Hello and welcome to the WrestleTalk Super News – I’m Oli Davis. And a shout out to @McKenzieAS93 on Twitter for that Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Men graphic that opened this episode. We’ll miss you, Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Men.
We’ve got a packed show for you today, including WWE stars being angry at the Draft, backstage details on what went down with Fox and the USA Network, and an ex-WWE star being announced for All Elite Wrestling!
Click the timestamps in the video description below to jump to any of those stories right now!
And answer our question of the day in the comments down below: Who would be your top WWE draft picks? Because I’ll be answering comments FROM OUTTA NOWHERE… saying it’s obviously my boy Byron Saxton! You’re being wasted, Saxton!
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Which will help you stay up to date with the biggest stories in professional wrestling like…
…how the WWE On Fox Twitter account has got game. Maybe should’ve followed that up with a sexier story.
WWE’s general social media game pretty much shares the same tone of their TV commentary and North Korean propaganda – always bigging up their own accomplishments, and talking in a form of buzzword tourettes. Occasionally just yelping THE BIG DAWG. Or ‘it is Boss Time’.
Many things were expected from WWE’s $1 billion, five year deal with their new TV network Fox. A more sports orientated approach. A larger reach in North American homes. But few predicted the only good addition so far… would be Fox’s official WWE Twitter account.
CageSideSeats has amassed some of the account’s best, which includes this tweet promoting the start of last Friday’s Draft:
“Tomorrow we say goodbye.” with an in memoriam graphic of the Wild Card Rule.
Replying to a fan asking who’s running the account, because they’re awesome – to which Fox replied ‘Vacant’.
Yet another entry to Vacant’s Hall of Fame worthy career.
And a third degree level burn to patchy wrestling ‘reporter’ Brad Shephard, who tweeted about the Draft: “My sleeper pick is #BeckyLynch because when she’s picked it’s going to put me to sleep!”
So the Fox account made fun of Shephard’s style of not really fact checking his reports: “Well if a ‘WWE Insider’, says it in his bio and everything, says so, then it’s over for #TheMan.”
The Draft of course began on last Friday’s episode of SmackDown – which saw the top picks of Becky Lynch, The O.C. and Drew McIntyre go to Raw, while Roman Reigns, Bray Wyatt and The Fiend – do they count as separate people? – go to SmackDown.
It’s been reported for the last few weeks that Raw’s Executive Director Paul Heyman was desperate to keep Wyatt on his brand, but WrestleVotes had also tweeted Fox were very interested in securing on SmackDown what was the hottest gimmick in wrestling before that Hell In A Cell finish.
Fox obviously won out with The Fiend, and PWInsider are reporting that WWE consulted with both them and Raw’s USA Network to make sure both sides were happy with the rosters they ended up with. The final decisions were made by WWE.
And they’ve just announced a bunch more ahead of the Draft’s conclusion on tonight’s Raw…
Because some wrestlers are just too bigtime to be announced on TV, WWE have now announced that Apollo Crews, Drew Gulak, Heath Slater, Tamina and The B Team will be drafted to SmackDown, and EC3, Eric Young and Sin Cara will go to Raw.
Young took the news particularly well, tweeting:
“RAW huh????? Once im given a chance I will show everyone what I and millions already know!!!! I AM A WORLD CLASS PERFORMER A WORLD CLASS MAN AND A WORLD CLASS MANIAC! #underrated #underused #WorldClass”
Good luck with that.
What’s interesting here is the possible fate of 205 Live – with Gulak being its top champion in recent months before losing the Cruiserweight title – now renamed the NXT Cruiserweight title – to Lio Rush on last week’s episode of NXT.
With the 205 Live roster being spread out amongst the Raw and SmackDown main brands, this could be yet another sign that the show doesn’t have long left, and will be cancelled in the coming months.
Mojojojo Rawley helpfully pointed out the news to one wrestler:
“Hey @therealec3 . I don’t know if you know this or not but you’re staying on red bro”
But EC3 was already well aware, and already well despondent…
Making the best out of the limp draft announcement, Apollo Crews pointed out:
“Tom Brady was a 6th round draft pick.”
A reference to the American Sports Ball Man who was the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL draft, and went on to become one of the greatest quarterbacks in the game’s history. Thanks Wikipedia.
But EC3 was there to throw some cold, harsh reality water over Apollo’s optimism:
“Tom Brady was then put in the game and allowed to play”
Apart from a quick victory over Dean Ambrose back in February, EC3 has only wrestled three other matches on Raw ever – losing to Ambrose the following week, losing the inaugural 24/7 Championship multi-man, and losing to Rusev in a squash match last month.
But EC3 seems to have accepted his main roster burial fate a long time ago. For Kevin Owens, the Draft is just the latest misstep in the booking of his character…
KO was one of the most over stars in WWE by SummerSlam, finally winning a feud against SmackDown’s real top star Shane McMahon after weeks of entertaining worked shoot promos against the company. He was styling himself as an anti-authority figure in the mold of Stone Cold Steve Austin, and it was getting over with fans!
So WWE looked at that, of course, and decided: let’s have him grovel to Shane McMahon about money, saying a former Universal Champion can’t afford to send his kids to college because of a $100,000 fine, and almost completely ignore the SummerSlam result.
Well done, WWE.
The last two months of steadily chipping away at KO’s anti-authority appeal seemed to be over with the debut episode of SmackDown on Fox, where Owens finally rid the brand of The OmniShane, beating him in a ladder match and firing McMahon from the show.
And he was rewarded for all that, by being sent to the other brand he didn’t end up saving.
It’s not the worst move, because Owens is unfortunately in need again of a refresh, but it does also waste the potential of KO saying he saved the show he’s on, SmackDown, from the clutches of the McMahons, positioning him as one of the brand’s top babyfaces.
Apparently on hearing the news that he was drafted to Raw on Friday night – as the Draft picks are genuinely kept hidden from the majority of the wrestlers – Owens was so angry, he cut an “honest” promo to WWE.com. A promo potentially too honest, because the website never ended up using it – which KO continued to be angry about on Twitter:
“Last night, the @WWE digital team asked me for my thoughts after I was drafted to #Raw. I gave them a very honest, heartfelt answer. They decided not to post the footage because I appeared to be angry. I was angry. I still am. Round 3… Looks like I still have lots to prove.”
Strong words… slightly undermined by his profile picture of his pet cat doing a funny pose.
Poor guy, I wish I could tell him to hang in there and that everything’s going to be ok.
This week I tweeted former Universal Champion Kevin Owens:
“. @FightOwensFight , I totally understand your frustrations with the WWE Draft. You put in so much effort on SD, to be taken away when the show becomes the bigger brand. That said, I have 1 question: Dude wheres El Generico? man’s been missing for like 7 yaers PLEASE RETWEET OD X” with a picture of a cat hanging off a branch with the caption ‘Hang in there’ in the best font out there, Comic Sans.
Still waiting on a reply… he’s probably busy with all the Raw stuff so… guess I better just take the advice of the cat. Gotta hang on in there. Look at its little fluffy tummy.
And Owens and EC3 aren’t the only wrestlers raising questions on Twitter about the Draft, as even before the picks conclude tonight on Raw, Cesaro has tweeted: “Free Agent”.
Despite being part of the first pool of picks, Cesaro wasn’t drafted on Friday’s episode, and unlike EC3, Eric Young and the B Team, he wasn’t announced for a brand on WWE.com either.
This could mean WWE are ignoring their own rules and will just end up drafting him on Raw tonight, or it has raised speculation he could be on his way down to NXT to help it in the Wednesday Night Wars, possibly reuniting his celebrated Ring of Honor tag team the Kings of Wrestling with Kassius Ohno.
NXT’s Killian Dane certainly seemed excited at the prospect, replying to Cesaro: “Come fight me.”
Cesaro to AEW confirmed.
Or, more appropriately for right now, former ECW and WWE star to AEW confirmed.
Former ECW Champion, and SmackDown and TNA colour commentator Taz has been talking about returning to announcing in recent weeks on his popular radio show, and now Cody Rhodes has revealed he’ll be doing it on AEW, tweeting:
Joining us as a guest broadcaster for #AEW DARK in Philadelphia… @OfficialTAZ @AEWrestling – with a graphic saying he’ll be appearing live at the commentary booth for the dark matches before and after this week’s Dynamite goes off-air, smartly in former ECW homebase Philadelphia.
This is only a guest spot for now, but if Taz impresses, you’d imagine there’s a possibility of him becoming full-time for AEW’s second show.
This interestingly follows two snubs by WWE of Taz just this month – first not inviting him to the 20th anniversary Fox debut show of SmackDown on Friday 4th, which caused him to tweet:
“Thanks! Hey….it’s the same reaction some might have when they realize I wasn’t invited the BIG anniversary show tomorrow night.”
And reportedly auditioning for the WWE studio show on Fox, that many believe will go to CM Punk instead.
There’s been huge Jon Moxley news this morning where he’s had to vacate his New Japan title! Click the video on the right to find out! And what can WWE learn from New Japan’s version of the Performance Center. A lot, is the answer. Learn more by clicking the video below that. I’ve been Oli Davis, and that was wrestling.