Fightul Wrestling Weekly (7/6): NJPW, Impact, Rich Swann, Raw & Smackdown, More

Josh Mathews

Josh Mathews has also been a constant in Impact Wrestling, Global Force Wrestling and TNA Wrestling. As polarizing as he might be on social media, he's viewed as a really versatile employee of Impact. He told me last week that sometimes his duties have changed based on regime, and said that when Anthem took over, that added more people, which has helped out. Under Dixie Carter, people weren't necessarily replaced, so he would do their jobs and that helped him learn several different departments. He can work on anything from the delivery of PPV tickets to the play-by-play duties that he was hired to do originally.

WWE RAW Results & Live Coverage for 5/10/21 The Last Stop Before Wrestlemania: Backlash

Sami Callihan & Konnan​​​​​​

I spoke to Sami Callihan and Konnan in a discussion that was lost in the Fightful Archives for quite a while. We talked about the significant shift in mindset of pro wrestling promotions outside of WWE, and how much different things are today than they were four years ago even. 

At the beginning of 2014, it seemed like everyone was getting on cable. WWE had 4 shows, Impact (then TNA), Lucha Underground, Ring of Honor, AAA (on some Spanish language channels), New Japan Pro Wrestling, and Paragon Pro Wrestling all had national television of some kind, and Global Force also jumped in the game. Most of those promotions all still have TV (with MLW in place of PPW essentially), but all of them -- even WWE co-promote to some degree. Konnan says that WWE's size has put the power of leverage in the hands of the wrestlers more than ever.

Callihan told me that he thinks the ability to work the likes of Impact and Lucha Underground really helps out his character and the perception of "unpredictability." Just a few years ago, Impact and Lucha Underground were at odds, with Konnan even telling us that they were forced to digitize referee Marty Elias' face because he was used in a promotion that he "wasn't allowed to be" for a Hardy skit. 

 

Rich Swann

I spoke to Impact's Rich Swann last week in regards to his status with the company. A contract has been offered to Swann, although he's not accepted it as of yet, because he wants to see how things pan out before making the decision to sign on the dotted line. It's kind of funny that wrestlers and people backstage in Impact claimed to have no interest in Swann in April before he was actually available, but that changed rather quickly once his contract status was cleared up.

WWE tryouts

I wrote an article earlier in the week detailing that former Impact stars Robbie E and Chelsea Green both had tryouts last week. Green and Robbie both did well, and have significant backing on the roster pushing for them to get hired. Robbie was able to utilize his "Robert Strauss" gimmick that he's been portraying in House of Hardcore as an "influencer." 

Bray Wyatt

Fightful was told earlier this week that Bray Wyatt was very fortunate to not break his neck or his back during his car accident last weekend. There wasn't a timetable for his return, and nobody was with him as the accident occurred, and he was having a tough time remembering how everything went down. In the end, Wyatt ended up with a "traumatic" head injury.

Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens

Jamie Noble produced the Kevin Owens and Braun Strowman segment from this week's episode of WWE Raw, which featured the port-a-potty spot. The production script didn't even list the match as officially happening, and called for Strowman to emerge "w/ Porta Potty on his Back."

Jay White

In the spirit of NBA draft week last week, I asked Jay White who he would draft to his CHAOS stable. He identified Zack Sabre Jr. and Kota Ibushi, but said he would prefer Sabre to Ibushi since Ibushi makes decision emotionally a little more often. He said if he had to he'd trade away Gedo (NJPW's booker), because he "doesn't do anything." When I mentioned Gedo being the booker, White kayfabed it. 

Gangrel

Fightful launched a new pilot series called "Enhancement Stories" where we speak to eventually prominent wrestlers about their experiences working as enhancement talent. The first subject was Brood leader Gangrel, who had appeared in the WWF a decade before, jobbing to Big Bossman, and then did enhancement work for WCW. He also elaborated on his year-plus run as a masked jobber in the mid-90's for WWF, and why that came to an end. 

Juice Robinson

Ahead of his big IWGP United States Championship match on Saturday, Juice Robinson -- the former CJ Parker in NXT -- explained to me the process of leaving NXT. He became friends with current NXT head trainer Matt Bloom, and expressed his frustration with his role in NXT. When Tatsumi Fujinami was getting inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame years ago, Finn Balor and Bloom helped make the introduction to Tiger Hattori, who set the wheels in motion for Robinson to make the jump and revitalize his career.

Robinson said that after making his move to New Japan, it only took him two or three weeks to adapt to the style of the company. It was his preference as is, to the transition was one that wasn't much of an uphill battle.

Raw & Smackdown Production Notes

- The title for Smackdown Live was "Uce-No!" this week. WWE Raw's was "Blue Steel."

- Commentators on Raw were left notes to mention the fact that Bray Wyatt wasn't at the show due to an injury, and that Baron Corbin would address his issues with Finn Balor (in a specific read). There were also specific reads for the VTR graphics. Raw was very heavy on scripting directions and word-for-word instructions for the announcers.

- The United States title match was officially listed in the script as the "Independence Day United States Open Challenge."

- Sanity's appearance during New Day's skit was not telegraphed at all in the production script.

- The Extreme Rules VTR was listed as "United States Champion vs. Shinsuke Nakamura" since they didn't want to give away the winner of Smackdown's title match.

- Becky Lynch and Peyton Royce's entrances weren't cut for time, they were scripted to be in the ring already.

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