In case you were wondering, Tama Tonga told Fightful that he very much still considers Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows full fledged members of Bullet Club. He said that they didn't get kicked out and it's "blood in, blood out." However, Scott D'Amore was only an honorary member, so maybe he needs an honorary ass kicking to get him out of it.
He was excited to get to heal up and rest up, but worried that he wasn't going to have a job after the first couple of months of the pandemic. His routine is a little out of wack after going to Japan for so long, but he was enjoying the adjustment. He wants to get back to NJPW but is very happy with NJPW Strong.
Tama said that sometimes he gets a little heat from New Japan Pro Wrestling for cursing on the air and they ask him to stop. However, it's always a respectful conversation and by now, NJPW already sort of knows what they have there.
NJPW Working With Other Companies
Tama Tonga says that he sees Harold Meij's vision, but hasn't seen it executed just yet, and to maybe give him another year or two. On the subject of working with other companies, he said that you never say never about that, but he understands why New Japan is hesitant because there's no respect in wrestling. He pointed to NJPW building a lot of the AEW guys, WWE making an effort to sign a half dozen NJPW wrestlers in 2016, TNA/Impact constantly screwing over NJPW, issues with Jeff Jarrett and Global Force Wrestling, and ROH bringing in Enzo and Cass without letting NJPW know as all cases where New Japan have been burned when working with other people.
We're told that the emotional finish to WWE Raw last week went way longer than what we saw on TV. Fightful learned that Randy Orton's promo was much more than what was actually broadcast, with multiple people in attendance saying there were "minutes" of material that didn't end up getting used. When we spoke to others in WWE, we were told it was an edit simply to fit time and didn't have anything to do with quality.
On Thursday, Jimmy Havoc's profile disappeared from AEW's website, as noted by @SOduTw on Twitter. Multiple sources have told us that Jimmy Havoc was "done with the company," though additional details are few and far between. Several wrestlers noted that at the tapings on Thursday, word going around was that Havoc was out of AEW. It should be noted that wrestlers, nor media were given official word on this status. Havoc has been out of action since many allegations surfaced regarding him during the Speaking Out Movement in June. He was to attend rehab immediately.
Fightful has reached out to All Elite Wrestling about the status of Jimmy Havoc, as well as Bea Priestley, whose profile was also removed from the website.
Some Smackdown talent ended up getting a look at a depth chart that WWE officials posses recently, which listed babyface and heel talent, and where they're seen on the card. From what Fightful was told, Braun Strowman was listed as the top babyface on the brand, while Jeff Hardy followed at second, and Matt Riddle was listed behind them in third. We were told that at the time, Daniel Bryan wasn't listed, as he has been at home of late. This was before
Fightful has heard from multiple sources that several recent WWE call-ups have not received new contracts. Many of them are actually working lighter schedules than they were in NXT before the pandemic started. One source high up in WWE told us that the topic of extending the contracts or offering new ones will likely be broached when things "return to normal," though that's much easier said than done. WWE has no idea what their live event schedule will look like when that happens, or even if they'll have one outside of TV.
We've heard that Angel Garza may have been an exception to this rule, but his debut also happened shortly before the COVID-19 era in which slowed those new contracts down.
Jeff Cobb spoke to us about his recent contract negotiations, but did not specify to us where he'd signed. He admittedly felt like the Belle of the Ball for a while when everyone was making him offers. Speaking of, he stated that WWE did make contact with him during his free agency period, but IMPACT Wrestling did not.
We spoke to Cobb about his time in All Elite Wrestling, and says that he felt like things were good there. We asked about the remaining dates that were rumored to have been tied to the agreement, and he said that although he thinks very highly of All Elite Wrestling, he wasn't exactly excited to travel to Florida with how the state handled the pandemic and the risk associated.
AEW, Matt Hardy, Sammy Guevara
We're told the scene was "chaotic" two weeks ago following the errant chair throw from Sammy Guevara. Nobody in AEW that we spoke to thought that the spot was intentional, but many thought that it was reckless. We heard that a usually mild-tempered Matt Hardy was heated after the incident and felt lucky that it wasn't worse than it ended up being. There was heat on Guevara afterwards, even though he apologized, as the show was taped and the spot could have been done a number of different ways.
WWE Raw Underground
We're told the filmings for last week's Raw Underground segments went much smoother than the first batch that were taped the same day. One source indicated to Fightful that they found their footing a little bit more, but they were still producing content past 1 AM at those tapings.
The return of Velveteen Dream was kept very private, and most wrestlers only knew about it in the minutes ahead of the NXT show in which he performed. There has long been significant heat on Velveteen Dream for behavioral issues and what is perceived as preferential treatment in multiple situations that would have had most anyone else fired. This was also the case with his return. WWE have not provided any update on disciplinary action taken towards him for any incidents or accusations, and Fightful contributor David Bixenspan has been looking into his car punching incident, which has some unique snags to it.
- There were a number of fans who were invited to the show, and it was not available for ticket purchase.
- Tony Khan came out to encourage the crowd the be loud and rowdy -- without profanity. #FTF
- Masks were being strictly enforced, with people patrolling the crowd to make sure masks were up when people weren't eating or drinking.
- Though television production made it look like fans were grouped together, that was done by design as an illusion of sorts, and the fans were spaced out several rows apart from other groups.
- A thermal temperature scanner was done before entering the venue one at a time, and a waiver was signed to ensure that nobody that entered had been sick.
- There were other, prohibited areas taped off to make sure people didn't get into rows they weren't supposed to.
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