WWE Filming Schedule
Last week, plans had been set for WWE to film content for upwards of a month across this entire week. Raw, Smackdown and NXT were to put multiple episodes of programming in the can, and the idea of going live last Friday, this Monday and Wednesday were broached but hardly confirmed. Friday, however, Vince McMahon demanded his content be live, leaving staff and superstars confused and many angry. We're told his line of thinking was that Fox and USA pay for live content and they'll get live content. WWE considers themselves essential media and some were given a paper from WWE legal to show law enforcement in case they were questioned.
WWE issued a memo to talent roughly April 5 to tell them a non-wrestler had tested positive for COVID-19 after they were present at the WrestleMania tapings a couple of weeks prior. The belief was that the person developed symptoms after they left and got tested on their own. Talent were told they would be expected to return to the road upon request, as their quarantine time would have expired.
WWE told talent of this, but not all staff, as there were many who found out when the article was published. WWE was aware that media knew of the positive test as of Wednesday, and prepared a statement on Saturday after Fightful informed the company that we'd obtained the internal memo. This all means WWE knew of the COVID-19 test well ahead of Vince McMahon's decision to run live again.
The person in question is said to have been recovering well. They gave WWE permission to disclose their name and situation to the roster. The memo itself was addressed from Triple H.
The roster reaction was mixed, with some saying the situation didn't need looked into, and others upset about WWE resuming their filming schedule in general, even independent of this situation. By late last week, the rumors of a positive COVID-19 test had spread widely in the industry.
Black, the former Justin Gabriel, told me that he admittedly lost his passion for wrestling for a few years, but gained it back with Lucha Underground and Ring of Honor. He isn't sure what happened with Jeff Jarrett's GFW, but wishes that the world could see some of the content that was filmed along the way.
During his WWE days, he said Vince McMahon liked his Darewolf name and character, but Triple H didn't. However, WWE trademarked it anyway. When they'd abandoned it, Black picked it up and now has ownership. We spoke about his 450 on Vince McMahon, which he says might have been the only time he got the wind knocked out of him while he did the move. Vince, however, didn't care and was happy with how everything turned out. He would often pitch ideas within WWE, but says they'd always end up getting shot down. He's interested in possibly moving into a creative role at some point. He also has a new character that he's working on that he says will be really cool.
PJ Black talked to me at length about ROH, and the current wrestling landscape. He talked about the creative freedom he gets in his ROH contract, as well as them allowing him to pick his own flights as a reason he re-signed for multiple years. He indicated that the deal was for multiple years with an option year attached as well.
As far as AEW, there were conversations about bringing him in to the company to possibly team with Angelico and Jack Evans, but he noted that there was someone within AEW that didn't like him so he doesn't think he'll ever end up wrestling there and he's not interested in playing any political games.
He's in the middle of a lawsuit with Title, who produced a ring that he and RVD ended up crashing through. The promoter was freaking out, but Title told them that they got the pro wrestling ring dimensions from WIKIPEDIA.
I spoke to Gregory Iron, who is also blocked by Hulk Hogan. It's nice to know we're in good company. He was motivated to start a podcast by Stone Cold Steve Austin, who had him on his show and asked him to hang around to do a second show. He spoke about the mindset that goes into his shows, saying that he prefers to do them in person, and that he draws a lot of his hosting ability from his desire to become a wrestling commentator when he was younger.
We talked about him working as a heel with cerebral palsy, which he says is a challenge, but he likes a challenge. He would remember being bullied as a child and channeled those feelings and flipped them around on the crowd to garner heat. He discussed the balance between being a heel with being an inspiring person because of what he's experienced. Iron noted that often his particular social media following understands that he can play both sides of the coin, but that he likes to leave people feeling conflicted on whether or not they should boo him.
If he could wrestle any president, he'd want to wrestle Abe Lincoln. We're definitely doing an article on that one. He also said that sometimes MJF, who he remembers from young in his career, crosses the line with his promos and they'll talk about scaling it back.
- We haven't heard of any concerns raised backstage about eliminating certain parts of the Randy Orton/Edge last man standing match for concerns of comparisons to the Chris Benoit tragedy. It should be noted that significantly less people saw, knew, or were around to raise those concerns as most of the matches were tight lipped as is.
- We've heard that John Cena was very receptive to the ideas in the Firefly Funhouse, and went as far as to help set the stage for the match in media interviews leading into it.
- Firefly Funhouse was taped in the Stamford area.
Fightful followed up on the Rhea Ripley situation, as it was originally reported she was back in Australia after visa issues. However, according to sources within WWE, Ripley was set for the upcoming NXT tapings and a match with Chelsea Green. We don't know how that's shifted with the move to live.
PJ Black told us of an ROH talent meeting that took place, but didn't say when. Sinclair and ROH flew in talent to contribute ideas and help out with the direction of the company. A list of 140 things were brought up, in which Black claims they've implemented probably 100 of those already. He said the meeting and implementation gives him a lot of hope and the ideas he's pitched happened immediately. The meeting was not mandatory but it was indicated that a lot of the roster ended up going, which also made him happy.
There were plans to have a special merchandise stand for the Past vs. Present shows that reflected the past days of wrestling, as well.
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