TJ Perkins told Andrew Thompson in a new interview that he always enjoyed working with Triple H and Vince McMahon in WWE, and had positive experiences with them. Lower management and producers, creative, writers is where he found the frustration. TJP said that a lof of people in those positions play favorites, which led to others getting held back accordingly. He opened up about the fabled "brass ring," but says that the lower management prevents it far more than Vince McMahon does.
TJP enjoys his freedom and not having his match laid out for him or being told what he could have said. He pitched moving over to NXT and wrote stories for all kinds of people to try to help out. He cited Jinder Mahal, Elias, Apollo Crews as people that he wanted to wrestle that were having trouble finding things creatively. TJP revealed that the plan for him was to be on Raw most of the year, but it never really materialized.
Perkins said that he was excited to make a return to AAW and spoke at length about his match with Myron Reed, putting him over accordingly. He said that catch wrestling is where his heart is and said that was the foundation for his style, but likes to dress it up a little more.
Alicia Atout is in talks -- or has been -- with AEW about how much work she will be doing moving forward. As of the time that I spoke to her in Las Vegas that was yet to be determined, but she did specify that her AMBY work would continue and she has no real plans to end it unless there was a major contract situation that outweighed it.
Alicia said that she had primarily dealt with Cody Rhodes in coming to All Elite Wrestling. I asked her to compare AEW and Impact, and while there wasn't that much of a comparison, she pointed out the grand stage that AEW Double or Nothing was on. She did, however, compare to All In, and said that the environment backstage was even better because everything on the production end at Double or Nothing went as planned, whereas All In had the big time crunch for the main event. She said one of the big differences was knowing there would be a future of AEW, as opposed to not knowing what was next for All In.
There was a lot of speculation about whether or not WWE knew Maria Kanellis and Mike were having a child when they re-signed. WWE was aware that the couple was actively trying to have another child, and were all on board with it happening. The couple found out about a week before the Raw angle, and let WWE know when the idea for the mixed tag team match was pitched. WWE then asked if they'd be comfortable announcing the pregnancy on the air.
Kip Sabian has a huge match against Adam "Hangman" Page this weekend, and Fightful was able to talk to him ahead of it. He had an impressive showing at a Double or Nothing scrum of all things, that really highlighted his magnetism on the microphone. He said considering his love of wrestling, being able to talk to the media about it was easy for him to do.
He reiterated that his job on Double or Nothing was to have a good performance on the pre-show and help lead to people both stateside and back home in the UK to buy the show. He feels like he helped do that, and said that the pre-show is a lot more pressure than many realize it to be, but he takes solace in the fact that he was a part of a lot of firsts with All Elite Wrestling.
When I asked him what drew him to AEW, he said that the fact that he was told that wins and losses would matter was crucial. Otherwise, he isn't quite sure why they're having the matches in the first place.
Fightful were able to get eyes on WWE's inactive list recently, which was brought up by Dave Meltzer back in the winter, but earned him some criticism. There is, in fact, an inactives list that has a comprehensive rundown of injured wrestlers, returns, and updates. The vast majority of them simply list "TBD."
There are also lists of wrestlers who are going to to miss television that week, and for what reason. For example, Finn Balor hadn't made it back from Ireland, and wasn't listed. Naomi and the Usos were listed as "on vacation," while Alexa Bliss was mentioned as having "an illness."
There's a section about two dozen long of "no contact" names, in which aren't to be involved in physcial angles. They range from names of commonly used performers such as Paige, all the way to Scott Hall, who is never on WWE TV.
Randy Orton returned from injury and vacation this week. Fightful learned last week that Orton had an evaluation on his neck, which was jammed up during live event matches with Aleister Black immediately following Super Showdown. Orton already had a couple of weeks of vacation time planned, and was given additional time off to heal up since there were no immediate plans for him on WWE TV. He was actually set to return last Saturday at a WWE live event, but missed it due to travel issues. The injury was not serious, at least as of last weekend.
WWE Teen Demo
I was able to speak with a well placed source who confirmed WWE's fear of losing even more of their teen demo, and look to key in on it after last week's monster teen increase. Paul Heyman is seen as the right man to help garner that demo, though he can only do as much as Vince McMahon allows. Those backstage and involved with creative meetings tell us Heyman is trying to still remain a "team member" despite his Executive Director status, and sits in the middle of the meetings as opposed to the front of the room.
News and Notes
- We were told Kofi Kingston tweaked his back, and it didn't look serious as of Tuesday afternoon.
- Sami Zayn is fine, there just hasn't been anything for him on TV the last few weeks.