Fightful interviewed Zicky Dice, and he confirmed that he had been working without an NWA contract at the time he won their TV Title. Since then, however, he has signed a deal for the remainder of the year with NWA. He joked with me that you don't want a guy like Zicky Dice working without a contract.
Zicky spoke with us about his friendship with Ricky Starks, and said that he's been filming content along with him lately. He was sad to see Ricky Starks step away from the NWA, and thinks the two can make money together in the company. However, he says that anything is possible and Starks could find himself back in the company.
He got into wrestling because his band's tour manager recommended he try it out because of his stage presence. He loved pro wrestling and knew Seth Rollins, so contacted him and moved from California to Iowa in order to train with him. Rollins was a doubter and admittedly hard on Zicky, but Dice says that Rollins is very involved in his school and is a great trainer. Hearing that Rollins was proud of him made him happy, because Rollins thought Zicky was going to bullshit his way through everything.
Scott Norton and NWO Sting
I found it kind of poetic that Scott Norton, a noted Japanese Wrestling "Sirloin Sunsabitch" as we'd call him, told me that Joey Janela would be the one person he'd love to take to Japan to work if he could. He put over Janela's toughness and says that it would have translated well to the way Japan worked.
Speaking of translating well, NWO Sting definitely did. The two were side-by-side for these interviews and Norton spent a good amount of time touting at how important Jeff Farmer's impact was. He said that people here in the States don't really understand what NWO Sting was able to do with his character over in Japan. Farmer credited Scott Norton with getting him into Japan, and the fact that a lot of his bookings originated there.
Norton is very grateful for his opportunities, including the ability to write his very well received book. We discussed his ability to be a storyteller in the ring compared to being an author. It took him five or six years to write the book and was not easy.
He also knew immediately that Japan was going to be a place that he worked in for a long time, and it instantly clicked.
For those that have asked, the person within WWE who had tested positive for COVID-19 fully recovered several weeks ago and has long since returned to work. We've not heard of any other positive tests in WWE, IMPACT or All Elite Wrestling as they continue to hold audience-less shows. Talent were notified of the positive WWE COVID-19 test via the internal talent relations app.
Matt Riddle Call Up
Matt Riddle's call up sent shock waves through multiple brands.
Fightful has learned that after a meeting with Vince McMahon, a decision had been made to call Matt Riddle up to the main roster. Due to the issues surrounding the world and the Coronavirus Pandemic, that was a little easier said than done.
Riddle was one-half of the NXT Tag Team Champions with Pete Dunne, who is stuck in the UK due to a travel ban. Initially, Fightful was told the company was fine to wait it out and see how things played out until he got back. A decision was made to bring in the team of Indus Sher, managed by Malcolm Bivens. The two started a feud with Riddle, which was to continue until Dunne came back. When it became clear that Riddle would need to drop the NXT Tag Team Titles, there wasn't enough confidence in Indus Sher to be in that spot as of yet, and they were temporarily removed from TV. We are told that Matt Bloom personally thinks the Indus Sher team has high upside.
With Riddle's call-up, Imperium was given the tag titles, as NXT officials feel they were better prepared to carry them. Timothy Thatcher was brought in as Riddle's temporary partner and eventual rival. When we asked how Pete Dunne would be impacted by all of this, we were told that there are no firm plans for anyone stuck overseas, but it's possible he could appear on NXT UK tapings in the event the company gets those up and going.
Riddle And Thatcher
Speaking of Matt Riddle, his NXT farewell match was received exceptionally well by many of influence in NXT. One source in NXT told us that with any new match type there's some hesitation, and some there weren't as familiar with Timothy Thatcher's work as they should have been. However, both Riddle and Thatcher impressed along the way.
Fightful was informed of a couple of re-shoots from the last set of tapings. As plenty of you saw, Otis took on Baron Corbin on Smackdown this past week. We're told that Otis ended up having to take four pretty brutal spinebusters due to re-films, and were told that wasn't even the part of the match that was messed up.
There was also a re-shoot during an MVP promo, because he referred to the audience as "NXT Superstars." Someone came over the loud speaker to cut off the promo to say to only refer to the audience as "Performance Center recruits."
For those asking, yes, Drake Maverick knew about the renewed WWE contract ahead of time -- it wasn't a surprise. It was unclear to those we've heard from when WWE decided to go this route with the story.
NXT and PC wrestlers were informed June 3 they'd also be working the In Your House and Backlash shows. This is in addition to Raw, Smackdown and NXT tapings. They have not received additional pay for this. Most of the roster have still been doing classes, but they're usually virtual tape study.
For those wondering, it would appear that WWE Backlash will not be completely live. WWE brought in Performance Center recruits this morning to film at the WWE Performance Center for the WWE Backlash show that runs next weekend to tape parts of it. As of now, we've not heard if there are any cinematic elements planned for the show. Also, as of 1 PM, things hadn't got rolling yet.
NXT In Your House, however, was set to be live. When the filming for Backlash wrapped up, the recruits were be taken to Full Sail University, where they will appear on the live WWE NXT In Your House.
The recruits had a call time at 8:30 AM, and were told to expect to be working until midnight. Chairs? I dunno!
We've had a few subscribers reach out about updates on Mercedes Martinez and Shayna Baszler's status' of late. We are told that despite not being on WWE Raw the last couple of weeks, Baszler is fine. When we asked around about Mercedes Martinez, we'd simply been told that she hasn't mentioned an injury of late, though she's been off TV since February of this year.
Triple H Job
Triple H told me the following about his new job title: "It really didn't (change). It was just to make a concerted focus with NXT being live every week and NXT UK, obviously before the pandemic. Plus, the increase drive from us to shift to a larger international presence in the same format. Replicating what we did with NXT (in the US) and NXT UK, taking that to a whole other level. Going to other countries; India, Middle East, Latin America, Japan, Mexico. Putting a focused increase on all of that. I still do all of the stuff I did before, I just don't have the day-to-day responsibilities. Sometimes, people see the titles, but they don't understand what's going on and the responsibilities of what the categories are. I don't have to have the day-to-day responsibilities of live events domestically and internationally, which is a lot. The talent relations aspect, the travel, all those aspects, the intense day-to-day; those were all things that I was responsible for that was taken off my plate to give me more freedom to be able to grow internationally and development of talent and expand that out."
Fortunately, multiple people at the NXT post-show talent meeting were willing to "snitch to the dirt sheets" and gave us some supplemental information. While Triple H did note that he was willing to have conversations with talent, we're told that he mentioned that this is an important time in the world, and he was proud of his talent for standing up. Triple H was said to have been emotional, and said that he wants everyone to matter in WWE and NXT, regardless of race, religion, orientation, language, and culture and wants their talent to set an example for the rest of the world.