Posts Tagged ‘WWE’

The current AEW World Champion, Chris Jericho, was a recent guest on the Mature Audiences Mayhem podcast. During the discussion, Jericho opened up about his match against Kevin Owens at WrestleMania 33 and the original plans that WWE had for the feud.

“Probably the best story [at WrestleMania] was Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens,” Jericho said. “We were best friends, and all the dastardly stuff we were doing until he turned on me at ‘The Festival of Friendship.’ Then, we had this big WrestleMania match – the confrontation. Originally, that was going to be the main event for the world title. Kevin Owens was the champion and I was going to beat him in the main event of WrestleMania as a babyface.

“Bill Goldberg and Brock Lesnar had a match, Brock really liked it and wanted to have a rematch. He put Goldberg over and they had a rematch, but only if he won the title from Bill Goldberg. That was Brock’s idea so they changed it. Vince said that it’s going to be me versus Kevin Owens for the world title at WrestleMania and you are going to win the title, f–k yeah! Next week, he doesn’t tell me, but I hear that it’s changed to Brock Lesnar versus Bill Goldberg for the title.”

Jericho saw the match being placed on a lower position on the WrestleMania card as an insult, saying how he would have actually preferred to be the 1st match of the night instead of the 2nd. His frustration would eventually lead to an exit from WWE, a resurgence in New Japan Pro Wrestling, and the rumblings of what is now become AEW. 

“And not only did they take us out of the main event – and, once again, just because I was told I have no right to it and things change all the time, I’m a big boy, I can handle it. But to take us from the main event slot and then move us to the 2nd match on the card on a card that has 12 matches on it? I was like, that’s a f–king insult!” Jericho exclaimed. “And I didn’t realize it at the time, but afterward, I guess about 3-4 weeks later, I was like, wait a second, we were 2nd on the card? It wasn’t even 1st. The first match on the show at a WrestleManiais a very important match, maybe event second only to the main event. But to put us on second is an insult and it doesn’t even matter now what I did.

“We had the best storyline of the year but it doesn’t matter, it’s still not going to get me higher on the card to be second on the card at WrestleMania,” Jericho continued. “I need to leave; that is how you know. When the time comes when you are put in that spot as an insularity guy? Then I went through this whole thing when I went on tour with Fozzy and had the Tokyo Dome match against Kenny Omega. This whole new world of creativity opened up and this whole new star power for Chris Jericho, and we drew a lot of money for New Japan at that Dome show. And that was how the road to AEW started.”

Jericho thinks of himself as a bridge for the general audience of pro wrestling to become interested in what AEW has to offer. Tuning in to see him as the company’s world champion will ultimately give exposure to the new stars that AEW is presenting on TNT.

“And now with AEW, I’m not the face of the company but I’m definitely the bridge. What I mean by that is that I am the one who brings people in who don’t know what AEWis,” Jericho explained. “If you are a wrestling fan, you know who Chris Jericho is. You might not know who Kenny Omega is or The Young Bucks or those other guys, but Chris Jericho is there. I know him. I know his history. I’ve been watching him for so many years so I will check out the show. If you check out the show, you can see me, and you can then see all of these other guys, and then you’re hooked. That is what happened with New Japan. They came to see me and they left being Will Ospreay fans, Kenny Omega fans, Young Bucks fans, Okada fans, etc. I think that is why it was smart for Tony Khan to get me on his show, because there’s not a lot of other people that could have done that.”

Baron Corbin is your new WWE King of the Ring.

Corbin defeated Chad Gable in an awesome finals match, working his much-improved hard-hitting bully style on an opponent more than willing to bump for a maniac for him, resulting in another fine bout to continue Corbin’s recent hot streak.

WWE.com has since announced that Corbin’s coronation will go down on tonight’s episode of SmackDown. Just look at him in that crown, guys. What a piece of work.

While cynics may have rolled their eyes at a potential King Corbin victory prior to the tournament, few could have predicted Baron’s run panning out so well. Having largely eschewed dull resthold segments for more bruising, impactful offence, he has evolved greatly between the ropes and demonstrated this in recent matches with The Miz, Cedric Alexander, and now Gable. He might be the most improved wrestler in WWE today. 

The Big Breakfast should theoretically make for a great heel King, too, as there’s no way the gloriously obnoxious former Constable won’t ham it up to the max. Here’s hoping that his coronation continues his path of improvement and prosperity.

It looks like Jeff Hardy has become the latest WWE wrestler to have their contract extended after getting injured.

A new report from Fightful Select that WWE have added at least an extra year to Jeff’s current deal, meaning he’ll likely be with the promotion until sometime in 2021. This news comes in the same year that WWE decided to trigger a one-year extension on both Hardy brothers’ contracts, which were originally set to expire in 2019, but came with the rollover option.

Jeff’s injuries forced him and Matt to relinquish the SmackDown Tag Team Championships in April. He isn’t expected to return to television until November, having spent significant time on the sidelines since returning to WWE in 2017.

Hardy becomes the latest in a growing line of wrestlers to have their contracts extended due to injuries, with Dash Wilder and Luke Harper before receiving the same treatment in 2019. What separates those two from Jeff is that WWE reportedly did this as a response to Wilder and Harper requesting their releases. There’s no indication that this is the case with Hardy, who remains a well-presented performer when healthy.

WWE has steered clear of men wrestling women in recent years but that all changed at Extreme Rules. There was an intergender match featuring Baron Corbinand Lacey Evans vs. Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch, and Corbin ended up delivering an End of Days to Lynch.

Fans didn’t really know how to react and Corbin talked about that when he joined the Not Sam Wrestling Podcast.

“I was curious about the reaction. It was one of the craziest reactions that I have ever heard. When you stand behind her and I’m getting up behind her and when I snatch her and the fans are yelling, it’s almost dead quiet for a second. They couldn’t believe I had done it. They popped and then booed. It was the most confusing and greatest reaction of just pure, natural excitement and hatred,” recalled Corbin.

“I even had to give some stuff to our social media team because I received death threats after that; it was insane. People went way overboard, but people were like, ‘I’m coming to Raw to stab you.’ It was crazy. I can’t remember but I called Seth Rollins a piece of s**t or something. I don’t know what it was, but I was so excited when I did that and the reaction was so unreal and loud that I turned around and I was mad and whatever I was feeling, it came out and it was so funny because it was totally natural. But I had to click back into the zone. It was a surreal moment that I will remember forever.”

Corbin appeared on the Raw after Extreme Rules but then disappeared for a month before returning just before the King of the Ring. He talked about being off TV for a while after being the most active wrestler in terms of matches.

“Me being who I am I want to go, go, go. It’s crazy because last year I wrestled the second to the most matches in the company. This year right now I am No. 1 most matches in the company,” stated Corbin. “I go, go, go. I work and work because I love it. To me, it’s about pride. I work for every dollar I get. I want to scratch and claw to be the hardest working guy out there especially because people don’t see that; I appreciate it. People talk about how I suck, they don’t realize that I have been wrestling more matches than anybody…

“I think for me, mentally it was good for me to pull back, and my body. The TV days can be long when you are there all day from noon and you’re there all day getting ready for segments with the anxiety and stress of TV days. It’s a lot so it was good for my body to take a break and I think it was good for the audience. It’s funny because I would see a lot of comments saying how it was the best Raw ever because there was no Baron Corbin, but after three weeks they’re like, wait, where’s Baron Corbin? Get on the show. So, I think it’s good to be missed, which is the same thing about King of the Ring. It was missed for a while and now it feels a little more special. The day I came back it was like I was never gone. They missed every bit of me.”

Just like his character on TV, Corbin doesn’t hesitate to speak his mind on social media either. That sometimes rubs people the wrong way but Corbin says social media can also help a Superstar better connect with the audience. 

“You can still be relatable and still be an a-hole,” Corbin said of social media. “It’s funny because people have been saying that to me since I was a kid. They’ll say, man, I like the guy but he’s a jerk. You get a lot of that, especially in college where I would be getting into a lot of fights. Especially, you know, I don’t really like him but if something were to go down, I would want him on my side. So I think a lot of that stuff I can be a good father and do cool stuff and still be an a-hole…

“I think it’s great because it does make it relatable but it also helps people. There are people that I know like Alexa Bliss’ story [on her eating disorder]. She comes out with the issue that she had and people see that and they’ll say, man, I’m going through the same things and she became successful so it gives people that opportunity to have made it despite the same obstacles that they went through. Vice versa, my NFL stuff, the NFL guys are bummed out because they didn’t make it in the NFL, but then they’ll say, oh, well, this dude he played football and he didn’t make it but look at what he’s doing now. Maybe I can be an Olympic shot putter. It gives people a lot of hope, but then there’s that double-edged sword where it brings people into your life a little too much and I think it’s hard to find that balance to let people in.”

Corbin spent parts of three seasons in the NFL before turning to pro wrestling. He was an offensive lineman which is a position that usually only gets criticized and not praised. He talked about that NFL experience helping him prepare for receiving criticism in wrestling.

“It’s funny too because a lot of people have these opinions or elaborate thoughts about why things work or don’t work. Well, if your opinions worked you would probably be a famous writer. You would be some sort of influential voice, they’re not, they’re on Twitter and they have 74 followers…,” said Corbin.

“I have been used to critics since I played football as an offensive lineman. If the game wasn’t high scoring or whatever, it was it was the offensive line’s fault. It was never anybody else’s fault but the offensive linemen’s fault. It’s so funny because they have no clue what they’re talking about so it’s really no different than what we are doing now.”

WWE delivered yet another strong episode of Raw last night, continuing the flagship show’s recent hot streak with an eventful show highlighted by Chad Gable and Baron Corbin’s King of the Ring finals, The Fiend’s assault on Kane (and terrorisation of Seth Rollins), and Rusev’s surprising return.

Many fans would agree that the show has experienced a significant upturn in quality since Paul Heyman was installed as Creative Director, and it sounds like the former ECW mastermind had complete control last night. This is according to Pro Wrestling Sheet, who claim that Vince McMahon, Triple H, and Kevin Dunn were not backstage in Knoxville, Tennessee, so Heyman ran Raw by himself. There’s currently no word on whether or not said executives will be present for tonight’s SmackDown.

The writeup claims that Triple H is currently in Orlando to focus on NXT’s USA Network debut tomorrow evening. On top of this, WWE’s VP of Global Television Production, Michael Mansury, reportedly filled in for Dunn.

Where McMahon was is currently unclear. Regardless, it’s encouraging to know that Heyman can helm a mammoth three-hour broadcast without the Chairman’s support, and for it to come out so entertaining is a nice little boost as well.

WWE are set to shake their Raw and SmackDown rosters up with a new talent draft kicking off on the 11 October episode of SD held in Las Vegas, Nevada, then concluding on the 14 October Raw in Denver, Colorado, with the company looking to solidify both shows as their FOX TV deal kicks in.

Other specifics on the 2019 Draft haven’t been forthcoming so far, but the latest edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter sheds light on how it will be presented.

Per Dave Meltzer’s writeup, FOX and WWE will attempt to frame it like a “legitimate sports draft” a la other major professional American leagues, and hope that having it start on SmackDown will help the blue brand shed its long-held “B-show” image following the move to Friday nights. This presumably means plenty of coverage across FOX’s various other channels and sports shows. 

It sounds encouraging. While WWE have never touted a “real-sport feel” in the same way as AEW, previous reports have suggested FOX intend on having SmackDown take on that kind of presentation, so what better way than to start with a full-on NBA/NFL style talent draft?

The recent decision for WWE to schedule NXT on Wednesday nights in a two-hour time slot on the USA Network starting September 18 certainly has got the wrestling world talking. But, it’s without a doubt that NXT has outgrown its original purpose of being a development territory for WWE. 

During a recent interview with TV Insider, Alexa Bliss, herself a former talent performing on the yellow brand, is excited for NXT’s move to the USA Network

“There are over a 100 talents that are there,” she said. “A lot of people we don’t see because NXT is a shorter show. You only see three or four matches per show. If you’re not featured, you’re not going to be on there for a while. I think the show being extended on a bigger stage, it gives the world a view of NXT talent they may have not had before.”

Bliss, one half of the current WWE Women’s Tag Team Champions along with Nikki Cross, also spoke about how she is still a fan of NXT – in particular, one talent who has impressed her.

“Bianca [Blair] is athletic and has a ton of charisma,” Bliss said. “I think she is really talented I watched the last TakeOver she was in, and it was incredible. The Forgotten Sons also have a special place in my heart because of Blake, who is one of the most talented people they have in NXT. I really hope NXT going to the USA Network helps showcase that. All three in that group are great. I like to see people who didn’t get more opportunities before get an opportunity.”

Bliss was also asked about when she moved from NXT to the main roster of WWE and how she struggled, but she recalls it was Charlotte Flair who in particular helped ease the transition.

“She was very welcoming,” Bliss said. “She was one of the few that was welcoming. Sarah Amato, who is an incredible coach, has always been crazy helpful. Since my first day she helped me along the way. I’m thankful to stay in contact with her.”