Edge And Randy Orton
All Elite Wrestling duo FTR are out of WWE, but stayed on good terms with their friend Randy Orton. Dax and Cash told Fightful that Orton actually flew to Asheville and worked with them on the Greatest Wrestling Match Ever. It's worth noting that Edge lives in Asheville as well. FTR said that Orton wanted to sharpen up his technical wrestling.
Dax also said that he went and worked with Edge a year before he even returned, separate from when they went to work with Beth Phoenix and Natalya. It was the first time Edge had bumped around since his neck injury, and had only done some spears. Edge loved that he had Beth Phoenix to work with, but knew that she was probably going to take it easy on him sometimes. Cash ended up calling a belly-to-back suplex on the fly and Edge wasn't expecting it. However, Edge was happy because he felt great and knew he could take that move once it was delivered to him.
Fightful has learned that a planned WWE Draft has changed several times.
In June, Fightful learned of plans for WWE to attempt to run live shows with limited fans in attendance in July, which were later scrapped. However, other plans have been repeatedly scrapped as well, including a WWE draft.
Fightful learned that a draft was originally set for the end of August, before being moved to September. After it was set for September, it was moved to October, then back and forth again. The original source that we heard the story from in June had noted WWE had informed some broadcast partners of both Draft plans and live event plans, the latter of which was nixed completely.
Current plans for the WWE Draft are set in October.
I spoke to Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows for their TalkNShopAMania show, which was largely the brainchild of Gallows. He pitched it to Anderson the day they got fired, and was able to get Karl and Rocky Romero on board. IMPACT Wrestling was on board with promoting the brand, their show and an upcoming beer, which were all important in getting them signed. Anderson says he's loving IMPACT, and wouldn't mind being there the rest of his career.
Many forget that Gallows, Anderson and AJ Styles had talks with TNA Wrestling in late 2015 that never quite came to fruition. The trio met with Dixie Carter and John Gaburick at Dixie Carter's house. Anderson said that he wasn't feeling the offer, and they were happy in New Japan, but the schedule was getting tough for them to handle and they wanted to broaden into America. After talks started, they ended up getting the WWE offer. They said that the subsequent statement from TNA was particularly odd, and they could tell that they pissed someone off there. However, now the regime is completely different and they're very helpful with their PPV and happy about the team's immediate drawing power.
During our discussion with Rocky Romero in the interview, he noted that New Japan Pro Wrestling made some significant changes to the way New Japan locked up talent after the mass exodus of 2016. However, he wasn't particularly worried about NJPW having someone ready to step up, because NJPW always had bullets in the chamber for that. He was more bummed out about not having his friends around to travel with, but was clued in to their plans all along the way
Good Brothers- Young Bucks
Despite the tough feelings between Young Bucks and the Good Brothers after the AEW deal didn't work out, Anderson said that they remained in touch the whole way through. He's known them for about 15 years, and would text each other and things are fine with them now.
Ricky Starks noted to Jeremy Lambert that his AEW debut came together so quickly, that he didn't actually ever hear his theme music until he came out. Mikey Ruckus put the song together, but it's not one that he worked together with Starks on.
He said he wasn't nervous to have his match with Cody, because he worked hard to get where he is, and he feels like he belongs in the ring with Moxley and is ready to show people that. He spoke highly of the locker room as well.
Ricky said that he wasn't pitched the idea of joining Taz and Cage as much as Taz took a liking to him and wanted to bring him in. He's known Cage for quite a while, so he feels as if things have fit in. His fashion style isn't something that he adopted for wrestling, it's just how he actually dresses, but knows that wrestling fans aren't conditioned to seeing it and wants to change that. He doesn't like Rock comparisons.
Raw vs. Smackdown
In following up on the Paul Heyman-Bruce Prichard shakeup, we learned that Paul Heyman especially was known to take the idea of a Raw vs. Smackdown rivalry seriously, and applied it to his work and the mentality of the show. Heyman was said to have been very proud of the likes of Apollo Crews, Austin Theory, Angel Garza, and many of the wrestlers that he used that weren't being used prior. He went to great lengths particularly to get Buddy Murphy on Raw, and wanted to build more for the future of Raw.
Ricky Starks told Jeremy Lambert that the AEW crowds aren't really given any direction as to what they could or should be doing. He said that he doesn't think that would work out very well, and he wouldn't want direction in that manner. Others that we've spoken to have said that they've actually been encouraged to just have fun and detach a little bit.
In another update on Kairi Sane, we're told that even though rumors of her departure have been swirling for months, this was the original end date for her. As mentioned, WWE wanted to keep her on board in some capacity, but Kairi let it be known months ago that she wanted to return to Japan to be with her husband. We're told there were no concerns of her wrestling elsewhere in America, but that there were big pushes to have her involved from a coaching or teaching aspect in Japan.
WWE has signed Leon Ruff to an NXT deal, and Fightful has learned that wasn't the only EVOLVE name we're going to see land with the company. Leon has appeared on Raw, Smackdown, 205 Live, Main Event and NXT, getting rave reviews from his peers. One wrestler on the WWE main roster compared Ruff to an early Jeff Hardy as a name that everyone wanted to work with, even if it was an enhancement match, because of the lengths he went to in order to make people look good. There have also been main roster and 205 Live pitches involving him, before landing in NXT.