Fightful Wrestling Weekly (1/5): WWE's Christmas, New Youtube Content, ROH Belts, Sid, More

Fightful News

- Thanks for the great reception to the 2005 Royal Rumble match alternate commentary. It was our first go of it, and will likely do more and fine tune things. I spoke to former WWE writer and MLW owner Court Bauer about Royal Rumble matches from a writer's perspective in order to gain some more insight, and was able to utilize much of what I was told by Shane Helms from last year's special Royal Rumble podcast. The Bauer interview will air on List and Ya Boy in the coming weeks, and be released in full on Fightful.com. 

WWE WrestleMania Backlash 2021: SmackDown Women's Championship: Bianca Belair vs. Bayley Result

- As of right now I'll be flying solo on the Fightful UFC post-shows, with Showdown Joe Ferraro remaining with me on the Tuesday Holy Smokes MMA Podcasts. We'll likely have James Lynch joining us on several post-shows in the future.

UFC - Pro Wrestling

-The Pro Wrestling to MMA crossover is so heavy right now that almost by standard, we have James Lynch asking fighters if they have an interest in it. Matt Riddle would have never been a name that anyone in MMA would have thought would be a star in wrestling, and honestly I threw it out there as a long shot question when I first interviewed him four years ago. Now, people like Tom Lawlor, Josh Barnett, Jessamyn Duke, Shayna Baszler, and so many others are making a real go of it as a career. 

UFC Heavyweight Champion Stipe Miocic isn't necessarily full of personality, but told Fightful this week that he'd be open to the idea of competing in pro wrestling down the line if the money is right. If he's able to solidify himself as a marquee name atop the Heavyweight division, anything is possible, even if WWE didn't come calling. Stipe has an amateur wrestling background and many former UFC fighters have gained pro wrestling bookings on far less than that. Basic wrestling and MMA fundamentals can take you a really long way in front of the right crowd and with the right opponent.

UFC fighter Julian Marquez also opened up to us about his love for professional wrestling this week. Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson, who was also a UFC title challenger twice, doesn't even regularly watch pro wrestling, and told Fightful.com that he thinks a run could be fun.

WWE

- Of course WWE would have Cesaro stop talking with the mouth guard the week after I ran a story in the weekly mentioning how much Vince McMahon is entertained by it. I was surprised they went with this as bad as Nakamura talking with one went over. 

- Braun Strowman adding in extra powerslams was a call from the back after hearing how much the crowd wanted them on Raw. Vince McMahon recognized what the crowd wanted and made the decision to have Braun's segment extended.

- Velveteen Dream has been sidelined since November for an undisclosed reason. He hasn't been at the WWE Performance Center either. 

- The success of WWE's live Christmas night show was received begrudgingly by some of those I spoke to within WWE. The feeling is that because ratings and viewership were barely down and the event was sold out, it's increasingly likely that WWE will schedule a Christmas eve and Christmas night slate in 2018 for each brand, and a Christmas eve date for 2019, but I'm told WWE actually won't. WWE hasn't revealed any sort of extended schedule, but some talents actually got word of working Christmas due to a Fightful Exclusive that revealed schedule with a tentatively placed date for St. Louis. 

- I spoke with someone in WWE Production that told me that digital's new motivation is to create original content that can draw viewers to both the company's Youtube and Network, but to drastically reduce the costs associated with them as it compares to shows that have previously been seen on the WWE Network. Their answer were several of the new shows you'll see on Youtube, including wrestlers reacting to slide shows and telling stories, talking about when they were super fans, reviewing film of their own matches, and simple Q&A episodes. 

ROH

- Ring of Honor debuted new championships to mixed reviews last week. The title belts have been finished for a while, but the company waited until the new year to roll out the new designs. Wildkat Belts made the championships, and have really solidified themselves as the go-to for companies over the last several years. I'm hoping to secure an interview with the belt maker from Wildkat to air on an upcoming edition of List and The Boy.

ESid Carter III

- I wanted and tried to get an interview with Ethan Carter III as Sid, but I couldn't make it happen. You can't say that I'm not always trying to get new, original content for you guys. Regardless of me spoiling the idea now, I'd still like to make it happen for an upcoming List and Ya Boy episode.

For what it's worth, ESid Carter III told me that he will bat fifth and play right center field for my softball team this year, so that's a big plus.

NJPW-AXS

- I'm told that as of right now, there are no confirmed plans for AXS to air the March Long Beach shows for New Japan Pro Wrestling. I do know that they're working on it and making an effort, and Mark Cuban is behind the brand, but as of this week the two sides were still in negotiations. We're told from the New Japan side of things, they're very happy with the support both financially and promotionally that they get from AXS.

- I spoke to Josh Barnett, who reiterated that despite him calling New Japan action, he works for AXS, not New Japan. He's not had any discussions with them as it pertains to returning to the ring, but would be open to doing so. He said that his bookings of late have been pretty much so he could work with wrestlers that he's coached. 

 

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