Money in the Bank
It was revealed that WWE would be holding Money In The Bank at WWE HQ this week, and Fightful obtained some additional information. Talent was flown out on Tuesday and multiple matches were filmed simultaneously, taking from the early morning all the way until nearly midnight that night. The filming was said be be tedious, and a lot of "hurry up and wait" for the next shots to get set up.
Fightful was told that the matches were filmed in a more cinematic manner, but we don't know if it will be more akin to the Boneyard Match, The Firefly Funhouse match, or the Tommaso Ciampa vs. Johnny Gargano match. Talent were also trying to stay warm during filming as they'd have to go from standing around to bumping on short notice.
We're told there was also a hiccup that caused filming to stop for an undetermined period of time, but was eventually settled. We're working to gain more information on that.
- Britt Baker's deviated septum hadn't been fixed as of the time her match with Hikaru Shida aired, but she was said to have been feeling better. The match she had after the injury that aired on the next set of tapings was kept short because there wasn't much she could do with the injury.
- We're told that AEW worked with about 30 percent of their roster around for the latest set of tapings. A lot of ideas have been pitched about content for the next couple of months by a variety of different people.
- Despite the situation they were in, we heard that the tapings from Georgia were positively received by those who were there. AEW is looking for ways to integrate talent that couldn't make it.
You may not be that familiar with Marino Tenaglia yet, but he's a charismatic, unique looking tag team specialist who is AIW Tag Team Champion. We have an interview dropping this week where he discusses the process of working the circuit as a tag team wrestler. He said that when Vince McMahon or Eric Bischoff are rumored or noted to not be big fans of tag team wrestling, it doesn't change his goals or perceptions and he takes that with a grain of salt. Ultimately, the goal for himself and Philly Collins is to get to the WWE.
He also told a story about a promoter trying to stiff the Philly & Marino Experience on pay, and Dominic Garrini stood up for them and ended up making sure they got their promised pay. Garrini also trains at AIW Academy, and has found success around the states.
- There is a lot of unhappiness and unrest within the WWE locker room over the mandate to return to live programming, and the subsequent switches. The first Smackdown was about an hour behind live broadcast, but the following Monday went live. Wrestlers and staff that we've spoken to felt like a price tag was put on them as a result.
- One the other side of things we've heard that precautions were stepped up big time since the decision to go live happened. There's medical screenings before you enter the Performance Center, and masks recommended for use when indoors, and the staff is doing their best to practice social distancing.
- Even before the releases, we heard from some NXT talent that are fearful that their once secure position within WWE was in jeopardy because of the volatile nature of the business, and society. While most knew that WWE wasn't cutting anyone months ago if they could help it, that invincibility has eroded in the eyes of some. Without an independent wrestling scene right now, that makes some understandably nervous.
- In regards to questions of who WWE brought to Smackdown without using them, it was Jeff Hardy. He was originally supposed to tape content for upcoming episodes of Smackdown, but when the live mandate was brought down, it didn't happen.
- Everyone that we asked said that WWE was not having talent sign waivers ahead of entering the Performance Center or competing in relation to COVID-19 concerns.
There are plenty of waivers in the contracts as they're already constructed, even to the point of hold harmless agreements in the case of negligent deaths.
- Individual calls were made to talent. We're told the text messaging primarily is for furloughed employees.
- We did get eyes on the internal WWE video where Vince McMahon made the announcement. We'll provide additional details on that this week.
- Based on what we've heard, the WWE main roster got 90-day non-compete clauses, NXT got 30-day non competes.
- We've asked WWE if they'll be publishing the name of NXT releases or producers, but haven't heard back. As of late last week, they hadn't openly published the names of released wrestlers from NXT.
- The releases have extended into most departments, from IT all the way to corporate.
- Several of the names released had actually asked for their release prior to the Coronavirus pandemic, but were rejected. Many others had expressed their dissatisfaction with the company creatively.
- We were told that the primary line of thinking in releasing NXT talent were people who had expressed their dissatisfaction creatively, or had long tenures there without plans.
Updates on Releases
- We've heard there is already significant interest in promotions in EC3. He spoke with NWA before he signed with WWE a couple years ago.
- Fightful reached out to several of the rumored NXT releases, including Kassius Ohno and Taynara Conti, but have not heard back as of yet.
- Fightful did hear back from about a half dozen releases, all of whom seemed in a pretty positive headspace considering the situation.
- Deonna Purrazzo already has an interview project lined up.
- We were told there were no media restrictions put on those that have been released as far as interviews go. Many superstars have been arranging their own interviews during the time off anyway.
- We spoke to Mike Bennett, who was optimistic after his release.
He says Triple H is in charge of 205 Live, but it's largely Adam Pearce that is running things there. He enjoyed 205 Live because there was a lot more room to try new things or do new things that he normally wouldn't have been able to when he was on Raw or Smackdown. He thinks that eventually you'll see standard piledrivers on WWE programming because enough people in WWE want it to happen and thinks eventually almost everything will be open and allowed.
Bennett isn't sure where he stands with the likes of New Japan Pro Wrestling or Impact because of the new management, but says he's still on good terms with many in ROH considering that Matt Taven is his best friend.