Kairi Sane's status with WWE was pretty complicated as of last month.
Sane hasn't been on WWE TV since sustaining a cut to the head during a match with Nia Jax at the end of May, but there were already other plans for her at that time.
Many have been asking about Sane's contract status. That, we haven't heard, but as of May, there were plans for her to return to Japan and serve as an ambassador for WWE there. We have been provided no details as to how that would have affected her in-ring career with the company.
We did ask if this role was to involve the long-rumored expansion into Japan for WWE and NXT, and were just told that there is no expansion at this moment due to the COVID-19 situation. We were not informed as to whether or not the original plans for Sane even got far enough to discuss that.
In the weeks that followed, many have gone radio silent about Sane's status with the company. Many want her to continue wrestling, and all of those we've spoken had positive things to say about her. To be clear, we are unsure of how this situation has developed over the past month.
WWE has implemented new measures to help fight COVID, but several changes were already underway.
Fightful has learned that WWE had made several moves over recent weeks, including splitting the Raw and Smackdown tapings as to have fewer people around at the shows. These moves alone helped ease the mind of some on the roster that raised concerns. That didn't quite settle things, though.
After a hiatus of a few weeks due to COVID-19 concerns, a returning Raw star was said to have approached Vince McMahon shorty after his arrival at last week's Raw tapings. We've heard that the wrestler expressed his concerns about proper measures not being taken seriously enough, such as mask utilization and social distancing. This led to McMahon adding the rule that masks are mandatory and failure to comply will result in a fine.
When asked why McMahon hadn't already instituted the changes, another wrestler told Fightful that Vince McMahon is stowed away in an office during most of the taping days and doesn't typically see whether or not the practices are put in play. Occasionally Vince does appear at Gorilla Position, as well.
WWE PISS NEWS!
In case you were wondering, the now infamous segment featuring Jeff Hardy tossing a jug full o' piss on Sheamus' face was produced by D-Von Dudley and written by creative writer Zach Hyatt. There was also a road writer involved that we couldn't identify. The segment had originally called for the doctor to be named "Dr. Kirshenbaum," but it was never referenced on commentary for whatever reason.
For those asking us the latest on Shayna Baszler, there is no latest on her. She's not hurt or injured, and from what we were told she doesn't have COVID-19, she just simply hasn't been booked. Baszler worked directly with Paul Heyman on much of her run, but hasn't been used at all since beating Natalya in a submission match almost two months ago on Raw. We were not given a reason as to why she's not been used, but she's healthy.
We're told that there were significant changes across the board for Raw, Smackdown and even NXT in the coming weeks due to the adjustments of the roster, among other things. COVID testing has thrown a wrench into many plans for WWE.
Despite NWA offering to release anyone that wanted them, we're told the Zicky Dice release is not official yet. We reported on June 25 that Zicky Dice had been granted his release after requesting it, but that it wasn't finalized. Despite reports indicating that he was released, as of now, that hasn't happened. NWA and Dice have been going back and forth on terms of the release. There are others that are also working on their releases from the company
Kayla Braxton revealed herself as the person in WWE who originally contracted COVID-19 in March, which we later reported. At the time and since, Braxton received praise from WWE staff and talent we spoke to about her transparency and care for co-workers. She had WWE name her in a memo, as well as the circumstances in which she believed she contracted the virus originally. That would be the last time WWE would name someone, or even send out a memo regarding a positive COVID-19 test within the company up to this point.
I spoke with Richard Holliday, who confirmed to me that he did have discussions elsewhere prior to re-signing with MLW, and he used the term "contract" as opposed to "agreement," which indicates that he put pen to paper. He's very aware he has the "WWE look" as people call it, but wondered why that couldn't just be the "MLW look," and noted that there's plenty of crossover there. He thinks it's fun to think about what would happen if he went other places or followed someone like MJF over to AEW, but says that MLW is a great platform and one he has high hopes for. He'd prefer people just add MLW to their shortlist instead of saying that he and Alex Hammerstone should go to WWE, because they're already producing great programming within the MLW banner, and thinks that goes over people's heads sometimes as die-hard consumers of just one brand.
Initially getting into MLW was an interesting story as the company was primarily based out of Orlando, so booking Holliday out of New York was easier said than done. An opportunity came up when MLW ran New York and he did enough to impress Court Bauer enough to get the offer to come back and do more work with the brand.
The interview was partially in character, and partially not, and talked about his use of Airpods, the Carribbean Championship, and much more.