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Hello and welcome to the WrestleTalk MECHA NEWS. I am Luke Owen. Give this video a thumbs up, subscribe to this channel, and leave a comment down below to answer today’s question of the day.
Who would be your first draft pick for Raw or Smackdown? We’ve got a packed show of news for you today, including the week two ratings for both AEW and NXT, possible major changes coming to the black and yellow brand, and Luke Harper still being upset with WWE. You can jump to any of those stories using the timestamps down below.
And things have been… a bit weird round the office as of late. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’ve had some issues with the lights, and that Fiend keeps attacking people! I’ve not seen Oli all day, Laurie hasn’t been the same since yesterday, and Pete seems oblivious to the whole thing. But I’m going to try and get through this news without being attacked. Wish me luck.
Tonight marks the end of the Wild Card Rule and the beginning of the new version of the WWE Draft split roster version 3.9 most definitely for super duper reals this time. The Draft kicks off on tonight’s episode of Smackdown Live, and WWE.com have released some details of what we can expect.
This version of the Draft will see 71 wrestlers from Raw and Smackdown up for grabs, with Raw getting three picks for every two that Smackdown does due to the extra hour on Monday nights. Tag teams are being counted as one, unless either Fox or USA Network decides to split them up, any undrafted wrestlers will be considered free agents and can sign with any brands. Fox and USA will be making the picks and celebrities will be discussing them, but Stephanie McMahon will be the actual person to announce them. And although there are 71 wrestlers up for grabs not all of them will be available to draft tonight, as they’ve been split into two pools. One pool gets drafted tonight and the second pool is saved for Monday. It’s really quite simple when you think about.
WWE have announced that celebrities and personalities will be across both shows, including Michael Che and Colin Jost from this year’s Andre The Giant Memorial Battle Royal, Christian Slater from Mr. Robot, The Real Housewives of New Jersey, and various Fox Sports commentators and analysts from NFL, MLB and Premiere League Live. John Pollock of Post Wrestling has said the celebs won’t be making any draft picks per say and “are said to be spots discussing strategy/analysis” while “Stephanie McMahon will be in the role of announcing all the picks like a league commissioner would.”
The big names for pool one tonight include Roman Reigns, Becky Lynch, The OC, The Fiend, Sasha Banks, Randy Orton, Braun Strowman and Kevin Owens, with a few surprise names in there like 205 Live’s Humberto Carillo, Akira Tozawa and former Cruiserweight Champion Drew Gulak – which furthers the rumours that WWE might be dropping 205 Live entirely. Street Profits are also on the list to confirm their main roster jump. Seth Rollins, Brock Lesnar, Charlotte Flair and Daniel Bryan are in the list for the Raw portion of the Draft, and there are no NXT names in either pool – which seemingly confirms previous rumours that there wouldn’t be any NXT call-ups in this Draft.
WWE also announced that tonight on Smackdown we’ll see Seth Rollins vs. Roman Reigns, with Rollins representing Raw and Roman repping Smackdown – just in case you forgot he is a Smackdown guy – with the winner getting their brand the first draft pick.
So we’re heading into our last two WWE shows with joint rosters – at least for now until the ratings are bad and things change – and Fox celebrated this, by tweeting a memorial photo for the Wild Card Rule.
But looking at the list, there is one name missing – and it’s been revealed that’s because they have a potentially serious injury.
We haven’t seen a lot of Ember Moon since her hashtag three week push during the build to Summerslam. After losing that match to Bayley, she’s appeared on TV a handful of times, losing to Charlotte Flair, Bayley again, and Lacey Evans on 23rd September edition of Monday Night Raw. And as we alluded to earlier in this news episode, Ember Moon’s name is not on the list for either pool for the 2019 Draft.
And now Dave Meltzer has reported in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that’s because Moon is currently dealing with a potentially serious injury. Meltzer says that the injury hasn’t been fully disclosed at publication, but notes that either something is wrong with her ankle, or she’s suffered an Achilles injury. If it is the ankle, Moon will be out for a while, but nothing too significant. However if it is her achilles, Ember Moon could be out for upwards of a year.
Moon hasn’t had the smoothest ride to the main roster after her excellent run in NXT – though that is hardly unique to her – and has suffered a couple of injuries already – most notably an elbow injury she got during the Royal Rumble which kept her out until WrestleMania. While we hope this injury is nothing too serious, it is notable that her name is missing off that Draft list, which suggests that WWE are not expecting her back any time soon.
Someone else who probably won’t be back anytime soon is Kevin Smith. The director of movies such as Clerks, Mallrats, and Jay & Silent Bob Strike Back was sat at ringside for AEW’s debut show on Dynamite last week alongside his co-star and hetro-life partner Jason Mewes – and was even interviewed by Chris Van Vliet to plug his new movie Jay & Silent Bob Reboot which is released later this month. Smith was invited to the show by Chris Jericho, who will also star in Jay & Silent Bob Reboot.
And Smith has now revealed this week that he and Mewes were also supposed to be on the star studded Smackdown debut on Fox that Friday. However when they found out he was ringside for AEW, he was told he wasn’t allowed to be on the WWE show anymore. Here’s what he had to say:
Either that’s true, or they turned up to Smackdown and the guard told them: “no ticket”.
This isn’t really connected to the news story, but I also wanted to highlight what Kevin Smith had to say about the debut of AEW Dynamite. “It was dazzling”. That is such a wonderful way to describe a professional wrestling. From now on, I’m going to try and describe wrestling as “dazzling” more.
What wasn’t quite so dazzling for AEW and NXT this week were their ratings, which predictably dropped this week following Dynamite’s debut, and NXT’s TakeOver worthy card of title matches and shock returns.
Due to two important baseball games, AEW was aired on TNT but also on TruTV in case the baseball overran. On TNT, AEW drew 1.018 viewers, and another 122,000 on Tru – giving the show a total of 1.14 million, which is a drop of 19.2% from last week. According to industry experts, TNT’s average drop week to week for shows is around 20%, but AEW only dropped that number if you include the Tru viewers as well.
The positives for AEW is that it maintained over 1 million viewers – which is double the figure that TNT reportedly wanted – and it once again beat NXT in the key demos including 18-49, with NXT only winning the over 50s.
But what did you think of the shows? I scored Dynamite a very high AEW-some, and 34% of you agreed while 57% thought it was a full five-out-of-five show! For NXT, Laurie gave it a low Undisputed-ly Good, and 64% agreed! But in the overall AEW vs. NXT war for Wednesday night supremacy, 67% felt that Dynamite was the better show, with only 24% voting for NXT.
NXT also dropped in the ratings this week, losing 11.3% of last week’s audience to pull in 790,000 viewers. It’s been noted that while AEW’s drop isn’t great, it’s worse for NXT as this their fourth week on USA, and have gone from 1.179 million to under 800,000.
And that could be leading to some big changes to the black and yellow brand.
When it was first announced that NXT would be moving to USA Network, it was reported that Vince McMahon would have no involvement in the show, with the whole thing being handled by Triple H and his team. Not only that, but despite AEW running bigger buildings, NXT was going to stay in Full Sail. However, Dave Meltzer reported that around 71 minutes into NXT’s broadcast last week he got a text from someone in production backstage saying, “we need to get out of this building”.
And that looks like it could be the case, as it’s been reported by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE have made enquiries to buildings across the US about shooting a television product there on Wednesday nights. According to Meltzer, these buildings would be around 5,000 seat capacity – the same size AEW are currently selling out – and the move date could be as early as January 2020. Meltzer adds that this was always the plan even before the first rating came in, and NXT is only running Full Sail currently because the USA Network move was a late decision and there wasn’t time to book different arenas.
With NXT losing to AEW again in the ratings this week, could we see more main roster stars move to the black and yellow brand like Finn Balor did last week? And could we see other unhappy stars also move there? Someone like Luke Harper, for example?
It’s been a tumultuous 2019 for Luke Harper. After suffering an injury following Summerslam last year, Harper told creative that he was cleared to wrestle but never heard back from anyone. This led to him posting a very honest open letter on Twitter where he highlighted his frustrations with the company for only working Axxess against Dominick Dijakovic over WrestleMania weekend, which got him a short spot in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal. Shortly after WrestleMania though, Harper posted another letter on Twitter, this time asking for his release from WWE. His request was turned town, and it was reported that WWE even added time to his contract for his injury last year.
Harper shockingly made his return to WWE at Clash of Champions last month, once again teaming with Erick Rowan to beat Roman Reigns, and was the man to eat the pinfall at Hell in a Cell in a tag match against Reigns and Daniel Bryan last Sunday. It’s been reported that despite returning to TV, Harper has not signed a new contract with WWE and is still thought to be leaving next year.
And Harper’s Twitter displeasure appears to be continuing. He recently changed his Twitter bio to read that his DMS were “wide f***ing open”, which he then changed last month to read: “DMs are wide open. Wwe threatened to fine me but it’s cool when nxt talent cusses on Twitter…. got it.”
And while that might not seem like that big of a deal – other than the fact he publically said he was fined by the company for something he posted on Twitter – he has changed it again, this time to be even more sarcastic to his situation. He’s removed the fact that he was fined by WWE for swearing on Twitter, and it now reads: “DMs are wide [censored] open. I’ve never been more happy!”
I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone try to get fired as hard as Luke Harper is right now. It’s going to make for a very interesting episode of Talk is Jericho next year!