Reports Of WWE Raiding NJPW Talent – Thoughts and Reactions

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Some huge news has come out in the wrestling world. The WWE’s interest in independent talent has certainly increased in the last few years with the rise of NXT. With a number of NXT’s top talent being promoted or soon to be promoted up to the main roster, the pressure is on WWE to sign up new top talent to maintain the star power of the territory. Apparently, the WWE have got some top stars in mind. New Japan Pro Wrestling is reportedly in store for a huge raid of stars from the WWE which includes some members of the “Bullet Club” and Shinsuke Nakamura possibly making the jump.

According to Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer, WWE have been going after four big names in particular. The Bullet Club members include Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows, who have really shined in Japan. Doc Gallows joining WWE once again is very interesting as Doc has certainly changed a lot since his departure in 2010. I’m guessing the WWE will hold Doc in higher regard when booking him this time around and it’ll be interesting to see how Gallows and Anderson would be treated on the shows.

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Shinsuke Nakamura is a HUGE name to be linked to WWE. Nakamura has been a tremendous star in Japan and someone that huge from that nation coming over to WWE would be an amazing coup for WWE. When KENTA (Hideo Itami) signed last year, there was a huge deal made about it. Due to his injury though, KENTA has not been able to make the big impact that that the WWE were hoping. I think they were banking on KENTA to really be the top Japanese draw for them and it would have probably worked had he not went down. With Nakamura though, WWE would have a legitimate International superstar on their pay-roll that’s really going to help maintain that audience in Asia.

The last name reported is AJ Styles. AJ has been linked to WWE over and over again since he left TNA but as of now, he’s apparently not under contract to NJPW or anyone major right now. AJ does have a number of independent bookings to fulfil, including the dream match between him and Rey Mysterio at an event in Sheffield this month. I think Gallows, Anderson and Nakamura will want to honour their ROH dates as well but as Alberto Del Rio proved, WWE might get in the way of these dates from being honoured. Del Rio was supposed to drop the AAA title after Hell in a Cell but reportedly, he told AAA that WWE wouldn’t let him drop the belt at an AAA event. With ROH, I don’t know.

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Nakamura is not expected to leave NJPW right away, but it appears nothing is stopping AJ. He’s not under contract and he’s also followed Triple H on Twitter. Accuse me of reading too much into this, but Samoa Joe also followed Triple H on Twitter just before he signed last year. It might not mean anything and it could be just AJ keeping us guessing, but AJ does seem to be in the best contractual position to join WWE.

I’ve heard that Vince McMahon was very upset about the news getting out as he was planning a surprise of some sort for the Royal Rumble. Whether it’s a special Bullet Club deal with AJ, Doc, Gallows and possibly Finn Balor (who was in the group as Prince Devitt before he joined WWE) or not is up for question but if they had a plan, I hope they follow through with it regardless of the leak.

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I actually think the leak would have helped the moment a bit more. If AJ Styles had shown up as a mystery entrant or something, I think it would have gotten a big reaction that night but I still think there’s a huge part of the WWE fan base that wouldn’t know who AJ is. I think with the leak, those fans would be more likely to go “Who is AJ Styles?” and search him on YouTube or whatever. I think that would help it if anything.

I know Vince likes to keep the fans guessing but this is a rare time where the reports would actually aid AJ’s success if he shows up on the main roster first.

It’s a whole different debate about whether these four would be on the main roster first or if they would start in NXT first. I’m sure someone like AJ should start on the main roster first but there’s a chance that WWE want to “test the waters” with him on NXT first before throwing him into the deep end. I think they could get away with having Doc show up on the main roster first as he was previously a WWE superstar. It’s interesting all of this if it turns out to be true.

 

TNA Announces New TV Deal With Pop.TV

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A bit of news regarding TNA and the future of the company. TNA’s social media accounts as well as TNA President Dixie Carter’s all went dark as a timer started on their website counting down to a big announcement of some sort. For TNA fans, it’s the announcement that they’ve been hoping for. It was announced today that TNA have managed to seal a new television deal with Pop.TV which will begin on January 5th 2016.

Down below is the full press release from TNA with more details of the news…

“POP AND IMPACT WRESTLING PARTNER TO BRING FANS RINGSIDE FOR WEEKLY EVENT BROADCAST PREMIERING ON TUESDAY, JAN. 5, 2016

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. – Nov. 19, 2015 – Get ready for #ImpactOnPop. Pop, a network that celebrates the excitement of being a fan, will soon become the exclusive U.S. television home of IMPACT WRESTLING, the hard-hitting, high-flying global sports sensation enjoyed by millions of fans around the world.

Pop will premiere IMPACT WRESTLING with a live two-hour, action-packed broadcast on Tuesday, Jan. 5, 2016, and the show will continue to air every Tuesday night at 9:00 PM, ET/PT. The show features some of the biggest stars in professional wrestling, including Jeff and Matt Hardy, EC3, Kurt Angle, Bobby Lashley, The Wolves, Eric Young, Tigre Uno and Gail Kim.

“Wrestling has been a fan-fueled staple since the ‘50s, and continues to be some of the most-watched appointment television today. The die-hard fandom and extraordinary passion surrounding IMPACT WRESTLING captures the spirit of Pop as a network that celebrates fan-driven entertainment and excitement,” said Brad Schwartz, President of Pop. “We’re committed to this new partnership and psyched to bring the show’s loyal fans a dedicated night to watch their favorite show on Pop every week.”

IMPACT WRESTLING is a strong global brand seen on networks in more than 120 countries around the world and broadcast in 17 languages. Its fans are some of the most devoted and socially active in sports, with more than 15 million aggregated social media followers and nearly 700 million video views on YouTube, making it the seventh-most-viewed sports channel, ahead of MLB®, NHL®, MLS® and FIFATV®.

“Pop’s enthusiasm for our partnership and the network’s fan focus is a perfect fit for our company,” said TNA President Dixie Carter. “Wresting has always been at the forefront of pop culture with the most passionate, loyal fan base. We’re thrilled to be in business with Pop and to bring IMPACT WRESTLING to more than 80 million homes.”

To find IMPACT WRESTLING on Pop, go to http://poptv.com.”

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This is obviously such a huge boost for TNA as they’ve managed to secure a new deal with their time at Destination America coming to an end. It was wondered whether TNA could survive without the TV deal but as it turns out, they were able to get a deal together.

The new day for TNA is Tuesday which I actually think works out for the best as there’s no other wrestling on TV that day I think. On Wednesday, they had competition from ROH and NXT. At least here, they don’t have to worry about needing to counter-program. I do question the decision for TNA to be two hours long as I’m more of a fan of one hour wrestling shows than two. Three hours of RAW is an even greater struggle!

It’s good news for the wrestling industry in general as it gives wrestlers more of an incentive to stay in TNA and for more sponsors and partners to get involved. I would never wish for a wrestling company to go out of business at all and I am all for this deal going down.

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A lot of people will say that it’s just prolonging the inevitable but this does give TNA a lot of opportunities to seriously go through the roster and having a serious revamp to make sure that they’re at least more prepared if a similar deal of losing a TV contract happens again. It may keep them going for a while but Dixie and the rest of those running the company cannot rest easy. It’s not all rainbows and sunshine just yet.

It’s funny that TNA’s deal was spoiled an hour before the countdown hit zero as the video was suddenly changed from “private” to “unlisted” which meant that a YouTuber was able to save the video before TNA changed it in time! Bit of a blunder but at least the deal is out there now!

I do have a problem with a lot of the criticism given to Dave Meltzer over his reporting of the whole deal as he was the first to initially report that Destination America was not renewing Impact. Eric Young came out and tweeted on previous reports about Impact not being renewed by Destination America.

I really don’t think this was the right route for Eric to take. As a former Multimedia Journalism student in my own right, I don’t think there was anything fishy about the report Dave wrote about TNA. Dave was actually the first to report about TNA getting the deal with Destination America and he’s an esteemed reporter with many years of experience and knowledge on wrestling.

Eric going out on Twitter, trying to rub it all in and taking shots at reporters is just not going to make the company look good in the eyes of the public. A lot of the wrestlers are taking the high road and just talking about how great the deal is and how big a breakthrough it is for TNA. Rockstar Spud actually came out in defence of Dave on Twitter.

So big news for TNA and this I think would at least keep the company going for a bit longer and give them time to come back stronger than ever. I’m all for this and I wish that they use this new deal wisely.

Undertaker Vs Brock Lesnar III Announced For Hell In A Cell – Thoughts and Reactions

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At Night of Champions, Brock Lesnar’s “Go To Hell” tour was announced for the month of October. It was revealed that it would first start with Brock Lesnar’s appearance at Madison Square Garden to wrestle against the Big Show. As I mentioned on my Night of Champions review, this had been announced for some time. It now appears that this event will be televised live on the WWE Network, so a lot of big names might be added on the card. Chris Jericho is already set to take on Kevin Owens, which will be quite a match. They’ve been doing matches on a few house shows but it’ll be cool to see them lock up again at the Garden.

It was also announced that Brock Lesnar would be Stone Cold’s next guest on his podcast, which will be on the WWE Network. Sting was expected to be the guest but I’m guessing with Brock’s appearance at Hell in a Cell, Brock was brought in to hype up that match. It’ll be interesting to hear what he has to say. It’s often been said by the likes of Paul Heyman that Brock’s not really much of a people person! So to see him go on Austin’s podcast and open up will be something. I don’t think Heyman’s appearance on the podcast a few months ago will be followed up on. Reportedly, Vince McMahon got very upset at Heyman for teasing Austin vs Lesnar for Wrestlemania 32. I doubt Lesnar will challenge Austin or something.

The third announcement is the big one. It was announced that Brock Lesnar will be appearing at Hell in a Cell in Los Angeles this October. He will be competing in a Hell in a Cell match against THE UNDERTAKER!

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This was quite a shocker as I, along with many including the likes of Steve Austin and Jim Ross, all predicted that the third match would take place at Wrestlemania 32. To bring it forward to Hell in a Cell is a pretty bold decision. From a continuity standpoint, it’s kind of fitting that this third match would take place in a Hell in a Cell match in the month of October. The reason it’s fitting is because it’s a rematch from the Hell in a Cell match between Lesnar and Taker in October 2002. In that match, Lesnar won.

It’s taken a lot of us off-guard and there’s a lot of speculation already as to why this match has been brought forward. Lesnar is a big ratings grabber. Whenever he’s on TV, people tune in. Brock brings so much to the table and he brought so much to WWE programming from June to August. It’s also been speculated that this might have something to do with the WWE Network.

The chances are, in order to really boost the subscription numbers, WWE might have decided to get the match done sooner rather than later. It’s often been said that fools rush in, so Taker vs Lesnar III taking place just two months after their last match might seem like an impatient move by WWE just to get the numbers up. That’s also considering that their last match at Summerslam took place 15 months after their match at Wrestlemania 30. However, I think there’s no way Vince would have agreed to this unless he had some other plan in mind for Taker and Lesnar at Wrestlemania 32. You can say a lot of things about Vince McMahon, but his handling of the Undertaker vs Brock Lesnar storyline has been spot on so far. He cares a lot about both men so I don’t think the decision to bring their third match forward was made lightly. Having their third and final match being at Wrestlemania seemed like a no-brainer, so I wonder what Vince’s plans are now that it’s taking place at Hell in a Cell.

Of course, Hell in a Cell might have been Vince’s plans all along and that he’s got something else planned for the two of them at Wrestlemania. Maybe it’s going to be a best of five series that’ll end at Wrestlemania. However, I REALLY don’t see that last one happening unless Lesnar and Taker came up with some kind of deal.

I’m also curious about Undertaker’s health and well-being going into that match. Undertaker has actually been advertised for a tour in Mexico in October and still is. There was the video of Undertaker collapsing before he got to the back at Summerslam. I personally think that the collapse was actually a work. I think Taker got rocked. Considering what Undertaker went through at Summerslam, I wouldn’t be surprised if he got a little banged up. However, I think it was just a call-back to Wrestlemania 30 when he ACTUALLY collapsed. So I think he might be good to go for this match.

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I think it’s going to be a phenomenal match and I’m VERY much looking forward to it. Their Summerslam match was awesome, one of my favourite matches of the year. I never really did it enough justice in my Summerslam Review last month. I’m not really sure who needs the win the most. Undertaker won the last match but it wasn’t a decisive win. Brock’s not won a PPV match since Wrestlemania 31, so he might need the win. It’s really up in the air. However, I’m really looking forward to it.