Information is filtering in about the firing of Big Cass, just two days after he had, quite frankly, the best match of his life. Vince McMahon called a private meeting that was so early that most people we spoke to didn't even see Cass in Toledo at the show. Contrary to what was circulating on Tuesday, there was not a public meeting in which Cass was fired in front of everyone. WWE has been known to have some longtime employees flown to television tapings to fire them, and flew Chris Jericho in to tell him they wouldn't allow him to use NXT talent on his cruise, but don't typically like to fire someone in that regard.
As far as why, we're told that Big Cass had heat on him both from management and from a wrestler standpoint. There were longstanding rumors that Cass was a brash supporter of Donald Trump, which likely didn't do him any favors considering WWE's diverse roster, but was barely brought up with the people we spoke to. As it turns out, he was a little unruly on the European tour and his drinking got out of hand, but that was hardly the only reason.
Cass had heat from management stemming from the week after the Greatest Royal Rumble, and the "little person" segment was a big source of that. Originally, Daniel Bryan was scheduled to make the save after Cass big booted the little person in question, but due to his chest being heavily bruised from the Greatest Royal Rumble, Bryan was held off TV. As a result, we're told that Cass had pitched a more extended beat down on the "little person," which was rejected. Cass would do it anyway, and that aspect would be scrubbed from WWE's social media.
We've also heard stories of Cass being confrontational backstage, and even making attempts to kick visitors out of the locker room area who were well known in WWE circles. He was seen as a pain to work with from a production standpoint, a management standpoint, and not a positive presence -- breaking down doors on tour buses, even.
Had the chance along with other media ahead of the NJPW G1 Special in San Francisco. He told me that during his time as a junior heavyweight, he was dealing with a pretty bad neck injury that ran the risk of getting a lot worse. In the two years since he's moved up to heavyweight, however, he's gotten to a point physically where there's nothing he can't do now that he couldn't do then.
As far as E3 as his matchup goes, he got it cleared with New Japan Pro Wrestling ahead of time, but admitted that the company didn't really understand the gravity of what was going to go down. When NJPW got a new President, Omega caught him up to speed on how everything would go down, and the President was all for it. Since E3, Omega hasn't spoken to him again because they've been all over the map.
I asked him if facing Chris Jericho at the age Jericho is potentially motivated him to carry on the same kind of legacy. Omega said that Jericho was the first wrestler he really patterned himself after, so it would be somewhat poetic for his career to find that same path, and he can't really envision himself slowing down any time soon. If he does for some unforeseen reason, he has faith in the New Japan Pro Wrestling roster to be able to carry themselves, even globally.
Sort of a weird situation on WWE Smackdown Live this week. Fightful.com ran a story on Smackdown announcers being told not to refer to NXT at all during Sanity's appearance on the show. There was no explanation given when I reached out about why this was.
I was able to speak to Triple H after NXT Takeover: Chicago and asked him about Velveteen Dream's Hulk Hogan and Prince Puma inspired entrance and ring gear. HHH seemed a little stumped at first, clearly not wanting to reference Hulk Hogan, but said that he encourages Patrick Clark to continue to be unique and step outside the box because it does nothing but help the character that he develops. He knows that a lot of the stuff that Dream is doing can be seen as a wink and a nod and a lot of the crowd won't get it, but knows that those who do will have their experience set off by it.
WWE went out of their way to not post any photos of Velveteen Dream's Hulk Hogan related gear on their website, even though they posted the full entrance on their Youtube. The digital wings of things don't seem to have any rhyme or reason for some things like that.
This weeks' WWE Raw script (posted for free on FightfulSelect.com) featured some scene-setting, and direction notes liked fading up to Kurt Angle in the ring, "establishing" Curt Hawkins in the ring and the like. It went in depth on the scripting of Bayley and Sasha Banks' shot where Banks drove off. I posted a look word for word how WWE set it up on Twitter, which you can check out below. Other than that, there was nothing particularly outstanding other than that it telegraphed that there would be a Seth Rollins vs. Dolph Ziggler re-match next week -- there was no mention of who the champion actually would be at that point.
Raw & SD Production Notes
Smackdown Live this week was titled "Finite Gauntlet," while Raw was titled "Monster in the Bank." Both of those are pretty self explanatory.
One of the commentator's notes was: "Kofi Kingston Put On A Show-Stopping Performance In The Men’s
Money In The Bank Ladder Match But Wasn’t Able To Overcome The Odds." Fightful will have a full article in the coming weeks about notes left for commentators and lines that are fed to them to read verbatim.