AEW: Participants Announced for Blackjack Battle Royale, Rampage Airing Update, Taya Valkyrie

AEW Announces Field of Competitors for Blackjack Battle Royale Match at Double or Nothing 2023

AEW recently announced the official full field of competitors for the upcoming 21-Man Blackjack Battle Royale match for the AEW International Championship at this Sunday’s Double or Nothing 2023 event.

Full field of competitors:

  • Orange Cassidy (c)
  • Jay White
  • Juice Robinson
  • Ricky Starks
  • Brian Cage
  • Swerve Strickland
  • Keith Lee
  • Dustin Rhodes
  • Penta El Zero Miedo
  • Rey Fenix
  • Kip Sabian
  • Trent Beretta
  • Chuck Taylor
  • Tony Nese
  • Ari Daivari
  • Big Bill
  • Lee Moriarty
  • Komander
  • Bandido
  • The Butcher
  • The Blade

This Week’s Rampage Airing Status Update

As noted before, this week’s Rampage show had been scheduled to be preempted to a new start time of Sunday, May 28th at 12:00AM EST on TNT due to this Friday night’s potential 2023 NHL Playoffs and this Saturday night’s 2023 potential NBA Playoffs commitments on the network at the time.

This past Wednesday’s NHL Playoffs Eastern Conference Finals Game 4 featured the Florida Panthers defeating the Carolina Hurricanes to sweep the series four games to none opening up the likelihood of this week’s Rampage show airing at its normal Friday timeslot.

In a recent update to their programming schedule on their official website, TNT confirmed that this week’s Rampage show will air on Friday at its normal timeslot of 10PM EST.

Taya Valkyrie Comments on AEW Debut & Secret Meeting with Tony Khan This Past January

As noted before, Taya Valkyrie made her official debut for AEW this past March following the expiration of her contract with Impact Wrestling.

A recent episode of the Insight with Chris Van Vliet podcast featured Valkyrie as the guest. One of the topics discussed included Valkyrie’s thoughts about her debut in AEW and AEW’s locker room welcoming her with open arms.

“I mean, I was a little bit nervous (for my AEW debut). I was like, please Canada, please, please be there for me. Like, please cheer for me. You know, you never know, you always have those second guesses, like, are they gonna know who I am? Like, I don’t know. And they were there for me. So I’m forever grateful. And Winnipeg, thank you very much.

I was welcomed with open arms (by the locker room) and it was such good energy. Everyone was just surprised to see me. I think Britt (Baker) knew, I’m trying to think who else knew. But yeah, it was just so positive. And I mean, when you’re starting a new job anywhere, it doesn’t matter where it is, you know, in a studio like this or if it’s in pro-wrestling or a restaurant, you always have those kind of nerves because you never know what’s really going to happen. And it’s like walking in the first day of school. You know, like, catering, I’m like, which lunch table do I sit at? I’m still, you know, trying to figure that out. But honestly, everyone was so welcoming and excited. And it just made me a much more calm person and just felt like I belonged there.”

Valkyrie also stated that she had attempted to disguise herself on a plane ride to Winnipeg for AEW’s show in the city that week that featured other AEW talents in order to not give away the surprise of her debut. Valkyrie also stated that she did not stay in the same hotel as AEW talent in order to help keep her debut a surprise.

“So I flew in and was actually flying on like the same flight as a bunch of people coming from L.A. like The (Young) Bucks and everybody. And like, as soon as we got to the Winnipeg airport to get off the plane, I have put a hat on, I put a mask on, and tried to cover myself up because like, as soon as you walked off, I walked off, like down the escalator. And there are fans everywhere. Yeah, I don’t exactly blend in. So I had to really cover up and then, they actually had me staying at a different hotel than all of the other people on the roster. So that was a secret hotel, secret location, had a secret S.U.V. pick me up and bring me to the secret backdoor. And yeah, that’s how it went.”

Valkyrie also gave her gratitude for her time in Impact Wrestling and Major League Wrestling and revealed that she had talks with Tony Khan this past January for a potential contract with AEW.

“I mean, I think that, you know, everything had to take its time properly. I feel like people were like, ‘Why didn’t you go there sooner or later?’ It’s not up to me. Contrary to what people think, you actually have to be offered a job and things have to be, you know, at the right place at the right time. And there had been talks over the last year, all of, you know, 2022 and speculation and rumors and things like that. But I just knew that, like my work was going to speak for itself. And when the timing was right, I would get that chance. And that’s exactly what happened. I became undeniable in 2022, I really put myself out there. You know, won awards, Biggest Comeback of the Year by PWI. And multiple, you know, five different championships across the world. I put in the work. And so I knew that-that would pay off. And it did.. And you know, when we had a meeting when AEW was in Los Angeles, in January, was when I was able to speak to Tony face-to-face, because we had spoken through texts and things like that. But you know, I sat down with him and it just kind of went from there. And I just had to wait for that moment, and it came, and then all of a sudden here we are. So yeah, you know, and even with the conversation, things didn’t happen right away. And it’s just not how business works. It’s not how this works at all. And I obviously have commitments with multiple companies. I really pride myself on never leaving, you know, never closing a door, and I really wanted to finish those storylines and finish those things properly. IMPACT has been a huge part of my career in my life. I never, ever wanted to leave them high and dry or anything, but I also had to protect myself in the way that I had to pick what was best for my next step. Yeah. And also MLW was nothing but fantastic to me, Court Bauer, shout out to you guys, you guys were great. That roster is fantastic. Like these people really helped me get through a really horrible part of my career, or at least mentally, I was not in a good spot last year. And I’m forever grateful for them. And because of them, I was able to take this next step.”

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