I can say from a media standpoint, All In and Starrcast, as well as the people running the shows have been easy to deal with. I'd hoped to cover the event as media personally, but the timing didn't work, and our bread is often buttered with live post-shows, not something we always have the luxury of doing whenever attending shows in person, because of the time constraints. Instead we settled on using experienced freelancers.
Major companies are typically more difficult to deal with than the group at All in, and I was curious heading into the show how they'd handle it. Pro wrestling can often be a "boys club," and I've never had any type of rapport with anyone involved in putting on the show. Cody himself is playing a big role in all of this, and actually welcomed us to participate in the event as media.
Cody was actually slated to be one of the first interviews for Fightful when we launched in 2016, but scheduling prevented it from happening. Overall, I'd say from a journalist's perspective, I'm pleased with the professionalism that they're handling that aspect of things. In the end, we got to interview Cody and The Young Bucks Thursday night.
I spoke to Cyrus Fees this week, who is handling a lot of the broadcasting for All In. He told me the deal to come in wasn't actually finalized until last week, and that his relationship with Jeff Jarrett helped him land the gig. He said over a period of time the deal finally came together, and felt privileged that he got to work there along with the plethora of other broadcasters who were available for the job.
In upcoming editions of the Fightful Wrestling Weekly, we'll have a ton of All in and Starrcast names, including more from Fees, Conrad Thompson, Hangman Page, -- which are already in the can, and a lot more that we run into.
As FightfulSelect.com reported weeks ago, Summerslam 2019 is headed to Toronto, which serves as Fightful.com's home offices. While the news to Toronto wasn't exactly a secret, the venue was. Toronto has several destinations, and other outlets had reported that the Rogers Center (the former SkyDome) was in the running. It was confirmed to Fightful pretty early on that the SkyDome wasn't a possibility because MLB had already finalized their schedules, with the Blue Jays running a home stand that weekend. Some teams are cognizant of events like Summerslam, and like the idea of adding attendance to their own games based on the tourism attraction WWE can bring.
I interviewed Maxwell Jacob Friedman last week, who is set for the All In show. We conducted the interview in character, which is something I'm open to doing in very rare instances. Thus far, I've only done interviews like that with Silas Young, Matt Hardy and MJF. There are some interviews that can work better in the shoot format, but considering how young MJF is and how well he's already established himself and how dedicated is to his persona (of being a total douchebag) the best kind of interview I can get is in that manner.
MJF spoke about Cody Rhodes, All In, MLW contracts, WWE having interest in MLW guys, his knee injury and he selected who would win in a street fight among numerous names throughout the world of wrestling. He's one of the most-sure fire future stars of wrestling around right now. Speaking of, he credited himself (in character) for the upswing of professional wrestling, rights fees, and the explosion of the non-WWE wrestling craze. It's a good listen.
The Jason Sensation situation was a true shit storm this week. Fortunately Vince Russo was able to contact Jason pretty early into Raw and confirm he was okay, but Sensation was tracked down by police and detained -- rightfully. I spoke to several wrestlers and was in touch with police and WWE on Monday night, who were obviously unhappy about the situation. There are still a lot of people in WWE who were there when Sensation was with the company, and several others who met him along the way on regional shows.
One wrestler told me that this was in line with Sensation's behavior and he's always looking for ways to garner attention, and that this wasn't the first time he's made threats like this. He's also accused the former Kevin Thorn of sexually assaulting him -- which was never substantiated. About a decade ago he was known for still hounding WWE officials via e-mail about his firing and was bitter about it for years to follow.
Raw & SD Notes
This week's episode of WWE Raw was titled "Braun out of Hell," a reference to Braun Strowman's WWE Hell in a Cell PPV aspirations. The title of Smackdown Live was "Royal Proclamations," in regards to the opening segment with King Booker and New Day.
The "Constable" name for Baron Corbin is now gone, with all WWE memos referring to him as "Acting General Manager" Baron Corbin, which was really hammered home during the show.
The Trish Stratus return was another angle that was played very secretly and close to the vest this week. As revealed on our Raw spoilers page, we'd been told by a couple of people backstage that Elias was going to get interrupted, but it was kept quiet even backstage that Trish Stratus would be the one interrupting him. This is a little different from The Shield's return last week, because that was a complete surprise. Meanwhile people knew Elias was getting interrupted, many just didn't know by who.
Quite to the contrary, Booker T's appearance on WWE Smackdown Live wasn't exactly a closely guarded secret like Trish Stratus' was. From what I was told, Booker T was around backstage ahead of the show and many knew that he was going to be involved in the opening angle. I was also told that WWE hoped to leave Toronto with a couple of memorable shows that would make the market hungry for Summerslam weekend next year.