The final article from what may be my last interview with Shane Helms is dropping soon, and covers Shane's experience at All In. Shane got a ton of bookings in 2018 in what was a major resurgence for him after he'd left Impact. One of those was a triple booking on the day of All In that saw him host a live podcast, appear in the All In pre-show battle royal, then go back to host a watch party. Helms said the timing was tight and he barely made it, having to be driven back by Dave Herro.
As far as the booking for All In, Shane says he reached out to Cody and offered himself up to do anything needed on the show. Cody was fearful that an offer he would make to Shane was too low, and Helms claims that he sent Cody the payoff back as a way of thanking him for doing things the right way in a wrestling world that doesn't always see things happen that way. Helms briefly spoke about the match, saying that he thinks the pop for him hitting chokeslams worked more since he didn't land it at the Royal Rumble eight months prior.
I spoke to Jordynne Grace several times last weekend in regards to her wild weekend. As it turns out, she was offered a four-year contract by Impact Wrestling last fall, but wanted to negotiate down to two. After the concession was made, the contract was never returned to her and she'd been working without one for quite some time. Fightful had been told by a couple of interviewers that when contract subjects were broached in recent months, she'd avoided answering those.
Grace informed Impact Wrestling during Rebellion weekend that she was working without a contract, and asked for a raise on her current deal, feeling she'd proven her worth to the company. Initially, that was rejected. As a result, Grace began speaking with the likes of ROH and NWA. We're told at some point she's spoken to WWE and AEW as well.
Grace's hope was to remain with Impact, but wanted to be comfortable financially in doing so. She spoke highly of the locker room and management, noting that she knows she's happy in Impact, doesn't quite know what AEW is yet, and isn't so sure she'd be happy in ROH or WWE. Her contract is for two years, but starts as of last weekend, as opposed to last October.
When speaking to her, she was cognizant of the timing, and admitted that news of the contract being leaked probably benefited her with AEW's show this weekend. However, she's already booked up this weekend and wouldn't have been able to appear for AEW anyway.
I spoke to former WWE Superstar Kevin Thorn ahead of a benefit show he promoted, and somehow got Monty Brown on the event. He said that Brown and himself have kept in touch since their WWE days, and when Brown found out that the show was being promoted to help a child diagnosed with cancer, he agreed to do it, no questions asked.
Thorn also talked to me about his WWECW run, mentioning that originally Gangrel was supposed to team with him, and he thinks they could have done great stuff with one another. The topic of Gangrel sending emojis came up, which prompted the reveal that Bob Holly is among the worst smiley face emoji offenders around.
Eric Bischoff helped out Fightful with a few upcoming projects, including an upcoming feature on Rick Martel. I spoke to Bischoff about things that he liked and didn't like about WWE production, and he said for his tastes that WWE production was a little bit too glossy. He said that it takes away from the live aspect of the show and the perception that anything can happen, and affects the sense of urgency that the program has. He put over going live as a more important strategy than having cool graphics on a television show, but that the audience has been conditioned to expect everything to be so slick that is affects the element of spontaneity.
He took a look at some of the aspects and tactics that WCW used to catch up to WWE. After production values increased so drastically in the 1980s for WWF, many companies were struggling to catch up. Bischoff looked at going live, having resources, and doing things differently (and in different locations) as integral to WCW's growth.
We also talked about the success of his podcast, which he sees as a good opportunity to help set the record straight on what he considers misconceptions of WCW. He says that his show is completely different than the other Conrad Thompson-guided podcasts as he goes into the business end of WCW more than most shows.
- WWE didn't have the finish for the Kofi Kingston vs. Kevin Owens match set ahead of Sunday, and several matches didn't have definitive winners going into the day. We're told that they didn't even know if Owens would be able to wrestle Sunday.
- Speaking of Owens, he informed WWE he didn't want to go to Saudi Arabia.
- WWE is heading back to China, as reported on Fightful Select. We're told the Mercedez Benz Arena in Shanghai will once again be the destination.
- We ran a story this week noting that WWE is looking to differentiate hour three of WWE Raw as far as look and presentation go.
- Vince McMahon was not happy due to a couple of unnoticeable ref spots in the Revival vs. Usos match this week on WWE Raw.
While Tom Magee is booked for Starrcast and appeared on the WWE documentary, there were other suitors along the way. We're told that both Game Changer Wrestling and Highspots made an attempt at bringing in Magee for WrestleMania weekend, shortly after his WWE match was found. However, Magee had a large asking price that neither matched.
In regards to WWE's acquisition of the Magee-Hart match, we're told that WWE gained access to the tape from Mary Kate Anthony on the condition that it could also be shown at Starrcast. WWE agreed, and began production on "Holy Grail." The match was picked up on April 19th, and the Starrcast deal was announced five days later. Bret's segment was said to be filmed over WrestleMania weekend.
I reached out to Giancarlo Dittamo for this story, but didn't gain a ton of clarity.