Jinder Mahal didn't attend Arjan Bhullar's fight last weekend in Glendale, Arizona. Mahal was supposed to walk Bhullar to the cage last year for his UFC debut before a hurricane hit near his home. Bhullar told Fightful that he knew it would be tough for Mahal to make it this time around because WrestleMania and Smackdown were happening just a few days later. Becky Lynch and Dolph Ziggler were at the UFC show, however, supporting Becky's boyfriend Luke Sanders -- who was victorious
I reached out to a former wrestler recently (on the condition of anonymity) to ask them why a couple of their moves weren't used in WWE anymore, despite them looking effective. I pointed out a suplex in particular and they said "People don’t know how to do it and be safe at same time. Took me roughly a year to perfect it. These guys usually just steal guys moves from years back., at least these are one or two they don't have ability to steal."
While I don't necessarily agree that nobody would have the ability to use the move, they pointed out that Jason Jordan "steals Taz and Scott Steiner's shit," and that they don't respect that. Take that however you want, and I'll leave our friends at Pro Wrestling Unlimited to speculate on who it was I was talking to.
Rich Swann was backstage at Impact's Redemption pay per view supporting his wife Su Yung, who was competing on the show in an Impact Knockouts Championship match. Swann was released by WWE earlier this year after a domestic incident involving Yung in December. I was told that as of now Impact has no interest in bringing Swann into the company, despite their huge roster overturn that we see during any given set of tapings.
I spoke to a wrestler who has performed for Impact this year, who said "If they were willing to deal with Alberto Del Rio, there's really no reason they shouldn't give Rich Swann a shot. He's better in the ring and has more upside than Del Rio does because he actually comes to work." When I asked around, I was told that it was easy for Impact to say that they have no interest in Swann now, because he wouldn't even be available to come in until their July set of tapings in Canada since his WWE no-compete extends to next month.
The attitude backstage at Impact Wrestling was largely positive after a show that everyone I spoke to there thought came off very well. The only negatives I heard from wrestlers was the uphill battle of the $40 price tag and the fact that they don't tape nearly often enough. However, given the position the company is in, they're doing whatever they can in order to become financially solvent, and viewership numbers have reflected some of the positive changes put in place leading into this week's pay-per-view.
Much is always made of the infamous "TNA morale," but the reality is, there isn't a lot of morale to be had outside of the offices. The roster is always hugely different from one set of television tapings to the next -- whether for better or for worse. There's no real week-to-week "morale" to be told, because the guys on the roster show up for about a week at a time every three months, and some don't see or hear from each other until the next time around.
Sonjay Dutt received a lot of praise for his work backstage from several of the people I talked to coming out of Redemption, as well.
I ran clips from my recent interview with WWF veteran Gangrel on the List & Ya Boy. He's running a successful wrestling school and still stays extremely active on the independent circuit, which may surprise many, to the point to where he's already worked 30 matches this year. Gangrel and I talked about him working enhancement matches against the likes of Big Bossman and Abdullah The Butcher on WWF and WCW TV thirty years ago, a decade before he re-emerged under his now-famous character. Gangrel credited the lack of internet for giving him the ability to appear for both companies from time to time.
I posted a tweet this week about the unique WWE touring schedule over the course of three weeks which will result in six overseas flights for many of the talent on the roster. When I asked wrestlers who were slated for the half-dozen trips how they felt about the scheduling, they said that Saudi Arabia threw a wrench into things as the deal came together pretty quickly, and was right between the South African and European tours. In all, some will wrestle on four continents in under three weeks. One backstage worker said that the trip could have been planned much better, and would expect major changes moving forward, especially if WWE has more time to plan when the Saudi Arabia shows will be.
I should also note that the women within WWE I've spoken to this week seem rather excited to have a weekend off. The conversations about their omission from the Greatest Royal Rumble weren't very long, but it seems like they will be taken care of for not being on the shows, and get to rest up after a crazy month.
Raw & Smackdown Scripts
Ronda Rousey was omitted from this week's WWE Raw script rundown despite appearing, and there was really no reason to include her as it was the end of the show.
Notes from the Smackdown show script called for specific reads for the Greatest Royal Rumble pitches, segues to video and more. Usually bullet points are given on the rundowns, but the Smackdown listed specific word-for-word dialogue that was to be read. For those that asked, things as quick as the Make a Wish child being at ringside are included in these scripts. This wasn't the case for Raw.