House of Hardcore owner Tommy Dreamer revealed to me this week that WWE offered him "a lot of money" in order to shut down his promotion back when he was in the program with the Wyatts, Rhyno, and the Dudley Boyz. He said that he wouldn't sign a contract with them then, and certainly won't with Impact Wrestling, Lucha Underground, Ring of Honor, NXT or anywhere else that wants his services while he runs House of Hardcore. In the past, Dreamer has just walked away from situations that didn't suit him without burning any bridges, and sees his current work with Impact in a similar light.
He also opened up about how seriously he takes stipulations within a kayfabe world, citing how strict he is about keeping his word whenever one is applied to his matches. When I asked Eddie Edwards about what stipulation he'd have applied to their match last Sunday, he joked "leave my wife alone."
Moose talked to me ahead of his title match about his transition from football to wrestling. He knew immediately that he wanted to give pro wrestling a go, and it was part of the motivation for him to quit football when he did. He felt a great sense of pressure because of several of the players that didn't end up working well in pro wrestling.
Moose didn't seem too grief stricken about Impact doing away with the Grand Championship title that he's often identified with. He confirmed to me that there was WWE interest in 2015 in bringing him into Tough Enough, but wouldn't elaborate on the situation. Moose is also open to working with Stokely Hathaway again, and keeps in touch with him.
He sang the same tune as many others about the changes in Impact Wrestling about their locker room, co-promoting and more. From what I've heard personally, these are all genuine sentiments backstage in Impact these days.
Shane Helms - Jeff Jarrett
Jeff Jarrett and Shane Helms appeared together on a show in the UK recently, and killed off their heat that started about a year ago. Helms was a really liked, respected agent in TNA when Jeff Jarrett came in, and many believe that he was fired due to the "shrapnel heat" that he received because of his friendship with the Hardy Boyz. Helms was often put in unusual predicaments because of the friendship, including a time where he had to go to them and get TNA's tag team titles.
Jarrett approached Helms last weekend at the show and said that he apologized for a lot of things, and the two would later have a moment in the ring.
I spoke to those within WWE about Elias' album, which dropped earlier this week. WWE was more concerned with Elias charting, and subsequently touting that and using it on social media and their TV show than they were about it really making a lot of money, as the EP sold for under $3. Elias is well regarded in WWE for his commitment to his gimmick.
Producers this week
Mike Rotunda, formerly known in the ring as "Irwin R. Schyster" produced the show-stealing Rusev vs. Andrade 'Cien' Almas match that kicked off Smackdown Live on Tuesday. There were also a couple of squash matches on the menu, with Arn Anderson producing Samoa Joe vs. R-Truth, and Sarah Stock handling producer duties for the Asuka domination of Billie Kay.
There was a collaborative effort in the Tag Team Tournament match between New Day and SAnitY featured both Scott Armstrong and D-Von Dudley producing. To round things out, the highly touted Tyson Kidd, real name TJ Wilson was tasked with Becky Lynch's big win over Carmella
Over on Raw, we were able to find out that WWE Hall of Famer Michael "PS" Hayes was the producer in charge of helping out with the main event that saw Roman Reigns gain another WWE Universal Championship opportunity by defeating Bobby Lashley. Hayes also was the producer in charge of the Paige, James Ellsworth, AJ Styles, Samoa Joe segment that revealed Joe as the number one contender for Summerslam.
SD & Raw Notes
Smackdown Live had an episode title of "Premiere Issue," which was a nod to the main event segment and the lead in to the Miz & Mrs. reality show. WWE Monday Night Raw's title was "Monster Management," referencing Jinder Mahal and Braun Strowman's interaction.
I've obviously been asked a lot about the Matt Riddle situation. Flat out, I'll say that Matt Riddle has not answered any inquiries about him leaving WWN for WWE, but several people I talk to regularly within WWE told me barring some horrible unforeseen controversy, he'll be there in Brooklyn.
I spoke with Riddle on camera this week after I heard from my sources, but made it clear to Matt it would be under the condition that I wouldn't discuss the possibility of him jumping to WWE, Ring of Honor or elsewhere. Given the heat that has been on Fightful from certain companies of late, I didn't want him to think us interviewing him would be that "unforeseen controversy" that threw a wrench into any plans.
Matt was all too happy to get what I assume would be our last on-camera interview together, as WWE doesn't generally provide wrestling websites access to their stars. The interview (more of a discussion) will air in clips over the next several weeks. I mean, we have to get use out of that awesome "Matt Riddle's Bro Spot" intro that our team created last year.
There's also a lot of buzz about the future of Stokely Hathaway after the announcement of an August 12 match in which he and Tracy Williams will be putting their WWN careers on the line. I've heard nothing of Stokely being WWE bound, but know that everyone that I talked to with knowledge of the situation said he made a great impression at WWE Axxess and has people that speak highly of him.
Fightful.com reported this week that Maxwell Jacob Friedman sustained a tear in his LCL ligament and a small tear in his lateral meniscus. The injury has a 2-6 week recovery time, but MJF is hoping to be back in the ring by mid-August. He has big dates with MLW, and the All-In show in September.