Fightful Wrestling Weekly (12/27): A Vince McMahon Rib? Old To Gold Behind The Scenes, ROH, NWA, Jericho-NJPW

NWA

My long-form feature on the NWA dropped this past week. I was selective of who I spoke to, because I thought the videos themselves told a pretty great story. I set out to talk to Tim Storm, Colt Cabana, Dave Lagana and Dan Severn in particular, and also got quotes from Shane Taylor and Court Bauer along the way. 

WWE Was Short Handed For Raw After WrestleMania 37

Those I didn't speak to and wanted to were Bruce Tharpe, Shane Douglas, Dave Marquez, Raven and Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett was finishing up his rehab stint, and Raven and myself had scheduling conflicts for months. Much like I did with the Muhammad Hasssan and Brawl For All long-form pieces, I will update this story with a revised edition months down the line with additional info and extra quotes when I get to speak to more people. So often in wrestling, performers don't give journalists the benefit of the doubt because of the negative connotation with the business. When the pieces are published and they see real work went into it, I get hit with "I wish I'd have known it was going to be that," and the like. 

For those wondering, Bruce Tharpe and Marquez didn't return my inquiry, but I'm hoping the NWA can match me up with them eventually. I used a quote from an interview I'd done with Nick Aldis a while back, but I really didn't need quotes from him, as he was the foil of sorts in the story. Shane Douglas has only spoken out on his own podcast about the situation.

I intentionally left Billy Corgan out because I doubted we could get him anyway. He's conducted enough interviews about the NWA that I instead preferred to have the story told from those around him. If i'm able to speak to him between now and the point of the revised version, I may find a way to include him. I do know that the article was sent to him, and was well received by many within the NWA itself. 

Thank you to all of you who shared, read and enjoyed the story. Months of work go into reaching out to people for interviews, setting up and filming, transcribing, deciding what quotes to use, and constructing the story. 

WWE

- I mentioned an exclusive this week in regards to Cesaro speaking with a mouth guard. Apparently Vince McMahon finds the sound of it hilarious. It's gotten to the point to where he'll add in extra things for Cesaro to say, because of his own amusement. It's kind of ironic that Cesaro is talking more now than he ever really did before. He has braces to fix the dental situation from a few months ago, and Vince hates those, for what it's worth.

- Speaking of Cesaro, several contacts are comparing Fabian Aichner to Cesaro for a multitude of reasons. His in-ring ability and willingness to try anything, his demeanor, and the way he carries himself all seem to parallel Cesaro. Some may see that as a ceiling to success, but there are far worse people to draw comparisons to, especially when you're working at the WWE Performance Center full-time, where a guy like Cesaro is held in really high regard. All in all, good news for Aichner.

- The story about Mandy Rose's call-up has been making the rounds again this week. As we mentioned about five weeks ago, the decision was made earlier this year to not use her on NXT TV anymore and instead call her up without an extended televised run. It's a different approach that they plan to take in special circumstances, and she fit the bill. She's already had more national TV exposure than many NXT talent in the form of Tough Enough and Total Divas.

- As I reported exclusively last week on Fightful.com, WWE doesn't have any set intention to make a play for Conor McGregor. He hasn't shown any real interest in participating, but people in WWE say that if a deal ever went down, it'd make more sense for the UFC Lightweight Champion to come in as a heel given his inflammatory comments about WWE Superstars in the past.

ROH

- I interviewed Hangman Page for the recent San Antonio live events, and finally released the interview in full this week after its cycle ended on List And Ya Boy. During the interview we spoke about the Bullet Club invasion of Raw and Jimmy Jacobs coming outside to greet them. According to Page, he and the others told Jacobs not to post the photo on social media, for fear it could end up costing him his job. He did, and it did end up costing him his job. 

Fightful

- Speaking of List and Ya Boy, if you haven't noticed, we're trying a bit of a different format with the guests. Instead of running two guests a week and running the majority of the interviews over several weeks, we've decided to use one guest for both segments each week, then we'll release the interview in full after with plenty of extra stuff out of them. We're not opposed to returning to the previous method if that's preferred.

NJPW

- New Japan Pro Wrestling is very happy with the Chris Jericho deal thus far. I'm told that they feel like Jericho is giving this storyline and run his all, when he could have phoned it in for the (good) paycheck. In addition, a source with New Japan said that the company wanted to help restore image that may have been dented when WWE was able to sign away four of their top stars just last year. The line of thinking there -- at least from what I was told -- is that they were able to get someone who had proclaimed to be a WWE lifer as recently as last year to come over and do a match on their biggest show, and possibly more if it goes well.

Look for Jericho to show up before the Tokyo Dome event.

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