Various: Hidden Gems, Tetsuya Naito on Not Signing Deal with WWE, Indies

WWE Network Hidden Gems Addition

This week’s addition to WWE Network’s Hidden Gems series is AWA Team Challenge Series themed, featuring one classic episode.

This gem is from an October 23, 1989 unaired pilot episode of Team Challenge Series from American Wrestling Association. AWA’s Team Challenge Series ran from October 1989 to August 1990 featuring a battle royal as the final match and the winner receiving a “one million dollar” check as the grand prize.

10/23/1989 – AWA Team Challenge Series [Duration: 39 minutes]

Witness this unreleased home video pilot from the dying days of the AWA, as they unleash the infamous team challenge series.

Team Challenge Series is notable in wrestling history for being one of the last major angles ran by AWA prior to its closure in 1991 and for the talent drain suffered by the company during the tournament.

Tetsuya Naito Comments on Rejecting a Recent Contract Offer From WWE

Tokyo Sports held a recent interview with Tetsuya Naito and one of the topics discussed included Naito revealing that WWE contacted him during the summer with a contract offer and why he rejected leaving New Japan for WWE.

“I didn’t even give it thought. This New Japan ring is already the world’s number one stage. The fans know this. That’s why I think we should focus on our home crowd before looking international.”

English translation via NJPW announcer Chris Charlton.

Misc. Wrestling News & Notes

The National Wrestling Alliance released a new episode of their Ten Pounds of Gold series featuring highlights from last month’s NWA 70th Anniversary event.

Major League Wrestling announced that the card of their December 14th MLW Fusion tapings in Miami, Florida features a MLW Middleweight Championship Four-Way Ladder match between Marko Stunt, Kotto Brazil, Jason Cade and MJF (c).

Dragon Gate announced that the card of their December 4th event in Tokyo, Japan features an Open the Dream Gate Championship match between PAC (Neville in WWE) and Masato Yoshino (c).