Hello and welcome to the WrestleTalk Super News – I’m Oli Davis.
We’ve got a packed show for you today, including backstage frustration with Shane McMahon in WWE, All Elite Wrestling blocking New Japan from using Jon Moxley! And a special catch-up interview with WrestleTalk’s first ever recipient of our wrestling scholarship program – Callum Newman!
Click the timestamps in the video description below to jump to any of those stories right now!
And make sure to have a Super Click party and give us a subscribe, click the thumbs up button and answer our question of the day down below:
Do you think Shane McMahon will win the WWE Championship by the end of the Summer? Because I’ll be replying to people in the comments FROM OUTTA NOWHERE… telling you that’s the darkest timeline.
But first we start with some deeply tragic news…
As you might have noticed with the in memorium graphic opening today’s episode, British wrestler and ICW’s top champion Lionheart passed away at the far too young age of 36 yesterday. The Scottish promotion tweeted about the news:
“We are heartbroken to learn of the tragic death of ICW World Heavyweight Champion, Adrian ‘Lionheart’ McCallum. Adrian was a mainstay of ICW and British professional wrestling. Most importantly, he was our friend. His passing leaves a huge hole in the lives of those who knew him.”
There’s been an outpour of messages from the wrestling world, with NXT UK’s Pete Dunne posting:
“I always looked up to Lionheart’s professional approach to wrestling when it was far from that at the time. People like him were pivotal in the growth of a scene that has lead to so many people being able to do this for a living. Thoughts are with those close to him.”
And Will Ospreay sharing:
“Every time I’ve met you, you have been nothing but a sweetheart. I honestly cannot believe I’m writing this tweet. Devastated doesn’t cover how I feel. RIP Adrian Lionheart McCallum.”
I only had the honour of meeting Lionheart a few times, and he was always extremely lovely no matter how dastardly he’d been in the ring that evening. He won the ICW title back in December and has a wrestling career dating back 17 years, competing for many promotions including Ring of Honor, TNA, 1PW, PCW, NGW and more. Everyone here at WrestleTalk would like to express our sincere condolences to McCallum’s family and friends during this difficult time.
After being the scene stealing hero of WWE’s 24/7 title segments behind R-Truth’s shenanigans , this week’s SmackDown finally saw the Championship belt go to …Drake Maverick.
And true to the 24/7 title’s name, he’s taken it everywhere since. In the Uber car he stole from referee Rudy Charles! (which he then abandoned at this location when Charles asked for it back – a Google maps link showing the location for the Alameda Strip Club) a series of drive-thru fast food outlets, the airport check in desks, and even the plane itself.
But, most importantly, is …Drake Maverick’s wedding this weekend, where he shared a photo of him still wearing the belt and a very fetching floral tracksuit, along with his Groomsmen that includes Braun Strowman and EC3.
Wait, if EC3’s recovered from Seth Rollins’ chair of doom, then he can be the special guest referee for Baron Corbin at Kicking Ground Stomping Ass and Taking Names? You’re exposing the business EC3-oh yeah you don’t care anymore.
Speaking of not caring anymore, one WWE star might’ve just vented about his big boss’ son on social media…
Aside from being in the 50/51 man battle royal at Super Arabia, Rusev hasn’t been seen on WWE TV since the 16th April episode of SmackDown Live, where he lost with Andrade and Shinsuke Nakamura to Aleister Black, Ali and Ricochet. Rusev and Nakamura’s tag team act appeared on WWE’s European tour in early May, but seemingly haven’t been used on live events since. While the Wild Card rule was meant to give more star power to both Raw and SmackDown in the face of falling ratings, it’s had the negative side-effect of just focusing on the same few acts across both shows, bumping many other wrestlers off TV – of which Rusev and Nakamura are arguably the biggest victims.
Instead, the Wild Card rule has mainly been used to make Shane McMahon the focus of everything, creating the dreaded OmniShane.
A fan asked Rusev how frustrating is it to see Shane taking TV time that could be used for him, to which the Bulgarian Brute – who’s current Twitter handle is the rather optimistic ‘Here Comes THE PUSH (all in capitals) replied: “I’m not [frustrated]. It’s normal. He is the bosses son.”
Because accusing the company you work for of nepotism is totally chill, yeah, no doubt, that’s totally cool, man.
And, to continue the ‘totally chill, I’m not frustrated at all’ tone, replying to another fan’s tweet: “Seeing WWE employees just openly dunk on the product sure is a thing that happens now. Social media is awesome!” Rusev referenced the very controversial independent contractor status of WWE’s talent by replying: “I’m not an employee PASSIVE AGGRESSIVE ELLIPSES”
Yeah, totally cool man, no doubt, no doubt.
This ties into a new report from Fightful Select about how Shane’s push is being received backstage.
“We’ve not heard of Shane being criticized personally, but that the decision to heavily feature Shane McMahon in the middle of a Wild Card scenario that already limits screen time for others is ‘infuriating.’”
Potentially aware that their own ratings solution isn’t working, WWE are also reportedly encouraging its talent to pitch more “ambitious” ideas to creative in an attempt to freshen up the product. One example of this is the 24/7 Championship, where management hasn’t been “as strict or hands on” – which many backstage claim why the title’s segments have been the most consistently entertaining week to week.
But while WWE contends with itself on how to make a better product, the world’s other major wrestling companies are clashing against each other.
All Elite Wrestling and New Japan seem like a perfect fit for one another. All four of AEW’s co-executive vice presidents Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks and Cody Rhodes were top New Japan talent in the Bullet Club before this year, and top AEW stars Jon Moxley and Chris Jericho both appeared at New Japan’s most recent big show Dominion just two weeks ago.
Unfortunately, despite the two sides working together arguably being best for the wrestling industry as a whole, it’s not that simple because of New Japan’s long-lasting relationship with Ring of Honor, a promotion AEW left high and dry after using their help to produce last September’s All In. And now wrestling geopolitics means one of New Japan’s top stars can’t appear for the next US date.
New Japan revealed the blocks for this year’s G1 Climax earlier this week – a tournament that typically hosts 9 of the top 10 wrestling matches every year.
And looking at the names announced, 2019’s will be no different – with A block having Bad Luck Fale, EVIL, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, KENTA, Kota Ibushi, Lance Archer, SANADA, Will Ospreay and Zack Sabre Jr; and B Block containing Hirooki Goto, Jay White, Jeff Cobb, Juice Robinson, Shingo Takagi, Taichi, Tetsuya Naito, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, and the former Dean Ambrose in WWE Jon Moxley.
This year’s opening night show will be in Dallas, Texas as part of New Japan’s strategy to expand in the United States, but Dave Meltzer is reporting that AEW has blocked Moxley from appearing because they don’t want him working TV shows in their home market – as New Japan airs in the US on AXS.
Meltzer reports this will also be the case for Jericho, with him not being allowed to work any US dates for New Japan.
Jericho has referenced this on Twitter in response to a fan, posting: “There was NEVER any plans for me to work the Dallas show. EVER.”
It must be noted that doesn’t contradict what Meltzer said, though – who reported Y2J can’t appear on US New Japan shows, not that he was ever booked for the G1 opening night.
Last month we proudly unveiled our new Support WrestleTalk, Support Independent Wrestling mission – which has already seen us partner with the fantastic UK indy promotions WrestleGate and the Will Opsreay-created Frontline Wrestling, where we’ll be providing financial support to help them put on the best shows possible, for us to air them on this very YouTube channel for free for all of you wonderful SWAFT Nation viewers.
It all kicked off with our WrestleTalk Scholarship program of young wrestlers – with the first recipient being the amazingly talented 16 year old Callum Newman, who was one of Ospreay’s hand picked Young Lions. I got to chat to him before last Friday’s Frontline show where we caught up on how the Scholarship has affected his career…
Thanks again to all our viewers on YouTube, readers of WrestleTalk.com and Pledgehammers on Patreon. It’s because of all of you that we can give back to the wrestling industry we all love and invest in building its future.
The loot box video game controversy has just blown up, with FIFA makers EA appearing in court! Find out what this means by clicking the Gaming News on the right. And there’s been a major AEW TV update! Learn all the details by clicking the video below that. I’ve been Oli Davis, and that was wrestling.