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Hello and welcome to the WrestleTalk MIDWEEK MECHA NEWS. I am Luke Owen. Give this video a thumbs up, share it with your friends, and leave a comment down below to answer today’s question of today:
What do you make of Eric Bischoff’s firing from WWE? We’ve got a packed show of news for you today, including the real reason Eric Bischoff was fired after just a few months, Roman Reigns criticizing WWE’s Hell in a Cell finish, and more details on the 2019 draft and various changes that have been made. And you can jump to any of those news stories, right now. And make sure you give this channel a subscribe, as we’ve been told by Swaft Nation members that YouTube have randomly unsubscribed thousands of them from WrestleTalk. And we need as much help as we can with the ever-changing YouTube algorithm! So click subscribe, and enable notifications to know when these videos go live.
But first up let’s talk about Mike Kannellis who asked for his release from WWE this week. Mike is on the list of several WWE guys and girls who have publicly either shown unhappiness with WWE or flat out asked for their release, but there was a question mark over the position of his real-life wife Maria Kannellis, who is currently involved in an angle where she is getting ready to reveal the real father of Mike’s child. At least I think that’s still a storyline, it’s been a while since we had any form of an update on it.
Well Maria has now clarified her position, posting on Instagram that she supports her husband Mike but has not requested her release from the company. Now it’s probably worth taking this with a pinch of salt, as Maria has often used social media to shoot down reports that end up being true. She denied all reports that she had Mike were leaving Impact, and then they left Impact and joined WWE, and she also denied reports that she and her Mike were unhappy in WWE earlier this year – only for Mike to post on Twitter that he’s unhappy in WWE and has asked for his release.
Mike and Maria were not part of the recent WWE draft, which saw Raw and Smackdown split into distinct rosters once again, even though Crown Jewel features a Smackdown guy going for Raw’s top title. Brand split lol.
And it took less than 24 hours after the draft was finished for plans to change. The draft got off to a rough start on Friday Night Smackdown, when WWE released a list of those eligible to be drafted but accidentally posted the order in which they were going to be drafted. WrestleVotes reported that WWE knew they’d made a blunder and were looking to shake things up on the Raw draft, including a “blockbuster trade”. With Smackdown’s Bray Wyatt vying to win the Raw’s Universal Championship from Raw’s Seth Rollins, many figured Bray Wyatt would be jumping brands. But word is that Fox really want Bray on their Smackdown show, and it’s now been revealed that the blockbuster trade is Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross jumping over to Smackdown as a tag team. Only a few days removed from being drafted to Raw as separate wrestlers and not a tag team.
The move was announced on WWE’s new Backstage show on FS1 by Triple H, who added that Raw would get “considerations and draft picks down the line”. Whatever that means.
A few other names not on the Draft list this year were The Usos and Naomi, who’ve not been seen on WWE TV since the end of July, when Jonathan Fatu – aka Jimmy Uso – was arrested for a second time in seven months, the latter of which being a DUI. The Usos and Naomi were all taken off the road from live events, and Dave Meltzer has reported via Figure Four Online, “While they were at a recent television taping backstage, there is right now no creative for them nor return date, nor a decision regarding which brand they will be with. Because of that, they weren’t involved in the draft.”
Maybe they could be drafted to Raw, which is in need of a ratings boost.
In what will likely be unsurprising news, Raw dropped in the ratings after last week’s show, which had the usual post-PPV bump. However this is pretty bad news for the company, as this edition of Raw was the second night of the highly publicised draft and featured Tyson Fury’s contract signing with Braun Strowman. Overall the show wasn’t down massively, drawing 2.28 million which is just 2.4% down from last week, but it was more damning in the detail. The show started off with 2.5 million viewers for hour one, which dropped to 2.3 million for hour 2, and only 2 million for the final hour – which was advertised to focus on Seth Rollins going Fiend hunting against Bray Wyatt. So if you’re keeping score, half a million viewers tuned out before the show’s major storyline happened.
Worse still, the 18-49 demo dropped 24% in men, 35% in teenage girls, and 34% in teenage boys, a drop that Dave Meltzer writes is “pretty much unheard of.”
But what did you think? Oli Davis gave the show a rating of Poor, and it was pretty split as 40% of you agreed, with 34% thinking the show was slightly better with AvRAWge.
Raw also saw two new matches announced for Crown Jewel, the Saudia Arabia show which has become so controversial that WWE have stopped announcing where the shows takes place, meaning Crown Jewel literally hails from Parts Unknown. As mentioned earlier in this news episode, WWE announced that Smackdown’s Bray Wyatt takes on Raw’s Seth Rollins for Raw’s Universal Championship – brand split lol – and we’re getting the The Largest Tag Team Turmoil Match To Determine The World Cup For The Best Tag Team In The World – or TLTTTMTDTWCFTBTTITW for short. However it’s being reported that one of the Crown Jewel matches might have changed.
With the announcement of The Fiend vs. Seth Rollins, The Universal Champion was set to pull double duty on the show was he’s also supposed to be part of Team Hogan along with Rusev and Ricochet as they take on Team Flair of Randy Orton, King Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Shinsuke Nakamura. That likely won’t be the case however, as Dave Meltzer is reporting that, “As of right now, [Seth Rollins] is no longer scheduled for the match and his removal will likely be addressed on television over the next week.”
Speaking of PPVs and this coming weekend sees Impact Wrestling present their biggest show of the year, Bound For Glory, which will see WrestleTalk favourite Sami Callihan go one-on-one with Brian Cage for the Impact World Championship. WrestleTalk.com’s Louis “Danger” Dangoor had the chance to sit down via Skype with both Callihan and Cage ahead of the match, and asked them about the upcoming Tuesday Night War between Impact, AEW Dark, and NWA Powerrr. Here’s what they had to say.
Let’s hope that match has a more satisfying finish than Hell in a Cell, and it would seem that the company’s top dog also thought it was bobbins.
We’re now over a week removed from the dud finish to WWE’s Hell in a Cell, where the unstoppable Fiend was stopped quite easily by Seth Rollins who took him out with a sledgehammer leading to a ref stoppage. And despite Seth Rollins taking the criticism of the match personally by “well, actually”-ing fans on Twitter – even though the smarter fans are criticising the company who booked it and not the wrestlers in the match – it would appear that Roman Reigns was also not a fan of the finish.
In an interview with Forbes, Reigns was asked about the fan reaction to the match – where he highlighted that some fans were wrongfully blaming Rollins and Wyatt when it had nothing to do with them – but also added, “I didn’t like the Hell in a Cell finish either, but I wasn’t about to cuss some guys out who got hit in the head over and over. Bray Wyatt put his health on the line to entertain some fans to the best of his ability. I didn’t like it, but I respect Bray’s effort and willingness to go out there and do what you have to do.”
Roman really should have a word with Seth Rollins about how to conduct himself in interviews and on Twitter.
We found out last week that Roman Reigns was drafted to Friday Night Smackdown – for now at the very least – but he won’t be seeing Eric Bischoff around anymore.
It was randomly announced a few months ago that WWE had hired Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff to be the executive directors of Raw and Smackdown. The move was reported to be because WWE had their investors call coming up, and wanted some positive news to soften the bad news about falling ratings and attendance, by announcing the heads of ECW and WCW were getting involved in creative. But while there have been a lot of reports about Paul Heyman’s finger prints being all over Raw, which has been evident since he started, Smackdown hasn’t seen much of a change. Dave Meltzer reported this was because Bischoff wasn’t actually involved in the creative process for Smackdown like Heyman was on Raw, and was more being a liaison between WWE and Fox. This was backed up by several other reports – most recently WrestleVotes who noted it was Fox wanting Bray Wyatt and not Bischoff – with some even saying Bischoff had only been hired as a scapegoat in case the ratings for Smackdown on Fox were bad.
And with the second week of Smackdown on Fox losing one million viewers, it was announced yesterday that Bischoff had been fired by WWE – just four months after he was hired and moved his family to Connecticut to be closer to the company. He has now been replaced by Bruce Prichard, a move that would appear to make sense, as Bryan Alvarez of Figure Four Online noted recently that Prichard has been running the creative meetings for Smackdown for some time despite Eric’s title.
Alvarez adds that those he’s spoken to in WWE told him that Bischoff was “barely doing anything” on Smackdown. He said on Wrestling Observer Live, “The first thing I was told is, ‘I haven’t seen him’ [and] ‘he isn’t there’.” Then I would hear, ‘he shows up’. Then I would hear, ‘he shows up in catering’. I don’t know what he was doing, but I know he was doing enough that no one liked working under him. I’ve heard that people wanted to quit that were working under him. I heard that he didn’t know anybody, he didn’t know any of the talent, he didn’t go out of his way to learn about anything. He would leave and no one could get hold of him. I heard literally zero good things about Eric Bischoff, whatever he was doing.”
There are also rumours of more releases and shake-ups coming in the backstage area, and Alvarez noted on Wrestling Observer Live, “Morale has not been good for a long time. But the morale has taken a bigger hit I’m told,” and that, “I had texts from people who work at WWE saying, ‘I can’t watch this show, I’ll listen tomorrow to get your recap of it’.”
Bischoff himself responded to the news in a very classy manner on Twitter, praising Prichard saying: “Bruce is a great producer, good friend and I am certain he is going to thrive in his position. He’s going to be working with a great team of the most dedicated and hard working people I have had the pleasure of working with and getting to know.”
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