Posts Tagged ‘Impact Wrestling’

Vince McMahon’s assertion that the XFL’s relaunch would have no impact on his day-to-day WWE role was one of the biggest talking points to emerge from January 25th’s press conference, but the Chairman is already going back on his word.

According to this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Vince is currently undergoing the process of transferring certain WWE powers to others, with Triple H the main benefactor.

‘The Game’ has already taken over 205 Live’s operations, with McMahon stepping aside. On top of this, Vince is currently assembling a team to assist Triple H in running NXT, which is why Impact Wrestling’s Jeremy Borash was recently brought into the company. Dave Meltzer notes that Vince has also spoken to other individuals with a view to taking a bigger role, but doesn’t mention any specifics.

This doesn’t mean that McMahon is stepping away entirely, but he is looking to ensure key positions are covered when the XFL’s rebirth finally comes to fruition.

The only surprise here is the timescale, as while Triple H was pinpointed as Vince’s preferred heir a long time ago, the Chairman had shown no signs of ceding power. McMahon will still hold authority going forward, but it sounds like big changes are on the way.

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There are rumors going around WWE that say Jeff Jarrett could be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame during WrestleMania 34 Week in New Orleans this year, according to PWInsider.

No word yet on if there is any truth to the rumors but the potential induction would come after Jarrett recently wrapped a stint in WWE-sponsored rehab. The TNA co-founder is no longer affiliated with the company that he tried to go up against WWE with but he does have a controversial past with WWE.

Jarrett is a six-time WWE Intercontinental Champion, a one-time WWE Tag Team Champion and a one-time WWE European Champion. He is also a three-time WCW United States Champion and a four-time WCW World Heavyweight Champion.

WWE has confirmed headliner Bill Goldberg, The Dudley Boyz and Ivory for the 2018 Class as of this writing. Other names rumored but unconfirmed for this year include Mark Henry, the late Bam Bam Bigelow and Kid Rock for the Celebrity Wing.

As noted, Rey Mysterio returned to WWE TV in the men’s Royal Rumble match on Sunday under a one-time deal. It was noted on Wrestling Observer Radio that the appearance could definitely end up being more dates but Rey is not going to work a full schedule. WWE and Rey have had on and off talks for the past year but the main issue has been WWE wanting Rey back under a full-time schedule.

The loud pops that Rey received did catch the attention of WWE officials, according to PWInsider. This is also helping the chances of WWE bringing him back for more dates.

WWE and Mysterio both went to great lengths to keep Sunday’s appearance a secret, as WWE did with Ronda Rousey and some of the other special appearances.

Rey remains a free agent as his Lucha Underground deal expired and his recent talks with Impact ended without a deal. The talks with Impact, led by Konnan, were so close to coming to a deal that travel arrangements were made. There was talk of Impact getting Rey to debut at the recent TV tapings but officials wanted Rey to debut at their April tapings with the idea of his in-ring debut coming at the April 22nd Redemption pay-per-view.

It will be interesting to see if Rey’s future with WWE or Impact depends on a potential deal for his 21 year old son Dominick, who has appeared on WWE TV a few times over the years, as Rey has been training his son for a pro wrestling run as of late.

According to PWInsider, Impact Wrestling (big breath) announcer, booker, backstage interviewer, TV producer and (yes) website design Jeremy Borash has been offered a job by WWE. Several sources from his ex-employer confirmed that Borash had requested his notice.

The Minnesotan, who has been intimately associated with Impact for nearly 20 years, was reportedly backstage at WWE events in Philadelphia this past week, under the pretense of “visiting friends”.

Of all the migrations from Nashville over the last twelve months or so, Borash is arguably the most significant. A loyal employee of Impact since its inception, Borash is basically synonymous with the company, and his defection will come as an enormous blow for a group already floundering.

It’s fair to say the former-TNA has endured some turbulent times throughout its 16 year history. During its darkest moments, Borash has often been the rudder steering it away from the rocks. First hired as a ring announcer, over the years his commitment and competence have seen him assume various roles within the promotion as he has became increasingly fundamental. His journey is not dissimilar to that of Eric Bischoff’s in WCW – and his departure is akin to if the Nitro deviser switched ships during the Monday Night wars. (Minus the competition element.)

With several months of TV already in the can, Impact will enjoy the commentary work of Borash for a little while longer – which also means any on-air role he is pegged for in WWE will be delayed until the opponent’s airwaves are clear.

Laurel Van Ness spoke with the Orlando Sentinel after confirming her release from Impact Wrestling, earlier this week. Here are some of the highlights:

Leaving Impact Wrestling:

“It’s stressful, it’s crazy, it’s exciting, all at once. … It was a difficult choice to make, and that’s why I’m so split — excited and scared. But it’s going to be a really, really good year for me on the indies, hopefully putting on solid matches and wrestling in more countries.”

Potential of going to WWE:

“I’d be crazy to say no I haven’t [thought about WWE]. It’s always in the back of your mind for any wrestler. It was the only thing in my mind when I started with Tough Enough in 2014. But I’ve grown a little more open and found options I never knew I had before. Now, if WWE calls tomorrow, that would be amazing. If Ring of Honor calls tomorrow, amazing. But now I have options. … I never thought I’d say that. When I first started out wrestling in front of 100 people, I thought, ‘Chelsea, you’re better than this. You should be working in front of thousands!’ But I was crazy. The things I’ve been able to do – main events, cage matches, all kinds of stipulations – the opportunities, they are at an all-time high.”

Bobby Lashley and EC3 finishing up at Impact Wrestling:

“It hit everybody in day 2 or 3 [of the tapings] that when everybody comes back, it won’t be the same feeling. I tried to keep quiet and private [with] what I was going to do, but everybody knew about Bobby and EC3. They made such an impact in the company for years, and to see them go was a little different feeling.”

Laurel Van Ness also discussed the Knockouts Division and traveling the world. You can read the full interview by clicking here.

Bobby Roode was recently a guest on the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast. During the conversation, he discussed his acclaimed run in NXT.

After spending nearly his entire career with Impact Wrestling, Roode joined NXT in 2016. He credits former Impact superstar Samoa Joe for helping him make the decision to be a part of WWE’s developmental brand. He quickly became the brand’s top heel, leading to him winning the NXT Championship. Roode said he benefited from great timing, in that he joined the brand when some of its top stars were going to the main roster.

“I came in at a really good time. Timing is everything in this business and at that time I was coming in and a lot of guys were moving up. It was the year of the draft, so a lot of big names from NXT were able to be called up to Raw and SmackDown so a lot of holes to fill. That was when my experience came in and was able to work alongside Samoa Joe. Joe and I had a lot of history before and Joe knew me and I knew Joe,” Roode said. “He was one of the main reasons why I came down to NXT so I was able to work with Joe, Austin Aries, got to be put into matches with Nakamura and Finn Balor. Then, when everybody kind of moved on and up I was able to have the opportunity to be the face of the brand and be put into a feud with Nakamura for around eight months. It was amazing, and such a great experience. We started travelling around domestically and be put on all the live events, it was a really rewarding experience.”

Roode was called up to the main roster this summer and joined SmackDown Live in August. The WWE decided to push him as a face despite his success as a heel, and his run so far has been met with mixed reactions from fans and pundits alike. Roode said he knew it would be an adjustment because he’d be performing in front of an audience vastly different from the NXT Universe.

“I knew coming in the door that regardless of what I had done in NXT this is a new ballgame, and to be honest with you, a new audience,” Roode said. “The NXT TakeOver crowds are great and everything else, you go to a TakeOver and the crowd is rowdy, but for whatever reason the next night it isn’t as rowdy so there are some NXT fans that will follow you around, but majority of the time I will go into a town and nobody will know who Bobby Roode is for the first time, so that is different and I knew that so you really have to go out there and re-establish yourself. It’s like starting from scratch again.”

Roode said he didn’t really consider working the independent circuit when he left Impact Wrestling. He had a desire to perform on the biggest stage possible, and he needed something that would help fuel his passion for the pro-wrestling business. He found it in NXT.

“I think people understood because the guys I worked with at other companies saw the writing on the wall. I have zero regrets in my career, and was treated very well, but I just came to the point in my career that I was part of a company for over 12 years and felt like I did everything that I could possibly do over there,” he said. “I was doing well, supporting my family and have zero complaints, but this goes back to the question as I stated a while ago; I’m going to go to work for six days and then go sit for two months and then they’d want me to come back to work seven days, maybe twice in one day and then go sit down for three months, that is not why I got into the business for. I got into the business to be on the road, working live crowds and on television, being home for a couple of days and then going back on the road. That is the type of schedule that I want, and the type of schedule of why I got into this business. Working there I started to lose the passion for the business that I have always loved. I love the business and I had gotten to the point in my career while working for that company that I started to not love it anymore, so that was when I went home and figured out what I wanted to do to see if I still loved it. Fortunately for me I got the opportunity and it’s been great.”

Konnan was a guest on the most recent episode of The Ross Report and he had a wide-ranging conversation with Jim Ross. Konnan discussed the heel heat Jinder Mahal has generated since he was pushed into the main event picture earlier this year.

“Jinder Mahal has real heat. More heat than anybody,” Konnan said. “People were talking about how he wasn’t used well the first time around he was in WWE and now he is up here in today’s world of great work rate, you have to be in the same conversation of an AJ Styles or Samoa Joe. Some of them, they don’t like his work rate so that gives him some real heat.”

Mahal’s sudden push from mid-card jobber to becoming WWE Champion over the summer wasn’t popular among the majority of the WWE Universe. He was able to become one of the top heels in the company before losing the title to AJ Styles last month.

Another superstar that is becoming a top heel in WWE is Elias. Konnan dished out a ton of praise for The Drifter, saying he’s one of his favorite superstars at the moment.

“The most over guy to me on either Raw or SmackDown is Elias. That is my favorite character. I love the way he comes out and buries the crowd. I love how he sings his song and buries the crowd,” Konnan said. “His delivery and timing is incredible. He is really funny to me. Obviously, they haven’t put him in any good matches where he means anything. I mean, they really buried him when they did that angle with Jason Jordan and how he came out and threw vegetables at him, which was very hoaky, but I love watching Elias. He’s my favorite right now.”

One thing Konnan hasn’t been happy about is the current writing in the WWE. He said a major problem the company faces is the 50/50 booking because they aren’t really listening to the fans. He’s grown frustrated with the writing because he thinks the solution is as simple as hiring better writers.

“Jimmy Jacobs, who used to write for Chris Jericho when he was in WWE. He is in TNA writing for them now. He was on my podcast and we had asked him how many writers they had. He said something along the lines of having 25 writers. He even said that some guys specifically do comedy; some guys specifically do promos and that they are very talented guys,” Konnan said. “I asked him why the shows are so bad, then? They do such a good job in burying people than putting people over. That 50/50 booking doesn’t help anybody. He was telling me how it is really hard to do 3 hours of television every week; I say why not get better writers then? If you watch Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, but I bet you that if you told them that their show was going to be three hours every Sunday instead of one hour it would still be a great show. I just get frustrated when WWE, who invented everything like vignette, putting people over and creating superstars, I just feel as though they don’t listen to the crowd, and it’s just basically because it is a party of one where you have to have Vince McMahon happy.”