I messaged Matt Riddle about the completely insane "Doomsday Destroyer" he did, which saw him leap off the top rope and hit a Canadian Destroyer on an opponent that was on another person's shoulders. When I insinuated that he didn't practice the move before he did it (which looked great), he asked "How do you practice that?" about a move that we just talked about him pulling off successfully. He didn't reply to my questions about the length of his WWN deal.
Tyson Kidd, who has received high marks for his work as a producer in the past, help put together the women's handicap match between Asuka and Absolution members Mandy Rose and Sonya Deville. The interactions between Deville and Asuka were heavily MMA and shoot-style influenced, as both have training.
The brief Karl Anderson vs. Harper match was produced by WWE Hall of Famer Arn Anderson, while former Money Inc. member and WWF Tag Team Champion employed some of his tag team expertise in helping with the Naomi & Jimmy Uso vs. Lana & Aiden English match.
Adam Pearce would end up pulling double duty on the show, but not from a production standpoint. He did produce one match, in Charlotte Flair vs. Becky Lynch, but would also appear in the Shinsuke Nakamura/AJ Styles contract signing.
As we've mentioned before, producers who have extensive experience with a certain type of match often are assigned those to help out with. It should come as no surprise that Fabulous Freebird member Michael Hayes was charged with producing the New Day vs. Samoa Joe, Miz, & Rusev match that main evented on Tuesday night.
Raw & Smackdown Production Notes
It's worth noting that some of the segments were pretty vaguely listed on this week's Raw and Smackdown Live scripts. The Big Cass promo was only listed as a "Renee Young promo in the ring," and made no mention of him whatsoever.
The contract signing between Nakamura and AJ Styles was listed as a "live shot," indicating it wasn't a pre-tape. On the Smackdown Live side of things, the production script telegraphed that Paige would be hosting a Women's Money in the Bank summit next week when the brand visits Memphis.
The WWE Raw production script included directions for before the show, including the need to hang Money in the Bank briefcases above the ring, lower the lights, set up a stool inside the ring and send Elias (with his guitar) out. These cues aren't often included in these scripts. This is the case for things later like "achieving separation between Rollins & Reigns and Elias & Jinder Mahal." This would be the first time I've seen anything like this, and comically include instructions to bring out tacos, and later clean them up during the commercial break.
There was another notable, yet odd part of the script. While Curt Hawkins faced "James Harden" on Raw (a Houston Rockets star), the script actually called for him to take on "Steph Curry," a star for the rival Golden State Warriors, hated in Houston. Either WWE didn't realize what they were trying to get a reaction for, or changed their mind about it.
As far as titles for the programs go, Smackdown Live was titled "Masks of Insecurity," while Monday Night Raw was titled "B-Lieve," a reference to the B-Team's emerging success.
CM Punk had a really interesting quote to us after the ruling of his lawsuit this week where he said "I don't have to relive me being forced to work through concussions anymore."
As Jeff Hawkins noted on the Smackdown Live post-show, for Chris Amann to have won that lawsuit and proved that he suffered professionally, he would have needed a member of the WWE roster to basically come in and admit that they lost faith in him as a professional to do his job. Not only did that not happen, but Amann has advanced professionally since the podcast in question dropped.
Punk having this ruled in his favor pretty well opened things up to him making that statement about concussions. It's really unlikely WWE or Amann would want or try to go after Punk for a statement like that, as that's a situation they go out of their way to avoid and tiptoe the line on, to the point they wouldn't even want attention brought to it in the form of a lawsuit.
With Punk's UFC fight coming up this weekend, he told us that in a strange way, the trial helped him focus on it.
There were also questions as to whether or not CM Punk and Colt Cabana's friendship was strained by the trial, as they've not appeared together in any media in quite a while. The two seemed friendly during the case, and Punk even told us he was happiest for Cabana that he didn't have to go through this anymore.
Punk almost never speaks to pro wrestling websites for any reason, but this seemed a special exception. The only other two occasions I can recall previously was when we spoke to him in 2016 ahead of his fight, and Chris Van Vliet, who also works for a TV station, asking him about his wrestling future.
AJ Lee was said to have been 'jubilant' by the verdict.
Fightful also spoke to Colt Cabana outside of the courtroom, who joked that we were going to get in trouble because our camera caught a glimpse inside the courtroom for a fraction of a second. Cabana told us that he felt confident throughout the trial, but his attorney had prepared him for the unpredictability of a jury. He also said that the situation had caused a lot of negativity to his life that he doesn't typically let in. Despite all of this, he never considered the podcast in question as something that he'd done wrong, because he wanted his friend in Punk to be able to tell his story.
Cabana also encouraged podcasters to get insured, as all of this was coming out of his pocket financially, something he learned a valuable lesson from.