Fightful was given an update on Luke Harper's frustrations in WWE, his heat, and how it ties in to WrestleMania.
We were told the match itself was a disaster to put together and execute, and that Luke Harper wasn't happy that Braun Strowman both forgot his spot and that Ali ended up hurt in the match. In addition to that, Braun hit Harper with a stiff kick just ahead of that. Harper, in an effort to protect Ali during his elimination, hurt his back and/or shoulder trying to keep him from flying out of control. Afterwards, we're told that Strowman didn't think he had done anything wrong, which caused a little more frustration.
A source close to the situation spoke of the Harper vs. EC3 match and said that Vince McMahon himself seemed to have a long-term issue with Luke Harper and that whatever happened wouldn't have mattered anyway, going as far as to say that McMahon "decided to hate anything he was involved in long ago."
I spoke to WWE alumni Santino Marella for my new longfom feature on WrestlePro's Anthony Bowens. Marella recalled discovering Bowens in a gym in the northeast, and put him in touch with Pat Buck to help get his pro wrestling training kicked off. Marella thinks that Bowens has it all in the ring, and the main thing that he needs to get noticed is to branch out of the northeast and get over in other areas. He said that was the tried and true method of getting WWE's attention -- if you can get over in other places, you can probably get over there.
Andrew Thompson interviewed Ring of Honor's Eli Isom, who I'm told the company had high hopes for as of last winter. He put over how Ring of Honor has treated him, the chances he's received and the Ring of Honor Dojo. He's hoping the company can retain the momentum they carried in to Madison Square Garden and continue to grow accordingly. He said that help isn't hard to find in the ROH locker room, and constantly gets advice from veterans -- specifying Kingdom, Caprice Coleman, Jonathan Gresham and Jay Lethal as big helps.
His long term goals in ROH include winning the ROH Six-Man Tag Titles, along with the Shinobi Shadow Squad with himself, Cheesebuerger and Ryan Nova. He also said that he's hoping to wrestle for New Japan Pro Wrestling by some time next year, but knows that he has to keep growing to prove that he's worthy of the opportunity.
Aldis is hoping that the NWA's method will attract money, television, sponsors, and simply make it a healthier environment for everyone involved. Aldis admitted at times that the NWA had limited options, but that sometimes those actually ended up being the best possible options available, as opposed to getting a ring, wrestlers and TV.
There was a major discussion about possibly limiting NWA Worlds Title matches on Aldis' bookings to make them seem more special, but Aldis said that he pushed for all of his bookings to be title matches in an effort to build the brand and credibility. Aldis had confidence in his ability to work a main event style, big match and carry it across the North American regional scene, and even in the UK to help establish a presence there.
One of the most clever pivots in indie wrestling history has to be Sid's 2017 no-show of an Absolute Intense Wrestling event. He would blame the no-show on Donald Trump's travel ban, and AIW owner John Thorne was forced to brainstorm with Hornswoggle and Eddie Kingston as a result. Mere hours before the show, they were lucky enough that EC3 was in town for the holidays, and was willing to show up to the event dressed as Sid. They had to visit a local thrift store to get some of the gear. Thorne said that he wanted to dwell on it at first, but that the moment ended up being one of the most unique moments in AIW history.
James Lynch spoke to Montel Jackson of the UFC recently. He stated that he was a pretty big pro wrestling fan, but put his foot down when asked if he'd ever consider making the move over. He cited the lack of real pushes for black superstars historically as the prime reason he wouldn't try it out.
- There was a rap battle on the European tour bus early Monday morning that featured The Usos, R-Truth.... and Matt Hardy. Greg Hamilton and Kayla Braxton also got involved. Do with that info what you will.
- Sasha Banks was never expected on the European tour.
- Lars Sullivan's fine is not a work. WWE was aware of the social media postings as far back as last year, and he was approached about it to some degree, but we weren't told what came of it. He stopped posting once he signed a deal with WWE, and any chatter about them happening while he was under contract is untrue.
- Percy Watson's release has been in the making for a while, and he wanted to do outside projects but the WWE schedule prevented it. We were briefly in touch with him, but got no answers further.
There is some frustration on the Impact Wrestling side about production employees leaving or being poached by other companies, per this week's Fightful Wrestling Perspective Pod.
Gordon spoke to Jeremy Lambert of Fightful about being pulled from the BOSJ. Gordon got a new visa in January and thought that would be good enough. However, because he didn't go to the Honor Rising shows, he wasn't able to get a re-entry visa and his expired. This meant he had to get an additional certificate that ended up getting lost. Gordon was very frustrated by the situation, but said it was a miscommunication with the consulate that ended up causing it.