I spoke to former WWE Cruiserweight Champion Buddy Murphy, whose actual weight has been a subject of discussion and snickering for a while. Many didn't think that Murphy actually made 205 pounds, which he claims he did during his Cruiserweight run. He says that he's up to 215 pounds now, and when he was in NXT, that he was over 230 pounds. He joked that he doesn't exactly see his former partner Wesley Blake making 205 pounds any time soon.
He said that WWE never wanted him on 205 Live and he had to will it into existence and force them to change their minds. He was never really given a reason as to why they didn't want him to switch to the brand, but seemed happy about how things unfolded. Murphy said he's hopeful that more 205 Live talent will end up on the WWE main roster.
I also asked Murphy about his finishing move, Murphy's Law. He debuted the move in NXT against Johnny Gargano a while back, but said that he had it in his back pocket for six years so nobody would steal it. He said that he'd also innovated the Hammerlock DDT, but Andrade ended up using it before he could.
You may have seen at NWA's presser last week, Billy Corgan said the NWA would do business with anyone but IMPACT. In reaching out to both companies, this was the first that IMPACT reps had heard of the situation, and NWA wouldn't elaborate on what caused the issues.
Regarding rumors that WWE has "tabled" negotiations with NWA for the WWE Network, WWE sources confirmed to us that the story wasn't exactly accurate. WWE has paused negotiations and discussions with many companies regarding this. NWA was going through with tapings and shopping their show regardless.
Several other promotions, such as CHIKARA, are in the same boat as it pertains to WWE and WWE Network, we're told.
The Celebrity boxing shit show that happened a couple of weeks ago was a mess. The event was actually held in the ring that GCW uses, and "Bagel Boss Guy's" replacement was a member of the GCW ring crew. He also appears for Grim's Toy Show as Matt Wolf. Unsurprisingly, the promoter of the Celebrity Boxing event has heat within the wrestling world.
Fightful Select was told that new deals were reached with Matt Taven and Rush with ROH on the Thursday prior to their match. Taven confirmed he'd be staying at the TV taping. We're told there were no overtures from the All Elite Wrestling side towards Taven.
Sasha Banks agreed to a new WWE deal upon returning to WWE, Fightful learned. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Banks confirmed news of the new deal in an interview after. I've been told that Sasha Banks is in the favor of Vince McMahon.
AEW got a lot of grief for their UK TV deal announcement. We were told by those within AEW that the initial ITV aspect of the deal was announced early due to an eager employee on the ITV side. AEW feels there is room to grow on the ITV side if the show proves successful
I was able to speak to NWA's James Storm ahead of the NWA Powerrr debut. He was actually having lunch with Bob Orton when I called him the first time, which was kind of neat. Storm put over the studio environment of NWA, and said that the company was big on letting the crowd decide who they liked, and Storm noted that they'll let you hear it accordingly. He was actually supposed to be on a USWA studio show in the 1990s, but broke his shoulder and couldn't compete in the match.
Storm said that he wasn't sold on the NWA and their new ownership at first when Billy Corgan took over because he wasn't sure what Corgan could teach him about the wrestling business. Dave Lagana's video package helped him gain respect for the duo, and mentioned that Lagana has some really creative ideas that others wouldn't think of.
James also shared a story about Montgomery Gentry, noting they all got so drunk during the filming of "Longnecks and Rednecks" that the duo had to delay their Grand Ole Opry performance that night by an hour. Woops.
WWE Hell in a Cell
Fightful has spoken to several backstage at WWE Hell in a Cell, who called the finish to the show involving Seth Rollins and The Fiend completely a Vince McMahon's call, and his sight and vision played out how he wanted it. There was much criticism from the roster and employees that we spoke to immediately after the show with this, among some other booking decisions this week -- though those weren't specified with details.
At least one story we heard involved Vince McMahon laughing off the reaction that the crowd gave the finish.
We're continuing to reach out to names backstage to take the temperature of the situation. Of late, many that we usually speak to have been in a bit of a "honeymoon" period between Smackdown debuting on Fox, the draft looming, AEW launching on TNT, NXT moving to USA. That didn't seem to be the case as the weekend wrapped up.
One wrestler noted that Vince McMahon has insinuated that some on the roster are "too pro wrestling," (the context wasn't provided), but then booked something like this, going as far as to call it an "embarrassment," and mentioning that the fans have a reason to be upset calling it "maybe the worst they've ever insulted fans intelligence."
A long-time talent sent word to a Fightful source that "none of us even know what to say," in a clearly negative connotation.
Another talent that has been largely positive about WWE content in discussions with us said they were in the same boat as everyone, and "I can appreciate over the top stuff. The blood coming out of Seth's mouth. That's stuff I can get a kick out of. But the bs finish in a cell? Come on. That needs to be the match that has the ultimate finality. But Fiends first match with Rollins was in a cell, so that was flawed right out the gate And taking 15 curb stomps? That also was bizarre. It was bizarre. That's the best way I can describe it."
We also had other talent -- even some that were there -- reaching out to us to ask what the consensus reaction was