Late last year, it looked as though Murphy was on the brink of breaking out as his own star after being positioned as Seth Rollins’ disciple for most of 2020. After defeating Rollins and aligning himself with the Mysterio family, he promptly disappeared from our screens, prompting fans to question where he’d gone.
Well it seems we found the answer on the latest episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, as Dave Meltzer explained that it was to do with the release of Steve Cutler.
Cutler was released from the company recently, reportedly because he had the gall to contract Covid. What a nice company. This was shortly after he and tag partner Wesley Blake, formerly of the Forgotten Sons, had joined King Corbin to form the Knights of the Lone Wolf, who have subsequently been removed from TV following Cutler’s release.
“Cutler, he had a spot. They [Knights of the Lone Wolf] vanished because he tested positive. That’s why they vanished. They were booked on the next show, and he came in and he tested positive. They took him and Wesley Blake, who was the unfortunate victim in all this. They were gone for a couple weeks, and they just decided we’re not going to go back to it.”
“It was going to be Rey Mysterio, Domnik, Mysterio and Buddy Murphy vs. Corbin, Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler. You take Wesley Blake and Steve Cutler out, there’s no spot for Murphy, unless you want these matches 3 on 1 instead of 2 on 1.”
Well it wouldn’t be the first time WWE have booked the babyfaces to have a numbers advantage. Lucha House Rules anybody?
WWE seemingly has nothing else planned for Murphy right now as instead we’re getting Corbin vs Rey & Dominik Mysterio in the weird “who am I supposed to be cheering for?” feud. Hey remember when Murphy was the Cruiserweight Champion and was putting on outstanding matches that stole the show nearly every time on 205 Live and PPV? Good times.
Rhea Ripley Main Roster Update
Someone else that we haven’t seen on the main roster properly yet is Rhea Ripley, who reportedly was called up to the main roster as part of her appearance in the 2021 Royal Rumble. However she hasn’t been seen since that show despite being the runner-up in the match itself, losing out to Bianca Belair.
According to the Wrestling Observer, we could be seeing Ripley on the SmackDown roster sooner rather than later, potentially as early as this week. I would be all for this as SmackDown needs a little injection of life in its women’s division so we can have feuds that aren’t about the title. Or Billie Kay’s managerial services. Having said that, you could say the same thing for Raw. Sort out your women’s divisions WWE.
Despite WWE’s best efforts with her loss to Charlotte at WrestleMania 36, Ripley still feels like a massive deal, and hopefully her joining either division on Raw or SmackDown will bring some fresh eyes to the product.
WWE Will Not Be Selling The Company
Following WWE’s announced partnership with NBCU’s Peacock, granting them rights to stream all of the WWE Network content in the US, WWE President Nick Khan has revealed in an interview with Forbes that WWE has not had discussions to sell the company to NBCU:
“We haven’t discussed it once. At all. By the way, thrilled with being on network TV at Fox. I think I sort of pushed on the emphasis [during the earnings call] on broadcast television, and how important that is, so love that, love what we’re doing with NBC, but no, there has been no dialogue internally or externally on anything like that.”
And why would WWE need to sell to NBC when they could make all that money through Bad Bunny merch sales anyway?
Bad Bunny Dominates Merch Sales
The inclusion of Bad Bunny on WWE programming appears to have been a success just based on views of the YouTube clips of the show alone – often far outdrawing anything else on that show. His alignment with Damian Priest is helping establish Priest on the main roster, so much so that the reports are that it will be Priest & Bad Bunny teaming at WrestleMania 37 to take on Miz & Morrison.
And it’s no wonder why when you look at WWE’s merch sales.
According to a report from Fightful Select, “At one point last week, Bad Bunny held all four of the top merch selling spots, with his popularly received t-shirt taking spots 1, 3 (women’s) and 4 (youth), and the pullover hoodie at number 2. This drove over $500,000 in sales to WWE and Bad Bunny as a result. At the time we got the information, the only other person in the top five was Roman Reigns. Even then, the #5 spot did about 65 percent of the sales of the number four seller, and less than five percent of the top seller. To say that Bad Bunny was a big success is an understatement.”
So it’s worth reminding yourself that even if you personally haven’t heard of Bad Bunny or don’t like his music, he’s not supposed to be appealing to you. He’s appealing to all the people that are buying all his merch. And it’s bloody working.
Raw Viewership Lowest Of 2021
But unfortunately, even Bad Bunny can’t rescue the Raw ratings, as the viewership for Monday’s show, which featured Shane McMahon’s big return, was the lowest it’s been in 2021, drawing an average of 1.715 million viewers. This is the lowest viewership since the post-TLC episode of Raw in December.
But don’t worry, this episode will always be remembered for Nia Jax’s hole.
Nia Jax Offered Role As Bidet Company Ambassador
After lighting the internet up with her scream of ‘my hole’ on Raw, Nia Jax has been the talk of the town. And for once, it’s not featuring people criticizing her and calling for her to be fired. So that’s a nice change of pace.
But the ‘my hole’ didn’t just grab the attention of wrestling fans, it’s also seen eyes from bidet company TUSHY, who’s founder Miki Agrawal has sent an open letter to Nia expressing their concern:
“Dear Nia Jax, I saw what transpired last night during Raw. My condolences to your…hole. That looked like it hurt. To help ease some of your pain, I’d like to send you a free TUSHY Spa 3.0 bidet to install. I imagine things are a bit tender up there right now, with lots of sensitive nerve endings. Wiping with dry tissue may irritate and damage the area further. With a TUSHY Spa 3.0 you can spray your bum with water. It’ll help it feel cleaner, fresher, and healthier in no time.”
Not bad to be getting a free bidet off one improvised line on the show that got censored and cut from the YouTube version of the clip.
But it wasn’t just Nia talking dirty on the show, as Charly Caruso has trended on Twitter following her potentially saucy comments on Raw Talk.
Yes, DP definitely stands for Damian Priest. And nothing else.
Anyway…let’s laugh at the silly thing Lars Sullivan posted about a scrapped gimmick he nearly had.
Lars Sullivan Scrapped WWE Gimmick
WWE tends to have a habit of making really stupid concept art for really stupid gimmicks, hello Revival, and recently released Lars Sullivan has added to the pile.
Following his release from WWE in January, though it was only revealed last week, Sullivan has posted on Instagram some concept art for a gimmick he nearly had while in WWE.
Sullivan was often attempted to be portrayed as an intelligent big guy, someone who knew a lot of things but also was a brute, and this idea was taken to the extreme as Sullivan nearly portrayed a character known as the Brilliant Behemoth, Lawrence Sullivan, complete with top hat, coat and monocle. I mean, look at it.
Though thinking about it, it might have been better than that shirtless interview with Michael Cole with all the heavy breathing.
Title Match Pulled From NXT TakeOver?
NXT TakeOver Vengeance Day is set for this Sunday, and one of the more anticipated matches is Johnny Gargano vs Kushida for the North American Championship. However according to Gargano’s lackey Austin Theory on Twitter, Gargano is out of the match on Sunday, and instead Theory will be facing Kushida on tonight’s episode of NXT.
WWE have not clarified Gargano’s status for the show, so this very well may simply be a swerve to have him appear anyway.
Impact Wrestling Fallout
Elsewhere on last night’s episode of Impact, MFJ & Chris Jericho appeared on the show cutting a video promo, wishing Tommy Dreamer a happy 50th birthday. Kind of. Instead of the happy tidings everyone else was wishing, MJF & Jericho decided to rip into Dreamer instead. Nice.
Following Private Party interrupting a Tag Title match between Gallows & Anderson and Chris Sabin & James Storm, the latter team were added to the title match at No Surrender, meaning that match is now a Triple Threat.
Clarification On Zelina Vega Story
In yesterday’s WrestleTalk News episode, we mentioned that a report from Fightful Select had stated that it seemed companies weren’t interested in signing Zelina Vega, though that is normal as companies may not want to “tip their hand” and reveal who they do and do not want to sign.
As a point of clarification, it’s worth noting that the Fightful Select report states that Fightful had not heard of any interest in Vega from companies, but that’s not to say that there isn’t necessarily any interest in her at all. They could just be keeping their cards close to their chest.
If you would like to see the story itself in full, a link to Fightful Select can be found in the description which is a wonderful place for breaking news stories. I would highly recommend a subscription.
Erik & Sarah Logan Celebrate Birth Of First Child
And finally today, we’d like to congratulate Erik of the Viking Raiders and Sarah Logan as they are celebrating the birth of their first child. Erik confirmed that Raymond Cash Rowe was born after 44 hours of labor, but both the child and mother were happy and healthy.
Congratulations to you, Erik and Sarah Logan.