Mia Yim, also known as Reckoning, was set for a Smackdown debut last week but was pulled from the show, as reported by Ringside News. Fightful has confirmed this report and learned the how and why of what happened. Fightful learned that Mia Yim was originally set to start a feud with Carmella, but was cut for time as WWE had to add in throwback content to fit the theme of the show. As noted, the Throwback Smackdown was a Fox idea that WWE quickly accommodated. We're told that time was also added to Roman Reign's program, though we're unsure if this added to the time cut directly affecting Mia Yim's delay.
We've decided to add some more "retro scoops" after the positive reception to Jeff Jarrett telling us how Randy Savage landed in TNA. It won't come at the expense of anything modern. We asked the Bushwackers how they ended up on Family Matters of all things, and they told us that the producers were fans of the show and asked Vince McMahon directly to get them involved. Butch got an allergic reaction from licking someone with makeup and his throat closed up during the shoot.
We also asked about their ECW run, and they say they were brought in to do a spot with Sandman and Tommy Dreamer. It ended abruptly because they didn't want to cancel on independent bookings they'd already made, so ECW decided they didn't need to use them anymore.
Smackdown was short-handed all around last week. Adam Pearce didn't appear on the episode of the show, and we're told he was actually not there. There were several other names who weren't at the show, and some late changes that were made.
As of this moment, even within the company there isn't a confirmed Summerslam location that talent and staff know about. It's a poorly kept secret that WWE wants fans at the show, but that's been well known within the company for quite a while as they wouldn't be looking at outside venues otherwise.
WrestleVotes had noted that they'd heard a sooner date than usual was being discussed, and we can confirm that August 1 is the date being referred to, but should make it clear that nothing on that front is confirmed yet. There's also a PPV date scheduled within the company's talent relations app for July 18, though no name is applied to it.
There have been several cities and locations discussed, but internally Las Vegas seems to be gaining a lot of steam. We'd also heard Phoenix, and a nondescript "Texas" thrown around. We'd not heard of any internal discussions of New York City as of this past weekend, though Dave Meltzer has heard that MSG is in consideration.
We're told that Vince McMahon specifically wanted to shake up the pay per view schedule back around WrestleMania, but it seems like most of the schedule is getting back to normal.
As noted by the TNAIW Channel (@TNAIWChannel) chat, Don Callis is no longer listed on the Anthem Sports & Entertainment website as an IMPACT Wrestling VP. Speculation among talent that Fightful has spoken with is that Don Callis' role within Anthem has changed or is significantly changing. Fightful spoke with talent Saturday afternoon who were led to believe that Callis would continue serving in an on-screen role. We're working to find out exactly what the change it.
We've been told that Callis of late had seemingly reduced duties as it pertains to IMPACT, with Scott D'Amore leading the charge in the company.
"Captain" Shawn Dean has been signed officially by All Elite Wrestling, as they mentioned back in March, but we're told it's not just as a wrestler. He's also serving as AEW's extras coordinator, serving as a liason between the company and extra talent.
AEW is taping a series of shows throughout this week, which requires the use of plenty of extras. We mentioned yesterday that "Captain" Shawn Dean was charged with coordinating those extras as a part of his newly signed deal. Now, we've confirmed some notes that extras are given as to complete their tasks and look favorably to AEW higher ups.
Fightful has obtained notes provided to AEW extras ahead of this week's tapings, and had them confirmed by several within the company.. The extras were told their primary job during Dynamite was being ringside at the show unless they're working on it. There is a rotation planned for when talent are ringside cheering. The extras were instructed to go over their match, wear a jacket or t-shirt over their gear and cheer at ringside, then rotate out and prepare for their matches when working the Dark/Elevation tapings. It was also clearly mentioned in the instructions that making sure to fulfill those acts goes a long way with AEW management, which could get them booked for future work in the company.
AEW extras are also provided a q&a form to better familiarize announcers with them. Extras are told to provide a negative nose swab test result before traveling to Jacksonville, and if they do not have a negative test and end up positive, they have to quarantine in Jacksonville at their own expense.
There are additional aspects of advice that we are hoping to confirm with those in AEW soon.
In an update on Orange Cassidy, we're told that he's okay now but an audible was called on the fly to adjust the finish of his match with Pac. When it became clear that Orange Cassidy was hurt and trying to fight through it, a change was called that would preserve Cassidy's spot in the AEW Double or Nothing Match. The three-way title match was always the plan, but the two were supposed to originally go to 20 minute draw.
In regards to rumors circulating about why Bray Wyatt has been off of WWE television of late, we won't speculate on personal issues, but talent said that they were not aware of such a situation. We had multiple talent on the WWE roster saying that they've seen him a handful of times and he seemed fine, and was backstage at more than one episode of WWE Raw since WrestleMania, though hasn't been in the last couple of weeks. Talent that we spoke with, and staff that has worked closely with him recently believe that Wyatt wants to be on TV, and also had not heard of a specific reason Wyatt was off television.
Zelina Vega, also known as Thea Trinidad was at the WWE Performance Center on Thursday, May 13. We were told it wasn't just a visit, as she was being filmed for some reason there. Zelina left WWE in November when she was fired for not following third party policies. Her husband Aleister Black also hasn't wrestled since her firing, and only recently saw vignettes air for his return after Fightful had reports that he had not been backstage at Smackdown for quite a while.
We're working to learn the context of Zelina's appearance at the WWE PC, but have been told the working plan is for her to return to the company.
We're told specifically, Zelina was filmed walking into the WWE Performance Center with Simone Johnson, the daughter of The Rock. We weren't told if this is supplemental footage or if there's a plan behind that specifically. We were also informed that Zelina's return has been in the works for a while.