Thank you for your awesome support on Patreon, Luke’s Favorite Fan – The one, The only…….The Awwweeesome Bubba.
Hello and welcome to the WrestleTalk START OF THE WEEK MECHA NEWS. I am Luke Owen. Happy Monday, everyone! Why not celebrate the start of a brand new week by clicking the thumbs up button, and leaving a comment down below to answer our question of the day.
What wrestling did you watch over the weekend? For me, the answer was none – because I binged the entire first season of Living With Yourself. Because I need so much Paul Rudd in my life, I want a show that has two of him. And make sure you give this channel a subscribe and help us battle the ever-changing YouTube algorithm. We’ve heard from many of the Swaft Nation that YouTube has randomly unsubbed them from this channel, so make sure you are subscribed – and enable the bell icon to get notifications when our videos go live.
We’ve got a packed show of news for you today – including New Japan’s expansion into the US, Smackdown on Fox rating woes, and are Randy Orton, The Revival, Luke Harper and more jumping ship to AEW? You can click the timestamps down below to jump to any of those news stories… right now. But first!
Yes folks, it’s Monday, so you know what that means. It’s the start of another wrestling week! We’ve got Raw tonight, the debut of Impact on AXS tomorrow night as well as AEW Dark and NWA Powerrr on YouTube, Wednesday will see episodes of AEW Dynamite on TNT, NXT on USA Network and NXT UK on the WWE Network, and another Smackdown will air on Fox on a Friday night. Some might say there is too much wrestling.
But we say it’s not enough! And this coming weekend sees Ring of Honor head on over to the United Kingdom shores for Honor United – including this Friday here in London – which will see a six-man scramble including Rampage Brown, Matt Taven, Dalton Castle and more, and WrestleTalk favourite Joe Hendry challenge fellow WrestleTalk favourite and king of beer pong Shane Taylor for the ROH TV Championship. Not only that, but Oli Davis, El Fakidor, Chopper Pete and that Dastardly Heel Randy Andy Datson will be there live in person! So stop by and say hello to those handsome bastards. I sadly won’t be there because I’ll be on a plane to Japan. Speaking of Japan!
Last week it was reported that WWE essentially failed in their plans to launch NXT Japan – which would have seen them purchase Stardom and Pro Wrestling NOAH, which would have been the base for their men’s and women’s divisions. Instead, the parent company that owns New Japan purchased Stardom, and WWE’s offer to buy NOAH was turned down.
But while WWE are Failure to Launch in Japan – although reports suggest are they are in negotiations to purchase other Japanese promotions – New Japan Pro Wrestling are getting ready to expand further into the United States.
At a press conference held today, New Japan announced New Japan Pro Wrestling of America, which will likely double the amount of shows NJPW run in America in 2020. CEO Takami Obari didn’t mention a TV deal expansion from their current one on AXS, noting that Americans “consume content digitally as opposed to through TV.” With that in mind, Obari said, “The plan will be to broadcast American events live on [New Japan] World wherever possible. Where that isn’t feasible, they will be available VOD on delay.” It was also announced that these US tours will not affect the Japanese ones.
This also throws up the questions about New Japan’s relationship with American companies like Ring of Honor and AEW. New Japan have a long-standing relationship with ROH – including their dual-run show at Madison Square Garden earlier this year – but Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful noted on Twitter recently, that New Japan are currently not happy with Ring of Honor. It likely also squashes any potential plans AEW had to work with New Japan. Kenny Omega has said publicly he wants to build a bridge with the company, and one of their top stars in Jon Moxley is still under contract with New Japan until Wrestle Kingdom next year.
If there was a company that New Japan could work with, it’s Impact Wrestling – considering that Impact’s parent company Anthem owns the TV station that New Japan airs on in the States. However in reference to AXS, Obari interestingly noted, “We have worked well with AXS TV, and will continue to do so in the foreseeable future. Other partnerships may be something we can discuss and consider as we move forward.”
Speaking of Impact Wrestling, and the company held their annual Bound For Glory event last night, which was quite newsworthy.
We’re about to dive into spoilers for Bound For Glory, so if you do want to avoid them I suggest clicking ahead to this timestamp on screen right now. We’re heading into the Spoiler Room Brawl in 3..2..1.
One of the big surprises of the night was former AEW star Kylie Rae appearing in the Call Your Shot battle royal, where the winner got to challenge for a championship of their choice. Rae came out at number 17, and was eventually eliminated by Mahabli Shera. Figure Four Online has reported that Rae’s status with Impact Wrestling is “currently known”. She appeared on the Bound For Glory pre-show on Saturday night, but that was figured to be a one-night only deal. Rae was set to be one of AEW’s big female stars alongside Nyla Rose and Dr. Britt Baker, but went silent on social media after Double or Nothing. Tony Khan revealed following All Out that Rea had asked for her release, which was granted.
Someone else who made their debut – or rather re-debut – was Joey Ryan, and his position with the company is more concrete. Jim Cornette’s favourite wrestler made headlines fairly recently, when it was reported that he was made offers by both WWE and AEW to join their rosters. WWE’s offer would have seen Ryan head to NXT for a couple of years before becoming a trainer, while there are no details on what he would have done in All Elite Wrestling. Instead, Ryan announced that he was staying independent. And his signing with Impact Wrestling isn’t stopping that, with Ryan tweeting: “It made the most sense. @IMPACTWRESTLING has been the most consistent wrestling program on TV for the past 2 years, I get to keep all of my indie dates and best of all, they let me be me.”
Elsewhere on Bound For Glory, fellow new signee Acey Romero was unsuccessful in capturing the X-Division Championship, which was won by Ace Austin in a surprising win – as many figured it would be round the waist of Tessa Blanchard to further her feud with Sami Callihan and oVe. Speaking of WrestleTalk favourite Callihan, and he was also unsuccessful in capturing the Impact World Championship from Brian Cage. Maybe you’ll have better luck against that punk Simon Miller, Sami.
On Saturday, Impact Wrestling announced that it was bringing back the TNA name for a one-night special over WrestleMania weekend. One person very excited about this was Ethan Page, who tweeted his giddiness over the return of the TNA branding – which was replied to by AEW’s Matt Jackson with a picture of The Young Bucks when they were in TNA as Generation Me. Seeing an opportunity to build some bridges, Impact Wrestling’s Scott D’Amore replied to Jackson saying: “Let’s do it! As @THETOMMYDREAMER would say no politics, no BS, just wrestling.I wonder what @fakekinkade & @SuperChrisSabin are up to? Generation Me vs. The Motor City Machine Guns! Why do you say @MattJackson13 & @NickJacksonYB? Are you ready to #CrossTheLine.
It’s almost as if Impact Wrestling want us to plug our Patreon exclusive podcast, where Oli and I review Bound For Glory 2010 which features a match between The Young Bucks and Motorcity Machine Guns for the Impact World Tag Team Championships, and also features exclusive ring-side memories of SoCal Val who was there for the infamous Jeff Hardy heel turn when he formed a new heel stable with Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischioff, Jeff Jarrett and Abyss. A podcast you can listen to by becoming a $5 backer on Patreon at patreon.com/wrestletalk, which will also give you access to over 20 classic PPV reviews including WrestleMania X-7, NXT Brooklyn I, ECW One Night Stand and more. But we’re better than that, so we won’t take the easy set up for such a cheap plug. Click the link the video description down below.
Impact will be hoping their Bound For Glory show will bring in some decent numbers for their AXS debut tomorrow night. And a ratings bump is something WWE are also in need of.
Last week it was reported that Raw had a pretty bad night on Monday, drawing 2.28 million for a draft show, which is bad when you consider the 2018 Superstar Shake-up did 3.62 million, and this episode saw over half a million viewers tune out before the heavily promoted main event angle of Seth Rollins burning down the Firefly Funhouse. And it didn’t get any better when the ratings came in for Smackdown on Fox.
Now for context, it was reported last year that Fox were expecting WWE to draw over 3 million viewers for Smackdown every week, with a 1.0 share of the 18-49 demographic. And while they achieved that for the first show – which had The Rock, Brock Lesnar, Cain Velasquez and Tyson Fury, the show dropped in its second week, and dropped even further in its third – down another 16% to 2.441 million viewers and a 0.75 in the 18-49 demo. That is only slightly more than Raw did on USA Network last week, and not far off what Smackdown was doing before its Fox move. One positive to take away from the ratings however, is that the show did see an increase in viewership over the two hours for the main event of Roman Reigns and Daniel Bryan vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Baron Corbin.
It was reported that if Fox were unhappy with the ratings Smackdown was drawing it could be moved to FS1. Smackdown will air this week on FS1 this Friday, but that’s due to Game Three of the World Series airing on Fox Sports instead. But it will be very interesting to see what sort of ratings it does.
But what did you think of the show? Pete thought it was a Smackdowner, and 29% of you agreed, with 50% thinking it was slightly better with Smack Bang in the Middle.
Someone who might not overly care about the ratings however is Randy Orton.
It’s been reported for some time now that Orton is unhappy in WWE, and could be looking for other options when his contract expires next year. It’s also been heavily reported that The Revival were among the names who asked for their release earlier this year following the announcement of All Elite Wrestling – which included Shawn Spears, Kenta, and Luke Harper. It’s been reported that Revival only won both the Raw and Smackdown tag team championships this year as a way to appease them and get them to sign new contracts with WWE – something they’ve reportedly not done.
So, yeah, there has been some speculation station action happening all throughout 2019 about some of these big WWE names jumping ship to AEW.
And as if to try and throw more fuel on this speculation fire, Randy Orton posted a picture of himself on Instagram next to a sign that says “Elite Level” with the caption “tick tock, tick tock” – tagging The Revival, Luke Harper, Elias, Riddick Moss, AEW EVP Cody Rhodes, and AEW Champion Chris Jericho.
Randy Orton, Revival, Luke Harper, Elias, and Riddick Moss to AEW confirmed.
It’s an interesting move by Orton to tease a jump to All Elite Wrestling with all these stories floating around the internet – not to mention WWE’s aggressiveness this year in signing their talent to new 5-year deals – and is even more interesting when you consider that Luke Harper appears to be trying to get himself fired with his Twitter antics. And while we’ve heard stories about Orton, Revival and Harper’s unhappiness in WWE, this is the first time Elias and Moss’ names have been brought up. We truly are in a wrestling war.
Seemingly having fun with all of this, Chris Jericho replied to Orton saying: “Send in a tape and some pix and I’ll see what I Can do….?”
Which WWE star got another new name on Smackdown this week? Check out Pete’s review of the show by clicking the video on screen. And check out ScreenStalker this week where Laurie and Simon will be playing glitch-fest WWE2K20! I’ve been Luke Owen and that was wrestling.