Here is your fight-size update for Friday, January 1, 2020:
- In an official interview with NJPW, Tetsuya Naito previewed his upcoming match against Kota Ibushi.
“Look, when we get right down to it, what we’re here to do as pro-wrestlers is simple. We want everyone buying a ticket, watching on TV, watching online, in Japan and around the world, to enjoy themselves. So if the wrestlers aren’t enjoying themselves, it doesn’t seem reasonable that the fans would. Ibushi is the ideal opponent for me in that case, and we’re doing it in the biggest match of the year. With more people watching than any other time, we’re going to blow all of them away.”
He continued, “For all I’ve said before though, fun and dangerous are not one and the same. there’s a lot of different angles to look at wrestling, a lot of different ways of enjoying it, and Ibushi is the best for bringing that fun out.”
- Fightful Select reported that several WWE wrestlers passed on new contracts. Since the pandemic started, many within WWE have told us the company is out of "talent hoarding" mode. As a result, many of the contract offers were well below what was offered last year. This has led at least a half dozen talent to shuffle their feet or outright pass on signing new deals presented to them. Some that Fightful have spoken with have said they're opting to wait until things get "more normal" to improve their situation. WWE has been said to be open to this, as well. We've heard of names across each brand that this applies to.
"Oh man I’m really excited. I love the way the ThunderDome looks, with all the screens and the fan interaction. I think it is a step above what I expected, you know, with all the craziness in the world today. I mean, I’ve had very exciting moments. I remember going into WrestleMania 1 with goosebumps not knowing what the heck was going on. I remember being scared to death of Andre the Giant and being afraid of my own shadow not knowing if he was going to break me in half. Then I remember wrestling the Rock and the fans were cheering. It’s kind of one of the crazy WrestleMania moments. For me to show up at the ThunderDome after all this time? To have Flair and Kurt Angle with me, all my buddies, the Big Show? We’ve even got Beth Phoenix and Tori Wilson. It’s just the unexpected wrestling moment I didn’t think was going to happen this late in my career. I am just totally pumped for this. I feel like I’m getting ready for WrestleMania or something."
"Well I’ll give you the Reader’s Digest version because it’s a pretty long story but I had a friendship with Billy Gunn, going back to our days in Florida and I had asked Billy if they were ever looking for a local ring announcer for any of the Florida events, keep me in mind. Okay, then flash forward, he brought my name up and Bruce Prichard said, ‘Oh I’ve been looking for him because Vince [McMahon] wants to step away from the microphone so they wanna hire another announcer’ and I got the call, I got an audition and I got offered the job. I had to move to Connecticut and wound up spending seven years in WWE. It was a great experience, I learned a lot but it’s the relationships that you make. It certainly didn’t hurt and I think I was the top choice out of everybody because it was pretty much, I think they had a lot of different people in and out that were from different sports or different genres of entertainment. If you wanna hire a wrestling play-by-play guy, I think they need to know something about wrestling so I probably had a little of that going for me and you know, didn’t aggravate anybody while I was there, at least not at first and then, so that was how it all got started but it was because of my good friend Billy Gunn who I must always thank, contractually — I mean because he’s my friend."
- Here's how several wrestlers brought in the new year
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