Triple H - NXT
Heard a really interesting story from someone who had worked closely with Triple H for years around NXT. Triple H seems to go above and beyond to take care of his hires, going out of his way to try to find another area in which someone can work if wrestling isn't panning out for them. Whenever cuts to the roster would be discussed, Triple H would have people in the human resources department provide some with training that way they would have the skills and preparation necessary to interview for a job outside of wrestling if they chose.
Samoa Joe spoke of his style with us, which is heavily MMA based. Given the nature of our site, I thought asking him if an MMA career was ever in the cards made sense. He quickly shot that down, saying that when he was coming up in Southern California that nobody was making much money in the spots and that helped drive him away from it. After that, he was too old to make a career in MMA, and quite frankly says he wasn't interested in getting hurt as a result.
Joe isn't that surprised that more pro wrestlers are giving MMA training a go an incorporating it into their work, as MMA has changed the perception of pro wrestling, what is realistic and what isn't. He pointed to the sleeper hold as a move that MMA has changed.
We talked about his brief time working both ROH and WWE, and said that despite the nature of his deal at the time, he expected WWE to lock him down after they saw his work. He remembers being discounted by Ring of Honor, Gabe Sapolsky, TNA and others upon coming to the company before proving them wrong, which he says was gratifying for him. There were, however, a lot of people who went to bat for Samoa Joe in WWE. However, Vince McMahon was “vehemently against” bringing Joe in. Once he was there, Joe joked that “he already bought it, so he might as well use it.”
ROH - Taven- Marty Scurll
Word of Matt Taven's contract expiring later this month has made the rounds, and it expires a little before that of Marty Scurll. Fightful was told earlier this summer that several pushed for Scurll to win the ROH Title earlier this year, but were told that they expected him to leave, and Taven was more secure, even though his deal was up sooner. Many we spoke to expected Taven to be in Ring of Honor as long as there is a Ring of Honor.
Issues with Ring of Honor internally from those we've spoken to have long been their unwillingness to change things, whether it be the look of the show, the way developmental or production works, to the way things are booked. This has been a source of frustration for many, though
Shane Taylor, though somewhat in character, was very open about his time in Ring of Honor. The World TV Champion says he isn't sure why, but that Ring of Honor doesn't promote him like he's important or like he's a champion. He especially notices a disparity between himself and other champions, even though he's delivered in the ring for them.
Taylor said a conversation with his big brother and Keith Lee changed his mind from being a tag team wrestler or a "hired gun" to going for a singles title run, and he feels like his star will rise even higher from where he is right now. He said that the tag and stable efforts weren't working for him, and things started clicking when he became a singles wrestler. He knows that the Keith Lee comparisons will come because of their friendship and prior tag team, but wants his own path.
He said that he never dealt with a stigma in relation to being a big man in wrestling, because he just doesn't care what anyone thinks. One of his hopes is that ROH gains an increased television presence, as that increases his presence as ROH World Television Champion.
As it pertains to the story line "buyout" of his contract, we followed up with him on that, but he wouldn't comment directly about the matter in kayfabe or shoot.
We're told WWE has made some renewed efforts to sign Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder, the Revival. As of Clash of Champions' Smackdown Title win, the two had not signed new deals, but anything that's happened since then is unknown. Both men made their issues known with how the WWE tag team divisions are booked earlier this year. WWE wants to get them under contract, with those we spoke to specifically saying that they knew WWE wanted to keep them away from All Elite Wrestling.
Sexualization in wrestling
Kristen Ashly spoke to Ivelisse, Shazza McKenzie, Mercedes Martinez and Allysin Kay for a new piece on sexualization in wrestling
All agreed that women in sports media are sexualized more than men, but Allysin notes that plenty of men in wrestling are as well, but it's more about individual experiences. McKenzie said there are high standards on how women are "supposed" to look in wrestling, while Ivelisse says she intentionally tries to downplay her sexuality in order to help herself thrive.
McKenzie talked about how things have changed since she started training, and was told there were things she wouldn't have to learned because she's a woman. Kay said that she didn't consider herself in "tv shape" and changed to a one-piece for working IMPACT.
There was also the topic of the women being targeted for pushing stereotypes because of their appearances. Martinez says that she's definitely experienced it, while Ivelisse noted that she believes social media contributes to that.
For whatever reason, there was a rumor circulating that Alicia Fox was working on the Smackdown creative team. A source called the rumor "total bullshit," and no further comment was made.