Ever since lockdown, wrestling news has gone into overdrive.
Just in today’s episode alone, we’ve got: WWE relaunching a 90s faction on Raw.
Fired former WWE star Curt Hawkins showing up on last night’s episode of IMPACT!
Huge SummerSlam plans being delayed in an attempt to turnaround abysmal TV ratings.
And WWE refusing Rey Mysterio a rise in money.
But even with all that, one breaking story trumps them all.
The Undertaker now has a TikTok.
In what will go down in wrestling history books as the day kayfabe died, the account
@TheUndertaker complete with verified blue tick emerged yesterday, which has already
amassed almost 50,000 followers.
The Deadman has yet to post a video, so what TikTok dance do you want to see The Undertaker
The ‘Holy Moly Donut Shop’?
The Git Up?
Or, my personal favourite, the Hacking of Western National Security Infrastructure.
All other news stories are now humdrum by comparison, but we’ve got 9 more minutes
to fill so we can have multiple YouTube adbreaks in a YouTube video, so we persist.
Rey Mysterio doesn’t just not have a TikTok account, he doesn’t just have one eye currently
dangling out of its socket.
According to a new update report, he still doesn’t have a WWE contract, nor the extra
money he’s trying to negotiate either.
It was revealed last month that Mysterio’s 18 month contract had expired, and Rey was
working for WWE without a deal - an unprecedented situation since the launch of AEW, where WWE
has aggressively tied up talent months before their contract expiration dates with significantly
higher money offers… to then release them a month into pandemics.
But, weirdly, while WWE were willing to spend three quarters of a million dollars each on
Gallows and Anderson last Summer, it’s being reported they are holding out on giving Rey
any more money.
PWInsider Elite has revealed Mysterio met with WWE officials yesterday, in talks led
by Vince McMahon, not Triple H, at the company headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut - to
go over the main sticking point in negotiations: Rey wants more money for what will likely
be one of the last multi-year deals of his career.
WWE, though, are sticking to their line of not offering raises during the pandemic - despite
the company set to make more money than ever this year due to their big money TV deals
with the USA Network and Fox Sports, along with the 10 year relationship with Saudi Arabia.
WWE apparently wants a 5 year deal, while Rey won’t go longer than an 18 month contract
It’s not yet known whether the two sides were able to agree on terms, but the reported
reason why Mysterio lost at Extreme Rules was so WWE will have written him off TV already
if he chooses not to.
It’s speculated that Rey would be able to get the same money he is now, if not more,
But the most likely possibility remains Mysterio staying with WWE, along with his son Dominic.
And if they do, then it’s time to reform the Lucha World Order, because ethnicity-based
factions are coming back!
This week’s episode of Raw rather confusingly had Ron Simmons just hanging around and chatting
to people backstage.
He didn’t even say DAMN.
And the reason why has been revealed: it’s just one of the many SummerSlam-building plans
WWE had either dropped or delayed following Extreme Rules.
According to Wrestling Observer Radio, Monday’s Raw was set to relaunch the Attitude Era faction
the Nation of Domination, a heel group based on the Nation of Islam and Black Panther Party,
led by Simmons under his Farooq name in the 90s, which was responsible for launching the
singles career of The Rock, following the poorly received one dimensional Rocky Mavia
babyface gimmick he debuted with.
This was why Simmons was booked on this week’s episode.
With MVP and Bobby Lashley adding a new Executive to their Hurt Business faction in 24/7 champion
Shelton Benjamin, a relaunched Nation of Domination would presumably be the stable that feuds
with them, likely then consisting of their opponents from Monday night: Ricochet, Cedric
Alexander and the freshly-drafted to Raw Mustafa Ali.
How would you book a Nation of Domination relaunch, and who would you put in it?
Let me know in the comments down below because I’ll be replying to people FROM OUTTA NOWHERE.
The new faction plans could still happen, as it seems Vince McMahon’s new strategy
of hotshot booking TV with title matches to bump ratings is just delaying the SummerSlam
build for a few weeks rather than scrapping angles entirely.
Because this week’s episode was also supposed to feature:
-the start of the Randy Orton vs Drew McIntyre, which was delayed so Drew could have a WWE
Championship rematch against Dolph Ziggler next week to pop a TV rating.
-And Natalya was supposed to injure Kairi Sane to write her off TV, but that was changed
to Shayna Baszler, likely for next week’s episode, with Nattie currently off tapings.
But that beatdown angle was also delayed to stretch out the Sasha vs Asuka storyline,
again in an attempt to bump ratings with a title match next week.
But as we saw with Championship Monday, simply putting on title matches with minimal build
will very quickly have depreciating returns.
And that was seen in the absolutely disastrous rating for this week’s episode at just 1.63
Which, while isn’t the worst ever rating for the show in its history - that was the
week before - it is still one of the lowest viewership figures ever for Raw.
And Dave Meltzer has explained just how poorly the main event performed:
“Orton vs Show did a 0.42 18-49 in Q3.
That is staggeringly bad when put into perspective.
Worst quarter performance in 27+ year history of the show for a bout promoted for weeks.”
With TV ratings in freefall, WWE might refocus their efforts on satisfying the people that
are sticking around to watch their product - with some long rumoured developments coming
to the Network.
As WrestleVotes have tweeted: “Source states both Evolve & wXw will be
coming to the WWE Network before the end of 2020.”
As reliable as WrestleVotes are, though, take this with a pinch of salt, as non-WWE promotions
being put on the Network has been reported on for literally years, with WWE themselves
even announcing it on an investors call last Summer.
If rumours at the time were to be believed, WWE could’ve once bought TNA’s entire
library to put on the Network back in 2016.
If true, they might be regretting passing now, because possibly capping off what a weird
year 2020 has been, IMPACT Wrestling is relevant again…
Saturday saw Impact’s big Slammiversary pay-per-view refocusing on the original strength
of TNA - the debuts and returns of recently released WWE stars showing up in the IMPACT
As the first major wrestling event following their 90 day non-compete clauses expiring,
the show saw Gallows & Anderson, Heath without the Slater, EC3 and Eric Young all turning
up after being released by WWE in mid-April.
Slammiversary also saw the return of the Motor City Machine Guns, making it seven new roster
additions in total - which didn’t just get an excited reaction from fans, it also generated
cold, hard numbers.
#Slammiversary was consistently trending at Number 1 in the United States on Twitter during
its broadcast, and the total number of impressions beat their previous best, Slammiversary 2018,
by a massive 97%.
The reveal of the Good Brothers quickly became Impact’s most liked tweet of all time, with
the videos of the Motor City Machine Guns return, and Deonna Purrazo’s Knockouts Title
win being their fifth and sixth most liked respectively.
And on YouTube, in the month leading up to Slammiversary, Impact’s total views increased
by over a quarter, watch time by a third, as the channel added over 100,000 new subscribers.
Which is all just a long way of me reminding you to subscribe to WrestleTalk for daily
wrestling videos on your homepage too!
But Impact’s aim wasn’t just to do a big pay-per-view number.
Much of Slammiversary was designed to create new weekly fans, with many of the angles pushing
to last night’s TV - which, on top of all the other debuts and returns over the weekend,
saw a new vignette revealing Brian Myers, formerly Curt Hawkins in WWE, coming soon
to Impact - which had audio of the criticism Hawkins received for his former employer.
Myers called out his old boss on Twitter: “Well, @VinceMcMahon.
I’m sorry, I love you.
Go.” - a reference to the Shawn Michaels and Ric Flair match from WrestleMania 24,
where Michaels retired Flair using the same words.
And then kicked him in the face.
Along with Myers, last night’s episode also featured several angles with the new signees
- where EC3 attacked the self-appointed TNA Heavyweight Champion Moose.
Gallows & Anderson proclaimed themselves as the best tag team in the world - which they
are, they won a trophy for it in Saudi Arabia - which started a brawl between them and Ace
Austin and Madman Fulton, and Reno Scum.
Eric Young answered Eddie Edwards’ open challenge for the Impact World Championship,
but Eddie didn’t give him a shot - that’s not how open challenges work, Eddie - seemingly
building a title program between them.
Heath without the Slater still couldn’t get into the building as he was “an outsider”
and his name wasn’t on the list.
Even his former tag partner Rhino couldn’t help him.
And in the biggest angle of the night, The North lost the Impact Tag Team Titles after
over a year as champions to the newly returned Motor City Machine Guns.
Make sure to watch WrestleTalk Interviews for Louis’ interview with The North when
they were still champions and probably much happier.
Vince McMahon hated a finish at Extreme Rules!
Press the video on the right to find out more and click the video below that to find out
more about the backstage chaos at Raw this week!
And subscribe to WrestleTalk for daily wrestling videos on your homepage!
I’ve been Oli Davis, and that was wrestling.