Fightful has learned that despite being able to work the Tooth And Nail match for All Out, Britt Baker is still recovering from her leg injury back in May. The company had an ambitious return date for All Out, and fulfilled it, but as of last weekend, she still had not gained full clearance for an in-ring return. Several of those that we spoke to put over Britt Baker for constantly working through injuries and her overall toughness.
We're told AEW did tape their next episode, with tickets only available to people who were at the last show. We've not learned whether or not they plan to go live weekly again, though that would greatly expand their expenses.
Davey Boy Smith Jr.
Despite having contractual issues with MLW and asking for his release, Davey Boy Smith Jr informed Fightful that he does intend to fulfill his contractual obligations and appear at the last couple of tapings before his contract expires. Brian Pillman Jr will also be appearing, and is under contract until next summer, though he has also asked for his company release.
Kind of a sad time to start the "brass ring" series, considering they were just released, but many spoke highly of Rezar and Akam
Fightful polled a series of WWE wrestlers about who among their peers they've noticed working to improve their spots and get better in the ring. After we'd hear a name, we'd end up conferring with other members of the roster to see how they felt.
"AOP and Street Profits work very hard and try to get better every week, and they're all good guys," said one wrestler on the Raw brand back in March, around the time Rezar ended up getting injured.
"Akam should still be on TV," said another WWE employee before the release. "He was improving dramatically and was really easy to work with. They actually both have really good backgrounds and are safe to work with and have shown me a few things."
As for the Street Profits, another on the Smackdown roster said that they'd love to have them and Bianca Belair on their brand.
For those wondering if last week's Raw Underground was supposed to start a "write-off" for Billie Kay of the IIconics, it doesn't appear so. Based on those that were at Raw Underground, they said it was just for entertainment and not to be taken too seriously as far as storylines go. Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir were supposed to have showcase matches on Underground the week prior, but they were scrapped. What happened last week was scaled for time and altered to include Billie Kay.
As mentioned in recent weeks, NXT training has resumed at a facility across the street from the WWE Performance Center. Many wondered if training would head back over to the WWE PC after the move to Thunderdome for main roster shows, but that hasn't been the case. Right now, the WWE Performance Center is being renovated and remodeled. Those that we've spoken to say they've enjoyed training at the makeshift facility and the in-house wrestling events have resumed there.
Retro AG just signed with WWE, and we were lucky enough to snag an interview with him right before it happened. He wasn't quite sure what would become of EVOLVE, but says he will always look upon it fondly. He's very proud he was the first indie match to ever stream live on the WWE Network. He calls it a good opportunity for talent that indie matches are now on the Network, and says it'll be like the claw machine from Toy Story, where one of the many aliens get plucked by the claw. He just spent the pandemic getting in as great of shape as he could so he could be ready.
He spoke very highly of Gangrel and Nunzio, both of whom he's worked with in the past. He's of the belief that Gangrel can go on a PCO-esque run.
Fightful has learned that there is more to Paul Heyman's role with Roman Reigns on Smackdown. After a tip from WrestleTalk's Louis Dangoor, Fightful pursued information and had it confirmed that Heyman is heavily influential in the booking of Roman Reigns since his return.
This is considered to be no different than Brock Lesnar, Goldberg, Ronda Rousey before Reigns who Heyman also heavily contributed to the booking of. He was also credited for lending to the reveal, the finish of the pay-per-view at Payback, and the promo from Smackdown a couple of weeks ago.
Ring of Honor is returning to doing events, but they're shorthanded. There are numerous talent that aren't going to be able to make the shows. Two names that Fightful confirmed were stuck outside the country were Bandido and Mark Haskins. This has thrown a wrench in the tag team division and the six-man tag team division.
Speaking of ROH, Tracy Williams spoke to us and said that he actually wasn't under Ring of Honor contract until February of 2019, which was well after the company started Lifeblood. He was happy they had that kind of confidence in him, but the group quickly fell apart for various reasons.
He felt bittersweet that Evolve sold, as it was a great platform and launching pad for so many wrestlers, but says that he hopes that something else can become that, too.
AEW sources have confirmed that Miro, the former Rusev, does have a contract with the company. Fightful has learned that talks have been ongoing for quite a while, and we were told that the deal was "long term pending an option on the deal." The contract does allow for Miro to work New Japan Pro Wrestling and some independent dates, but prohibits other American televised dates, so New Japan USA would be off the table.
Gerald Brisco revealed that he'd been let go by WWE. He was furloughed earlier this year.
Fightful reached out to Gerald Brisco, who said he's going to take some time to himself before speaking further on the matter. Many of the furloughed names were outright let go a little over a month ago as well.
The extreme cutbacks in WWE this year have led to many situations where salaries were decreased by tens of thousands of dollars even for non-wrestlers, and spots that would have many people performing the duties have one or two people. There are also understudies being groomed for many spots in case someone gets sick.
WWE is prepping several departments on the outright cuts and what that will mean for them.