Weekend Roundup: Finn Balor on NXT’s Struggles, Asuka, AEW Revolution 2022 Notes, Impact Ratings, Jake Something, Indies


  • Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that WWE is currently planning for the SmackDown Women’s Championship match between Ronda Rousey and champion Charlotte Flair to be the main event of Night 1 of WrestleMania 38 on April 2nd in Dallas, Texas. Meltzer also reported that WWE officials are also currently planning for a Men’s and Women’s Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royales to be added to the card of WrestleMania 38. In regards to the Men’s Battle Royale match, Meltzer reported that the current plan is for this match to not take place at the event and instead either on the March 28th RAW show in Pittsburgh or the April 1st SmackDown show in Dallas.
  • During a recent interview with Newsday, Brock Lesnar gave his thoughts on what he feels today’s era of wrestlers lack. Lesnar stated “Some of these young kids nowadays, they’re so used to having everything they want at their fingertips with technology. I don’t know where the grassroots, hard work, and the ethic is anymore. Some of these kids, they need to step up to the plate if they want to. They need to have a backbone. They need to do something different if they want to become successful. This business isn’t just about getting in the ring and being able to do moves, you know. This is a business of storytelling and characters and being able to portray a passion about something. So either you have it, or you don’t. Otherwise you’re just a mid-card wrestler, or an indie wrestler, or an internet wrestler. And you’re just playing to the fans on the internet.They can come up with all kinds of [expletive] excuses if they want to. That’s easy to do. But get out there and do something with yourself. Everybody wants to bash the guys that get over or are successful. They always want to undercut it, because they can’t figure it out. I’ll outwork anybody. That’s just what I do…I’ll be 45 and I look as good as I do. And I feel good, you know? Get off your lazy [expletive] and go do something with yourself, instead of taking your handout check.
  • During a recent interview with the After The Bell with Corey Graves podcast, Finn Balor gave his thoughts about why he believes a lot of NXT talent were hindered by the NXT brand not developing them correctly for WWE’s main roster. Balor stated “There’s a lot of guys that came into NXT that weren’t given the full NXT experience, right? I feel I was very fortunate that I was in Japan for a long time. I moved to NXT, I got retrained in a very different WWE style and then moved onto Raw and to SmackDown. After I had moved, NXT had kind of developed its own style of wrestling and kind of changed and it wasn’t really preparing people for Raw or SmackDown. It was just putting people on NXT and then they were just kind of wrestling, they’re saying independent style or Japanese style or European style on NXT and then they were getting pulled onto Raw or SmackDown but they hadn’t been given these key nuggets of information by people like Matt Bloom or Terry Taylor at the Performance Center that — you know, Triple H or Road Dogg. They were kind of explaining to me that you need to make stuff mean more. My indie mind [would’ve] been like, ‘Hey, give them explosions, give them bombs. Give them action movies.’ But, if every match is an action movie, who wins the Oscar? The drama, you know? So like, the drama is obviously way better than the blockbuster Hollywood action movie. And definitely I feel like a lot of guys were hindered by the success of NXT in the fact that it changed its style and then stopped preparing people for Raw and SmackDown and maybe that was the difference between maybe me, Shinsuke [Nakamura], Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, that we were in that first kind of wave of NXT guys that were actually being prepared for Raw or SmackDown and they were really tinkering with our style and I was really compromising my style — going back to that word earlier — and then the next generation that came in were kind of just like, ‘Ah, just go do your thing man. That’s what we wanna see’ and they weren’t maybe as criticized as much, picked apart as much and I feel like a lot of guys suffered because of that because they weren’t given the same knowledge that we were given.” (Transcript h/t: PostWrestling.com)
  • As noted before, Asuka has been out of action for WWE since this past July due to a shoulder injury. Asuka recently provided an update on Twitter denying the reports of her being recently medically cleared for an in-ring return.
  • This past Friday’s episode of WWE Friday Night SmackDown featured Ricochet defeating Sami Zayn to become the new Intercontinental Champion. Twitter account @WrestleFeatures reported that Ricochet became the first person in WWE history to win the NXT North American Championship, the United States Championship, and the Intercontinental Championship.
  • WWE reportedly generated an attendance of 8,600 (7,700 paid) for their Feb. 25th SmackDown show in Hershey, PA, 4,232 for their Feb. 26th house show event in Youngstown, OH, 4,605 for their Feb. 27th house show event in Rochester, NY, and 7,300 (6,300 paid) for their Feb. 28th RAW show in Columbus, OH, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • WWE reportedly has sold around6,238 tickets for their March 6th house show event in Laval, Canada, around 3,210 tickets for their March 6th house show event in Allentown, PA, around 6,725 tickets for their March 11th SmackDown show in Birmingham, AL, around 3,246 tickets for their March 12th house show event in Columbus, GA, around 2,413 tickets for their March 12th house show event in Jackson, MS, around 2,828 tickets for their March 13th house show event in Savannah, GA, around 2,883 tickets for their March 13th house show event in Pensacola, around 3,661 for their March 14th RAW show in Jacksonville, FL, around 6,493 tickets for their March 18th SmackDown show in Charlotte, NC, around 2,487 tickets for their March 19th house show event in Springfield, IL, around 2,702 tickets for their March 20th house shoe event in Moline, IL, around 2,060 tickets for their March 20th house show in Huntsville, AL, around 5,216 tickets for their March 21st RAW show in Chicago, IL, around 3,339 tickets for their March 25th SmackDown show in Brooklyn, NY, around 6,995 tickets for their March 27th house show event in Toronto, Canada, around 2,887 tickets for their March 27th house show event in Charlottesville, VA, around 4,958 tickets for their March 28th RAW show in Pittsburgh, PA, around 8,711 for their April 1st SmackDown show in Dallas, around 56,076 tickets for their April 2nd WrestleMania 38 Night 1 show in Dallas, around 55,781 tickets for their April 3rd WrestleMania 38 Night 2 show in Dallas, around 8,938 tickets for their April 4th RAW show in Dallas, TX, around 2,527 tickets for their April 8th SmackDown show in Milwaukee, WI, and 3,040 tickets for their April 11th RAW show in Detroit, MI as of this past Thursday, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • WWE recently announced that their upcoming NXT Stand & Deliver 2022 event on April 2nd in Dallas, Texas has an official start time of 1PM EST.
  • As noted before, Vince McMahon recently revealed that he will be inducting The Undertaker into WWE’s Hall of Fame. The Undertaker recently reflected on Twitter about the honor of being inducted by McMahon. Undertaker stated “After over 30 years of long roads traveled, countless hours of TV, and one hell of a ride together… couldn’t think of anyone better to put me in the #WWEHOF than @VinceMcMahon. One final ride together, old-timer!!!
  • Ricochet reportedly is currently planned to be receiving a big push for WWE’s SmackDown brand, according to PWInsider. Mike Johnson reported that his sources stated that a recent internal roster list has Ricochet currently slated as the #2 singles babyface star for the SmackDown brand, only behind Drew McIntyre. In regards to Big E, Kofi Kingston, and Shinsuke Nakamura, Johnson reported that they are all listed as tag team talents and not singles talent on the brand.
  • During a recent interview with the Busted Open Radio podcast, Samoa Joe revealed that the reason why he quickly relinquished his NXT Championship was due to him testing positive for COVID-19 at the time. Joe stated “I popped for COVID. It was the weekend, my wife was making stew and I couldn’t smell it. She said, ‘Wow, doesn’t that smell great.’ I said, ‘No.’ I tested positive on Saturday. By then, Vince wanted to go in a different direction with NXT and he wanted to have the new opening with NXT 2.0 be with a bang and I agreed with him. I said, ‘If that’s the case, this is probably what’s best for what your vision is for this product.’ I went behind the scenes and started working with talent on a one to one basis, pulling guys individually in open gyms, working with them, and focusing on these new tremendous prospects were brought in and people that were hungry to learn and excited about this newfound opportunity. It was invigorating for me. When you’re working with younger talent that are hungry and want to succeed on a high level, it amps up your own spirit. I was delving into that heavily. Working with Matt Bloom on revising things, training techniques, and evaluating what we were doing already and seeing if we could do it better. That was really the end of my tenure at WWE.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • PWInsider’s Mike Johnson reported that his sources stated that former WWE wrestler Rob Conway was seen backstage working as a producer during this past Wednesday’s NXT show at the Performance Center. Johnson reported that it is currently not known if Conway was recently hired or is currently undergoing a trial phase as a producer for the company.


  • Fightful Select reported that their sources stated that AEW officials held a backstage meeting with a large portion of their roster on Saturday in Orlando, Florida. In regards to tonight’s Revolution 2022 event, it was reported that AEW’s plans for one of the prominent matches was recently changed multiple times. It was also reported that tonight’s event is lso planned to feature “story progression” pertaining to the Hardy Boyz reunion in the company. In regards to potential surprise debuts for Revolution 2022, it was reported that Sw3rve the Realest (former Isiah “Swerve” Scott in WWE) is not expected to make his official debut at the event nor as the mystery competitor for the Face of the Revolution Ladder match.
  • During a recent interview with the Talk Is Jericho podcast, Keith Lee gave his thoughts about his brief time under the “Bearcat” gimmick in WWE and why Vince McMahon’s vision for it did not work. Lee stated “What happened is, when I was about to come back, they hit me with the vision for the Bearcat thing. During that time, I was like, ‘I don’t understand what that is. I’m not sure I’m feeling that.’ They brought me back as myself and then, my second match — first match, lost to (Bobby) Lashley. Second match, lost to (Karrion) Kross — In the middle of the show, Vince pulls me to a room and wants to have a talk. Vince doesn’t leave the show. Middle of Raw, semi and main event coming up and he’s like, ‘Let’s go chat.’ ‘You’re the guy on the headphones, what are you doing?’ It was in that conversation that he was basically like, ‘I need you to do this and I need you to be this.’ ‘I work for you. If that’s what you want, that’s what we’re going to do. The weird thing, you mentioned the way that I speak; my cadence, the way I seem thoughtful about how I deliver things, my choice of diction, all of those things were something that Vince was not a fan of. To the point where he literally told me, ‘You sound too smart for your own good.’ I don’t understand what that means. He wanted something more grimey. I don’t think I delivered that for him. He wanted some intense guy and I think I can be intense, but I need a reason to be intense. It’s easy for me to flip a switch, but if it doesn’t make sense, it’s hard for me to do that. I can’t be…I tried…I don’t think I’m very good at it and that’s something that facilitated that. I’m not a big angry grunty yelling guy. I’m not that until someone makes me that and it’s usually a match or story that causes that. When there is no competitive match that pushes me or no story that gives me reason for a character to be that, it’s something…maybe that’s what he means when he says ‘I’m too smart,’ to me, it’s illogical. I like to do my best to make sense of what we’re doing. That was a difficult time, truly. I did a lot to try, I talked to myself in the mirror, I made faces in the mirror. Grunts, different yells, screams, whatever it took to try and deliver this character. I don’t know if I failed, but there were times where that spark was there, but it literally took me asking someone to beat me up backstage before a match in order to enter that mindset.”
  • During the same interview, Lee revealed that his Bearcat gimmick was not meant to be an homage to 1950s and 1960s wrestler Bearcat Wright. Lee stated “Realistically, that’s the first thing I thought. I’m very big on being myself as opposed to trying to be someone else. So, it didn’t make sense to me, but this is what I was asked to do. I thought maybe it was an homage to this guy that was making waves back in the day. I feel I’ve made waves, but if he wants me to make more, ‘let’s go for it.’ I asked about it one day because people were asking me, ‘Where did this name come from?’ Hell, I don’t know, I was told to be it. I couldn’t make a story for this. It didn’t resonate. The direction was, ‘be intense, be angry,’ that’s it. That’s what I tried to facilitate, but then they would want me to cut promos similar to the way I did before. ‘You guys have a problem with the way I speak. How would you like this promo delivered?’ This is where I would like something delivered for me. I don’t normally care for that, I prefer to go off the cuff and feel it, but if this character is so far removed from what I’ve been doing, I would like something to tell me who and what this character is and why it exists and where it comes from. As much as I tried to make things in terms of story, either it wasn’t what was asked for or I was asked to not use it anymore. Bearcat Wright is one of those things. ‘Don’t reference him.’ Alright, so be it.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • As noted before, New Japan Pro Wrestling talent Jay White made his official AEW debut during the February 9th episode of AEW Dynamite. A recent episode of the Busted Open Radio podcast had White as the guest and one of the topics discussed included White’s thoughts about the reactions towards his debut in AEW. White stated “It doesn’t surprise me in the sense that, I know my own worth, but it did in the sense that I had no idea what the reaction would be to a bigger, more mainstream audience. Whether they love me from the start or not, that doesn’t bother me because I know over time people are going to realize my ability, that’s how it’s been from the start. When I back to New Japan, people thought I was put in a position I shouldn’t have been, people can argue about that all day, but what you can’t argue is that where I’m at now, I was right about that. In terms of that reaction, it was a little surprise, but in a good way. I had nothing to go off in terms of gauging what an audience that size whether they would know me or how they would feel about it.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • During a recent interview with the Busted Open Radio podcast, AEW CEO Tony Khan praised Orange Cassidy for being someone he considers to be a huge assist and viewership generator for the company. Khan stated “In the production meeting, the first year, and JR, not under his breath said something about how stupid the whole thing was in the first year. I said, in front of everyone because Jim called me out in front of the whole room, ‘Jim, this is getting over and doing ratings every single time. We’ve barely scratched the surface of what the guy can do and he’s actually a really good wrestler. Give him a chance and talk to him because he’s a very intelligent wrestling person once you get to know him. We’ve barely scratched the surface, trust me.’ A lot of people might not like it, but frankly, he’s become one of our big stars. That’s the best example of someone exceeding what I thought they could do coming in. I thought he would be a manager, mostly, coming in. Once I realized how gifted he actually is, I had no idea Orange Cassidy was actually Fire Ant when I first met him. Once I realized that was the same guy and he actually is a great pro wrestler, I came up with the idea, ‘let’s hide that for six to eight months and not show anyone all the stuff you can do until the first Revolution and that’s where you make your big debut in your first real match and where you show people you can really wrestle. Don’t do anything until then.’ It worked really well and we have a lot of big stars, but that’s one person that always moves the needle for us. They matter. I get that some people don’t like it, but it’s net positive. It’s like making a profit. Sometimes you spend money, but you have to bring in more than you spend. He is a big-net positive. There might be people that don’t like him, but more people turn the TV on and click on his videos because of him. With every wrestler, there are pros and cons, but it’s about what they do on the net for the company. This guy is a huge net asset and brings in a lot of people. Same as you, I didn’t get it, what really clicked to me the first time was when he talked to me about the kicks. I asked him, ‘what is the deal with that? It’s the weakest offense.’ He said, ‘It’s not an offense’ and he explained what it is and I realized, ‘it’s like a taunt?’ ‘Yeah, exactly.’ That explained the psychology of everything. Then he told me that there is only one person dumb enough to ever sell the kicks. I kept telling them not to. You’re not supposed to. It’s not offense. When you realize nobody ever sold it in the history of AEW because it’s not meant to be sold, it opens up the mind.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • During a recent interview with Fightful Select, Thunder Rosa denied the rumors and reports of her recently suffering a leg injury. Fightful’s report stated “On Friday, rumors circulated that Thunder Rosa had sustained an injury on this past week’s AEW Dynamite. Fightful reached out to Rosa and additional AEW sources who vehemently denied that she was injured and said that the AEW Revolution match would continue as planned.”
  • During a recent interview with the Wrestling Observer Radio, Bryan Danielson gave his thoughts about Tony Khan’s recent purchase of Ring of Honor. Danielson stated “It’s surreal. Life, especially these last couple of years, life feels surreal just in general,” Danielson said. “Tony brought it up as a possibility to me a couple of weeks ago. He didn’t know if it was going to happen or not. I was like ‘oh, that’s really exciting’. Part of me wonders about there too much wrestling on TV already, and what it is going to look like. Is it just going to be for the tape library? I don’t have any indication of if he’s [going to run shows], what does that look like? What could we do with Ring of Honor that would enhance AEW rather than detract from it and add another hour of TV.” (Transcript h/t: F4WOnline.com)
  • Sports Illustrated held a recent interview with Chris Jericho and one of the topics discussed included Jericho’s thoughts about Cody Rhodes’ recent departure from the company. Jericho stated “Is it surprising at first? Sure. But it’s wrestling, man. It happens all the time. The only reason why this was such a big one is because it’s the first AEW guy who left, and obviously Cody had a huge part in this company. But now there’s Bryan Danielson, CM Punk, Adam Cole and Keith Lee with us. The more of those guys we bring in, the less spotlight is necessary to be shown on Cody Rhodes. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why he left. I really don’t know. No one knows except for Tony Khan and Cody Rhodes. But he wasn’t happy in AEW, so he’s going to WWE, or be a stay-at-home dad, or do TV shows or whatever it is he’ll do. I honestly think, in a few years, he’ll look back and think, ‘I had it pretty good in AEW. Maybe I should have stuck around.’ But you can’t think that way. Guys come and go all the time. That’s the business. Look at WWE — Hulk Hogan left, Bret Hart left, Steve Austin left, The Rock left, John Cena left, Shawn Michaels left. It’s Saturday Night Live. Adam Sandler left. Eddie Murphy left. Will Ferrell left. What do we do? You build new stars and move forward. Good luck to Cody, and good luck to us. That’s the nature of the beast.
  • During a recent interview with the In The Klig podcast, AEW CEO Tony Khan revealed that he currently does not have any plans to hire a new Executive Vice President to fill in the vacant spot left by Cody Rhodes. Khan stated “They were both big parts of the company from our launch. I give them so much credit for being a big part of our success, both of them. I’m not planning to replace the Executive Vice President role. I take on a lot of responsibility myself and we have some great people in that position right now, other Vice Presidents, and I work with a great team. For that position, we’ll have to look, and also for the [Chief] Brand Officer position, you know, Brandi has been awesome for us. So that one I will likely fill, but right now we’re just moving forward. I think the company’s stronger than it’s ever been today. So right now, everybody’s on the road to Revolution (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • As noted before, AEW CEO Tony Khan recently purchased Ring of Honor from ROH’s parent company Sinclair Broadcast Group. Besides Khan, WWE reportedly had been in talks with Sinclair for a potential purchased which fell apart in the end. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that one WWE source spoken to praised Khan for his purchase and blamed company officials for bungling their talks to purchase it before Khan. This source stated “Smart move (regarding Khan). Even smarter counter move to WWE fumbling the ball on the purchase, which definitely would have happened had (Paul) Levesque not gone down. Besides the complete mess that has happened to NXT, this is the first sign of Levesque’s absence. He would have pushed this through. He was flirting with the idea (in 2018) when Vince McMahon started thinking, `Let’s buy New Japan’ (which never went anywhere).” Meltzer reported that Khan’s deal was put together and finalized following a series of meetings on February 17th with Sinclair officials. Meltzer reported that while Khan’s deal does not include any talent contracts, it does include ROH’s HonorClub streaming service and ownership of the rights to All In.
  • AEW reportedly generated an attendance of 2,300 (1,700 paid) for their March 2nd Dynamite show in Jacksonville, FL, according to the Wrestling Observer Radio.
  • AEW reportedly has sold around 8,194 tickets for their March 6th Revolution 2022 event in Orlando, around 1,907 tickets for their March 9th Dynamite show in Estero, FL, around 4,905 tickets for their March 16th Dynamite show in San Antonio, around 3,203 tickets for their March 23rd Dynamite show in Cedar Park, TX, around 2,997 tickets for their March 30th Dynamite show in Columbia SC, around 4,968 tickets for their April 6th Dynamite show in Boston, MA, around 2,479 tickets for their April 13th Dynamite show in New Orleans, LA, around 2,695 tickets for their April 15th Battle of the Belts II event in Garland, TX, and 3,484 tickets for their April 20th Dynamite show in Pittsburgh, PA as of this past Thursday, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • “Pretty” Peter Avalon reportedly recently signed a new contract with AEW, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Dave Meltzer reported that Avalon’s new deal is for a per-show type basis.

Indies & Misc. Wrestling

  • Impact Wrestling’s Sacrifice 2022 event on Saturday featured the surprise return of Josh Alexander. Alexander had been away from the company since February 14th due to both his contract with Impact and work visa for the United States had expired. PWInsider’s Mike Johnson reported that his sources stated that Impact officials had kept Alexander hidden in a different location all day to keep his return as a big secret for the event. Alexander reportedly was only snuck into the venue around ten minutes before the start of his show closing angle in order to maintain the secrecy of his surprise apperance.
  • Impact’s Sacrifice 2022 event also featured an X-Division Championship match between Jake Something and champion Trey Miguel. Fightful Select reported that their sources stated that Something’s contract with Impact expired following the event and he is currently a free agent. It was reported that Something’s contract initially expired at the end of this past February but had one additional date left, which was used for last night’s event.
  • This past Thursday’s episode of Impact Wrestling’s Impact! drew 131,000 viewers, a 0.04 18-49 key demographic rating, and a #133 key demographic ranking, according to ShowBuzz Daily and Wrestlenomics. This was up compared to last week’s viewership of 111,000, 0.03 rating, and #131 ranking.
  • Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Impact Wrestling generated around 4,400 PPV buys in the United States for their Hard to Kill 2022 event this past January based on current data from cable PPV providers.
  • New Japan Pro Wrestling reportedly generated a paid attendance of 3,182 for their March 1st 50th Anniversary Event in Tokyo and 2,007 for their March 2nd New Japan Cup 2022 Night 1 event in Tokyo, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • Game Changer Wrestling reportedly generated an attendance of 800 for their Welcome to Heartbreak event on Feb. 25th in Los Angeles, California, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • Major League Wrestling reportedly generated an attendance of 850 for their SuperFight 2022 event on Feb. 26th in Charlotte, North Carolina, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • MLW recently announced that they are currently working on plans to debut a new Women’s Featherweight Division and Championship in the company later this year.
  • As noted before, Konnan is currently suffering from kidneys-related issues due to his recent bout with COVID-19. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Konnan is still waiting for the medical results from his two potential kidney donors. Meltzer reported that Konnan has yet to start dialysis treatment but is currently expected to do so very soon.
  • WrestleCon recently announced that Tomohiro Ishii, Michael Oku, Black Taurus, and PCO will be making an appearance for the company at their Mark Hitchcock Memorial SuperShow 2022 event on March 31st in Dallas, Texas.
  • As noted before, Hit Row was released from WWE this past November. During a recent virtual fan signing event for K&S WrestleFest, AJ Francis (former Top Dolla in WWE) revealed that he is still involved with WWE’s Most Wanted Treasures series on A&E network due to his contract with WWE Studios was a seperate deal and not part of his past talent contract with the company. Francis stated “If they [WWE] called me back and said, ‘Hey –’ I’m signed for multiple seasons [of WWE and A&E’s ‘Most Wanted Treasures’]. No, it’s through WWE Studios [his contract]. It’s a completely different contract than my WWE contract so, I’m signed to do multiple seasons, right? But, contracts ain’t worth the piece of paper that they are wrote on. So, I could be back. When I did the show last time, we started filming in July. I found out that I got in the gig in May. So, it was that quick of a turnaround. I was the last person to be added to the show. So like, that could happen again, or I could never hear from them and fade off into the distance and they do it with somebody else.” (Transcript h/t: PostWrestling.com)