** Ahead of her IMPACT World Championship match this Sunday at Hard To Kill, Tessa Blanchard joined Tommy Dreamer and David LaGreca on Busted Open Radio. Tommy asked Tessa how she will deal with the backlash if she is crowned the new IMPACT World Champion and Tessa responded with the following:
“I think I’ve talked to you a little bit about it and D’Lo a little bit about it too at tapings. I feel that sometimes, I’m not oblivious to it, I’m not stupid, and I feel like no matter what happens in life, people are always gonna have something to say, and the way that I look at it is I think that no matter what you go through, whether it’s a positive, a negative, whatever it is, if you’re able to turn the way you think about it into a positive then you’ll be able to get through it, and I feel like anyone who’s put in a position that I’m in, especially going into Sunday, it’s different. People aren’t used to it. Some people might not be OK with it, ‘cause it’s not traditional, it’s not what we’ve been taught. It’s not what we’ve seen all the time. But that’s what I love about it. I love that it’s different, I love that we’re doing something that hasn’t been done before. I think it makes it special. I think it draws more attention to our company. I’m pretty good at having mental strength. I feel like I’ve got one of the strongest minds that I probably could ever have, because of my dad.”
** RAW Women’s Champion Becky Lynch was a part of a women empowerment and equality panel at CES 2020 and Becky touched on the window of error that exist for men in women in wrestling in high pressure situations. She said that there have been plenty of men who’ve had bad main event matches but if she were to have a bad main-event match, there would be questions as to if women should be closing the show.
“If there’s a guy, and there’s an error here or there, it’s kind passed over but sometimes we let it slip a little bit. It gets poked at a lot more. I know that often times, I feel like I have the weight of a gender on my back. A million guys have had terrible main event matches. If I have a sub-par main event match, the question comes up, ‘Should women be main-eventing?’ And that’s a load of crap to be honest with you. We all have off days, we all go out there but we’re all trying to be the absolute best, and unfortunately, we always have to be constantly on our game until that’s not a question anymore. So we’re in the position right now where we have to be extra, we have to work harder constantly so that the future generations don’t have to deal with that anymore. It’s a little bit unfortunate but it’s a little bit the way it is, and it’s not good, it’s not right, but it’s what we have to do, but it’s a mission I take on my back because I don’t want this to be a question in the future. I don’t want there to be a reason that because of your gender, because of your race, because of anything else — because of your background, you can’t do whatever it is that you want to do. That you can’t main-event WrestleMania, you can’t be the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Whatever it is, those barriers should be gone by now.”
** The viewership for the 1/7/20 episode of WWE Backstage on FS1 was up from last week’s show according to Showbuzz Daily. This week’s show drew 124,000 viewers and featured The Miz on the program. Last week’s episode brought in 97,000 viewers.
** At WWE Worlds Collide on January 25th, Toni Storm is challenging Rhea Ripley for the NXT Women’s Championship. Storm is set to be a part of a Triple-Threat match at NXT U.K. TakeOver: Blackpool II with Kay Lee Ray and Piper Niven with the NXT U.K. Women’s Title on the line. Also official for Worlds Collide is Finn Balor versus Ilja Dragunov.
** After AEW Dynamite from Southaven, Mississippi went off the air on TNT, Cody Rhodes took on Brandon Cutler, and Billy and Austin Gunn teamed up to face Shawn Spears and Peter Avalon on AEW Dark. Also, Shanna and Nyla Rose were scheduled to have a match but they brawled before the bell rang.
** ONE37PM conducted an interview with RJ City. During their chat, RJ talked about how the partnership between he and David Arquette came about:
“He knew that I could help him figure this whole thing out. So we thought, ‘What if we team, but I don’t want to team with you?’ Because I kind of don’t—it’s annoying, he doesn’t know how to wrestle! The gimmick is that it’s not a gimmick. He’ll say things like, ‘I want to do an Undertaker dive,’ and I have to be like, ‘Well, you’ve never done one before. You have a wife, you have children. So maybe you should not.’ All that stuff came out of our relationship and me showing him what wrestling is.”
** Joaquin Wilde guest appeared on the latest edition of ‘What’s Your Hobbie with Robbie’:
** According to Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet, Billy and Austin Gunn’s tag team match that took place before last week’s Dynamite went on the air was never intended to air on AEW Dark. It was considered a tryout that went well. According to those in attendance at Dynamite on 1/8, Cody Rhodes announced that Austin Gunn signed with All Elite Wrestling. POST Wrestling has reached out to AEW to independently confirm that story.
** Vinayak Sodhi, who is the man behind ‘Wrestle Square’ which is India’s first-ever independent promotion, did an interview with Sportskeeda. Vinayak was asked how the promotion’s forthcoming show came about and while giving his answer, Vinayak said that WWE always takes the best wrestlers from different promotions but the independent promotions are the ones producing those talents.
** Jim Ross made the rounds on the media circuit to promote AEW Dynamite from Southaven, Mississippi and he appeared on Cerrito Live. Ross gave his thoughts about AEW’s own Marko Stunt. Ross praised Marko and said he, along with AEW are proud to have Marko on the team.
“I love Marko. Marko’s got an infectious spirit. The little son of a gun is a bundle of energy. He’s fearless, he loves what he does, and I can’t think of any other company that would give a young kid who loves wrestling like he does, the opportunity to be on global television as Tony Khan and the guys at AEW have for Marko. We’re very proud to have Marko on the team. He always contributes, he’s fun to be around and I know he’s very excited about coming back to his hometown — the home area certainly.”
** Paige’s mother noted on Twitter that Paige will not wrestle again.
** The Wrestling Revolver booked the former Konnor and Viktor of The Ascension for Pancakes & Piledrivers IV on April 4th during WrestleMania 36 weekend.
** Former CZW World Heavyweight Champion BLK Jeez has been added to the GCW ‘For The Culture’ lineup.
** The AAW promotion released a free match on their YouTube channel that features Mustafa Ali taking on Zack Sabre Jr.:
** SHIMMER is hosting wrestling seminars and information on those seminars can be found at this link.
** Before the January 8th episode of NXT went live on the USA Network, Santana Garrett defeated Indi Hartwell, and Mansoor was in action and picked up a win over Brendan Vink.
** The World Domination Wrestling Alliance promotion based in West Virginia was profiled by The Journal-News.
** AAA Latin American Champion Daga chatted with Darren Paltrowitz on The Paltrocast:
** WWE released a one minute clip from the upcoming episode of ‘Broken Skull Sessions ‘with Glenn “Kane” Jacobs that’ll premiere after NXT U.K. TakeOver: Blackpool II. In the clip, Kane talked about the night he unmasked and not telling his wife about his haircut because he wanted to surprise her. He said it was initially supposed to be shaved bald and while he was getting his haircut, Bruce Prichard stopped the barber and wanted to bring Vince McMahon in to see the half-cut because that was a look that Bruce found interesting.
** The Portsmouth News has a feature story up about 21-year old Amber Cortopassi making her pro wrestling debut. She has goals of being the first trans woman to sign with WWE. Amber has been training at the Portsmouth school of wrestling and she is scheduled to compete for Revolution Pro Wrestling in the promotion’s 40-person Battle Royal.
“I have been wanting to wrestle for 16 years – since I was five. It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do and I just woke up one day and thought, ‘That’s it, if I’m going to sit here and dream, I’d rather do something to achieve that dream.’ In doing so, I not only became the very first trans woman in Portsmouth to be a pro wrestler, but one of the very first in the UK to wrestle with a big company. I’m not going to stop until I reach WWE and be the first trans person signed with them.”
Amber stated that the wrestling school was very receptive of her and said that when she told them she identified as a woman, that’s what they identified her as.
** NXT’s Mansoor did an interview with Sport 360 and talked about his Battle Royal win and his win over Cesaro at previous WWE Saudi Arabia shows. Mansoor added that his primary goal right now is to win a championship in Saudi Arabia.
** According to ‘What’s on Netflix’, the WWE Studios film ‘WWE Main Event’ is coming out this year. Beth Phoenix, Kofi Kingston, Corey Graves, Sheamus and The Miz are appearing in the film. The film is currently in post-production and has a planned release date of WrestleMania 36 weekend.
** Ruby Riott tuned 29-years old on January 9th.
** The latest edition of WWE After The Bell featured Samoa Joe and The Usos. The Usos made their return to WWE this past Friday night on SmackDown after being away from the company since the Summer of 2019. Jimmy Uso said the feeling he and his brother felt on Friday was indescribable and they’re just happy to be home.
“It’s no way in the world you can get that feeling we had Friday. I’ll tell you that much man. Coming back, it felt like home, just as much as we were gone, we were happy as hell to be back.”
Samoa Joe then joined the show and the first topic covered was Joe’s run as a commentator on Monday Night RAW. Joe jokingly talked about how good he was on commentary and he went over what it was like to work with Vic Joseph and Jerry Lawler.
“Honestly, it was crazy high pressure. I mean, me obviously being there for like five minutes and then just being completely awesome is an overwhelming experience,” Joe and Graves laughed. “At times, it was distracting. It’s really hard because when you’re doing commentary and Vince is in the headset, he’s like, ‘My God! You have the voice of an angel, and the insight of a God’ and I’m like, ‘Stop Vince, I’m trying to do the broadcast here. This is getting ridiculous.’ Also, just patting Vic on the back, making sure he’s not tearing up in-between commercial breaks. Another big part of my duties and job — didn’t know that. King’s great. He just does his thing and kind of sits in his own world but yeah man, just real interesting experience. I’m looking forward to doing it again. Long history of just showing up and being great at things and just trying to keep that tradition going.”
Corey Graves brought up a story from he and Joe’s days on the independent scene and included in the story was Abyss, Christopher Daniels and AJ Styles. Joe, AJ and Daniels were playing a game of poker after a successful night of merchandise sales in the U.K., and an individual bumped Joe during their game and Joe assumed that the individual was trying to rob the game and here’s Joe’s full recount of what transpired:
“But regardless, I think we were doing a show in the U.K., and at the time, myself, AJ Styles, Christopher Daniels were involved in a very, very long-term poker game, in-which the stakes had grown into inconsiderable amounts, and one of the things about England, as you including stealing from locker rooms in the United States and I guess in the U.K., and I think this guy is behind bars now and that’s what’s best said about him but, very, very stupid individual. Probably not the best response by myself, but then again… I’m very particular about cats trying to rob me.”
** Per a report from WrestlingINC, there is interest in Major League Wrestling from Showtime premium television network.
** Titus O’Neil is partnering with the Florida Aquarium to help save the animals being affected by the fires in Australia. This coming Saturday, net proceeds from every general ticket sold as well as donations will be given to the Australia Zoo Wildlife hospital. Titus’ foundation is matching all donations raised by the aquarium up to $25,000.
** Chandler Hopkins versus Low Ki is official for MLW’s Zero Hour tapings on January 11th.
** Former NXT Cruiserweight Champion Lio Rush released a video for his single ‘Lost’:
** AEW co-Executive Vice President Kenny Omega hosted a Q&A session on Twitter.
** Jim Ross and Conrad Thompson covered Bret Hart’s return to WWE in 2010 for the latest edition of Grilling JR.
** Chris Brookes is taking on Konosuke Takeshita to determine the first-ever DDT Universal Champion. DDTPro.com interviewed Chris Brookes ahead of the match and he talked about his recent decision to move to Japan for 2020 and he weighed the positives and negatives of that choice.
“With a decision like this, I think the positives definitely far outweigh the negatives. As I said before, in Japan, in DDT, I have more motivation; it feels to me like I’ve got more motivation than I’ve felt in years for professional wrestling. I think I’m seeing and feeling progress in myself at a much faster rate than I have in years as well. I think I’ve always played it safer in my career, staying in England being loyal to the local independent scene. I saw many of my friends going to different places, but I finally decided that if you want to make something out of your life, you sometimes have to take a leap of faith. So, while daunting, it’s more exciting. I think I made a decision that pro-wrestling would be the center, the prime focus of my life, so if I feel that it’s accelerating my career or that I’m improving faster somewhere else, what’s daunting about going and following that path? It’s more important than anything else that’s going on anywhere else. It’s far more daunting for me during the breaks away from Japan, being in England and thinking about what I could be doing somewhere else.”
Brookes talked about Will Ospreay moving to Japan full-time, Pete Dunne moving from England to Orlando to be a part of NXT, Drew Parker committing full-time to Japan and said that he saw no reason why he shouldn’t take the leap of faith as well.
“It’s people like Ospreay and Drew Parker, and people like Pete Dunne who now lives in Florida and works for NXT; we are from the same town and knew each other since we were both 15 or whatever, and I’m very happy seeing my friends going to do things like that, but if I just stay home the whole time at my apartment in Tipton to do 12 British independent shows a month… you are on borrowed time in pro-wrestling, and if you don’t get a huge run out of it, what are you doing? While you’re doing it, you might as well make the most of what you can do with it. I’m already 28.”
** NXT Champion Adam Cole was named Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Wrestle of the Year for 2019.
** SoCal Uncensored did a deep dive into WWE Hall Of Famer Sgt. Slaughter’s career and discovered that Sgt. Slaughter did not serve in the military.
** BT Sport is giving away five tickets to their ‘WWE BT Sport Launch’ event on January 15th.
** In her latest article for the Calgary Sun, Natalya wrote about meeting a young fan backstage at RAW. Natalya also recapped some of the current storylines going on in WWE.
** WWE.com has a story up on their site introducing Alex Shelley who’ll be teaming with KUSHIDA in the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic.
** The Charlotte Observer did a feature on ROH World Champion PCO and PCO opened up about how he lost vision in one eye at the age of 12 playing cowboys and Indians:
“We ran out of pellets and started putting sticks in the cannons instead. It went into my eye and being 12 and not knowing, I pulled it out. I kept my eye, but was blinded.”
** Chris Van Vliet conducted an interview with WWE Hall Of Famer Kurt Angle. The two parties had a lengthy conversation about a variety of topics including Kurt being offered two deals from the UFC. Angle said he is grateful that Dana White wanted to take care of him but Angle knew at the time, that stepping into the octagon was not the wisest move.
“So for me to go in the octagon, after all that trauma, I don’t think I could’ve done it, unfortunately. If it wasn’t before the broken neck, I would’ve said, ‘Hell yeah, that would be great.’ I had a great run, probably would’ve won that world title. You never know… but it was more appetizing to me than pro wrestling. It’s not an easy sport and there’s some bad asses out there. Whether I did or not, I knew in the back of my mind I couldn’t do it, and Dana White gave me a great offer. Thank you Dana. He’s been really good to me. I’ve reached out to him a couple different times and he was willing to talk to me and give me two separate deals, two separate times and I backed out. I just knew I couldn’t do it and I knew if I did it, I’d probably embarrass myself and I didn’t wanna get to that point in my career so I decided just to wrestle, because Dana wanted me to quit pro wrestling. I said, ‘I just signed with TNA.’ He said, ‘Well, you have to quit that too.’ I was like, ‘I can’t quit. I just signed with them’ and you know, it didn’t work out.”
At WrestleMania XX, Kurt Angle wrestled Eddie Guerrero for the WWE Championship. Angle originally was pushing for he and Bret Hart to wrestle at the event but Bret did not want to partake in the match and Angle understands Bret’s reasoning for not wanting to.
“I was trying to get that done, and I understood why Bret didn’t wanna do it. Me being at 51 now and looking back, and if a young Bret Hart came to me and said, ‘Hey, let’s do our dream match,’ I’d say, ‘It’s not gonna be the dream match I’d like it to be. I probably don’t want to get in that ring’ so, I understood why Bret didn’t want to do it, because he had the stroke and he had a lot of bad luck. Some things that were medically difficult for him to come back and be at his very best so, I understand why and he wanted to be the Bret Hart that everybody adored and so did I. I even told him, ‘Look, you don’t even have to bump. I’ll do all the bumping,’ and he was like, ‘Nah, it won’t be the Bret Hart match that I’d want it to be and I can’t do that’ and I completely understood.”
Angle was very candid about his drug addiction. He recalled a time when he would black out from drugs and begin texting Vince McMahon. There was one time when Angle went to Vince about retiring and Vince showed Angle a handful of typed-out messages that Angle sent him while under the influence. Angle threatened Vince, and McMahon took it upon himself to tell Angle that if he wanted to fight, they could fight.
“I decided I wanted to quit, and my manager and I, we went to the headquarters. What happened was I injured myself real badly — my hamstring, groin, there was blood all over, across my genitals, my hamstring. Both legs, running down both legs on the inside like bruising. It was really bad and I showed it to Vince when we had a meeting and I said, ‘We need to talk Vince because I’m not doing really well.’ So, he pulls out about five typed pages of text messages and phone call messages I left him, and I’m reading and it’s like, ‘Vince, I’m gonna beat the sh*t out of you when I see you. Vince, you better answer the call or I’m gonna kick your ass’ and really, really crazy stuff. At the time, unfortunately I was taking pain killers and I was taking Soma’s and every once in a while, I would black out and here I am texting Vince, and so he showed me all these, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I actually said this stuff’ and he stood up, and he took his jacket off. He says, ‘You wanna kick my ass? Let’s go right now,’ and I looked at him, I’m like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe Vince McMahon wants to beat my ass’ and this guy’s been my father figure for seven years and I have too much respect for him to stand up, but he wanted to go, and I left the room and I came back and I just broke down. I said, ‘Vince, I can’t do this anymore, I need you to release me’ and he did, and sometimes I look back I wish he didn’t but it had to be done for me to save my life, and I know I wasn’t representing WWE the way Vince needed me to. In other words, he’s a publicly traded company. He has a liability on his hands with the broken neck, the painkillers and whatever else, so it was time for me to leave. At least momentarily.”
One of the storylines that Kurt Angle was involved in that drew positive and negative reactions was his storyline with Jason Jordan. Jordan has been out of action for nearly two years with a neck injury. Kurt shared that he was supposed to face Jordan at WrestleMania and thinks Baron Corbin ultimately got that spot.
“Yes, Jason unfortunately got injured. That would’ve been my match at ‘Mania. This past Mania, Jason, and not that Vince wanted it to be . He wanted me to go another year. For the most part, yes, Jason would’ve been my last match and it would’ve made sense. I adore that kid. He’s so talented, and he got a lot of heat for being my son, and he played the part great. That’s why people hated him. He was being a spoiled brat about everything and he was using me to get what he wanted so it was… Vince was great with that. A lot of fans really did hate him just like Baron Corbin and I think that’s good. Some people think it’s bad but I think it’s good and he was really good in the ring, really good.”
The Olympic Goldmedalist also provided an update on Jason Jordan. Angle believes that Jordan will be back but there are a few circulation issues within Jordan’s body that is preventing him from possibly getting back in the ring.
“He’s good, I do expect him to come back. He has some problems with his circulation and using his left hand so he’s gonna have to just wait a little bit longer but, he might need another surgery. That might be the reason why he’s still not able to function properly but he’s a lot better than he was and he got his strength and his size back up and he looks just like he did before.”
** The ‘Heart To Heart’ band have signed a deal with inVogue Records. NWA Powerrr star Zicky Dice is the frontman for the band and he did an interview with Substream Magazine recently. Zicky opened up about his battle with depression and said that the band’s upcoming album will include true emotion in it. He added that he plays this character that is so full of himself but in actuality, he’s battling his mental on the daily.
“It’s a war inside your head daily. Even me, I play this character that’s full of himself in the wrestling ring, but I’m also trying to remember if I took my depression medication this morning. I like being a public figure that can talk about these things openly, and hopefully try to motivate someone else to remind them there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. It’s completely okay to not be okay.”
** Following NXT U.K. TakeOver: Blackpool II, NXT ring announcer and NXT U.K. backstage interviewer Alicia Taylor is hosting the post-TakeOver Facebook interview with Paul “Triple H” Levesque.
** Pro Wrestling Sheet has learned that the WWE ice cream sandwiches are coming out in February and the price range is $3.00 – $5.29. John Cena, Roman Reigns, Becky Lynch and “Macho Man” Randy Savage are emblazoned on the sandwiches.