Hello and welcome to the WrestleTalk Super News – I’m Oli Davis.
We’ve got a packed show for you today, including WWE stars past and present shooting on the company, SmackDown’s new logo potentially being leaked, and the latest official signing for All Elite Wrestling!
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:
Should WWE ditch the WildCard rule, unify their titles and have champions appear on both brands? Because I’ll be replying to people in the comments FROM OUTTA NOWHERE … telling you that’s a really interesting idea and one worth debating…
Lance Storm has urged WWE to drop its Wild Card rule… Or maybe ‘advised’ is a better word. Or ‘advocated’. Or ‘asked’. Or ‘appealed to’. Or ‘recommend’. Or ‘requested’. Or ‘endors-’
As Lance tweeted earlier this week:
“Can we just unify all these damn titles and make the Champions the Wild Cards?”
Which is potentially a great idea to get around the inconsistencies of WWE’s recently introduced Wild Card rule, where up to four acts can appear on the opposite brand every episode. Apart from this week’s SmackDown, where there were six.
Storm is currently a producer for IMPACT Wrestling and is a very well respected wrestling mind, so we at WrestleTalk wrote an article about his tweet entitled ‘Lance Storm Urges WWE To ‘Unify All These Damn Titles’ to hopefully start a discussion with our readers about the idea, and for your sweet, delicious page views.
Unfortunately Storm himself didn’t feel that way, as he tweeted about the article:
“I didn’t urge anybody jackass, I made a tweet. Try making your own news with out me. Maybe follow up with Lance Storm urges WrestleTalk to piss off.”
And because we genuinely do respect Lance’s opinion so much, that’s exactly what we did.
Writing an article called “Lance Storm Urges WrestleTalk To “P**s Off”
But Wildcard champions or not, WWE need something drastic to help save their falling ratings…
This week’s Raw was up against very strong competition with the NBA playoffs game 5 on Monday pulling in an incredible 18.22 million viewers, which left WWE with a record low rating of just 2.13 million viewers outside of episodes that have fallen on Christmas and New Year’s Eves.
And this was the post-Super ShowDown episode, where WWE programming typically sees a bump following a pay-per-view, even if that pay-per-view is one of the worst of the year.
And SmackDown didn’t fare any better, falling below the 2 million viewer mark to just 1.93 million viewers, down 12% on the same time last year.
I know what can turn this sinking ship around, or up, because it’s sinking, so turning around isn’t actually it’s problem, it’s getting back to the surface – new graphics!
A Twitter account called @Y2Legend, that only joined the site last month, claims to have screenshots of the new SmackDown logo for when the show moves to FOX this October…
“Looks like they’re rebranding SD completely for FOX. Advertisement showed off the dope new SD logo and I think a theme.” with supposed images of the new design, showing a more blocky text, the ‘D’ being partially made up by an exclamation mark, and, rather infuriatingly, the letter O more in the shape of a zero.
However, I urge you to take this all with a pinch of salt, as that tweet is currently the only picture of these new graphics circulating online, and if it was shown on TV, you’d expect more people to have picked up on it. And someone is claiming it’s all a big fraud…
nickwatic on Reddit has carried out some Fashion Police-worthy levels of detective work, claiming to have uncovered the true source on Discord, posting screenshots of a user’s Photoshop project for creating that new SmackDown logo, and then another post from the same user with the full graphic reading “I’m gonna try fool a news outlet with this”.
Of course, we also don’t know if those Discord screenshots are real. I don’t know who to trust anymore.
But if you asked me when the graphics were first shared, I would’ve immediately called fake on them – as Shane McMahon isn’t one of the featured wrestlers and he’s the biggest star in the company.
A star so big… some backstage in WWE think he might be picking up a top championship soon.
The very reliable Twitter account WrestleVotes, who leaked that Mansoor would be winning the 50/51 man battle royal at Super Showdown last Friday several hours before it happened, has tweeted:
“I’ve asked what the payoff is to this major Shane McMahon push & TV time allotment. No one seems to have a solid answer. One source said he could see (JUST HIS SPECULATION HERE) Shane being the one to defeat Kofi for the title. That would be something.”
It’s important to note WrestleVotes says their source is just speculating here, and doesn’t actually know if that’s the plan, but the idea is worryingly plausible.
McMahon beat Roman Reigns at last Friday’s Super Showdown thanks to interference from Drew McIntyre, taking his pay-per-view winning streak to three since WrestleMania. Shane has also wrestled on every WWE pay-per-view this year, is by far the most prominently featured act across both Raw and SmackDown, and appears to be the major authority figure across both shows with heels often saying how he’s personally approved their matches.
And now here’s my real worry. Kofi Kingston has been booked incredibly strong as WWE Champion so far. But perhaps really that’s just a way to make Shane look more impressive when he beats Kingston, which, in turn, is a way to get over Roman Reigns more when The Big Dawg beats Shane for the title in the main event of SummerSlam.
There have been no reports to suggest any of that. Only my own nightmare visions of the darkest timeline. The OmniShane timeline!
And it’s that exact overexposure of Shane, giving him 20-30 minute segments on both Raw and SmackDown every week, that might’ve caused one current WWE star to snap over social media.
This week’s episode of 205 Live has received rave reviews, with the brand debut of Chad Gable against Jack Gallagher, and a fatal four way between Oney Lorcan, Akira Tozawa, Drew Gulak and Humberto Carrillo in a match that got over big with the live crowd.
Which led 205 Live wrestler Mike Kanellis to tweet:
“Once again @WWE205Live puts on the best WRESTLING show of the week. Are you paying attention now? #wwe @WWE”
And then going one further replying to a fan saying WWE doesn’t care about 205 Live: “They don’t. But the roster does. And everyone involved with 205 cares more than you could possibly imagine.”
Mike being so outspoken is interesting considering his real-life wife Maria tweeted last month: “Contracts are up in 3 weeks. Just saying…” – which was later confirmed by PWInsider as true – and the couple reportedly requested their releases back in January. Additionally, Mike tweeted a hand waving emoji after this week’s episode – implying he could be saying goodbye, or hello, so it’s actually quite vague.
And the Kanellisi aren’t the only ones frustrated in WWE…
WWE Hall of Famer Road Dogg Brian James has been a backstage producer in the company since 2014, where he served as lead writer on SmackDown from 2017 until this year’s WrestleMania, where PWInsider reported he resigned due to “increasing frustration with changes made to the Smackdown scripting by Vince McMahon with James finally hitting a “breaking point”.
James has stayed with the company and now works in NXT, where he’s revealed in an interview with X-Pac that it’s a much more rewarding role than the creative situation backstage on WWE’s main roster:
“For me to get to work with the guys and build a relationship with them and have that camaraderie because it is something I missed as the lead writer [of Smackdown]… For Smackdown I wouldn’t even go out there and do rehearsals anymore. I very rarely talked to the talent because I was just in the writers room or in with Vince going over the show or you know whatever we were doing. I was kind of isolated away on the creative side of the railroad tracks so this is a disconnect.”
And Dave Bautista has also criticised the backstage creative process in WWE in a new interview with Pro Wrestling Sheet:
“The creative process I still don’t get. It was a nightmare to me the last time I was there, which was 2014, and it seems like it’s become worse. I feel like they don’t have a clear vision, a long-term vision, everything is very week-to-week. It doesn’t seem like they stick to a plan very much.”
These are just the latest publicly aired frustrations with the backstage creative process in WWE since Jon Moxley’s Chris Jericho podcast burst the dam two weeks ago. And now there’s a new player in town with AEW, all those disenfranchised wrestlers have somewhere else to go – which is exactly what happened with Tye Dillinger.
Tye, who now wrestles under the name Shawn Spears, publicly announced on Twitter that he’d asked WWE for his release on his birthday, February 19th. But unlike the Kanellisi, The Revival and Luke Harper – who all had their requests denied – Dillinger’s was granted a few days after, which Tye believes was because WWE were being “gracious” and he “had earned that mutual respect.”
But not before honestly telling Vince McMahon what he thought to his face – where he reveals he said: “With all due respect, I think we’re insulting [the audience’s] intelligence.” To which McMahon apparently “just kinda looked at [Shawn] and said, ‘oh s***’”
Spears also revealed that he turned down a “substantial raise” to stay with WWE because, but it’s all turned out for the best as after appearing in Double or Nothing’s Casino Battle Royal, it’s now been revealed he’s officially signed with All Elite Wrestling.
To which Dolph Ziggler replied: “Wooooo”
All of WWE to AEW confirmed!
But what about the next generation of wrestling stars? Come and watch Will Ospreay’s Frontline promotion in London tomorrow 14th June to see them! Including WrestleTalk’s first ever scholarship winner Callum Newman, who’s in action against Nathan Cruz. And not only will there be a meet and greet and live Q&A with Will Ospreay, me, Chopper Pete, Laurie, Simon and Randy Andy will all be getting drunk at the bar. Which isn’t as good the Ospreay thing, but come say hi!
You can get your tickets now by clicking the link in the video description below.