Weekend Roundup: Backstage Update on NXT Talent Releases, Tiffany Stratton, Wendi Richter & AEW Update, Ruby Soho & Angelo Parker Get Married, Blake Christian Replaces Kyle Fletcher for AAA TripleMania XXXIII Tijuana, Indies


  • Natayla announced on Twitter that her beloved pet cat 2Pawz passed away on Saturday. Natayla statedOur hearts hurt. We lost 2Pawz today. He’s been so strong and brave battling cancer and I’m so proud of him for how hard he fought. I’ve never had a cat as unique as him. Pawz and I had the most special connection. He was just exceptional, loving, loyal, sweet and so full of personality. I’m going to miss him so much. He’ll have a safe place in my heart forever and there will never be another like him.
  • As noted before, WWE released a new match of talent earlier this month mainly targeting their NXT developmental system. Fightful Select reported that their sources stated that it was “no accident” that the recent talent releases were made during the May 3rd WWE SmackDown show. WWE talents reportedly were made aware beforehand that roster cuts would be made but it still led to some confusion over why WWE Next Gen recruits were among those released. In regards to Valentina Feroz and Boa’s releases, it was reported that the general reaction within NXT’s locker room was that Feroz and Boa didn’t get very consistent opportunities to show what they were capable of after struggling with injuries during their NXT runs. Trey Bearhill’s release reportedly had surprised several people within NXT’s production staff and locker room. Those spoken to reportedly stated that the rumors of Bearhill being released due to the similarities to Eddy Thorpe in terms of his Native American background were denied to be the reason for his release. Those spoken to within NXT reportedly also stated that they were not surprised over Gable Steveson’s release since they had felt he was not progressing at the level expected by WWE officials. In regards to Drew Gulak, it was reported that he is still in WWE at the moment and will not officially leave the company until after his contract expires.
  • In a recent interview with the WWE The Bump show, Bayley gave her thoughts about her belief that 2024 will be the year that she will cement her legacy in wrestling. Bayley stated “I want to know what’s next. I’m excited to see what’s next. I got the first defense out of the way. I want this to be different than I’ve ever done anything before. This year I think cements my legacy and who I am and what I bring to the WWE, and I obviously still have a lot of work to do, I think, to show the WWE Universe and to show Triple H and to show everybody what I can bring and who I am, and I’m excited to do that.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • In the same interview, Bayley also gave her thoughts about WWE’s Queen of the Ring tournament and her being currently hopeful for the company doing more special all-women’s stuff for their Women’s division. Bayley stated “I love it. I wish that we could do more things like this. I think Queen of the Ring has been so special and such a good highlight for women that haven’t really gotten the time to show who they are and what they can do. This last SmackDown, we had three women’s matches on the show. In a two-hour show, for us, we know how special that is. I really think all the women took the time and really showed them, ‘Okay, this is my one little chance to show what I can do.’ They all killed it. On Raw a couple days ago and on the Raw before, I mean, they’re having some of the best matches. These are PLE-level matches that I’ve been able to, as the champion, kind of take the stress off myself and enjoy. I’m just so happy and so proud of the whole division for killing it and just showing like, I feel like they deserve more matches like this, more spotlights, more tournaments. Hell, have a tournament to face me next, just so I can watch.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • WWE filed a trademark for “WWE Vault” for wrestling and entertainment-related purposes on May 17th to the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The description for this new trademark hints at this being for a potential new wrestling-based show from WWE. Full trademark filing: “Mark For: WWE VAULT trademark registration is intended to cover the categories of entertainment services, namely, a show about professional wrestling; entertainment services, namely, the production and exhibition of professional wrestling events rendered through broadcast media including television and distributed via various platforms across multiple forms of transmission media; providing wrestling news and information through broadcast media including television and distributed via various platforms across multiple forms of transmission media; providing information in the fields of sports and entertainment through broadcast media including television and distributed via various platforms across multiple forms of transmission media; providing a website in the field of sports entertainment information.
  • In a recent interview with Jaxxon Podcast, Rey Mysterio gave his thoughts about the future of his wrestling career and retirement plans. Mysterio stated “Every night. Even when it’s non-televised, I still get that jittering feeling like, ‘Shit; I don’t want to fuck up. I want to make sure everything comes out right.’ I always tell myself, the day I no longer feel that, that’s the time to tap out.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • Post Wrestling’s John Pollock reported that WWE had sold 12,721 tickets and drew a live gate of $1,025,846 for their March 8th WWE SmackDown show at the American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas based on recent audit data from Pollstar.
  • As noted before, WWE recently pulled Bobby Lashley and Zelina Vega from this year’s King and Queen of the Ring tournaments due to injury-related issues. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that his sources stated that WWE officials had known well in advance that both Lashley and Vega were injured when they had released the brackets for this year’s tournaments. In regards to Vega, Meltzer reported that those involved with her scheduled match against Shayne Bazler had known that Baszler would be getting a new opponent early last week if not earlier.
  • Tiffany Stratton was recently involved in an online controversy revolving around a video she had posted and quickly deleted from her Instagram account. This video featured a clip from a match between Strattong and Jade Cargill which involved Stratton slapping Cargill and a dubbed voiceover calling Cargill a “black bitch” while Bianca Belair had looked on and a laughing emoji. PWInsider’s Mike Johnson reported that his sources stated that the recent rumors of Stratton being in trouble with WWE officials internally over her now deleted post are not true. Those spoken to stated that Stratton has received nothing but praise by WWE management and other talents since her call-up to the main roster a few months ago. Johnson reported that Stratton’s status within the company remains unchanged and on good footing with WWE officials viewing her as someone with a very high star upside. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that many fans had sent the video to WWE CCO Paul “Triple H” Levesque’s Twitter account to get him to do something about the situation. Meltzer speculated that Stratton likely would have been fired over this incident had she not been viewed as a star within the company.
  • WWE reportedly drew an attendance of 7,851 for their May 10th SmackDown show in Wilkes-Barre, PA, 4,469 for their May 11th house show event in Chattanooga, TN, 3,986 for their May 12th house show event in Macon, GA, and 8,926 for their May 13th RAW show in Greenville, SC, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • WWE reportedly has sold around 8,031 tickets for their May 20th RAW show in Greensboro, NC, 5,120 tickets for their May 27th RAW show in Savannah, GA, 5,765 tickets for their May 31st SmackDown show in Albany, NY, 3,800 tickets for their June 1st house show event in White Plains, NY, 2,921 tickets for their June 2nd house show event in Binghamton, NY, 8,146 tickets for their June 3rd RAW show in Hershey, PA, 6,522 tickets for their June 7th SmackDown show in Louisville, KY, 6,674 tickets for their June 10th RAW show in Toledo, OH, 9,073 tickets for their June 14th SmackDown show in Glasgow, 9,809 tickets for their June 15th Clash at the Castle 2024 event in Glasgow, Scotland, 7,169 tickets for their June 17th RAW show in Corpus Christi, TX, 11,638 tickets for their June 21st SmackDown show in Chicago, IL, 2,786 tickets for their June 22nd house show event in Bloomington, IL, 8,430 tickets for their June 24th RAW show in Indianapolis, IN, 7,470 tickets for their July 1st RAW show in Boston, MA, 16,814 tickets for their July 6th Money in the Bank 2024 event in Toronto, Canada, 6,128 tickets for their July 8th RAW show in Ottawa, Canada, 4,299 tickets for their July 12th SmackDown show in Worcester, MA, 4,695 tickets for their July 15th RAW show in Dayton, OH, and 6,895 tickets for their July 19th SmackDown show in Omaha, NE as of this past Thursday, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • As noted before, a new wrestling-based docuseries called “Who Killed WCW?” will be premiering on VICE TV this June. In a recent interview with The Ringer’s The Masked Man Show podcast, Seven Bucks Productions Senior Vice President Brain Gewirtz stated that this upcoming series will not another WWE version of WCW’s downfall story. Gewirtz stated “This four-part series was sold and everything before Dwayne (Johnson) [The Rock] was appointed to the TKO Board. Even if he wasn’t, we had been working with VICE on Tales From The Territories. We partnered with Evan Husney and Jason Eisener from Dark Side of the Ring and had a great time. When the run was over, VICE basically said, ‘This was good, but we don’t know if we want to continue because it’s just not as buzzy. It’s fine, but we’d like something a little better.’ We pivoted and said, ‘What if we did the ultimate Tale from the Territory and did WCW?’ We went back and forth in terms of how we could do that. Should it be one giant doc, two-part doc, ultimately we settled on four one-hour episodes. Everything is so knee-jerk on social media, and if you put out the trailer, a lot of people are excited, which is great, and a lot of people are like, ‘How many times can you tell this story?’ People are like, ‘Rock is an executive producer, so it’s going to be the usual WWE version.’ Let me dispel some things. VICE is not buying this show if it’s a retread of the WWE version of the WCW story. It’s hard to sell a show. We’re pitching shows all the time. They’re not buying it if it’s the same old, same old. That was our pitch. Yes, we have strong WWE ties, but this isn’t a WWE story. Yes, Raw got great, and that made a dent, but Raw’s ascension isn’t even in the top ten of the reasons why WCW imploded, even if the WWE version of the show, whether it’s their intention or not, gives the impression that it is. We need to tell the actual story from the actual people who were there. We have to. This is something that no version of the WCW story has ever done before. We interviewed top Turner executives and have them tell their story unfiltered. That’s really, at the heart of the matter, the relationship between Turner broadcasting and WCW. We got Brad Siegel and top WCW and Turner executives. Ted Turner’s son is interviewed. We got the big names. Bret [Bret Hart], Kevin Nash, Goldberg, Booker T and Sharmell, Bischoff [Eric Bischoff], Russo [Vince Russo], DDP [Diamond Dallas Page], Konnan, David Arquette, Madusa, and we have The Rock speaking on it from a ‘this is what we were seeing on the WWE side,’ but we truly wanted to tell the ‘real story’ of WCW from the people that were there and not the WWE version.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)


  • Fightful Select reported that their sources stated that AEW officials have dropped all of their plans regarding WWE Hall of Famer Wendi Richter making a potential future appearance in AEW. It was reported that the reason was due to AEW officials discovering that Richter is currently under a WWE Legends deal meaning that Richter would need to get permission from WWE for any future appearances and work in AEW. It was reported that references to Richter from “Timeless” Toni Storm at post-show scrums are currently expected to no longer be made and Richter to “disappear” from AEW.
  • Fightful Select also reported that their sources stated that Chris Jericho had anticipated in advance that the live crowd at this past April’s AEW Dynasty event would heavily boo him during his match against HOOK for the FTW Championship. Jericho reportedly also had anticipated similar reactions from live crowds at AEW events afterwards for his new The Learning Tree character. It was also reported that the crowd reactions have played out “almost exactly” like Jericho had “laid it out to them” in advance. In regards to Jericho renaming the FTW title, it was reported that this name change was something that had caught off many people within AEW off guard, including Taz.
  • In a recent digital exclusive backstage interview with AEW, Bryan Danielson claimed that a doctor recently informed him that he will need to undergo surgery soon. Danielson stated “Somebody paid a price to take out FTR, to take out me before Anarchy In The Arena. We know exactly who it is. No, I hurt my neck real bad. Then I’m wrestling Will Ospreay. I go to give him a Frankensteiner off the top rope. I’ve never had this happen to me. Dude lands right on his feet. I go straight down on my head, and then later in the match, right before he pins me, he hits me with a storm driver. I got shooting pains down my arm. I’m at home and I have to go get MRIs. I have a compression of the nerve root at C6, C7, and C7, T1. I’ve got this shooting pain that’s running down my arm that won’t go away. The doctor is telling me that pretty soon I’m going to have to have surgery. The only way I can hold out, the only way that I can hold out is if I can keep the strength in my right hand. Right now it’s still there. I have the shooting pain, but I’ve still got the strength. So I plan on staying at home, recovering, doing physical therapy. I’m watching Dynamite, and I see the Young Bucks, and the elite, pile drive Tony Khan. The guy who started this company. The guy who, if he weren’t here, this company wouldn’t even exist. I watched that and I was angry, mad as hell. Then I watched the next week, as they took out Kenny Omega. hospitalized him when he’s already sick, when he’s already hurt. You were supposed to change the world together. Together. That’s how I know you guys say you’re good Christian boys, but you guys are evil. Because who turns their back on their best friend like that? That’s when I realized I can’t stay at home anymore. I can’t rehab anymore. I have to come back and I have to fight. I have to fight for AEW because I love this place. You guys say you want to change the world. You won’t even show up on a Saturday. They only want to work one day a week and they want to run this place. Anybody, oh, heaven forbid, anybody stand up to them. Heaven forbid anybody stand up and say what I just said, that they’re lazy, that they only want to work one day a week. Then they put a price on our heads. Go ahead. Put a price on my head. I’ve had a lot of people a lot stronger than you, a lot more powerful than you put prices on my head. I’m still… Here. Anarchy in the arena. You guys better come for a fight. I’m gonna tell you exactly what I’m gonna do. Young Bucks, Jack Perry, even Okada, I’m gonna spit in your face. Cause I used to respect you and I don’t respect you anymore.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • As noted before, Ricky Starks has been out of action for AEW since this past March due to a head-injury scare incident and AEW officials no longer having plans for Starks and Big Bill to continue as a tag team for Starks’ return. In a recent interview with WhatCulture Wrestling, Starks gave his thoughts about his current absence from AEW and not being worried over things that are beyond his control. Starks stated “The idea of even being at WrestleMania is so…I don’t even think…I think I had that dream, and then I stopped having that dream for whatever reason. Not to be sad or anything. I don’t know why. But I think everybody dreams about that. But AEW has its own WrestleMania, so to speak, with All In. It did suck last year to not be on it. I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment, and I don’t want to publicly say that I’m gonna be on All In this year, and then I just don’t. I’m kind of superstitious like that, in a way. I am, but I’m not. Would it be nice? For sure. Do I know that I will? I don’t know. Do I hope? Yeah. But if not, I also get it, too. What I mean by that is, I also get like, hey, some shit just don’t work out for you. If we’ve known by now in my career, some things just, it ain’t gonna happen. It ain’t gonna happen for me, and that’s okay. I don’t want to harp on that or focus on that part because I’ll just be stuck in a shitty space. So I think what’s next for me is… dude, I have no clue. I don’t know. I have no clue. I would love to be back wrestling and doing something with substance, but that is not in my control. So I don’t know, to be real with you. Hopefully, you see me back on-screen real soon. [Shrugs] Yeah, because I’m ready.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • In the same interview, Starks confirmed the reports of him and Big Bill being done as a tag team in AEW and being happy for Big Bill doing well in AEW. Starks stated “I think that’s it, yeah. The way that we even came into teaming together was a bit of a crap shoot as well. Honestly, this is everything I had predicted was going to happen anyways. I got suspended, so I couldn’t be at All In, but I could be at All Out. During my suspension, I had a manager’s license, and that’s when I started being with Bill. I would tell people, me and Big Bill, we really don’t know each other that well. We’ve gotten to know each other over the course of the months, but that was something that me and him had to just make work. Every time they give something, we just make it work. So it was fun. I thought it was cool for what it was. Seemed like people were into it. Not too much of a chance given, so to speak. People can say what they want, but I think there was a little bit more to it that could have happened that didn’t. But you deal with stuff, and that’s how it is. He’s a great dude. I really, really hope that things work out for him. I’ve always actually campaigned for that. I’ve always made sure, if anybody out of this would be taken care of, it’s him. So I’m glad to see that he is doing good because he’s a good dude.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • AEW released a new episode of their Hey! (EW) show on YouTube featuring Jon Moxley as the guest in celebration of the series 100th episode.
  • John Silver announced on Twitter that Ruby Soho and Angelo Parker got married over this weekend. Silver revealed that he was among the guests for Soho and Parker’s wedding party.
  • Fightful Select reported that their sources stated that AEW officials currently have plans to add at least three more matches to the card of their Double or Nothing 2024 event. It was reported that one of the new matches planned will feature The Bang Bang Gang defending their Undisputed AEW Trios Championship. Following Fightful’s report, AEW had officially announced the first of the expected three new matches, which was a singles match of Trent Beretta vs. Orange Cassidy.
  • As noted before, AEW recently announced that their Double or Nothing 2024 event will be featuring an IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Eliminator match of Konosuke Takeshita vs. Jon Moxley. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that the reason why this upcoming match is only an Eliminator and not a title match is due to political-related issues involving New Japan Pro Wrestling. Meltzer reported that due to NJPW controls the belt, they are the ones who get final say over matches involving their title and tend to not like to announce title matches if they already have a title match announced for a show. Another reason reportedly involves Takeshita also works for DDT Pro Wrestling and NJPW officials might not want their top champion to lose to a DDT Pro talent.
  • As noted before, AEW recently announced that they will be holding a Summer Series Tour this July and August in Arlington, Texas. In a recent interview with the Dallas Morning News, AEW CEO Tony Khan gave his thoughts about AEW’s upcoming residency stay in Arlington. Khan stated “There’s always been a great affinity toward pro wrestling around Dallas. And recently pro wrestling is red hot nationwide. The folks in Arlington have given us this amazing opportunity to bring this series and our top stars right there to Arlington, and [we] hope to build this AEW Summer Series into something very special.” Arlington Sports Commission executive director Matt Wilson was also interviewed and revealed that AEW will be getting paid by the city for their residency deal. Wilson stated “This is a partnership, and this is a deal where we felt like there was some great opportunity to showcase not only that building, but showcase Arlington. We came together on an agreement that is beneficial for them from a financial standpoint, but also beneficial for us in that we feel like we’re getting a lot of run on the Arlington name and that’s something that’s very important to us, our brand and our identity as a city — we’re continuing to emerge as a destination city.”
  • Dave Meltzer speculated in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that AEW’s decision to hold a residency in Arlington, Texas this summer for their AEW Collision brand is likely due to cost-saving measures. Meltzer reported that the Esports Stadium has a max capacity of 2,500 for events. Meltzer reported that AEW’s decision to hold a set of Collision shows and this year’s ROH Death Before Dishonor event has both its positives and negatives. In regards to the positives, Meltzer reported that the venue would help give a different feel to Collision shows for this summer and AEW being paid by the city opens a new revenue stream for them similar to UFC and WWE getting paid by local governments to hold their events in their cities. Another benefit reportedly involved AEW cutting back on touring costs for this summer for their Collision brand. In regards to negatives, Meltzer reported that the main downsides would be running in the same market too many times in a row and the risk of low attendances for shows after a while due to market burnout and weaker crowd reactions for shows.
  • AEW recently released the debut episode of their new Meal and a Match digital series on TBS’ YouTube channel. This debut episode featured Eddie Kingston as the guest.
  • During the debut episode of AEW’s Meal and a Match digital series, co-host Renee Paquette revealed that Eddie Kingston was the person who came up with the idea of having her do pre-match sideline reports for AEW Continental Championship matches. Paquette stated “Eddie is the best ever. Legit one of my favs to watch. Fun fact: the reason i get to do those side line reports during continental championship matches is bc of Eddie requesting it.” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • As noted before, Powerhouse Hobbs has been out of action for AEW since this past late April due to a knee injury. Hobbs recently provided an update on Twitter statingFirst week of PT done with the USC legend @RNA_sports had some ups and downs but still battled through and crushed my goals #BigBlacknJacked#Monstar#TheBluePrint
  • As noted before, Willow Nightingale successfully defended her TBS Championship against Tam Nakano at Stardom’s Flashing Champions event this past Friday in Yokohama, Japan. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Rocky Romero was the key person who had setup AEW’s new working relationship with Stardom following former Stardom owner and head booker Rossy Ogawa’s firing from the company. Meltzer reported that similar to former NJPW President Harold Meiji, Ogawa was not open to the idea of forming a working relationship with AEW and Stardom only changed their minds after new management people came in to replace Ogawa who were more open to that idea.
  • AEW reportedly drew an attendance of 6,643 for their May 11th Collision and Rampage shows in Vancouver, Canada and 3,410 for their May 15th Dynamite show in Everett, WA, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • AEW reportedly has sold around 1,572 tickets for their May 22nd Dynamite show in Bakersfield, CA, 1,921 tickets for their May 25th Collision show in Las Vegas, 6,040 tickets for their May 26th Double or Nothing 2024 event in Las Vegas, NV, 4,448 tickets for their May 29th Dynamite show in Los Angeles, CA, 1,526 tickets for their May 30th Collision show in Palm Desert, CA, 1,972 tickets for their June 5th Dynamite show in Loveland, CO, 1,144 tickets for their June 8th Collision show in Council Bluffs, IA, 1,804 tickets for their June 12th Dynamite show in Des Moines, IA, 1,590 tickets for their June 15th Collision show in Youngstown, OH, 1,977 tickets for their June 19th Dynamite show in Fairfax, VA, 2,223 tickets for their June 26th Dynamite show in Buffalo, NY, 6,740 tickets for their June 30th Forbidden Door 2024 event at the UBS Arena in Long Island, NY, 2,407 tickets for their July 3rd Dynamite show in Chicago, IL, and 2,516 tickets for their July 10th Dynamite show in Calgary, Canada as of this past Thursday, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.

TNA, NJPW, Indies, & Misc. Wrestling

  • Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling announced earlier today that Hikari Noa will be leaving the company. It was announced that Noa had recently graduated in the company and made the decision to go in a new direction for her wrestling career.
  • Lucha Libre AAA announced one change to the card of their Triplemania XXXII: Tijuana event on June 15th in Tijuana, Mexico. It was announced that Blake Christian will be replacing Kyle Fletcher for Fletcher’s scheduled Three-way Trios match with Nick Wayne & CIMA against Komander, Laredo Kid, & Octagon Jr and D’Luxe, Destiny, & Noisy Boy.
  • AAA reportedly drew an attendance of around 6,000 for their May 11th Origenes event in Mexico City, Mexico, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • TheCubsFan reported that AAA’s Origenes event on May 11th featured AAA Director Dorian Roldan announced on the show that Latin Lover was the new Director of Creative while AAA head booker Konnan would be the new Director of Talent. It was reported that this change in AAA’s creative is only for storyline purposes and Konnan still retains control over AAA’s creative. It was also reported that the current storyline is that Latin Lover and Konnan do not get along that is based on the real life issues between the two and Latin Lover thought his new position meant that Konnan would be gone from the company.
  • TheCubsFan reported that El Hijo del Vikingo had stated in a recent Expo Lucha event that his rehab from his knee surgery is well ahead of schedule and he is currently hopeful of being able to return in time for AAA’s third Triplemania XXXII event this August.
  • In a recent interview with the Wrestling Is Life is Wrestling podcast, TNA Wrestling talent Cody Deaner gave his thoughts about his current “People’s Choice” character in TNA and how crowds are making legitimate decisions for his character’s matches in TNA. Deaner stated “I love what I’m doing right now (in TNA). What I’m doing right now, I love it… I think it’s obvious (how much fun I’m having). If you’re watching it, you know I’m having fun with it. If you’re watching it going, ‘It looks like this guy’s having fun,’ that is not an act. That is 100 percent the truth, I’m having fun and there’s a number of reasons why. One, it’s funny that I’ve maybe probably taken this long in my career but, in 25 years, what you’re seeing right now on TV with me doing this People’s Choice character, putting the power in the people’s hands, that is the closest version of myself as the real me, so to speak, in wrestling. It’s the closest version to the real me that I’ve ever done on television. That’s just what it is. It’s the real me, it’s right there. It’s the closest thing to the real me that I’ve ever done on TV, which that in itself is also intimidating because I’ve kind of enjoyed playing characters and then now, it’s still kind of like I’m doing a character thing but it’s also just me now and that’s kind of intimidating in its own way. But, it’s the closest to me so that’s one of the reasons why I’m loving it is because it’s like, oh, this is easy. I just get to be me and have fun because this is what wrestling is to me. It’s fun, but it’s also unpredictable. That’s the fun part of this. So let me give you a little bit of inside baseball on this. So you guys will understand this because I’ve had some people say and ask me, both wrestling fans and then wrestlers as well. They’re kind of asking me about this new thing, this idea. ‘Oh, you’re giving people choices. That’s an interesting idea but it’s not a shoot, you’re not really giving people the choices’ and I have to quickly say to them, ‘No, it is a shoot’ because I’m in the production meetings, for TNA Wrestling because I’m also a producer and when you’re in a production meeting, you’re kind of talking about, okay, how’s this show gonna go down? We want to make sure that it’s produced the right way and that the cameras are catching everything the proper way. There’s a whole thing. I’m not gonna go too inside baseball, how the sausage gets made but I’m telling you, there’s a lot of things that go into making the product as awesome as it is that you see each and every week on TV. But when you get into a production meeting… and it’s said, ‘Okay, now Cody’s gonna come to the ring and he’s gonna ask the audience what they wanna see and he’s gonna give them this choice, he’s gonna give them this choice. This might happen or this might happen.’ That’s what’s said in the meetings because there’s literally two things that could happen and we don’t know until it happens live on the show. That is a shoot. So, I’ll give you an example. It was on the run sheet that, ‘Cody Deaner’s gonna wrestle Grizzled Young Vet wrestler number one or he’s gonna wrestle Grizzled Young Vet wrestler number two.’ Legit, we don’t know who his opponent’s gonna be because we’re giving the audience the choice of who his opponent is gonna be. That was a shoot. So, a little bit of inside baseball. As a wrestler, I gotta plan out how I’m gonna tackle this moment and tackle this performance and tackle this wrestler and I don’t even know who my opponent’s gonna be until the audience picks who that opponent’s gonna be. The cool, fun, unpredictable wrench that got thrown into the plans that day was we’re in Philadelphia and I give the fans the option: Do I wrestle Grizzled Young Vet number one or do I wrestle Grizzled Young Vet number two? And the Philly faithful, the people of Philadelphia of course don’t decide on either option. They decide, you’re gonna wrestle them both and they start to chant, ‘Both!’ So now a third option, a third choice gets thrown into the mix. Is Cody gonna actually wrestle both guys in a two-on-one match? Well, this is a shoot. So it wasn’t planned. Okay, doesn’t matter what the audience says, Cody. You’re gonna wrestle that guy because that’s what the booker says. No, the booker didn’t say that. It’s literally gonna be the people’s choice. So, the people have spoken, they all wanted me to wrestle them both. So I say, ‘Okay, I guess I’m wrestling you both.’ Boom, they ring the bell. Now I’m in a two-on-one match. Not planned, not discussed, not choreographed, not anything. Literally spur of the moment, I guess we’re having a two-on-one match now because that’s what the people wanted and then I had a match on TV against two guys. That was a shoot.” (Transcript h/t: PostWrestling.com)
  • This past Friday’s Flashing Champions event for Stardom in Yokohama, Japan featured Willow Nightingale defeating Tam Nakano to retain her TBS Championship. In a post-match backstage press conference, Nightingale gave her thoughts about her match against Nakano. Nightingale stated “Woo, nelly! Now this is technically not my debut for STARDOM. This is my second STARDOM show, but my very first here in Japan, in Yokohama. I’m gonna be calling first time wrestling in this venue, first time wrestling Tam Nakano. My God, my God, did STARDOM send me their absolute best? Woo! Tam, I can see exactly why you have a very decorated past. I can see why people love you and absolutely adore you, and a piece of me did feel a little bit bad smashing you in your very cute face and dropping you on your very cute head. But this right here, this is the AEW TBS championship. I came here to show you what the AEW TBS champion is all about. So you really brought a fight for me. Like, my goodness, I am sweating. I am pulsing. Oh, my goodness. But I’m still a winner. So, Tam, maybe this isn’t the end of the line for us. Who knows, really, in this crazy wrestling business. But today, Willow Nightingale was the better woman. Woo!” (Transcript h/t: Fightful.com)
  • Stardom reportedly drew a paid attendance of 930 for their May 12th event in Tokyo, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • New Japan Pro Wrestling reportedly drew a paid attendance of 3,024 for their May 11th Resurgence 2024 event in Ontario, CA, 1,159 for their May 11th Best of the Super Juniors 2024 event in Chiba, 1,267 for their May 13th Best of the Super Juniors 2024 event in Tokyo, 918 for their May 15th Best of the Super Juniors 2024 event in Joetsu, and 849 for their May 16th Best of the Super Juniors 2024 event in Gunma, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • Dragon Gate reportedly drew a paid attendance of 1,343 for their May 9th Hopeful Gate 2024 event in Tokyo and 995 for their May 11th Hopeful Gate 2024 event in Osaka, Japan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • As noted before, All Japan Pro Wrestling recently announced that National Wrestling Alliance talent EC3 will be defending his NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship at their Sun Power Series 2024 event on May 29th in Tokyo, Japan. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that his sources stated that Dory Funk Jr. and Marti Funk were the key people who helped put together the recent partnership deal between AJPW and NWA.
  • TheCubsFan reported that Lucha legend El Hijo del Santo recently informed the Mexican press that he will be holding a press conference this Tuesday in Mexico to officially announce his retirement tour. It was reported that Bobo Producciones will be promoting this upcoming tour that is scheduled to be nine shows in total. It was also reported that this upcoming retirement tour might also include shows in the United States, United Kingdom, and Canada.
  • DEFY Wrestling reportedly drew an attendance of around 1,000 for their May 10th Here And Now event in Seattle, Washington, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • Major League Wrestling recently announced that they drew an attendance of 2,113 and a live gate of $63,000 for their May 11th Azteca Lucha event in Chicago, Illinois. MLW also announced that their ticket sales and live gate for this event broke the all-time records for an event in company history.

Wrestling TV Ratings for Week of May 10 to May 16, 2024

  • WWE Friday Night SmackDown – 2,128,000 viewers, 0.62 rating (prior week – 2,148,000 viewers, 0.60 rating)
  • WWE RAW – 1,589,000 viewers, 0.53 rating (prior week – 1,619,000 viewers, 0.53 rating)
  • WWE NXT – 567,000 viewers, 0.18 rating (prior week – 659,000 viewers, 0.19 rating)
  • AEW Rampage – 321,000 viewers, 0.11 rating (prior week – N/A)
  • AEW Collision – 378,000 viewers, 0.12 rating (prior week – N/A)
  • AEW Dynamite – 672,000 viewers, 0.23 rating (prior week – 711,000 viewers, 0.24 rating)
  • TNA Wrestling Impact! – N/A (prior week – N/A)
  • Various – WWE Rivals (A&E) (first doubleheader) – 265,000 viewers, 0.10 rating (prior week – 271,000 viewers, 0.08 rating)
  • Various – WWE Rivals (A&E) (second doubleheader) – 338,000 viewers, 0.12 rating (prior show – 265,000 viewers, 0.10 rating)
  • Various – Dark Side of the Ring (VICE) – N/A (prior week – 111,000 viewers, 0.03 rating)

Total wrestling television viewership for the week: 6,258,000 viewers, up 440,000 viewers compared to the prior week’s 5,818,000 viewers.

The viewership and ratings numbers for the May 9th and May 16th TNA Impact! shows is currently not known.

AEW did not air an AEW Rampage show on May 3rd due to that week’s show had aired on May 1st instead due to preemption-related reasons over TNT’s commitments with the 2024 NBA and NHL Playoffs on their network.

AEW did not air an AEW Collision show on May 4th due to Collision taking a one week break due to preemption-related reasons over TNT’s commitments with the 2024 NBA and NHL Playoffs on their network.

A&E aired two WWE Rivals episodes on May 12th as a doubleheader on the network that night.

The May 7th episode of Dark Side of the Ring was the season five finale show.