For those unfamiliar with the Fightful Wrestling Weekly, it's about 1,000 words of exclusives or behind the scenes info from Fightful staffers that may be unique to this column, or may be something you've missed from recent interviews. We also provide clarity and additional info to other reports. You can subscribe to Fightful Select and get the Weekly two days early, and hear it broken down on our Fightful Backstage Report podcast.
Killer Kross Expanded
To follow up on my Killer Kross interview that aired a few day before his face-off with Jon Moxley, I brought up to him that UFC veteran Phil Baroni has been calling him out. Baroni is working an angle, and mentioning that he fought Kross' father decades ago, but Kross seems to think Baroni would be better served speaking to a promoter about it to gauge interest. Kross is fond of Baroni, and told me that he'd absolutely do the match if demand is there.
We spoke about Kross adjusting his style between Impact, LU and Bloodsport, and he told me that he never takes the same approach. He has a goal to make his work different than everyone else on the show to help vary up what comes through on screen. He values fan input, and doesn't want to be in a position where he sees himself as above listening to the fans just because he has experience, citing 'go away heat' as a real thing.
I mentioned on Twitter that WWE doesn't particularly like giving wrestling websites interviews, instead opting for places with call letters (radio stations & TV outlets) and traditional news outlets beyond wrestling. We actually had several NXT performers mention that they were encouraged to set up interviews, so we'll so how that goes.
Anderson and Gallows
In regards to Anderson and Gallows, we reached out to several names within the company, including one that hadn't even heard that the team had re-signed in the days following the deal. That same name was sure that they'd be gone just a week or two prior when we spoke with them, and noted that New Japan Pro Wrestling and other companies had already showed interest.
The feeling that we got from wrestlers we spoke to wasn't one of optimism, but rather one of saying they couldn't really fault Gallows and Anderson for setting themselves up for the future. One wrestler said "more confident in this company than I am. I wouldn’t hold my breath as far as tag teams getting an opportunity."
Both Gallows and Anderson seem well liked based on the names that we spoke to, with one backstage employee particularly putting over their work in the gym, despite the fact that they weren't being booked.
The money figure that we heard going around was absolutely bonkers.
A page of a WWE script leaked online last week ahead of Raw, but this time it was a hard copy. The company still has leaks for their documents, but often changes up the content included in an effort to flush out who released them if they do get out. At least for a period last year, several television stations that got the WWE rundowns would only get listings as "superstar vs. superstar" and the like, as a way to suppress the information. This became a nightmare for people who cued up commercials and pertinent transitions.
WWE Performance Center
- We were told that Scott Hall was set to be at the Performance Center soon, possibly as soon as this week. In addition, Danny Cage of the Monster Factory is set to guest coach there starting July 21. He previously worked with Ring of Honor, as well. Longtime indie wrestler Chris Michaels was also there recently.
- WWE has been working on a new Performance Center series to air on the WWE Network Mondays after Raw.
- There was talk of Tommaso Ciampa's neck surgery in the spring being "minimally invasive," but that being said, it's still neck surgery. WWE isn't expecting him to be out as long as the likes of Steve Austin, Lita, Rhyno, Edge, and any number of other wrestlers that missed a year.
Lars Sullivan is listed on WWE's internal injury report as being out until late June 2020, but considering his experience with knee surgery in the past, he's not actually expected to be out that long. Initial reports suggested a 6-9 month recovery period, which we're told is more in line with what WWE expects out of him.
MJF was reported to have a "severe elbow injury" last weekend after Fight For The Fallen. We're told that he did sustain an injury, but that it shouldn't keep him out of action that long, and it was a precautionary measure as he wanted to be ready to tag with Cody Rhodes at AAA.
It shouldn't be surprise that WWE officials weren't exactly thrilled with the Kristine Leahy clip, questioning Bayley about why WWE wrestlers don't have drivers and mentioning Collective Bargaining Agreements. That being said, we're told that there's no heat on Bayley, and those in management positions we spoke to said she did about as well as possible.
When speaking to a couple of wrestlers on the matter, one said that they know the deal when they sign on the dotted line, but civilians don't. That same wrestler said they'd be happy with employment status and benefits, but not at the expense of their own jobs or someone else's. The talent didn't see themselves as a victim and said that the conversation is worth having whenever it comes up.
- Adam Cole was brought in to Extreme Rules to film things, and had flown out by Monday morning.
- Undertaker & Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre & Shane McMahon went over their allotted time by a few minutes on the show.
- Sasha Banks was not listed on the rundown and not planned to be there.
- Paul Heyman had no issues with Nakamura/Balor being on the pre-show, contrary to rumors.
- WWE had a mandatory meeting Sunday about inclusion, acceptance and the like as is pertains to gender and sex.
Daniel Bryan's "career altering announcement" that had a lot of people worried is not about an injury, we're told. Bryan didn't end up making the announcement, but there aren't any worries on that front as of right now.
Eric Bischoff will get rolling on Smackdown next week, and starts with them then. He was familiarizing himself with everything by watching the show this week, but was at the WWE offices Wednesday. He had no hand in Tuesday night's show, and was actually filming a podcast with Afterbuzz TV towards the end of it.