Hello and welcome to the WrestleTalk STACKED News, I am Chopper Pete Quinnell, filling in for Oli as he’s away doing important business business business things.
We’ve got a packed show for you today, including WWE potentially planning a Samoa Joe babyface turn, how Buddy Murphy’s insertion into the Roman Reigns storyline came about by accident, and the real reason The Fiend wasn’t on either Raw or SmackDown this week. Plus did Dolph Ziggler request his release from WWE?
Press the timestamps in the video description below to be taken to any of those stories!
And while you’re down there, make sure to press the thumbs up, subscribe and bell icon to enable notifications, and leave us a comment answering today’s question of the day, which is:
“Who do you think is The Fiend’s next victim?”
But first, we’ve got a very big announcement to make.
The UK’s largest pro wrestling magazine FSM (which stands for Fighting Spirit Magazine) has announced it’ll be releasing its final issue today after over a decade since launching. But that doesn’t mean wrestling print media is on the way out, because we were approached by them with a very exciting opportunity. All of us here at WrestleTalk are very proud to officially announce our very own WrestleTalk Magazine has merged with FSM, so you can now buy – for the first time ever – the WrestleTalk Magazine in shops all over the UK from September, and also that we’re going monthly!
The WrestleTalk Magazine just went mainstream!
This is a huge deal for us, after launching the WrestleTalk Magazine two years ago, and putting out 10 fantastic issues. The first ever monthly edition will be available online at WrestleTalk.com like it has been previously, along with now also being in shops up and down the country from the 19th September! Featuring all the wrestling news, your favourite features, and some exciting new editions. Check out WrestleTalk.com for more information, and to pre-order your copy now!
Something else that’s awesome is Buddy Murphy, after his killer match with Roman Reigns on this week’s episode of SmackDown. This was Buddy’s debut match on SmackDown, despite being called up during the Superstar Shake-Up back in April. Now, the reason for his long absence from our screens has been revealed.
According to Buddy Murphy himself, the reason he wasn’t on SmackDown immediately after the Superstar Shake-Up was because he didn’t want to be. He explained further in an interview with Gorilla Position.
“From my original transition, it’s probably been a little bit longer than I hoped for. But it was a bit of a strategic part for me, as I wanted to get a little bit more size before I mixed it up with the bigger guys on SmackDown Live.”
That…actually makes a lot of sense honestly. For all our rants on “Where’s Buddy Murphy, why have you brought him up if you had no plans, etc etc etc”, turns out it was a strategic move all along. Sorry about that.
It worked wonders though, as his debut match on SmackDown was against Roman Reigns and was one of the best TV matches they’ve put on this year.
Funnily enough though, Murphy’s inclusion in the entire Roman Reigns attacker angle seemingly wasn’t planned at all. It all began during the forklift/scaffolding/box collapsing angle, where after Reigns got up and walked away, Murphy could be seen in the background of the shot, leaving the scene.
This caught the attention of social media, who began doing the rounds posting and re-posting the screenshot of Murphy in the scene, speculating that he was the attacker.
Bryan Alvarez on Wrestling Observer Live noted that during that initial scaffolding angle, Murphy was accidentally in the video, and wasn’t supposed to be there at all, but somehow made it in shot. WWE paid attention to the social media speculation surrounding Buddy Murphy and decided to run with it, which is what has led to Murphy being inserted into a main event feud with Reigns, Bryan and Rowan.
Maybe we are the authority figures after all.
But with all this extra attention to detail, good wrestling and a great SummerSlam, comes greater rewards, as the SmackDown viewership increased this week as well, following in Raw’s footsteps.
This week’s SmackDown drew an average of 2.164 million viewers, up from last week’s 2.088 million. Granted, this isn’t the huge bump that Raw saw, but SmackDown has a more consistent viewership than Raw anyway, with the highest viewership number this year being 2.393 million on March 27, while the lowest was 1.827 million on May 14.
If the shows continue with the quality they’ve been displaying lately, that 2.393 million high could beaten in the near future.
Switching things up now, Nia Jax has been out of WWE with a double ACL tear, ouch, and is due to return to the company sometime next year. She’s been posting sporadic updates on her social media, however that same social media is now having some eyebrows raised at it.
Nia has deactivated her Twitter account, and removed all references to WWE from her Instagram, and an Instagram story she posted stated:
“The best thing I ever did was become more lowkey & focus on myself”
While this could just be a move to protect herself mentally, because lord knows Twitter can become a cesspool of negativity sometimes, could this be an indication of her happiness outside of WWE? Will she even want to come back once she’s healed up?
Someone else who’s been rumoured to not want to come back, was Dolph Ziggler. A rumour spread like wildfire yesterday that prior to this week’s Raw, Dolph Ziggler met with Vince McMahon, and McMahon refused to accept Dolph Ziggler’s release from the company, despite the two verbally agreeing to such previously.
This was reported by bodyslam.net, who aren’t exactly a reliable source of information. The news of this reached Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer’s ears, who refuted the claims, stating that there is absolutely no truth to it.
So it looks like it was just a rumour that someone started that caught on. There might be a kernel of truth to this, we just don’t know yet.
Something that might be a little more concrete however, is the reported plans that WWE might be wanting to turn Samoa Joe babyface.
On this week’s Raw, Joe seemingly had the first hints of being a babyface, squashing the heel Sami Zayn in 30 seconds after Zayn was caught talking trash about him, plus Joe had shown concern about Reigns after his car accident.
According to Dave Meltzer, this could be lining Joe up for a slow babyface turn, despite his anti-WWE audience promo he cut after he beat Sami Zayn. The seeds have been planted so that if they want to draw on them when they do eventually pull the trigger on the babyface, it won’t look completely stupid.
Which seems a bit weird considering Joe was well-received as a babyface on Raw anyway, and the story made sense for him to turn face organically there so…perhaps they shot themselves in the foot with not turning him full babyface there. But perhaps I’ll be eating my words when he eventually does turn.
And now we come on to everyone’s favourite section of the news, The Fiend Section.
Did you know Bray Wyatt told us about The Fiend in 2015? Yup. That was my reaction too.
During an episode of the WWE YouTube Exclusive Ghost Stories, Bray Wyatt told a story of a man in the woods.
“It was about 7 foot tall, walking upright. No pigment in his skin. He was as pale as a pearl. He had thin yellow hairs running all the way down to his knees, and he was carrying an alligator with one hand…His eyes were yellow like a cat…”
That description sound familiar? The story ends with the realisation that Bray is the man in the woods. So Bray just gave the backstory of The Fiend possessing him as a child in 2015 and no-one paid attention until now. Jesus H. Christ, this man is a genius.
After his frankly astounding debut at SummerSlam, fans were eager to see more of The Fiend on Raw and SmackDown this week, but not a trace of him was to be found anywhere.
While this might be seen as frustrating from fans, and with rumours circulating that they may be forced to change up some aspects of his character due to concerns with sponsorships and YouTube guidelines, rest easy, because the real reason he wasn’t on the shows has been revealed.
According to Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet, the reason The Fiend wasn’t on either Raw or SmackDown this week, is because WWE want to make The Fiend feel special, and for fans to never know when he’s going to strike next.
This is exactly what they should be doing with The Fiend. Pepper him throughout the TV shows sparingly, and save his in-ring work for PPVs when he can utilise his full entrance and character work without the constraints of commercial breaks.
Well time for all that to be ruined though, because Bray Wyatt is being advertised for the next two Raws. *sigh* Come on guys, I was just defending you and everything.
Now of course, card subject to change, and this wouldn’t exactly be the first time WWE has advertised something with absolutely no plans to follow through with that advertisement. Hell it wouldn’t be the first time this year… or first time this month.
But as it stands, Bray Wyatt is being advertised for next week’s Raw in St Paul, Minnesota, and the following week at the Smoothie King Center in New Orleans, Louisiana. Nothing snaps you out of believing in The Fiend like remembering he’ll be appearing at the Smoothie King Center.
But today we’ll leave you with a special treat! Not too long ago, former WWE Women’s Champion Melina gave the WrestleTalk HQ a little visit,  where she taught us how to do the splits, with mixed results. She’s also been on ScreenStalker doing a whole bunch of stuff which you should totally watch as well, but while she was visiting, she sat down with SoCalVal for a special interview. So here comes Part 1 of SoCalVal’s Tea Party! Enjoy!
The full 15-minute version of that is up on our Patreon for all our lovely lovely pledgehammers to enjoy, so head on over there if you want to check it out. Plus press the video on screen to be taken to ScreenStalker to see even more of Val & Melina as they play Super Smash Bros Ultimate with myself and Laurie. But press the thumbs up, subscribe and bell icon before you go to stay notified of our videos too, and leave a comment answering the question of the day! And a special thank you to our lovely pledgehammers on Patreon, some of whom you can see scrolling below me right now! I’ve been Chopper Pete Quinnell, and that was a rushed outro!