We’ve got a major WWE/NJPW heat update, more news of the ‘toxic’ AEW locker room, The Rock’s daughter making her shocking WWE debut, and more.
It’s Wednesday morning and what better way to start the day than getting caught up on all the latest wrestling news with our news bulletin for October 26, 2022.
Major WWE/NJPW Heat & Karl Anderson Update
New Japan has taken umbrage, in the most professional way possible for any pro-wrestling company, with Karl Anderson and his decision to appear with Luke Gallows and AJ Styles (as The OC) at WWE Crown Jewel on November 5, 2022 instead of at the previously negotiated NEVER Openweight Championship match against Hikuleo in Osaka.
In a statement on the official NJPW website, NJPW made it clear that they fully expected Anderson to fulfil his commitment to the company and called into question comments made in a video posted on Karl Anderson’s Twitter account, stating:
“NJPW had announced Anderson’s match with Hikuleo for the NEVER Openweight Championship on October 4. Despite comments from Doc Gallows to the contrary in Anderson’s video, the booking was made through the appropriate channels, and with Anderson’s expressed approval.”
Going further with the expectations of their champions, NJPW’s official statement continued:
“NJPW has for the past several days attempted to negotiate with Anderson, but has not been met with a response. Should Anderson decide to renege on his scheduled championship match, he will be required to vacate the NEVER Openweight Championship and return the title belt to NJPW immediately.
“New Japan Pro-Wrestling holds its champions to the highest standards of professionalism, and sincerely apologises to fans for any disappointment or inconvenience caused by this matter.”
With Hikuleo himself warning Anderson to not “forget where you came from” and the NJPW President Ohbari saying, as recently as October 23, 2022 that New Japan are “doing all we can to ensure every signed match in Osaka on November 5 happens as promised” there’s still a chance, however slim, that something could be worked out, though working a double-show more than 9,000km apart isn’t likely.
Britt Baker Calls Out ‘Toxic’ AEW Locker Room Members
It seems that not a day passes without more details of issues within the AEW locker room being revealed, whether it be the aftermath of the media scrum fallout from All Out, the issues with Sammy Guevara or Britt Baker and Thunder Rosa‘s animosity.
Now, Britt Baker has stepped in to explain the nature of the issues that she has with the ego of others, doing so on the Swerve City podcast, hosted by Swerve Strickland, saying:
“What’s so toxic is when somebody thinks they’re bigger than the company. Or that the company needs them. There’s literally no one in AEW that they need, other than Tony Khan to survive. Everybody can be replaced.”
Quote via Wrestling Inc.
Could things change, however, if Warner Bros. gets their way and moves AEW from the realm of “entertainment” towards “sport”? Would that make a better-managed backstage environment?
John Arezzi suggsted on John Arezzi’s Pro Wrestling Spotlight that this could be a move that Warner Bros Discovery could very well be considering:
“They’re trying to make it a sport. That’s what the strategy is. The strategy is that they are pushing AEW into the sports category, not the entertainment category. They’re increasing that because of the new ownership because Warner Bros. is now Warner Bros. Discovery.”
And, it looks like the new arrangement could see WBD being much more hands-on with AEW, which could definitely lead to a change of business culture for the wrestling company, with Arezzi explaining:
“They see this property, AEW, as someone they want to be in business with long-term. They had a contract which was absorbed by them when they merged that wasn’t the sweetest deal for TNT and TBS. It was kind of one-sided. So now what they are trying to do is to kind of collaborate and work together so they can work on the next long-term deal with them.”
The idea of a more professional environment in AEW can only lead to a positive thing for the business given that it’s self-governance has, so far, had very mixed backstage results.
The Rock’s Daughter Ava Raine Makes Shocking WWE NXT Debut
WWE NXT’s The Schism has a new member and it’s not other than The Rock’s daughter, Simone Johnson, now called Ava Raine.
The mildly disturbing group, led by Joe Gacy, revealed their new member on last night’s October 25, 2022 episode of the show.
Elsewhere on that episode of NXT, we saw:
- Nikkita Lyons and Zoey Stark initially won the NXT Women’s Tag Team Championship match but the match was restarted because they pinned the illegal opponent, and ultimately Katana Chance and Kayden Carter ended up retaining in the restarted match
- Another T-BAR/Dijakovic video where he said “The second coming isn’t about retribution, it’s about justice.”
- Grayson Waller interrupted Wes Lee’s North American Title celebration, then R-Truth appeared and set up a match with Waller for next week
- Shotzi with Quincy Elliott in her corner beat Lash Legend
- Sanga and Veer ambushed the Creed Brothers – Sanga was remorseful but ultimately ended up doing what Veer wanted him to do
- Pretty Deadly retained the NXT Tag Team Championship over Edris Enofe and Malik Blade
- There’s a new mystery as someone/something called “Scrypts” said he/they are coming to “rip NXT apart”
- Indi Hartwell beat Sol Ruca, then Elektra Lopez, formerly of Legado Del Fantasma, returned and attacked them both
- Odyssey Jones returned in a parking lot segment with Enofe and Blade after being off TV since January due to an injury
- JD McDonagh won the main event by choking out Ilja Dragunov to the point Ilja was coughing up blood and had to be stretchered out
On a side note, Triple H appears to have changed the program themes throughout the show to rock music instead of the rap music they used during NXT 2.0, so that’s another change back in the direction of the old NXT.
With contract negotiations looming in 2023 between WWE and NBC Universal, the owners of USA Network which broadcasts both WWE Raw and WWE NXT, the value of keeping NXT on a broadcast channel can’t be understated.
Wrestling Observer’s Andrew Zarian has shared some news of the positive reception that NXT has had recently, taking to Twitter to state that:
“Halloween Havoc was NXT’s most-viewed standalone PLE since the start of the Peacock relationship. By ‘standalone’, I mean running a weekend where there is no main roster PLE.”
This can only have bolstered NXT’s position in the eyes of NBC Universal executives, with Zarian going on to say:
“Execs were ‘encouraged’ that additional promotion helped translate into additional viewership for this PLE
“The overall attitude towards NXT from NBCU side of things has been very positive over the past few weeks.”
After recent reports of Ace Steel’s release and a CM Punk contract buyout in the works, it looks like the end is in sight for the All Out media scrum investigation, with Dave Meltzer reporting that:
“This thing feels like it’s wrapping up, it feels like the Young Bucks and Omega are coming back somewhat soon. That’s not official or anything like that, just that feeling. There’s been teases and stuff.
“I know a lot of people are disappointed. I’m not saying that the decision is wrong. Considering how much time they put into the decision, and you know that, again, you’re not gonna get rid of your big drawing card unless it’s way way way over the bounds.”
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Punk has remained silent on the issue (and just in general), though Tony Khan hasn’t been overly verbal on the fallout, finally breaking his social media silence to ‘promote’ a film written by Aimee Garcia and AJ Mendez (his wife).
WWE’s Senior Vice President of Live Events, ‘Road Dogg’ Brian James was one of those kept in the dark over the return of Bray Wyatt at WWE Extreme Rules on October 8, 2022. James said: “Not knowing everything is cool sometimes, because then you get surprised and so, I think that’s the age old argument about spoilers.”
WWE Live returns to the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland and France in April 2023, with shows in Birmingham, UK on April 26; Manchester, UK on April 27; Belfast, Northern Ireland on April 28; and WWE Saturday Night’s Main Event taking place in Paris, France on April 29.
Dana Brooke isn’t happy with Seth Rollins’ suggestion that Austin Theory has a better chance of cashing in on her, posting on Twitter that “talk is cheap” and she “will no longer tolerate this s**t”, once again firing back at disrespect aimed towards her.
PWInsider confirmed that WWE is working on plans for the WWE Raw 30th Anniversary episode which is due to take place in January and celebrates the first episode that was broadcast on January 11, 1993.
In the same report, they confirmed that the next Saudi Arabia event is planned for spring 2023, despite Elimination Chamber being scheduled to take place in Montreal, Canada on February 18, rather than Saudi like it was this past year.
And, again from the PWInsider report, they’ve confirmed that WWE’s content on the Hulu streaming platform is expiring later this week, though both sides may still be working on a deal for ‘second window’ rights to Raw and Smackdown.
As reported by the UK’s Daily Mail, Zac Efron looks “unrecognizable” as he prepares to play Kevin Von Erich in the film The Iron Claw, which tells the story of the Von Erich family and will also star Lily James, Jeremy Allen White and Harris Dickinson.
Tonight’s AEW Dynamite for October 26, 2022 will see:
- AEW World Champion Jon Moxley defending the title against Penta El Zero Miedo
- Chris Jericho & Daniel Garcia vs. Claudio Castagnoli & Wheeler Yuta
- Sammy Guevara vs. Bryan Danielson
- Jamie Hayter vs. Riho
- FTR vs. Swerve in our Glory in an AEW World Tag Team Championship #1 Contender’s Match
- We’ll also hear from MJF
And, that rounds it all up for this news bulletin, but keep your eye on WrestleTalk.com for all the latest wrestling news.
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