Fightful Wrestling Weekly (4/20): Superstar Shakeup, Axxess, Impact, Rusev, MMA Crossover

Superstar Shakeup Scripts

It's probably easier to tell you what was excluded from this week's WWE scripts than what's in them. Raw's is available over at FightfulSelect.com for free, and mentioned a ton of names that were joining Raw. However, it left out a lot of their social media announcements for both shows, some of which were fairly big like The Bar. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn's appearance on Miz TV was left as a blank spot on the Raw script, as was the eventual appearance of Bobby Roode in the evening's main event. The Riott Squad's debut was also left off the run-sheet, as generally it seems as if those with entrance are placed on the script. It's not a strict thing, but just seems to be the case. Drew McIntyre and R-Truth were also unmentioned.

There was no info given on the scripts about the iteration of Sanity that would be called up, which is why I made sure to specify in our spoiler post that it was unclear who would get the promotion. Unfortunately, Nikki Cross was not brought up with the group. 

Another notable change to this week's formats was the absence of listing the agents for each show, which seems to be a very sporadic thing on these documents.

WWE Axxess and WWE Network

WWE brought in several WWN talent for their big WrestleMania week shows, including Fightful.com's own Jason Kincaid. People who worked the shows were told that the event would be filmed, but weren't given any information or indication of when or if they'd even air.

WWE has started preparing stockholders and fans for a tiered system where Axxess and other promotions theoretically could air. The company stopped pushing the $9.99 price tag on the air long ago in anticipation for it, which is the reason that the only time you see mentions of it in promos these days are when old-timers who aren't making regular appearances saying it, not knowing any better.

Impact Wrestling

Speaking of WrestleMania week, Fightful got a little bit of heat for asking Sonjay Dutt a question in regards to Jeff Jarrett's Hall of Fame induction, which was going down at the same time as the Impact vs. Lucha Underground show Dutt was promoting. An understandable miscommunication, but in my estimation, Impact Wrestling won out the night and had the most exciting event between the two. Five and a Half hours can be a little much without any action.

Rusev

I don't really have enough on this to go with a full article, but WWE hasn't released Rusev, and despite his comments on social media and changes to his accounts, they don't plan to, according to the person I spoke to. Fightful.com reached out to the e-mail on Rusev's Instagram account for "inquiries," but we didn't hear back at all.

Chase Sherman

Chase Sherman, a UFC fighter known for his heavy social media presence, opened up to Fightful.com's James Lynch this week about his upcoming fight against Justin Willis, as well as the controversy surrounding his now infamous social media post clowning The Young Bucks. 

This led to several UFC and MMA fighters who support pro wrestling to criticize the Young Bucks as well, including Daniel Cormier and Phil Baroni, but title contender Colby Covington was on the other side of the fence, and went after Chase Sherman. Covington has done work with Impact Wrestling in the past, and took a shot at Sherman for being knocked out in a recent fight.

Sherman said that he didn't expect or know there would be such a big wrestling contingent or fanbase, and called Covington a "piece of shit" that he's not worried about. It's worth noting that Covington, nor the rest of American Top Team have appeared on Impact Wrestling in months. 

SUPE SHAKE

I had several lengthy conversations with WWE Superstars this week about the Superstar Shakeup. It's been a topic I've discussed (and wish they were allowed to go on the record about), with them over the past year. While it doesn't have the same traditional marquee value of calling it a "draft," every wrestler I've spoken to says that they like the newer method. It wasn't said out loud to them, but WWE saw it as an effort to help morale out as well, since often times during Drafts, wrestlers would find out where they were going at the same time as the audience. With the Supe Shake, creative plans are put in order and the wrestlers make actual debuts.

That being said, some find out they're switching brands rather late, but even one that I talked to who experienced that said that the common courtesy of not having to log on to WWE's official website to find out what days they'd be working every week meant a lot considering the way things used to operate. Chris Jericho once told a story about how the company wouldn't tell him what brand he was going to, and he had to find out by calling a friend of his, because he was on the road making the next town and didn't have internet access.

"Not working the guys that are working for you is always a plus," one wrestler said. "It shouldn't be a plus. It should just be the way things are, but for some reason that's just the way things are. I knew people who found out that TNA wanted to fire them after they were in that briefcase (Feast or Fired) match, and others who didn't know they'd be changing shows until they saw it on air. That can change a lot for people,"

The person who gave me that quote joked that talking to people like me is probably one of the reasons that the company "worked" so many of their draft shows for so long. For what it's worth, I didn't ask any of the talent if they were switching brands. 

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