ROH Final Battle, Backstage News, Women of Honor
Shane Taylor was a guest on List and Ya Boy this week to preview this week's Final Battle. He told me that he and Keith Lee remain close despite being in competing organizations, and that he didn't have a lot of heads up about Lee leaving for EVOLVE earlier this year but could tell which way his partner was leaning.
I made the decision to start doing post shows following ROH pay-per-views. The company is a definitive number two, and I figured if we did an Impact Bound For Glory post-show, there's no reason we couldn't do ROH post-shows with myself going solo. We'll also do a New Japan Pro Wrestling Wrestle Kingdom 12 post-show at 4 PM EST on January 4 along with Rob Radford. If it does well, I'm open to doing more.
When talking to BJ Whitmer last week, he spoke about the changes he's had to make while transitioning from an in-ring talent to a backstage employee. He didn't have any information on ROH solidifying the Women of Honor as of yet, but says the next step is to get them on TV. Whitmer is also booking the travel for ROH right now, and said that eventually it could turn into a job that causes him to relocate to Baltimore.
I heard a lot of optimism coming out of Impact Wrestling regarding the move away from John Gaburick to make work of Don Callis. Scott D'Amore has already been there and is well liked. Most of Gaburick's defenders are gone from the company anyway, though some of his supporters are still really high up on the card. Of all the changes that have been made over the last several years, I had multiple members of the roster tell me this was one they think has the most potential.
From a personal perspective, it looks to me that Impact has turned into the once unfair stereotype of being an indie with TV. That's not necessarily a bad thing, especially when you have Scott D'Amore running some things.
- A note for our podcast listeners: As I suspected, I got word from a WWE employee that the ill-fated attempts to chant "Biscuit Butt" at Alexa Bliss were straight from Vince McMahon himself. A term even lamer than "fetch," it was just never going to happen, despite the hint drops and ass smacks worked into the Alexa Bliss - Mickie James program.
- I asked a person who works for WWE about Austin Aries saying he was released outright, and the response I got back was "If he wanted to be there, he didn't have a very good way of showing it. A lot of the cruiserweight division don't have anything to do, and don't get released."
- The road scheduled was a concern for some of the talent booked for Mixed Match Challenge, but WWE won't have them all on the road each week on Tuesdays, as there is only one match per show. WWE saw the Facebook show as another revenue stream, as it likely wouldn't have added many, if any subscriptions to their WWE Network numbers.
Things haven't improved between Neville and WWE. Several ideas had been pitched to him to possibly see him return to the road, including giving him a prominent spot during the European tour, appearing on Smackdown, and even going back to 205 Live. WWE has frozen his contract as he sits out, so time isn't necessarily ticking -- he's under WWE control for now. Daniel Bryan faced a very similar situation, although he wasn't sitting out of his own volition.
A former WWF Tag Team Champion tried to get me to pay him for an interview, which is the only person to do that besides Virgil since we started Fightful. This often comes up in questions from readers about guests and interview subjects. Outside of Vince Russo and Matt Riddle for early List and Ya Boy segments, and JJ Dillon for our ill-fated podcast, we don't pay for interviews or segments and have moved away from it completely. Riddle and Russo was done as a courtesy since we were new to the format and they'd worked for us prior.
In the case of the wrestler, if that's his standard, it's smart to stick to it. Time is money to many, and I reached out to him cold with nothing in particular for him to push outside of the fact that he's taking bookings and any other merchandise stores he may have. There are some stars who are regulars for Kayfabe Commentaries or RF Video and the like, and can make a decent additional income doing so. I felt that it was an interview my audience could do without, but perhaps we'll work something out down the line.
Speaking personally, the Youtube revenue in relation to pro wrestling content has definitely been reduced, but it's actually MMA content that gets flagged more than anything. For whatever reason, MMA companies don't stream or upload their events quite as often as wrestling promotions, but virtually anything we at Fightful upload with the "MMA" tag gets flagged immediately. You're able to request a manual review if a video gets 1,000 views in a 7-day period, but if you get 900 in week one, 800 week two, 700 week three, 600 week four and don't crack that 7-day threshold you could end up with a 4,000 view video and not see a penny for it.
AroLucha brought in several established names to help out with the show, including James Storm, Shane Helms, and Vince Russo. Helms is helping agent and working the shows, while Russo is serving as a creative consultant. We hear that Russo was in really good spirits and was easy to work with there.
As we mentioned months ago, Ronda Rousey got involved in pro wrestling with the intent of joining WWE, but a contract has not been signed, and firm plans are not in order for a debut or story. Right now, Shayna Baszler is the only Horsewoman with a WWE deal.