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What franchise property do you want to see WWE crossover with next? And we had a crossover of our own this past Tuesday, when Steve Here from Going in Raw dropped by to review this week’s episode of Raw. And make sure you stick around until the end of the episode, where we’ll have a clip from ScreenStalker’s latest video where we played WWE2K19 with Steve! Here’s a short teaser to whet your appetite. We’ve got a packed show of news for you today – including CM Punk being announced for a wrestling event, WWE going head to head with AEW on TV, and Eric Bischoff’s real WWE role has possibly been revealed. But first.
It was reported last month that WWE were again pushing Raw to get an Emmy nomination in the category for “Outstanding Structured Reality Program”. Outstanding, eh? The company’s pitch to get the nomination was that with over 25 years of shows, it has the, “distinct honor of being the longest running episodic television show in history”. The Simpsons would like a word. And that, “Raw boasts an ongoing legacy of controversial moments and incredible battles that make it the premier destination for the WWE Universe.”
Somehow that didn’t convince the awards folks to give them an Emmy nomination for the second year running, instead choosing Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Netflix’s Queer Eye – GET IN THERE ANTONI! – Shark Tank, Tidying Up With Marie Kondo, Who Do You Think You Are, and The Antiques Roadshow. Oh, so they did get a nomination for Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia at least.
But while WWE couldn’t get an Emmy nomination, they have managed to cross the streams with Ghostbusters. Yes, you heard that correctly.
It was announced at a Ghostbusters fan fest last month that Mattel were working on a series of action figures that would combine the world of WWE with classic 80s movie and my favourite film of all-time Ghostbusters to celebrate its 35th anniversary. And at Mattel’s booth at San Diego Comic Con booth we got our first look at The Rock, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels and John Cena wearing the iconic colours and logo, taking on the Ghost of Wrestling’s Past, The Undertaker. There is no Taker, only Zuul. What a lovely singing voice, you must have.
Unsurprisingly, considering they’re action figures made my Mattel, they’re cheap and creepy. They might actually be creepier than that new Cats movie. It’s actually difficult to work out if these figures are more rubbish and creepy looking than Rapheal with Winston Zeddemore’s moustache in the Ghostbusters/TMNT crossover. I mean who would buy these, he asks while wearing a Ghostbusters t-shirt while presenting a YouTube video about wrestling? Add to basket using my phone with a Ghostbusters cover.
Maybe Zack Ryder and Curt Hawkins can tell us all about them on their podcast. Speaking of podcasts! BRAXTON SEGUE STYLE!
Colt Cabana announced yesterday that after nine years, he is bringing an end to his awesome Art of Wrestling podcast series. The Art of Wrestling was not only among the first of its kind, it’s still the benchmark for what good wrestling audio content should be. Without Cabana, the wrestling podcast scene would be very different and probably not as good – which was reflected in several wrestling names coming out to show their support for Cabana and mourn the end of the podcast. Matt Jackson of Young Bucks tweeted that Being The Elite was inspired by The Art of Wrestling, Tomasso Ciampa said that fans still bring up the episode he recorded six years ago, as did Killian Dain, and William Regal sent his best wishes to Cabana.
We here at WrestleTalk also mourn the end of Art of Wrestling, but wish Colt the best with what he does next. Thanksssss.
And speaking of what’s next, what’s next for Bray Wyatt?! BAXTON SEGUE!
On the Raw and Smackdown After Mania this year, we got our first teases of a new direction for Bray Wyatt – with the debut of Bird Raptor, which was followed by the character we’d later know as Abby The Witch. That direction turned out to be Firefly Funhouse, one of the most uniquly creative and invetive things WWE has put out on in years. After weeks of the children’s TV inspired segments, Bray began to bleed into our own reality by showing up backstage behind wrestlers walking to the ring. And while some feel that he should have debuted earlier than he did, Wyatt’s new character of The Fiend made his in-ring debut this past week on Raw attacking Finn Balor. It was easily the best thing on the show.
This has led to a lot of speculation about Wyatt’s Summerslam plans. Many members of the SWAFT Nation pitched in their super chats that they’d like to see Wyatt take on Finn Balor’s Demon – with The Fiend picking up the win, giving The Demon his first loss on the main roster. And that would tie into the news that Balor has requested two months off from WWE following Summerslam – allowing for Steve from Going In Raw’s pitch of Balor coming back as a heel and joining The Club on Raw with AJ Styles, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson.
However according to the Wrestling Observer, that’s not the plan. At least not entirely. It’s being reported that Wyatt is set to face Balor at the Biggest Party of the Summer, but he won’t be in his demon personna.
If the reports are to be believed, Balor won’t be back in WWE until October, which will be the launch time for Smackdown on Fox. But that’s not the only big wrestling thing happening in October, as it will also see TNT get back into the wrestling game with t-shirt company All Elite Wrestling – with AEW airing their new weekly show at the start of the month with the latest reports suggesting it will air on Wednesdays. With Smackdown set to move to Wednesdays on Fox, that can’t go head to head with AEW, but NXT can.
It’s been heavily reported since the Fox deal was announced that NXT could move off the WWE Network and over to FS1 instead. And with AEW gaining a lot of popularity and mainstream attention since Double or Nothing in May – with August’s All Out having bigger ticket demand than any WrestleMania in history – WWE are reportedly now pushing forward with their NXT on FS1 plans.
Dave Meltzer is reporting that Fox are negotiating with WWE to get NXT on their networks in what Meltzer calls a “no-lose situation” for Vince McMahon. If NXT pulls in similar viewers to AEW, then WWE’s developmental brand will be competing against them on a station with way less viewers. But the key however is not to beat them, but to “siphon viewers from AEW”. If they’re watching NXT on FS1, they’re not watching AEW on TNT.
And speaking of All Out, there was some big news coming from Starrcast III, the fan event that will be held the day before AEW’s big show in Chicago – BUT THE TWO ARE NOT CONNECTED, LET’S MAKE THAT PERFECTLY CLEAR. Starrcast III has already announced a bunch of big names – including Jon Moxley who will be doing a no holds barred sit down interview with Jim Ross – and yesterday they announced that Chicago’s own CM Punk will also be attendence.
CM Punk to AEW confirmed!
Punk was at last year’s Starrcast with Pro Wrestling Tees, but this time he’ll be there on behalf of Starrcast. There’s no details yet on whether Punk will be doing meet and greets or any form of interviews, but it certainly ramps up the speculation that he could be joining All Elite Wrestling – which has been teased since All In last year.
Of course, there is no evidence that Punk will be appearing at All Out or joining the company to push their TV debut on TNT, but we’re wrestling fans. So you know what that means. CM PUNK TO AEW CONFIRMED!
But enough about Punk, what about Eric Bischoff and WWE?
Last month the shocking news was announced that former ECW head honcho Paul Heyman would be taking over the creative of Raw, while former WCW and TNA head honcho Eric Bischoff would be taking on the same role for Smackdown. The job title given to both men was announced as Executive Directors, with several reports talking up how much more clout Heyman has had on Raw in recent weeks – spearheading the feud between Bobby Lashley and Braun Strowman, as well as calling up NXT Tag Team Champions Street Profits, and the Mike and Maria Kannellis pregnancy angle. They can’t all be winners.
It’s however been noted that Bischoff hasn’t had the same level of involvement on Smackdown. He hasn’t been to any TV tapings since the announcement of his hiring, and despite this past Tuesday reportedly set to be his first show, Bischoff wasn’t backstage again. It had also been reported that Bischoff not coming to work had already given him some heat backstage in WWE – noting that every week he’s not there is another week he’s behind in implementing new ideas and changes.
In a bit of surprising news from the Observer, however, Bischoff’s role of Executive Director seeing over creative was a bit of an exageration.
Meltzer claims that Bischoff won’t actually have creative powers on Smackdown at all. He writes that, “right now those in creative were told that he will most likely not be involved with the creative process and that it looks like his job will be to interface with all of the departments in the company as well as with FOX.” While he will be the “leader” of Smackdown in terms being a figurehead, creative ideas will instead still be pitched by former NXT head writer Ryan Ward.
This backs up a previous report that Heyman and Bischoff’s hirings were only done to appease worried investors.
On a previous investors call when the question was asked about falling house show attendance and TV ratings – not to mention merch sales being down – Vince McMahon said that it was due top stars like Roman Reigns being out of the company dealing with his leukemia. However, Roman is now back and house show attendence is still down as our the ratings for both Raw and Smackdown. The report claims that Vince bringing in Heyman and Bischoff was a way to delay giving reasons for a lack of improvements – instead being able to tell investors that he’s hired two of his most famous rivals from the 90s: the man who spearheaded the revolutionary ECW which, while not that profitable, put on shows that changed the wrestling landscape and influenced WWF’s Attitude Era, and the man who was in charge of WCW which not only competeted with WWF in terms of ratings, but beat it for 83 weeks straight.
So while Heyman will be reporting to Vince McMahon and pitching creative ideas, this new report suggests that Bischoff will just be there to oversee the running of the brand.
And now for something completely different!
This week we had Steve from Going In Raw drop by to do an episode of WrestleRamble, but we also had a bit of a session on WWE2K19 for our sister channel ScreenStalker! Here’s a clip of that footage now, and you can watch the full version over on ScreenStalker by clicking the ‘i’ above my head or the link at the end of this video. And we recorded other matches with Steve which will air on ScreenStalker throughout next week. Here’s the clip.
Watch the full version by clicking the video on screen right now! And Oli and I will be on ScreenStalker this coming Monday to go through all the news and trailers from San Diego Comic Con, so subscribe to ScreenStalker to get notifications for when that goes live! I’ve been Luke Owen, and that was Mecha News.