We're told that there have been some major changes for Shayna Baszler this year. From the point she was called up to WWE Raw, she was penciled in to win the WWE Royal Rumble in January, before Charlotte Flair was decided on. However, we're told that call was actually finalized just hours before the event actually happened.
We're also told that at one point she was pegged to win the Raw Women's Title from Becky Lynch at WrestleMania, but Vince McMahon himself didn't think it was as effective when it wasn't in front of any fans. Becky Lynch has said that she even pitched to lose to Shayna, but it didn't end up happening.
One of our most sought out interviews was Kylie Rae, who doesn't do many these days. We established ahead of time that she'd already said her piece on her departure. She did open up, however, on how she ended up signing there. Shortly after the announcement of AEW, Britt Baker contacted her to find out what her goals in pro wrestling were, and if she'd want a contract. Kylie said she did, and ended up coming aboard.
She called herself a bit of an impulsive person and said that was especially the case last year. Admittedly, she said she wasn't much on long-term commitments at the point in which IMPACT brought her in for Bound For Glory, and passed up a contract offer. However, she was much more ready and prepared four months later, and said she jumped at the long-term contract offer.
Kylie seems ecstatic about her time with IMPACT thus far, and says that the locker room is very positive. She put over the depth of the women's roster, and how everyone brings something different.
Kylie has continued training during the pandemic, but said that there were a lot of measures taken at her school before they got started. She was complimentary of Booker T's wisdom, noting that the little things that he taught her are still popping up as big lessons.
ROH Contract News
LSG spoke to me, and clarified that while he's still working with Ring of Honor, he's no longer under contract to the company and is a free agent. He and longtime partner Shaheem Ali announced their split in January, and Ali hasn't worked for ROH since. LSG is doing a lot of work with WrestlePro and Synergy Pro of late, even becoming a trainer for the former.
LSG noted that he and Shaheem Ali were the first signings for Virtual Basement's game, and Ali had his eye on it as he's a big gamer. This was around the time their ROH deals were coming up, so they wanted to ensure something for their future, and didn't get any feedback from ROH on the idea. He said that he's been personally impressed with how well the game and the visuals are coming along. They recreated him in the game just based on social media photos and he joked that his butt was even accurate, which shocked him. LSG had actually been helping out recruit people to be in the game, as well.
Fightful was given a bit of info on the recent Smackdown that saw Matt Riddle debut. The segment was set up with lines on paper on the table in front of Renee Young and AJ Styles, and AJ was said to have been very funny during the filming, even joking about Daniel Bryan "strapping the fake velcro around his waist." During the segment, they'd get instructions via the PA speaker to reposition people before the Matt Riddle interruption. We're told Johnny Ace helped out a lot with the segment, and wanted to make sure Riddle got on the camera side where it could see that he wasn't wearing shoes. There was a spot where Riddle accidentally read one of AJ Styles' line, and followed up with a "my bad, bro," while a befuddled Johnny Ace looked on, and the NXT audience laughed, knowing Riddle's personality.
We heard the Braun Strowman promo took less coaching and instruction, as he was the only ingredient involved in it.
There was some concern after Jamie Noble noted that he'd tested positive, as Noble is very hands-on in his production. He's one of the people that physically repositioning people. There's no heat on him, as he's widely regarded one of the best producers in the company, it was more of a "wish we knew" type of situation. It's not a personality trait of his that raised the concern, as many producers have to reposition people in the same manner for contract signings, angles, and the like
If you wondered who was behind the recent push of Otis, it probably shouldn't come as a surprise that the Heavy Machinery member is a personal favorite of Vince McMahon. Fightful Select has been told that Otis is a "total Vince McMahon project." We're told that his ascent to stardom on the brand was likely consistent with this, but that both Tucker and Otis had long made positive impressions in about any locker room they were in as well.
We've reported several times about the ROH talent meeting that saw the company fly talent in to HQ in order to pitch suggestions. Both Joe Hendry and PJ Black have spoken to us on the record about it, and LSG has given us some details as well.
According to LSG, he was happy about the meeting because it was the first time many people got to speak to management. He, along with others, thought that it was a productive meeting that led to many things coming to fruition. One of the big things being pushed forward was the roster's desires for ROH to get on live TV.
ROH is in a unique situation in that parent company Sinclair uses them heavily for taped syndication content. Because their broadcast company owns them, they're permitted to live stream their tapings on Honorclub, and post recent episodes on their website. However, a live TV deal is not in place. Much of the roster spoke of the detriment that spoilers have on the product.
Fightful noted early in the week that WWE had informed some partners that they were planning an August 30 WWE Network special as far back as last month, but details were not provided. Pro Wrestling Unlimited reported that the plan was for WWE Evolution 2, but I should specify we can't confirm or deny that. It's worth noting that the details of the August 30 show were included in a group of optimistic-at-best plans for WWE, many of which have been delayed -- most notably a return to live crowds. This was also prior to the management shakeup within the company.
Fightful Select has learned that Vanessa Borne has been called up to the main roster, but there's more than meets the eye.
Fightful was told that Borne was actually called up as far back as January or February, which explains why she hasn't appeared on NXT at all since then. However, she's still not made her main roster debut.
Borne has been awaiting her debut, but moved, and hasn't been flown back in regularly since then. Borne's situation was compared to that of Riddick Moss, who had a deal coming up, and then was promoted to the main roster upon re-signing.
Since all this has unfolded, there have been major shifts in WWE, and we aren't sure of her status as of now or where she was to land.