Big Cass/ W. Morrissey
The former Big Cass, now known as W. Morrissey, debuted on IMPACT Wrestling's Rebellion PPV and was quickly advertised for the next episode of IMPACT Wrestling on AXS. Fightful inquired within IMPACT Wrestling about his agreement with the company and were told by company officials that "he signed and will be around for the foreseeable future." This is Morrissey's first wrestling contract since being released by WWE way back in June 2018. Those we've spoke to say he's been motivated, and easy to work with behind the scenes at appearances after his return.
AJ Styles & Omos
AJ Styles & Omos noted that they had been "partying in Nigeria" of late and that's why they haven't been on WWE Raw. Ahead of WWE Raw After Mania, Fightful was told that at least one of the two simply "wasn't cleared" and that's why they hadn't appeared. The two claimed they'll be on next week's show, but have barely been mentioned on TV.
Referee Drake Weurtz has been a lightning rod for controversy among some in wrestling, and Fightful has learned that he had his duties reduced in recent months. Formerly the head referee in NXT, we're told that role now belongs to Darryl Sharma. Weurtz was also considered for the job of timing matches within NXT, but the spot was offered to Scott Armstrong, who had briefly been furloughed from the company. We're told that Road Dogg was instrumental in getting Scott Armstrong back in the fold. Weurtz was also not offered the back-up timing position, which can and has also led to timing matches for 205 Live. Instead, DA Brewer has taken over those duties.
However, it didn't stop there. Fightful was informed that Weurtz was either formally or informally suspended, and wasn't allowed at the Capitol Wrestling Center for better or for worse for a short period of time. We're told that upon his return to the CWC he appeared to have subdued many mannerisms that got him "substantial heat" with many at the Performance Center. Last year, when an article from David Bixenspan emerged, we're told several higher ups were "horrified" by what they read.
Pirate Ship Stuff
Many expected Kevin Owens to make a huge leap from the pirate ship set at WrestleMania this year after he'd declared his desire to do so. Talent and backstage speculation after WrestleMania was that weather may have prevented that from happening. As it turns out, that wasn't the case. There was discussions between talent and creative throughout the week, but the match not being no-DQ proved a big hurdle. The ship on the set was also a lot larger than many expected, but the weather as the final nail in the coffin. The spot was never planned in the final stages of the match that ended up going on as presented.
Mike Bennett & Maria contract
We had some news recently that Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis' full-on contract replaced their old agreement that was set to last through June, but we were able to gain some more information on those deals. The contract is through the end of 2021, with an option year for 2022. Upon returning to the company, Bennett said there was a feeling out process to make sure that things worked well for both sides. After seeing that things were a good fit, both sides expressed their interest in continuing the relationship.
WWE Saudi Arabia
If you wanted some WWE-Saudi Arabia scoops well over a year after their most recent show there, you're in luck. Fightful has heard of some plans for a past Saudi Arabia show that were supposed to happen and didn't. We've heard the rumors of the General Sports Authority wanting wrestlers who had long since passed to appear, and talent had heard that too. However, there were plans for WWE to run a match with Hornswoggle on one of the shows. It got so far that Robbie "The Giant' Araujo was actually flown over to Saudi Arabia and not used, according to talent. Araujo appeared on Micro Championship Wrestling and appeared on WWE TV in the past as "JB-Elf."
IMPACT Wrestling Notes
We're told that at least one title change took place at the IMPACT Wrestling tapings that are set for this week. Nearly every champion in IMPACT right now either doesn't have a full-time IMPACT contract, or will be up within the year. Talent we've spoke to said this isn't that out of the ordinary of late, and it's showed them that there are still opportunities even if they're not locked into a long-term deal.
We've mentioned recently that creative plans have changed significantly over the last two weeks, and were able to gain some insight on that.
As of the late change to the Riddle-Sheamus match at WrestleMania that switched to have Sheamus go over for the title, the plan was to have the two continue to feud, which obviously changed by the next night. Sheamus didn't wrestle on the next two Raw shows and Riddle started a short term program with Randy Orton, who was planned for a program with Braun Strowman. The Strowman-Orton change was set the day of the show. Prior to that, we were told there weren't immediate plans for the Strowman-McIntyre vs. Mace & T-Bar program that we now see. Those backstage in WWE said Orton was in favor of working with Riddle, and the changes made.
Randy Orton injury update
Last week during the impromptu Randy Orton vs. Riddle match, you may have noticed that Randy Orton was favoring his arm and shoulder. We're told that Orton sustained a deep bruise in the area, but initially at least there didn't seem to be major damage that would sideline him for a long period of time.
WWE Big Man Class
Fightful has learned a little more about the big man class that was mandated at the Performance Center for some talent. Otis, Dabba Kato, Omos and Keith Lee participated in the class, and we're told by Steve Maclin (Cutler) that Otis personally asked him to come in and help bump around for it.
Steve Maclin (Cutler)
In speaking with Steve Maclin, the former Steve Cutler, he said that he was often in the line waiting to meet with Vince McMahon in 2020 along with Chelsea Green, who spoke about that process in our interview. Maclin said that among others, Bayley encouraged them and said they were doing the right thing, although they were eventually told not to wait outside of Vince's office anymore, and were instead told to wait in catering and they'd be grabbed when ready. Eventually they got in the meeting with Bruce Prichard who mentioned the idea with Corbin, and a second meeting with Bruce and Vince McMahon where everything was nailed down.
Roman Reigns theme
Roman Reigns debuted a new theme, seven years after the Shield split. Reigns spoke about getting a new theme earlier this year, but we're told the wheels were in motion shortly after he returned at Summerslam. The work had already started on the theme six months ago at least. WWE has worked to get away from Jim Johnston and CFO$ era themes over the last year. Often times when working on a theme, it will get sent for approval and still require work, although we're not sure if that happened here, it did with Big E's Wale theme.
Steve Maclin confirmed our Summer 2020 report that he and Wesley Blake immediately traveled to the WWE Performance Center following Jaxson Ryker's controversial tweets. Fightful was told by talent and staff that Ryker did not do the same, and Maclin noted that while he and Blake were in Florida, Ryker had relocated to North Carolina by that time. Talent said that Maclin and Blake quickly tried to separate themselves from the situation, and initially there was no heat on them accordingly.
Sammy Guevara notes
- He was scanned for his action figure way back at All Out 2019 weekend and his figure was supposed to come with two heads, but one scan ended up looking bad, so they went with one.
- He recently did some head scans for the video game, but there weren't body scans
- Guevara joked that he and Brandon Cutler got in trouble a couple of weeks ago because they were loud while filming vlog content and they got kicked out of a room for it.
- Chris Jericho complimented his promo on this week's Dynamite.
- Guevara confirmed that the creative plans IMPACT had for him weren't something that he liked. He likes IMPACT a lot, but wishes the situation was kept more tight knit.