Tag Team Turmoil
WrestleMania Night 1 had a late addition, and one of the winners of the match may be partially responsible for that. There was no WrestleMania Women's Battle Royal on the show for the second straight year, which led to many women being slated to miss out on WrestleMania for a second straight year. WWE sources have indicated that Natalya pushed hard for the Tag Team Turmoil match to be included on WrestleMania, as to feature more women on the event. Originally, the plan was for the top contender match to be on the WrestleMania Smackdown show that was taped over a week prior.
WrestleMania Weather Delay Promos
If you thought the weather delay promos from night one of WrestleMania were chaotic, they were. Talent were being grabbed and sent over to do promos with very little instruction or direction. In some instances, talent were approaching and making their own pitches, and we've heard that in all, WWE management were happy with the ability to kill time and the way talent handled thing. There was no real consideration to doing the matches backstage as teased.
We brought additional details of Mike and Maria signing ROH deals last week, but they've also nailed down an important part of their presentation. Ian Riccaboni's contract would have been up at the start of April per reports of his last signing, but in asking around with Ring of Honor sources, he actually re-signed with he company late last year. We're told that he's signed with the company well into the summer of 2023 at least. Riccaboni had interest from other companies in the past, but opted to continue with ROH.
There were pitches from WWE creative to reunite Wesley Blake with Buddy Murphy following the release of Steve Maclin (Cutler) that obviously didn't end up panning out. Throughout 2020, Blake and Maclin both worked with WWE creative to come up with additional ideas to get them back on TV.
Kalisto gained significant praise for getting in better shape while he was off. Many we spoke to within WWE said that in 2019 he'd openly discussed the possibility of free agency, and his deal would have been up in the summer of 2020. However, WWE re-signed him to a new deal around January 2020, and later that year he'd expressed his desire to be a singles star.
IMPACT Wrestling is back to taping this weekend, and we're told they'll be filming from Sunday through Tuesday, with most of the roster leaving on Wednesday. They then come back for the week of May 15th for a massive four day taping schedule that is likely to last them until the week of Slammiversary, which is slated to take place the weekend of July 15.
Fightful spoke to Eddie Edwards ahead of Rebellion, who says that he still keeps in contact with Davey Richards here and there and was happy to see that he was returning to the ring. He's learned to "never say never" about the wrestling business, and noted that he'd be open to teaming with Richards again as the Wolves era of his career is an important one to him.
WWE Raw on April 19 underwent creative big changes, Fightful has been told. Vince McMahon was said to have arrived at the creative meeting "significantly late" and changes were put forth for tonight's show. There were tons of changes to last week's show as well, but a lot of that were because they were short handed. Randy Orton vs. Braun Strowman, which was originally advertised, was pulled from the show in favor of Riddle vs. Randy Orton. Riddle was also scheduled to continue feuding with Sheamus, which seems like it's not happening.
Fightful got word of rumors that Mojo Rawley was actually a released in early March, based on a report from PWInsider. Fightful can confirm that report isn't true, as we'd reached out to Mojo Rawley both the day of the release, and today, since the report first dropped. As of just an hour prior to Rawley's release being publicly announced, he was still under the impression he was with the company, and again reiterated to us today that he was released on April 15, not early March as rumored. Rawley saying his "next chapter officially begins May 31," was not a hint that he'd been released earlier.
In response to Mickie James putting WWE on blast about returning her items in a trash bag following her release, WWE had Triple H, Johnny Ace, and Stephanie McMahon tweet that the person repsonsible was fired. Fightful has learned that Johnny Ace called up several of the released stars to apologize to them personally, as this happened with more than one. From what we understand the finger was being pointed at Mark Carrano during some of the calls, and he was eventually fired for it.
WWE usually does return items, though we've been told in the past they'd return them in a box, and a varying slew of people would be tasked with gathering them. In one instance this week, we're told that members of the active roster accidentally had their items sent to one of the released talent.
Mark Carrano Reactions
Fightful spoke with several wrestlers in the business regarding Mark Carrano and his ousting from his position in WWE.
We heard from over a dozen former names in WWE, and the reaction was unanimously in favor of Carrano being let go. From simple "Fuck Mark Carrano" responses, to more elaborate explanations the temperature that we took was consistent, but with varying degrees of fervor. Multiple former wrestlers called Carrano a "snake," while one said that they thought deep down he was a good guy who let the power get to him.
A longtime WWE name said that they think Carrano will end up back with the company because he knows "where too many bodies are buried" and that it was tough to take his word at face value. That person had heard of the talent relations shakeup, and thought that the trash bag incident was WWE's perfect out to get rid of him.
Former talent seemed to range from disliking Carrano to loathing him, which we're told is to be expected of someone in his position for former talent. However, most we spoke to understood that Carrano may have been used as a scapegoat for the situation, though we're told this was normal procedure for how he handles departure.
Current WWE wrestlers and staff told us that they could see this coming, and that his power had effectively been neutered of late. One current talent was much more compassionate, and said many of the people who had issues with Carrano also had issues with the office in general. The person also said that when they saw Carrano have to discipline talent, it wasn't in a condescending or hurtful manner over the past few years, but stated it was common in wrestling for different people to have different opinions. Carrano's job was considered a "lose-lose" for a lot of people, and the "fall guy" point was reiterated by more current talent.
We also heard that Carrano fought to increase pay for referees, which is something others in his spot didn't try to do.