Big Cass Update
Big Cass kicked up some buzz recently when he popped up at Lariato Pro, Gallows' wrestling company. Cass wanted to do the spot to see if he still had love for wrestling, and was adamant that he wanted the appearance to be a surprise. We're told that he's not done in wrestling, and is interested in doing more after things went well there. Gallows tells Fightful that he has spoke with higher ups in companies about the possibility of using him, noting that "people HAVE to ask about a guy like that."
Nigerian Drum Match
Big E mentioned it in a mid-week interview, but as of Wednesday, those involved and in WWE had no idea what a Nigerian Drum Match was. It wasn't specified when it was pitched, put forth, or put on television what it was. We were told ideas were even being tossed around as of the tapings that happened on April 1 and 2, but by the time those tapings were complete, there was still no firm plan as to what this match even is.
With the AEW-IMPACT deal coming together late last year, we're told that some AEW wrestlers learned it could become a real possibility around September. Gallows told us they'd been talking with the Young Bucks about possibly coming over all along the way. However, according to Gallows, Don Callis and Kenny Omega had been talking about it for about a year. When IMPACT talent were brought back to Nashville to tape content, it was an empty studio
Andrade Mania Weekend
Andrade is now a free agent and can work where he pleases. Fightful has learned that Andrade has been contacted about possible WrestleMania weekend appearances outside of WWE, but they didn't end up coming together.
We learned last week that Brian Myers' IMPACT deal came together within a week of his WWE release, but The Good Brothers' came together even quicker than that. Gallows tells us that Scott D'Amore reached out to him within 15 minutes of their releases and let them know he was still interested in bringing them in, and for the same offer the company made in 2019 when the two were impending free agents. Considering the state of the world at the time, Gallows was aware Japan wasn't going to be an option at that point, and there were still fences to mend in AEW.
NXT Audience Changes
There are no more pods at the Capitol Wrestling Center, but those in attendance did require a negative COVID test at no cost to themselves. There are no more dividers in the floor area, either. Also, there's an elevated area for a row of fans across from the hard camera, and a seated area opposite the entrance ramp. Masks are still required at the shows. This greatly expanded the available attendance.
Takeover Match Cut For Time
Even before the NXT Takeover Stand And Deliver main event happened, Fightful learned it had to be adjusted for time. During the show a match went long, causing for time for Io Shirai and Raquel Gonzalez to be reduced. WWE doesn't typically have this issue as Takeovers don't have hard out times.
Of late, we've seen David Finlay and Juice Robinson appear on IMPACT Wrestling programming, to the point where they actually captured the IMPACT Tag Team Championships. Gallows told Fightful that he was aware that was going on all throughout the process, and really pushed for it to happen. He said that he also hopes to go back to Japan, but notes that as of now, he does not speak with Tama Tonga, but hopes business can be done to play off the situation.
...Bam Neely and the Shane Twins
Great news if for some reason you were wondering where the WWE veterans Bam Neely and Shane Twins are these days. We're told that they run a strip club together in Florida, which is frequented by many wrestlers. Only the important news here.
If you checked out Raw on March 29, you probably saw Riddle forget his line during his promo with Asuka before scooting off. We're told that the original plans called for Riddle to talk about everything from Mt. Fuji to underground robot fighting in Japan. Asuka did not miss a beat during this and was praised for her reaction to the on-the-fly change, but we're also told that Riddle gained some particularly high praise. Vince McMahon himself was said to have found the situation hilarious and was happy with how things turned out, especially since it didn't really affect anything significant.
This has gone largely under the radar, but Ronda Rousey's original WWE contract faces its expiration date on April 10, 2021. WWE issued a statement in January 2019 indicating that the contract signed was through that period while the two sides attempted to deny that she'd be leaving the company.
Paul Heyman speculated in an interview late last year that Rousey and WWE could have worked out a mutually beneficial deal that extends the agreement, or replaces the original deal. WWE still has over a dozen Ronda Rousey items on WWEShop, and feature her action figures and utilize her in video games even after she left two years ago.
Rousey has done some pro wrestling training over the past year, specifically with James Storm, who told Fightful he was also helping Travis Browne learn pro wrestling. Those that we've spoken to have said Rousey and WWE have maintained a positive relationship
WWE 2K22 was officially announced. Media was briefed on the announcement Thursday with an embargo until WrestleMania. The 2K team told us they wanted to be more transparent about the process this time around, and would answer questions they could along the way. In addition, there will be more behind-the-scenes development videos. WWE sources we reached out to say they see this as a way for the producers and developers to be accountable after the last effort of WWE 2K20
WrestleMania 37 Notes
- Peyton Royce was backstage at the show, despite not being booked to compete.
- Miro was in town for WrestleMania.
- The video board went out several times, including as recently as 7:40 PM EST.
- The cardboard cutouts in the crowd are tied down by rubber bands, so they're not going anywhere.
- About 15 minutes before the event, WWE lowered the cage to dry it off after the rain stopped.
- After his match, Lashley went to the end zone area of the field and bowed to the crowd.
- After Mandy Rose slipped on the ramp, a crew went out to dry the ramp off.
- Upon coming back through the curtain tonight at WrestleMania, we're told that Sasha Banks and Bianca Belair were met with applause and congratulations from their colleagues. As soon as the show went off the air, Montez Ford sprinted to the ring to celebrate with Belair, which was also filmed. Fightful was told Sasha Banks was very "happy emotional" upon arriving backstage after WrestleMania.
- The call time for Day 2 was pushed back.
- You may have seen on social media that Miro was at WrestleMania. He watched the show from the crowd as opposed to backstage to support Lana. He was also at the talent hotel this week.
- Alicia Fox was also at WrestleMania in gear on night one.
- What looked to be a crash pad was moved behind the set. We're told this was actually for Bray Wyatt's entrance.
- Late in the week, we were told a Nigerian Drum Fight was "basically a No DQ match."
- The ring was tarped before the pre-show and the tarp was pulled off by 7:15 EST.
- There's a certain section of the LED board that has been going out the last couple of nights. They were working on it as soon as ten minutes before showtime night two, and god it fixed!
- We're told that originally the tag team title match was set for 12 minutes with entrances and went over time
It's WrestleMania season, and that means familiar faces often pop up. Fightful asked around about several of those faces and the possibility of them appearing ahead of time.
Those that we spoke to said that WWE was "hopeful" they could have Becky Lynch make an appearance, but that's obviously one that WWE and people associated are going to play close to the vest.
Goldberg was briefly discussed for a WrestleMania match earlier this year, and the program with Drew McIntyre was even mentioned for the show. However, he wasn't figured into the plans creatively by February. He has another match this year on his contract.
By February we were also told that Brock Lesnar was not figured in creatively. By the time Daniel Bryan discussions were brought up for the Roman Reigns-Edge match, there hadn't been much progress on that front, at least based on backstage chatter.
We also asked about John Cena. We were told anything involving John Cena would likely have been laid out and planned well ahead of time due to his filming schedule, but wrestlers that we spoke to said that they'd be surprised if he didn't pop up in some capacity.