Fightful standout Jeremy Lambert spoke to Flip Gordon recently about his return to the ring. Gordon told Fightful that he's motivated and reinvigorated after being burned out prior to his injury. He mentioned that he was making a lot of mistakes in overthinking things due to his relative inexperience in wrestling, as well as so many of his friends leaving for All Elite Wrestling. He wasn't sure where he stood in ROH, or how much they believe in him, but he wants to be a piece they can build around, and his time off helped him fall back in love with wrestling.
As far as ROH building around him, he knows his age can be a hurdle, but he's hoping to overcome that. He mentioned wanting to work with Will Ospreay, Robbie Eagles and Marty Scurll in New Japan's BOSJ tournament.
MOXLEY-Talk Is Jericho
Fightful was able to speak to several wrestlers and employees this week who both echoed the same sentiment shared by the former Dean Ambrose, and feared that they'd end up in the same boat creatively. One went as far as to say that Moxley's words broke their heart, because it reflected the way that they've felt, saying they reach the point of physical nausea when they get to TV every week. However, the same talent said that they're glad the story is out there.
The discussion of the weight of Moxley's words was broached as well, with this particular talent believing Moxley's held more water than that of CM Punk's did when he left back in 2014. The wrestler also said that they've always thought they could make anything work, but seemed to doubt that moving forward.
Another went to the trouble of contacting us and saying that if things don't improve, they'll be leaving when their contract is up, and saying they've already mentally checked out until that point. None of the blame was put on the writers, citing that they had a "frustrating job and a tough time answering to Vince McMahon." The wrestler said that McMahon has built an infrastructure that makes him tough to gain access to, with writers and producers that fear for their jobs and subsequently don't provide as much constructive criticism as they should.
One writer we reached out to simply said "He's not lying," in regards to Moxley's passionate interview.
I guess it wasn't all negative, as people backstage said that Vince McMahon particularly enjoyed this week's opening Raw segment with Roman Reigns, The Usos, The Revival, Drew McIntyre and Shane McMahon.
Andrew Thompson briefly spoke to Ace Romero ahead of AEW Double or Nothing, and got him to open up about the show and the pounce that he's most known for. He also spoke positively of his experience in MLW, saying that he's learning a lot there.
Kojima and Nagata
The NJPW duo spoke to Fightful about their desire to take on other legends of the business, including the Rock N Roll Express and Jushin Thunder Liger, which Kojima said he wanted to face the latter as they haven't had a singles match in almost ten years. Nagata also told Fightful's Jeremy Lambert that he's okay not being in the G1, and doesn't think Kojima would retire from the tournament formally, whether he ends up in it or not.
I was able to talk to Triple H before NXT Takeover 25 last week, and I approached the subject of people on the roster like Nikki Cross and Stokely Hathaway creating their own content. Triple H said that he can't keep up with all of it, and that a WWE team makes sure it's all above board. He claims it's something WWE is encouraging at the Performance Center, and likes seeing talent taking matters into their own hands to help build an investment in their personal brand.
The irony of this situation is that since this conversation, I've been told that NXT is cracking down on social media video content, with one casualty already happening.
I asked him about the possibility of the UFC coming for Matt Riddle once his popularity explodes, as they can often find use for a guy exposed on worldwide television. Triple H isn't convinced that Riddle himself would actually want to fight in the UFC again -- and he's not wrong. However, if the situation presented itself, HHH says that it's something they'd discuss with Riddle, and pointed to an Indian talent that gets a lot of film and TV roles back home that they sometimes jump on.
I had the pleasure of talking to Sean Waltman at Starrcast, who thanked me on camera for an article I wrote, which was very flattering to me. The article itself was about his influence, which he said that he's often approached about, but quickly credited many others. He said that he was fortunate enough to get the right platform an opportunity to help it shine through. He also noted that while his stamp of approval probably helped Matt Riddle a little bit, Riddle was talented enough to where he was going to be discovered anyway. Waltman says that he prefers teaching to scouting, and that he'd be at the WWE PC soon.
Andrew Thompson spoke to Justin Roberts after Double or Nothing, and he told us that he plans on working both Fyter Fest and Fight for the Fallen. He'd lost his voice a bit, but put over the experience at Double or Nothing, as well as the backstage environment surrounding the show. He also said he was happy with the reception to his autobiography a couple of years ago.
Former WCW and WWE Superstar Dean Malenko was very succinct in his words upon being hired as a coach/agent for All Elite Wrestling. He told me that anything that helps out wrestlers and gives them another outlet to work in is a positive for him, and he was excited to get to work. He poked a little bit of fun at Chris Jericho, but cited his habit of taking care of himself as a reason for his longevity. We also briefly spoke about the ins and outs of his Texas Cloverleaf finishing hold.
WWE chartered a flight to Saudi Arabia, which was said to be much more comfortable this time around. During previous flights, things had been cramped and hard to deal with. WWE talent were given a list of rules and regulations for the visit.