Making A Finisher
After months of setting things up, transcribing, and being delayed, our "Making A Finisher" series will debut next week. Thus far I have Adam "Hangman" Page, Raven, Stevie Ray, "Switchblade" Jay White, Punishment Martinez, Abyss and others set for the series. You can see some of the videos/audio ahead of time on Fightful Select.
It shouldn't be a surprise given the fact that he was given an on-screen promotion on Monday Night Raw, but Constable Baron Corbin has received praise backstage for his role. I was also told that WWE is looking to add to the act and could involve someone else to serve as a second or a crony to him as acting General Manager.
The Shield's reunion was kept very quiet on Monday, and played very close to the vest. Rollins and Ambrose didn't change into their Shield gear until really late in the night. WWE saw this as a major deal, and treated it accordingly. There was no indication given to any broadcast partners, domestically or internationally that the reunion would be coming.
Fightful prides ourselves on being ahead of the crossover curve between pro wrestling, mixed martial arts, and boxing, and James Lynch often speaks to fighters about their relationship with pro wrestling. You can see several responses from UFC stars below.
Belal Muhammad- Watched WrestleMania to see how Ronda Rousey would do, and watched when he was younger. Like many, he was a "Stone Cold Steve Austin" fan. Belal actually revealed that CM Punk and Ronda Rousey still talked, but Punk doesn't talk wrestling in the gym.
Brian Kelleher- Had never considered pro wrestling until the day of his interview with Lynch, but was thinking about making the transition after MMA that he's open to. He sees a lot of money in it, but is aware the travel is brutal. Another Stone Cold Steve Austin fan here.
Andrea AK Lee- Doesn't see her acting as strong enough to be able to carry the mic skills, but also is under the impression there's a lot of money in it. Occasionally tunes in and looks at social media posts about wrestling for Ronda Rousey-related content.
Jarred Brooks- Open to it, but wants to integrate MMA into anything like that he does.
Jimmie Rivera- Not interested in pro wrestling at all. Says that the bumps are too much for him to handle, and the mic work isn't something that he could take to very well. This will shock you, but he's a fan of Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock.
Raw and Smackdown Notes
- WWE Monday Night Raw was titled "Hell on the Horizon," which was an indication of WWE's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view coming up, and not directly attributed to any particular storyline WWE had on the night's show. The title for WWE Smackdown Live was "Hello, Is It Wendy You're Looking For?" -- a reference to Wendy Styles, the wife of WWE Champion AJ Styles.
- Despite being advertised for Monday's episode of WWE Raw, Brock Lesnar didn't appear and had already left Brooklyn well before the show, as we'd mentioned on the WWE Raw post-show podcast this week.
- There was some back and forth throughout the day about Dean Ambrose possibly facing Drew McIntyre instead of Dolph Ziggler, with some of WWE's television partners even being told that Ambrose would be squaring off with McIntyre.
- Matt Hardy is still easing into his role producing, and nothing is set in stone for the position as of yet. He's been interested in taking a backstage role in wrestling for several years, and many wrestlers I've spoken to since Hardy has started things out are optimistic that he'll be able to help several wrestlers find more of a voice on the show if given an opportunity to make that happen.
It seems like we've talked about Matt Riddle every week in this column, typically because there's always something to talk about. His WWE signing was made official this week, after WWE had softened their stance on him as we'd indicated over the past several months on our podcasts. Fightful was outright told by multiple wrestlers within Ring of Honor that they assumed he'd be Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling bound if a WWE offer didn't come, and that WWE likely felt the same way, which is why they made an offer after having him on ice for two years. This is very much in line with me being told that WWE is looking to sign any possible "game changers" outside of the company.
Riddle, his three children and wife all relocated to Orlando, Florida this week. We wish Matt the best of luck, and consider it flattering that along with Sean Waltman, we got one of his last full-length interviews ahead of his signing.
Fightful.com has learned several producers for segments on the Tuesday night staple. WWE Hall of Famer Michael Hayes produced the Randy Orton vs. Jeff Hardy match, which saw Hardy utilize a big Swanton. As we've mentioned before, Hayes has a knack for helping find creative spots like we saw in that match.
Contrary to rumors, Jason Jordan didn't produce the Peyton Royce vs. Naomi match, a returning Tyson Kidd did. However, that's not to say that he didn't shadow or help out. Tyson Kidd was back on the job after his father in law, Jim "The Anvil" Neidhart passed away, and caused Kidd and Natalya to leave television last week.
The night's main even match was produced by Jamie Noble, which saw New Day win the Smackdown Tag Team Championships from the Bludgeon Brothers.
Becky Lynch's polarizing promo was produced by Sarah Stock, but it's important to note that and direction by Vince McMahon can nullify the producer's better judgment. Dave "Fit" Finlay was working as a producer on the latest version of the Rusev & Lana vs. Zelina & Andrade Cien Almas match.