The latest episode of Wikipedia Fact Check dropped last weekend, featuring former NWA Champion Colt Cabana. We've decided to follow the format of several of our features (namely Squash City, and the upcoming Making A Finisher) and have seasons of these shows as opposed to trying to release them every single week, month, etc. This allows for our content to cycle in and out, and allows us to accumulate, film and post the episodes in a better manner. Speaking of, the Squash City features will return this summer, so make sure to send me your favorite all-time ass kickings.
It's such a different place that we are in the world of pro wrestling in that it's more socially acceptable than ever, especially by real fighters. Our Own James Lynch spoke to several UFC names in recent weeks about how they felt about possibly making the jump over to pro wrestling in the future. Ashlee-Evans Smith, who has a unique look even to anyone in pro wrestling or MMA, said that she'd entertain the idea, but knows that it takes a physical toll. Curtis Millender made a name for himself recently with a knockout over Thiago Alves, and is an admittedly huge wrestling fan, even to the point to where he joked he wanted to avenge CM Punk's loss to Mickey Gall. He's planning on attending WrestleMania next year, and was at a couple of WWE events recently.
The only person that Lynch spoke to that was put off by pro wrestling a little bit was former UFC title challenger Kevin Lee, who said that it was too corny for his liking. He went out of his way to say that he wasn't intending to disrespect pro wrestling and that he'd be open to appearing in a one-off situation, but that it just wasn't something that he looks to as a career moving forward.
As it pertains to Fabricio Werdum's claims that he has a meeting with WWE this week, none of my sources in the company could confirm it, and most of them didn't know who Werdum was. Not to say he couldn't work with them, but it isn't something widely known internally.
There are a lot more former fighters, boxers, athletes, fitness models and personalities who see pro wrestling as a possible career change these days who are considering just hopping right in to the independent circuit. I've talked to multiple people recently who have flirted with the idea of contacting WWE for a tryout, or throwing their name in the hat, but WWE hasn't necessarily been all in on it. Another former pro athlete I spoke to said that they have been told to just start working independent matches after their training and that WWE is much more likely to pick them up for fear of someone else doing it. However, if they just flirt with the idea of wrestling, WWE is in no rush to do so as they're more interested in making sure that the people they sign can embrace the pro wrestling grind.
I interviewed Punishment Martinez this week ahead of his big match with Marty Scurll for Ring of Honor 16th Anniversary. When I spoke to him, he admitted that for years he coasted on his size, and wasn't really prepared for the spot that he has now, which is why he's getting his big break in his mid 30's. Martinez opened up about how he got into Ring of Honor, telling me that the ROH training camps were a big part of him getting his deal, but he actually got offered a contract when he showed up to participate in one.
He also confirmed to me that he changed his name from Punisher to Punishment in order to avoid any potential copyright issues with Marvel. In addition to this interview, I recorded segments with Martinez that will appear on future seasons of Wikipedia Fact Check and Making A Finisher, where we go in depth on his South of Heaven chokeslam finisher.
With Sonjay Dutt out with an injury in January, a lot of the creative was put together by Jimmy Jacobs and Scott D'Amore at the last set of tapings. Jacobs actually admitted when speaking to me that the work that he put in for that set of tapings was more grueling than anything he'd done with Vince McMahon during his two years with WWE. Overall, Impact filmed something like 75 matches during that taping, and don't have nearly the power in numbers that they had a year ago as it pertains to agents and help backstage.
I badgered several wrestlers this week about their thoughts on Ronda Rousey and how she's been perceived backstage in her brief WWE run. I'd asked people throughout the week leading up to WWE Raw, and was told that both she and husband Travis Browne are well-liked, respectful and humble around events. I asked the same people again what they thought of Rousey committing to appear at every WWE Raw episode leading into WrestleMania, and that turned some heads. Everyone I'd spoken to didn't expect that and one wrestler in particular said that made a major positive impression on them, because she could have easily gotten away with showing up to two or three episodes of Raw between Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania.
Hillbilly Jim was announced as an inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2018. I'm told that he actually found out this was happening very recently, even though he'd been discussed internally as a selection for many years. Those I spoke to said that Jim was emotional and humbled by the call and wasn't expecting to get in. Jim is very well liked by Vince McMahon in particular, who made sure to give him work for years following his in-ring career working for Coliseum Home Video, as a broadcaster, managing wrestlers, hosting WWE Axxess tours, and other projects.
I've been told that WWE is expecting Bobby Fish to miss anywhere from 7 to 10 months due to his knee injury. Despite reports to the contrary, there were no real plans to strip Undisputed Era of the titles.