Frustration In WWE Over COVID-19, Chaos Backstage At Raw, Ric Flair Controversy, Why AJ Styles Hates Paul Heyman, Big SummerSlam Developments, Matt Hardy Frustrated In AEW, Impact Stars Take Aim At Vince McMahon And Backstage News

Welcome to the Insider Weekly Newsletter!

This week’s issue, Issue No. 2, includes news from Saturday, July 18, 2020 to Friday, July 24, 2020. Stories were written by Richard Gray and CJ Blaze with final editing done by Richard for clarity. Exclusive behind-the-scenes information was added, with content exclusive to WNC Insider Members.

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WWE News

– Vic Joseph returned to commentary as the play-by-play announcer on last week’s episode of WWE 205 Live, where he called the action next to Drew Gulak. Joseph was previously on 205 Live but was moved to Monday Night Raw, where he replaced Tom Phillips for a short stint. Joseph has remained with WWE over the past several months, despite not being used.

– Naomi was squashed by Lacey Evans on this week’s episode of WWE Friday Night SmackDown, which caused Twitter to react with the hashtag #NaomiDeservesBetter. The two-time SmackDown Women’s Champion acknowledged the support with a reply of her own: “Wow! I know y’all got me you always have! I appreciate you all so so much! Thanks for the continuous support and believing in me #bestfans #glowmob #naomob #wweuninverse,” Naomi tweeted with a screen capture of the hashtag trending. Naomi, while a regular on SmackDown, has been booked as an enhancement talent for the past several months. In fact, she hasn’t gone over in a singles match since the Feb. 28 episode of SmackDown against Bayley and that was by disqualification. It was on the Feb. 21 episode of SmackDown where she went over Carmella by pinfall.

– Mike Kanellis clarified on Twitter that he never went to rehab to get sober. Kannellis, who will go by his real name Mike Bennett in Ring of Honor, is opening up about his journey to sobriety. Earlier this month, he celebrated being sober for three years. “I never went to rehab,” Bennett tweeted. “My wife was my rehab. I recovered on the road. They never paid for my rehab and they also never reached out to me once. Not a single person in management ever contacted me to see if I needed help or if I was doing ok in my recovery. All credit goes to my wife.” He also clarified that he never stopped working while he was getting sober. Bennett tweeted: “I never stopped working. I was on the road every week. Why would they stop paying me? Also if you read my previous tweets, I never said I blame them for not reaching out. I said it made me sad, because they say talent well being is first and foremost,” tweeted Mike.

– Lance Storm tweeted this morning he is now officially unemployed for the first time since November 1994. “For what it’s worth I am now officially unemployed. First time since I left SMW in Nov. 1994,” Storm tweeted followed by a #FutureEndeavors hashtags. Storm was one of many producers and talents furloughed by WWE in April in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Storm had returned to WWE in November 2019 after shutting down the Storm Wrestling Academy. Chris Jericho, who is close friends with Storm, advocated for his re-hiring. Jericho tweeted: “In this biz? That’s a hell of a run! Now @WWE and @VinceMcMahon need to pull their heads out of their collective asses and re-hire you! #lanceisagenius”

– Cesaro and Shinsuke Nakamura beat The New Day in a Tables Match at WWE’s The Horror Show at Extreme Rules to win the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. In a high spot, Cesaro powerbombed Kofi Kingston through two tables setup outside of the ring to win the match.

– Apollo Crews vs. MVP for the WWE United States Championship did not take place Sunday night at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules. It was stated on commentary that Crews did not pass his pre-match physical due to a bulging disc in his back suffered from a full nelson by Bobby Lashley. MVP came out and did a heel promo. He had Lashley put a United States title belt around his waist after talking about the injury to Crews.

– Apollo Crews says he plans to shut up both Bobby Lashley and MVP once he’s cleared. In a new tweet on Sunday night during the airing of The Horror Show at Extreme Rules, Crews commented: “@The305MVP is trippin thinking he can claim himself the #USChampion. I was looking forward to shutting you BOTH up once and for all tonight at #ExtremeRules but once I’m cleared .. #ImComingforwhatsmine”

– WWE posted a kayfabe update on Rey Mysterio’s eye following his Eye for an Eye Match at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules. Like on the broadcast, it was explained [here on dot com] Mysterio was “rushed to a local medical facility to be treated for a potential glob luxation.” They note medical experts were optimistic if the “optic nerve is not severed and there is not too much strain on the blood vessels and nerves that connect the eye to the rest of the head, there’s a chance Mysterio can maintain his vision.” Obviously, this is selling the stipulation at Extreme Rules. For those that missed it, Rollins drove Mysterio’s eye into the corner of the ring steps and when he went to finish him off, Samoa Joe, from commentary, calmly stated, “It’s out.” The referee called for the bell and help came from the back. Rollins vomited to sell it.

– Apollo Crews’ absence from Sunday’s The Horror Show at WWE Extreme Rules pay-per-view was COVID-19 related, according to Dave Meltzer. The company canceled his United States Championship defense scheduled against MVP, running a segment he did not pass his pre-match physical due to a bulging disc in his back from the full nelson Bobby Lashley put him in. Lashley presented MVP with a United States Championship belt and put it around his waist. Crews won the United States Championship back in May, his first title reign since coming to WWE five years ago. He vowed to go after Lashley and MVP when he was medically cleared.

– Asuka is still the WWE Raw Women’s Champion following The Horror Show at Extreme Rules on Sunday night. For those that did not watch the show or read our results, Asuka inadvertently spit green mist in the referee’s face. This allowed for Bayley to get in the ring and distract the referee. Bayley ended up taking the referee’s shirt off him and counted the three count while Sasha Banks covered the champion. She called for the timekeeper to ring the bell.

– Kayla Braxton got heat from fans on Twitter regarding her issues with COVID-19, which caused her to reply. For those that do not remember, Braxton tested positive for the virus in March and was apparently reinfected a couple of months later. She worked The Horror Show at Extreme Rules. Here is Braxton’s statement: ”Setting the record straight because some of you have been super unkind: I tested positive for covid late March. I notified my company and I left and self quarantined for 4 weeks. I then was retested and tested negative. I still wore a mask and took all necessary precautions but then once again, I tested positive a couple months later. This time I had no symptoms but still, I left work and self quarantined for 14 days. Last night you all were tweeting super insensitive things regarding my health. A couple of you even said you thought i had died and maybe that woulda been for the best. Guys. This isn’t okay. When I said don’t be stupid like me I meant, don’t make the mistake of thinking you can’t test positive twice. I did everything I could. And this can happen to you. Moral of the story is: stop bullying people online, especially for something that concerns health. It’s so gross and you should be embarrassed. Let’s all be better. This is a hard time for everyone and we’re all experiencing a state of the world we’ve never experienced before. Build each other up. Help people. Just be good to people. And to all of you who have lent your support, I’ve seen you. And thank you. We need more people like you.”

– Vince McMahon is determined to bring the audience back to WWE Monday Night Raw tonight. This is why they heavily promoted Big Show vs. Randy Orton in an unsanctioned match and did the cliffhanger booking of the WWE Raw Women’s Championship at The Horror Show at Extreme Rules.

– John Cena appeared on the latest episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver. In the segment, Cena was giving his take on the subject of the episode, “Coronavirus: Conspiracy Theories.” “There’s a little of official looking stuff on the internet, not all of it is true,” said Cena. “And there is some stuff that seems false but isn’t. Like this one – John Oliver and I are the exact same age. Yep, born on the same year on the exact same day. That seems impossible that two human bodies can age so differently. But it’s true – I checked. And it’s important you do that so before you go believe any theory about the pandemic or share any information about the pandemic, it’s good to know where that information is coming from.” For whatever reason, Cena removed his shirt during the segment.

– WWE utilized Alexa Bliss in the Wyatt Swamp Fight between WWE Universal Champion Braun Strowman and Bray Wyatt at last night’s Horror Show at Extreme Rules pay-per-view. For those that missed it, Bliss was featured wearing a black veil where she lured him into Wyatt’s trap. She lifted the veil up and stated, “You know you’ve always wanted to be together. Follow me Braun. We can be together forever. This could be our life. Come home Braun, follow me home Braun.”

– Kairi Sane will finish up with WWE at today’s Raw tapings, according to a new report by Sane will leave on good terms but will move back to Japan. She announced in February she recently married a man who she was having a long-distance relationship with. Sane has been trying to get back to Japan since then and there were even plans to write her off WWE television before but she was legitimately injured during a match with Nia Jax in May.

– Apollo Crews was considered “iffy” for WWE’s The Horror Show at Extreme Rules over the weekend before eventually not being cleared. As reported, Crews was pulled from the show due to concerns over his COVID-19 test. There are friends of Crews that believe he is COVID-19 positive but there is nothing to confirm that as the company must protect the health data of their talent.

– As far as COVID-19 in WWE, there is frustration over how testing is being handled. The issue has to do with talent being able to work with a pending test. WWE is also not testing as often as the major sports leagues.

– Social distancing has improved in the WWE locker room following top stars such as Kevin Owens being vocal about talent not taking the virus seriously. Once Owens threatened to leave the July 3rd taping, WWE instituted their mask-wearing policy and implemented stricter social distancing guidelines.

– There has been a total of at least 60 cases in WWE since testing was started. That number includes talent, production and employees.

– Top tier workers and people higher up on the card are seen to have an advantage over lower tier talent. Right now, a lot of COVID-19 cases are attributed to travel and going out to restaurants. Talent with more resources are traveling in their tour buses, eliminating the risk from air travel and have personal chefs to cook their meals.

– COVID-19 is not just a WWE problem. We have heard from talent in other locker rooms who state the virus is a major problem and there are a lot of infections throughout the wrestling business as a whole.

– WWE was behind schedule at this week’s Raw tapings on Monday. PWInsider broke the news around 2pm ET, an hour after the show was scheduled to start, that Raw was being heavily re-written. It’s unknown if this was due to a change in creative direction or because of COVID-19 testing issues. As Richard exclusively reported earlier, WWE is still having major issues with testing and cases, which is affecting the company from top to bottom. WWE finally began taping Raw around 3pm ET, just five hours before it airs on USA Network. It has since been confirmed that Seth Rollins vs. Aleister Black take place in addition to Randy Orton vs. Big Show in an unsanctioned match. We also know that this taping will likely be Kairi Sane’s last in WWE.

– Ric Flair’s wife, Wendy Barlow, has COVID-19 and is “very ill,” according to a report by The New York Post. Barlow is familiar to professional wrestling fans as former WCW star Fifi The Maid. The Post’s report features a photo of Flair without a mask on at a Starbucks drive-through [in his car] on Friday in Georgia. A source tells the publication Flair tested positive for the virus on Wednesday and is mostly asymptomatic, aside from some coughing. However, Flair denies he has it. “That is absolutely incorrect,” Flair told The Post. “My wife does [have the virus]… we live in a 5,000 square foot home. I live in the basement. She lives upstairs on the third floor and she got sick.” Flair followed up his phone conversation with a text message to The Post, stating his “health is excellent.”

As reported last month here on, Mustafa Ali has been traded to Raw and made his debut on the red brand. Ali was the surprise teammate of Cedric Alexander and Ricochet, as they faced off against Bobby Lashley, Shelton Benjamin and MVP. This stable is now known collectively as The Hurt Business. Ali was widely believed to be behind the hacker videos that were shown on SmackDown, and were instrumental in the storyline with Mandy Rose, Otis, Dolph Ziggler and Sonya Deville.

– WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon appeared on Raw and announced next week, Asuka will face Sasha Banks for the WWE Raw Women’s Championship. The match can be decided by pinfall, submission, count out, or disqualification, including outside interference.

– The stable of Lashley, MVP and Shelton Benjamin is now known as The Hurt Business.

– Shelton Benjamin is the new WWE 24/7 Champion.

– Austin Theory was accused of inappropriate behavior with a young girl and tested positive for COVID-19. Both of these reasons are the cause of his absence from WWE television. We are told the company is still investigating the accusations before any decisions are made regarding his future.

– The Undertaker continues to put himself out there on social media, this time by launching an account on TikTok.
As if this writing, Undertaker has not uploaded any videos but has 50.7K followers. This could be an attempt for Undertaker to connect at the next generation as the website has half a billion users, with most under the age of 30. You can visit the account at this link. Undertaker joined Instagram in May 2018 and Twitter in January 2019. The once mysterious WWE Superstar realizes the value of his brand and wants to attempt to connect with fans through social networking. This latest account could help to introduce him to an even broader audience.

– NXT General Manager William Regal and Keith Lee opened this week’s NXT to announce that Lee is vacating the NXT North American Championship. With Lee focusing on his efforts as NXT Champion, he wants to give other superstars the opportunities that he had as North American Champion. As a result, Regal announced that a series of triple threat qualifying matches will take place over the next month to determine who will compete in a North American Championship Ladder Match at TakeOver: XXX on August 22nd.

– WWE is going forward with NXT TakeOver XXX on Saturday, August 22nd, the night before SummerSlam. The event will likely emanate from Full Sail University after originally being scheduled to take place in Boston. Already confirmed for TakeOver is a Ladder Match to determine the new North American Champion after Keith Lee vacated the title. Bronson Reed has qualified for the match, while an unspecified number of spots will be filled by triple threat qualifying matches over the next several weeks. Next Wednesday’s show will be headlined by Finn Balor vs. Dexter Lumis vs. Timothy Thatcher to determine who will claim the second spot. Other potential matches for the event include Karrion Kross vs. NXT Champion Keith Lee and Dakota Kai vs. NXT Women’s Champion Io Shirai. Neither of those matches have been confirmed as of this writing.

– Paul Heyman has made his fair share of enemies in the business over the years but AJ Styles’ disdain for him has to do with his friends Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson being released from WWE. Styles first found out about the release of Gallows and Anderson while they were taping the 2020 Money in the Bank Ladder Match at WWE HQ. Heyman apparently told AJ he had nothing to do with their releases. He even went as far as saying he would have fought for them to stay had he known they were on the chopping block. While this is what Paul told Styles, he reportedly pushed for their releases, including the idea they were too expensive. This is what caused Styles’ move back to SmackDown as he could not even stand to look at Heyman after that. If you are wondering what Vince McMahon thinks of Styles – he loves him. Vince wishes he would have signed AJ sooner and he is everything he wants in a talent.

– WWE NXT Superstar Adam Cole cursed out former Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee during an interview featured on The Pat McAfee Show. Cole took issue with McAfee’s questions and ended up cursing at him. Cole stated McAfee was “being a total dick” for saying the reason he succeeded was because of all the great people around him. He shot back McAfee was just a punter that had a team that did everything. When McAfee brought up Cole’s size, that’s when things hit their boiling point. “F*ck you, Pat! Seriously. I’m sick of your shit.” Cole left the interview, pushing a producer out the way in the process, which drew the following from McAfee on Twitter: “Hindsight is always 20/20 but I obviously regret this DM. I thought a convo between us could’ve been good content #ForTheShow but instead it ended in the most insane way imaginable,” tweeted McAfee. “He broke a mic, a headset, pushed @tyschmit, & stormed out of our office. “I’ve sat here for 20 minutes now trying to figure out what the hell just happened. I obviously never mean to disrespect anybody but, f*ck that guy. There’s no way that’s how an ADULT human should act. I pride our show on being a positive, good time having, upbeat show & he will never be invited back.” McAfee is a known professional wrestling fan and has done work for WWE in the past. It remains to be seen if this was some sort of publicity stunt.

– WWE Hall of Famer Mike Tyson is returning to the ring. Tyson, 54, will fight Roy Jones Jr. in an eight-round exhibition on September 12 at the Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California. It will be broadcast on pay-per-view and on the multimedia platform Triller. Triller will build up to the bout in a 10-part docuseries.
Tyson has not fought in 15 years, when he lost to Kevin McBride on June 11, 2005 in Washington, DC. The former undisputed heavyweight champion was on ESPN’s First Take today and explained he is returning because he can do it. Jones, 51, is also considered one of the best boxers of all time. He last fought in February 2018, where he beat Scott Sigmon by decision. Enzo Maccarinelli knocked Jones out in four rounds in 2015. It is not believed the boxers will be required to wear headgear but that they will use 12-ounce gloves. The Athletic reports former NBA player Nate Robinson and YouTuber Jake Paul will fight on the under card. Tyson played a pivotal role in the WWF at the beginning of the Attitude Era. He served as the special outside enforcer for Steve Austin vs. Shawn Michaels for the WWF World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XIV. He recently appeared on All Elite Wrestling’s Double or Nothing pay-per-view back in May. Tyson was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame’s celebrity wing in 2012.

– WWE SummerSlam will not take place at the TD Garden in Boston, MA next month. This is something that has been known for quite some time but was officially confirmed by the company on Thursday. While it is believed WWE will hold the show from the Performance Center, where all events have been ran since March, this was not confirmed in an official WWE statement. “In coordination with our local partners, government officials and TD Garden, WWE’s SummerSlam and related events will no longer take place in Boston. Refunds are available at the original point of purchase. We are grateful to the city of Boston for their longstanding partnership and look forward to holding WWE events at TD Garden in the future. SummerSlam will stream live on Sunday, August 23, at 7 p.m. ET on WWE Network, and information regarding a new location for the event is forthcoming.” Vince McMahon had hoped SummerSlam would be the first WWE show in over five months to take place in front of a real live audience. The recent surge in COVID-19 cases made that impossible. As a result, it is likely Brock Lesnar is not used for the show. The rumored main event is Randy Orton vs. Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship. We have more on that match and the plans for it in today’s installment of Ask WNC.

– The Miz participated in a Q&A on Twitter to promote a new show he is hosting on the USA Network called “Cannonball.” One of the fans asked Miz at what age he plans to retire. “Whenever it stops being fun,” Miz tweeted in reply. The Miz, 39, will turn 40 in October. He has been with WWE since 2004. Once regarded as a main event level talent, he has settled into a more mid-card role in recent years. He has numerous accomplishments to his name, including a former WWE Champion, eight-time Intercontinental Champion, two-time United States Champion and multi-time tag team champion. Recently, we explained how Miz got over with Vince McMahon and his colleagues and detailed how he will not be headlining WrestleMania next year.

– WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon was recently featured on Ad Age Remotely where she talked about how WWE has been operating throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Below are the highlights.

  • Stephanie explained that WWE has made it optional for performers and crew to work. They do not force anyone to work during this time.  Roman Reigns is the most high profile talent, who has “opted out” of working.
  • The COVID-19 testing the company is doing is not the “rapid test,” which has had a number of false positive and false negatives. She stated they do testing before all of their shows. (Note from Richard: Some of the “rapid tests” being performed are antibody tests using a nasal sample. They are considered research tools at this time and are of no clinical significance. There have also been some complaints about WWE talent working with pending tests)
  • The WWE Performance Center is cleaned every night. WWE is using a spray from Allied BioScience to disinfect and also do fogging. The company has installed special lighting as well.
  • She referenced the situation with Ric Flair, as it is WWE policy to not allow someone into the building if they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Flair was scheduled for last week’s Raw tapings but was pulled when it became known his wife, Wendy Barlow, has the virus.
  • McMahon was asked if WWE offered health insurance to talent, to which she explained they do not as they are all independent contractors. She said the company pays for any surgeries or procedures related to in-ring injuries. Stephanie also put over WWE paying for rehab for current and past talent.
  • WWE has so many employees working remotely from home they have put a poll out to see how they want to work moving forward. This has caused WWE  to delay the move to their new corporate headquarters in Stamford, CT as they re-evaluate their needs.

– MVP’s stock in WWE continues to rise as the company has been impressed with his work both on and off screen. As we reported in Ask WNC, WWE is currently looking to offer MVP a long-term contract extension. MVP believes he can wrestle for two or three more years and wants to transition to a backstage role. He was originally brought back earlier this year to be a producer but the company found a spot for him on TV. He has been an advocate for the The Hurt Business stable with Bobby Lashley and now Shelton Benjamin.

– Ron Simmons was at TV this week, with talk of WWE resurrecting the Nation of Domination stable. What we saw instead was the creation of the aforementioned Hurt Business. There have been a lot of opinions about whether or not WWE should bring back the Nation and it may not happen, with the Hurt Business faction being the result. MVP has had significant influence.

– WWE Superstar Angel Garza and sports journalist Zaide Lozano announced this week on Instagram they are married. Garza proposed to Lozano after winning the NXT Cruiserweight Title at Full Sail last year.

– Nikki Cross is once again the No. 1 contender for the WWE SmackDown Women’s Championship. WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion Bayley opened this week’s show by announcing she would give the winner of Cross vs. Alexa Bliss a shot at the title on next week’s show. Cross won off a roll-up in a physical encounter, setting up the match.

– A backstage segment aired on tonight’s episode of WWE Friday Night SmackDown with Kofi Kingston coming out of the trainer’s room. He told Big E he is injured and is going to be out about six weeks. Kofi told Big E with Xavier Woods out and now him about to be out, the universe is trying to speak to them. It’s Big E’s time to have a run. Kingston put Big E over for always putting the group first. But now it’s time for Big E to show the world what he can do. Kofi says they want this for him, he has earned and deserves this and to not let them take him for a decade. Kofi concluded by telling Big E he has their blessing.

– Gran Metalik won a Fatal 4-Way match on this week’s SmackDown to become the No. 1 contender to the WWE Intercontinental Championship. He will face AJ Styles for the title on next week’s episode of WWE Friday Night SmackDown. The match involved Metalik, his tag team partner Lince Dorado, Shorty G and Drew Gulak. The finish saw Metalik hit a flying elbow off the top rope and pin Shorty G for the three count. Styles was on commentary for the bout. Afterwards, Styles slapped Metalik. He was slapped back and taken out to set things up for next week. We have complete WWE Friday Night SmackDown results online at this link.

– Jeff Hardy gave a shout out to his brother and current AEW Superstar Matt Hardy on tonight’s episode of WWE Friday Night Smackdown. During the bar fight with Sheamus, Jeff stated, “My brother had to DELETE his career, tonight I have to recover mine.” The match turned out to be as physical and intense as any gimmick match in recent WWE memory. Glass was broken, chair shots were hit and high spots were executed. Hardy won the match after performing a Swanton Bomb off a ladder onto Sheamus for three count. As for Matt Hardy, he left WWE in March when his contract expired. AEW signed him and so far, he has had some frustrations with his run. More on that here on For those wondering what Vince McMahon thought of this, it is clear he did not have a problem with it. This was obviously not a live mic situation and could have easily been nixed.

Impact News

– Once the clock struck midnight on July 18th, former WWE stars Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson officially announced on the premiere of their Talk’N Shop podcast that they have signed two-year deals with Impact Wrestling.

– Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley, collectively known as Motor City Machine Guns, made their triumphant return to Impact Wrestling at Slammiversary. The tandem answered The Rascalz’s open challenge in the pay-per-view’s opening match and ultimately went over. We have complete Slammiversary coverage at this link.

– Chris Bey is the new X-Division Champion after beating Willie Mack in a singles match at Slammiversary. Bey signed with Impact earlier this year and has impressed many in a short amount of time.

– Former WWE star Heath Slater made a surprise appearance at Slammiversary. He stood tall over Rohit Raju after an in-ring brawl before reuniting with Rhino backstage. Scott D’Amore walked up made it known that Slater has not signed with Impact yet. Therefore, Slater needs to leave because this is a closed set.

– Deonna Purrazzo beat Jordynne Grace by submission at Slammiversary to capture her first Knockouts Championship. Deonna spent the last two years under contract with WWE NXT, but was largely misused with lack of TV time. She was released from WWE in April and made her official Impact Wrestling debut earlier this summer. Grace won the title from Taya Valkyrie back in February and held the title for nearly 200 days.

– Eddie Edwards beat Ace Austin, Rich Swann, Eric Young, and Trey in the main event of Slammiversary to capture his second Impact World Championship. Rich Swann returned from injury to fill the first open spot, but then Eric Young returned as the former World Champion to make it a five-way elimination match. After the match, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson appeared in the ring to fend off Ace Austin & Madman Fulton before celebrating with the new champion.

– New Impact World Champions Eddie Edwards says he is going to be a champion the company can be proud of. In a promo after beating Rich Swann, Eric Young and Trey in an Elimination Match at Impact Wrestling’s Slammiversary pay-per-view, Edwards commented: “You talk about journeys, life is a journey. My career has been nothing but a journey that has brought me back to the Impact World Championship. I said it – everything that has happened whether good or bad, broken bones, broken relationships, broken friendships – everything has led me back to tonight, back to Slammiversary, back with my Impact World Championship. And I’m going to be a champion that this company – and pro wrestling – can be proud of. will represent this company to the best of my ability until I am no longer standing in this ring.”

– This year’s Impact Wrestling’s Bound For Glory pay-per-view will take place on Saturday, October 24, 2020. A location was not announced.

– In case you missed this week’s Impact Wrestling, Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley) defeated The North (Ethan Page & Josh Alexander) to capture their second Impact Tag Team Championship. The North’s historic first reign ended at 382 days.

– Additionally, Brian Meyers, formally known as Curt Hawkins in WWE, is heading to Impact Wrestling soon. A brief vignette aired for his arrival. This will be his second stint in the company after competing in the TNA vs. GFW storyline in 2015.

– As CJ reported earlier here at, Brian Meyers, formally known as Curt Hawkins in WWE, is heading to Impact Wrestling. A vignette was included on this week’s episode of Impact to promote his pending debut. This will be his second stint in the company after competing in the TNA vs. GFW storyline in 2015. During the airing of Impact, Meyers tweeted to Vince McMahon. “Well, @VinceMcMahon,” Myers wrote. “I’m sorry, I love you. *superkick @IMPACTWRESTLING Let’s. Go.” This appears to be in reference to the famous spot at WrestleMania 24 in Ric Flair’s retirement match against Shawn Michaels. It was there where HBK lined Flair up for his Sweet Chin Music superkick and said, “I’m sorry. I love you.” He delivered the finisher and pinned Flair, effectively ending his in-ring career with WWE. Myers was released from WWE in April as part of mass roster cuts in response due to the difficult economic conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. His 90-day non-compete clause has expired, which is what made him available to Impact Wrestling. He worked for WWE from 2006 to 2014, returning in 2016, only to get cut again in 2020.

– Eric Young did an interview with Bully Ray and Tommy Dreamer on Busted Open Radio to talk about his departure from WWE and return to Impact Wrestling at Slammiversary. Young, who signed with WWE in 2016 after a successful run in Impact, was the leader of the SAnitY stable in NXT before being called up to the main WWE roster in 2018. Once a member of the main roster, Young was used sporadically and could not find footing on neither SmackDown nor Raw. “I don’t take it personally,” said Young. “It’s – [Vince McMahon] made a mistake and as a leader of the company and the person that decides everything, you know, it’s a massive mistake to pass on somebody like me.” “You have a three-hour television show and you can’t find five minutes for Eric Young? Your show is broken, it’s as simple as that. I’ve proven that I can do whatever. Any role, I’m not saying I can do it, I’ve already done it and I’ve proven I can do it and do it very well. So for me, it’s a huge miss, a huge mistake, and now it’s someone else’s gain. And personally, it’s my gain. My soul hasn’t felt this good in a long time.” Young was released from his WWE contract back in April as part of the company’s mass cuts in response to the difficult economic circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic. Last Saturday, he returned to Impact Wrestling at Slammiversary. Young was featured in the show’s main event, which also included Eddie Edwards, Ace Austin, Rich Swann and Trey in a five-way elimination match. They were competing for the vacated Impact World Championship, which was won by Edwards. “Admittedly, I jumped on my phone after the match just to see what people were saying and, you know, like there’s always going to be detractors and people that aren’t excited. But I feel like for the most part, it was all positive, you know? That’s a good feeling, too. You know, kind of – the dart throw back on the map and you land in a spot, and you’re nervous. Like, I was nervous. Like you guys said, I hadn’t wrestled in almost, you know, I guess four months, but I mean, if were being honest, I really hadn’t wrestled in almost two years. I hadn’t done anything that was important or anyone cared about, or even I cared about, so it was important for me to make an impression again, and to kinda hang my cap back on the racks and like you know, ‘I’m back and I’m ready to get going again,’ and I feel like I did that. Young is excited to be back with Impact and states the promotion plans to ride their positive momentum out of Slammiversary. “Like, there’s so much cool stuff planned and coming to TVs over the next few weeks are pretty special and Impact is doing an unbelievable job of capturing the momentum that we have and riding that lightning. And in pro wrestling, there’s nothing more important than that.

AEW News

– Former WWE Superstar Zack Ryder, whose real name is Matt Cardona, is officially a free agent now that the 90-day non-compete clause has expired from his WWE contract. Ryder was one of several WWE talent released back in April as budget cuts due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like Heath Slater, Ryder has released his new entrance theme. Ryder has interest from other promotions with AEW being a possibly destination given his friendship with Cody Rhodes.

– Jack Evans is a Tony Khan guy even though some fans are frustrated over his lack of usage in All Elite Wrestling. Responding to a fan on Twitter that indicated they would like to see Evans leave AEW for Impact Wrestling when his contract is up, Evans tweeted: “I’m not trying to diss any other promotion, but #AEW let me do a 4 minute monologue using only First Person Shooter references and not to kiss ass but I am going to, @TonyKhan has continued to pay me despite the fact I haven’t worked a 1/4 of the year. I’m not going anywhere.” Evans and Angelico last worked for AEW in a tag team match against Brandon Cutler and Michael Nakazawa that was taped for AEW Dark on March 11, 2020. Their last appearance on Dynamite was in a Tag Team Battle Royale on the February 19, 2020 episode.

– MJF called out AEW World Champion Jon Moxley on Twitter on Monday. A fan tweeted how it was said MJF is not on television every week or in the championship picture. He stated MJF was money. MJF replied by quoting the tweet and offering the following comments: “It’s almost as if there’s a certain individual in the company who doesn’t want me to be spotlighted. There may be a “paradigm shift” in how things are run around here,” MJF wrote before adding the hashtag #notmychampion. MJF’s program for the title has been heavily rumored, as the bout is actually expected for All Out on September 5, 2020. The thinking is Moxley will have a program with him once he finishes with Brian Cage.

– Chris Jericho’s third annual “Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Rager at Sea” wrestling cruise has been postponed until October 21-25, 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Twitter account that handles news about the cruise confirmed the new earlier today. “After careful consideration and caution for everyone’s health and safety, we have made the difficult but necessary decision to postpone the Triple Whammy. We will now sail Oct 21-25, 2021 from Miami, Florida to Grand Bahama Island.” The third annual cruise was originally scheduled for February 1-5, 2021, sailing from Miami to Grand Bahama Island and back. There was talk of doing a live episode of AEW Dynamite on the ship but with the new dates being Thursday-Monday, they would have to tape matches once again. However, there is always the possibility of them doing a pay-per-view from the ship in 2021 as they will be at sea on Saturday.

– AEW announced on this week’s Dynamite that the AEW Women’s Tag Team Cup Tournament: The Deadly Draw will commence this summer. The first tournament of its kind for AEW will feature sixteen women in eight teams. While no teams were officially announced during the broadcast, Allie and Brandi Rhodes of The Nightmare Sisters tweeted that they will take part in the action. Other AEW stars such as Nyla Rose, Penelope Ford, Big Swole, Hikaru Shida, Anna Jay, Diamante, and others were featured in the promo. An official start date and teams will be revealed later on.

– Independent wrestling stand-out Eddie Kingston made his AEW Dynamite debut by challenging Cody for the TNT Championship in a no disqualification match. Despite the surprise appearance and overwhelming response on social media, Kingston came up short in this week’s opening bout. Eddie Kingston is an 18-year in-ring veteran with time spent in several promotions including EVOLVE, Impact Wrestling, Ring of Honor, NWA, and many more. AEW has not signed Kingston as of this writing, but he’s ready to keep fighting if he is brought back. We have complete Dynamite results at this link.

– AEW has announced several matches for next week’s new episode, in which Tony Khan has promised it to be one of the “best cards ever.”

  • Hikaru Shida vs. Diamante
  • Cody’s TNT Championship open challenge against another top independent wrestler
  • The Inner Circle vs. Orange Cassidy, Best Friends & Jurassic Express
  • Jon Moxley & Darby Allin vs. Brian Cage & Ricky Starks – Tornado Tag Team Match
  • Dark Order vs. Kenny Omega & Hangman Page (c) – AEW Tag Team Championship Match

– Matt Hardy posted a brief video on his YouTube channel where he expressed his frustration over how things have gone so far in All Elite Wrestling and teased maybe it is time for him to be the real Matthew Hardy.
“When I first made the decision to come to All Elite Wrestling, I was excited and I thought the sky is the limit here. No doubt,” said Hardy. “What I expected when I first debuted as “Broken” Matt Hardy at AEW Wrestling is every single night, every single Wednesday at Dynamite, a sold out arena across America. I thought there would be thousands of people screaming at the top of their lungs – delete, delete, delete. But that isn’t what happened.”
“What I didn’t expect is that “Broken” Matt could debut in the first ever AEW empty arena event,” Hardy reflected. “That’s where I debuted. And “Broken” Matt never performed in front of AEW fans. And that’s one of the coolest things about All Elite Wrestling; their passionate fan base.” Hardy said he had hoped “Broken” Matt was going to be his best run yet but that is not what happened and that was frustrating so he decided to change course. “I decided to do like a highlight reel, let’s do the best of Matt Hardy. Let’s give you Matt Hardy’s best moments, let’s give you Matt Hardy’s best personas, let’s wrap it up all in one and do a Matt Hardy highlight reel.” He explained how the idea behind this was the opposite of what Jeff Hardy has been asked to do in WWE, by incorporating his past substance abuse issues in the storyline with Sheamus. “Kinda like the opposite of what my brother has been asked to do somewhere else,” said Hardy. “So we do the best of Matt Hardy and I’m helping out younger talent, which is something I legitimately do in real life – on-camera and off. Private Party – I mentor those guys. I start up a story with Sammy Guevara. But that doesn’t go too far because Sammy get suspended. And that’s frustrating.” Guevara was suspended last month by AEW for comments he made during a 2016 interview where he joked he wanted to “rape” Sasha Banks. Guevara apologized both privately to Banks and publicly for the comments. He returned to the promotion on last night’s AEW Dynamite. Hardy explained he understands it is a frustrating time in America. He talked about the division over the COVID-19 pandemic, racial injustice and more. “So maybe it’s time for me on AEW programming to just be real,” Hardy concluded. “And just be someone I have never been on television or on-screen before. And that’s me. Maybe it’s time for me to be Matthew Hardy. Maybe it’s time for me to just be me.”

– AEW CEO Tony Khan has announced 12 matches for next week’s episode of AEW Dark. The matches are as follows:

  • SCU vs. Santana & Ortiz vs. Private Party
  • Brandon Cutler & Peter Avalon vs. FTR
  • Best Friends vs. Alex Reynolds & John Silver
  • Evil Uno & Stu Grayson vs. Shawn Dean & Will Hobbs
  • Michael Nakazawa & Pineapple Pete vs. Sonny Kiss & Joey Janela
  • Sammy Guevara vs. Fuego Del Sol
  • Wardlow vs. Aaron Solow
  • Penelope Ford vs. Kenzie Paige
  • Scorpio Sky vs. Corey Hollis
  • Abadon vs. Skyler Moore
  • Lance Archer vs. Frankie Thomas
  • Orange Cassidy vs. Serpentico

Khan tweeted it was a gift to fans for the great viewership for Dynamite on TNT.

– Sammy Guevara returned to All Elite Wrestling on this week’s episode of Dynamite on TNT. Guevara, who had been suspended for one month without pay, emerged from under a mask and celebrated his return with Chris Jericho, Santana, Ortiz and Jake Hager. His last appearance on Dynamite was on June 17 when he tagged with Jericho to face Trent and Chuck Taylor. Guevara was suspended after comments he made during a 2016 episode of the Raw’s 4th Hour podcast. It was on that pod where Guevara said he wanted to “go rape” Sasha Banks when he saw her at a WWE tryout. AEW issued a statement on Guevara’s suspension, noting they would be donating his salary to the Women’s Center of Jacksonville. They strongly condemned his words and did not announce when he would be back. AEW CEO Tony Khan spoke with Sports Illustrated about the decision to bring him back. “Sammy completed four weeks of extensive sensitivity training, and his curriculum included subject matters of tolerance, gender, race relations, and why people’s words matter,” said Khan. “During his suspension, he was very contrite. I asked him to use that time to try and become a better person, and I think he did. “Sammy was off television for a month and suspended without pay for 30 days, and I think it was the right time for Sammy to come back because he’s shown that he’s very sorry and that he can change. He’s spent every day over the past month trying to prove that.” Khan explained it was not guaranteed Guevara would return and he had to earn the right to keep his job and make amends for “stuff he shouldn’t have said.” Matt Hardy spoke briefly about his program with Guevara that was upended by the suspension, something he admitted was frustrating. Guevara will make his in-ring return to AEW on next week’s episode of AEW Dark against Fuego Del Sol, which is one of 12 announced matches.

– All Elite Wrestling announced on Twitter that Cody Rhodes w/Arn Anderson will defend the TNT Championship against Warhorse on next week’s episode of Dynamite.

Ratings News

– This week’s WWE Friday Night SmackDown did an average audience of 1.893 million viewers on FOX. It was the final SmackDown before The Horror Show at Extreme Rules and is down from the 1.905 million viewers the show did in the final number last week. Hour one did 1.919 million viewers and hour two did 1.867 million viewers. The show was headlined by AJ Styles retaining the WWE Intercontinental Championship against Matt Riddle. FOX was first in the adults 18-49 demographic for the first hour and in a tied for first in the second hour.

– Last week’s episode of WWE Friday Night SmackDown did an average of 1.912 million viewers on FOX. The number adjusted up from the overnight viewership released on Saturday, which was 1.893 million viewers. The number is also up from the final viewership number the prior week, which finished at 1.900 million viewers. SmackDown did a 0.5 rating in the 18-49 demographic, a 0.6 rating in the 25-54 demo, and a 0.2 rating in the 18-34 demographic. The ratings were good enough for first place in the 18-49 demographic and 18-34 demographic on network TV.

– This week’s episode of WWE Monday Night Raw did an average viewing audience of 1.628 million viewers on the USA Network. This is up from the 1.561 million viewers the show did last week. Hour one – 1.740 million viewers, Hour two – 1.609 million viewers, Hour three – 1.535 million viewers. Raw finished #22 for the night in viewership. The show tied for #4 for the night on the Cable Top 150 with an average 18-49 demographic rating of 0.46.

– This week’s episode of AEW Dynamite did 845,000 viewers on TNT. The show ranked No. 5 in the 18-49 demographic with a 0.32 rating. Viewership was up from the 788,000 viewers the series did last week. WWE NXT over on the USA Network did 615,000 viewers on the USA Network, down from the 631,000 viewers they did in the week prior. NXT finished No. 35 in the 18-49 demographic of Top 50 original cable telecasts with a 0.17 rating.

MLW News

– Major League Wrestling has signed Jacob Fatu, their World Heavyweight Champion, to a contract extension, Marc Raimondi confirmed. Fatu signed with MLW in late 2019 and is now under contract until late 2025. Fatu won the MLW World Title last July at Kings of Colosseum in Chicago, IL. He is a member of the Anoa’i family, as his father is Tonga Kid, Rikishi is his uncle and his cousins include Roman Reigns and The Usos. MLW has shows scheduled for October 3rd in Dallas, TX and a show in December in Philadelphia.


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