dice, Eddie Kingston and Nick Aldis more in NWA. He noted that he hasn't spoken with Ring of Honor, but heard that Marty Scurll was there and liked his work.
As of now, everything is up in the air with NWA as to when they'll return. Ricky Starks noted to Joe Hulbert and Jeremy Lambert that there were talks of June, but he considers it postponed indefinitely. Billy Corgan was also planning a tour that he had to cancel, so that was a hurdle in the way.
Fightful has heard from several IMPACT talent that had not been informed of the cancellation of Rebellion as of early last week, before it was eventually canned.
- In addition to WWE filming up until WrestleMania, we're told that those involved are also under the impression that the Raw after WrestleMania was supposed to be filmed last week as well.
- We're told that the last two weeks were extremely hectic for those at the top of WWE, especially those working remotely, with their "phones ringing off the hook.
- They did finish up filming the planned segments for WrestleMania.
- AJ Styles vs. The Undertaker did not take place in the Performance Center.
- There were run sheets finalized and set for the match orders and the nights the shows would be on as of Thursday
- The photo of Natalya "congratulating" Sasha Banks on a WrestleMania title win isn't real, or recent.
- In response to Kevin Iole's tweet where he stated " The WWE Performance Center has been closed because of corona, so that's a potential UFC 249 site that is no longer feasible," we didn't hear back from WWE in an official capacity, but one member of the roster said "It's not closed for us yet, so I'm not sure what he's talking about." Orlando does have a two-week stay at home order in effect tonight.
- Samoa Joe was eligible to work this year's WrestleMania shows, even though the dates were moved up. He had been suspended for a month.
- When Fightful reached out to a WWE source, they indicated that a lot of things were being tossed around about potential main events, because they can make about anything happen with the way they're filming it.
Fulton spoke with me ahead of a match he had with Rhino, who he says was integral in his interest in wrestling, specifically in Michigan where he's from.
He said that after leaving NXT, he's getting a chance to do things that he couldn't do there, and credited his friendship with Sami Callihan for him landing in IMPACT Wrestling. He's known the Crist brothers for most of his career, but he became friends with Callihan in NXT. When Fulton got released, Callihan told Fulton to move to Ohio to work out with OVE. Fulton said that his friendship with Sami had more to do with the trust factor of the situation than the fact that they'd been in similar situations.
Fulton never considered abandoning wrestling, because he loves it too much. He spoke about all of the aspects of the art, and how it pertains to fitting everything outside the ring as well. Fulton says that he builds off of falling short in NXT and uses it to motivate him to push forward now that he's off doing other things.
I talked to Erick Stevens ahead of his retirement, which comes 11 months after his return to wrestling. He admitted he wasn't happy with his role in Ring of Honor in 2010 and decided to leave wrestling instead of making the best of a bad situation, but vehemently denied it was a part of a "jobber cut" as Jim Cornette tried to say. Every year he'd entertained the idea of returning, but a conversation with his wife led to him finally doing it. He didn't want to look back and regret not making a comeback, and made a drunken choice while watching wrestling during WrestleMania weekend, but stuck to it.
There have been a lot of changes since he's been gone -- social media, relationships, and politics. He didn't know anyone on the indie scene currently back when he was wrestling, and he said there was a lot more backstabbing back then. Everyone helps provide opportunities. Stevens says that he'll miss the physicality and cheers, but won't miss the travel and being away from his family. He is aware that Coronavirus could effectively wipe out his retirement match at Beyond WrestleMania weekend, and he's okay with that even though it isn't ideal.
We also spoke about his TNA squash matches against Monty Brown, which he said he considered a pleasure. He spoke very highly of Monty Brown, and said the online record of him wrestling in WWE was false. Today, he's heavy into food, and does it as his day job, and very effectively. He had some final words for Jim Cornette followers, encouraging them to pursue wrestling they like instead of stuff they hate.
Eric Bischoff-WWE Relationship
We've heard from the WWE side that they don't hold any ill will towards Eric Bischoff following his departure from the company a few months ago. They said that they're even open to working with Bischoff again on the digital end of things and that he's been good to deal with in the limited interaction they have had.
Dark Side Of The Ring
- Chavo Guerrero has a supervising producer credit on the show.
- Vickie Guerrero, Chavo Guerrero, David Benoit, and Nancy Benoit's sister Sandra Toffoloni all provided photos and video.
- Conrad Thompson helped get the producers in touch with several people involved in the show.
- We're told that Jim Cornette "melts down" during the Brawl for All episode.
- The teleportation idea for the Matt Hardy appearance this past week was Chris Jericho's idea.
- Tony Khan was said to have sent word backstage to have the people being filmed in the locker room be more animated
- As if you couldn't tell, the crew was scaled back heavily this week.
In something I definitely thought I'd be reporting on, Fightful spoke with several wrestlers who worked shows promoted by Tiger King's Joe Exotic. None had any wild stories about him, but said they usually got paid on time and easily, and the crowds were actually pretty good at their events.
Roman Reigns' WrestleMania situation unfolded on Wednesday of last week, though the news emerged on Thursday.
In speaking with several staff and wrestlers about Roman Reigns backing out of WrestleMania, most had limited knowledge of the situation. Unanimously among those we spoke with, the roster spoke positively of Reigns and supported his call to not perform. Beyond that, we're told several had inquired about filming their matches and segments much earlier, but were told last week the schedule was set.
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