Posts Tagged ‘Creative Control’

“It’s really hard to find the words, to want something so bad and then to have to accept that that’s maybe not a reality anymore,” Karrion Kross said on the latest edition of “After The Bell.” 

Kross and his wife, Scarlett, spoke to Corey Graves about their release from and surprise return to WWE and how it came together. “One day to get a call out of the blue and to be offered everything you were striving for,” Kross said, “it’s pretty incredible.” 

“It was the easiest decision,” Scarlett chimed in. “When Hunter called us, he was the best boss we’ve ever had, so it was a complete no-brainer. No other company has ever compared to it, so we definitely trust him.”

According to Kross, Scarlett felt “respected and heard” by Triple H, with Scarlett herself adding that she always “felt respected and heard by Hunter, bit more so now.”

“Sometimes as a woman you feel very shut down talking to the boss about certain ideas,” Scarlett continued. “Hunter is always there, a text away. We just messaged him yesterday with certain ideas.” 

Kross and Scarlett returned to WWE on August 5th, attacking Drew McIntyre and taunting Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Kross said that the couple had stayed in contact with Triple H since their November 2021 release.

“It feels great to have that kind of relationship with the boss,” Scarlett confirmed. “Who is accessible that way, and who you actually feel [loves wrestling.]” She referred to the new vibe backstage as “refreshing and easy.”

“Ideas are accepted,” Kross agreed, following up with some advice for other talent. “This is the place. You’re gonna want to be here.”

Awesome Kong has delivered a less-than-glowing appraisal of her time in All Elite Wrestling, doing so while speaking with Chris Van Vliet on his Insight show.

Kong, who left AEW in June 2021 and has since retired from wrestling, stating that while she didn’t want to give the impression that she was bashing the company and its personnel, she didn’t feel heard or in control during her time there. Despite her best attempts, she couldn’t get involved in the decision-making process.

Said Kong (h/t Fightful):

“I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing the crew over there at AEW, especially since we were just up and running. We are all new executives and trying to think outside the box and really give it to y’all. Something new, something that hasn’t been seen. We’ve seen it all. We were trying to give you something that you haven’t seen. I felt unheard. I wasn’t in control. All I could do was say, ‘I have this idea of XYZ.’ I couldn’t get in the room where final decisions were made. Believe me, Kia [referring to her real name Kia Stevens] stalked that room. I would stay there after big meetings and pick up the water bottles and cups like, ‘Huh, Y’all need…you need me to go? Okay’ [Laughs]. I tried to get into that last meeting where decisions were made.”

Unable to get involved in these processes, Kong stated that if she’d been able to, she’d have stood a better chance of stealing the show, using a theoretical match with Nyla Rose as an example:

“Never had a chance to. ‘That’s just not going to happen, so I’m not going to push it.’ When you see this [makes a box with her hands] is who they are comfortable with making decisions, that’s not a read or a critique, that’s just who was comfortable making decisions. What do you do? It’s out of my control. If I had control, give me 15 minutes of Kia. Kia’s 15 Minutes of Fame. ‘Go out there and steal the show from them boys. You, you, you. Nyla (Rose), go steal the show from the boys.'”

Kong made her surprise AEW debut at the original Double Or Nothing pay-per-view. Introduced by Brandi Rhodes, she faced Kylie Rae, Britt Baker, and Rose in her first match, then teased a bout with Aja Kong (that didn’t end up happening) during the following month’s Fight For The Fallen show.

Rhodes and Kong later formed the poorly-received Nightmare Collective group with Mel and Luther. This was ditched amidst overwhelming negative reactions in February 2020, preceding Kong taking time away from AEW to film the next series of GLOW, on which she was a main cast member.

The IMPACT Wrestling Hall of Famer did not return to AEW after this. By the following June, it was confirmed Kong had left AEW after her contract’s expiration. She retired during the NWA’s EmPowerrr event two months later.

New AEW signing Samoa Joe and AEW owner Tony Khan recently spoke with the media following Ring Of Honor’s Supercard Of Honor about the AEW women’s division.

Khan made it clear he’s interested in speaking with Maria Kanellis, who was previously working with the ROH women.

“I would be interested in talking to Maria, I think she’s a great wrestler and I’ve heard great things about what she did here. I do have staff and a direction in mind when I re-launch the show, I have a lot of talent in mind,” he said. “Including some people that have wrestled here before, and some people that haven’t wrestled here before. I was really excited to bring AQA in tonight, I was excited about bringing AQA in, in general.

“Ironically, I scouted AQA in a Toni Storm match. She wrestled Toni Storm on TV last year, and actually, I called Sonjay and I was looking for somebody to wrestle Jade. I called Sonjay, and I said, ‘I really like this Toni Storm vs. AQA match, and I like this AQA. She did really well, and Toni was great, do you remember this match?’ He said, ‘yeah, I coached this match.’ I said, ‘okay, great. Tell me about AQA,’ because she’d recently got released. She’s been excellent working with her. She’s worked on Dynamite, also on Dark and Elevation, now she’s working here in ROH.”

When it comes to other wrestlers on the card, Tony Khan discussed those that he worked with. He also discussed Deonna Purrazzo, stating that her situation is interesting at the moment.

“And there are more talents that have wrestled here in ROH before, and some that, like Willow is a great example, have recently been wrestling here in ROH. Mercedes is a legendary wrestler for ROH, and a legendary wrestler for the division, and now a great interim champion. Deonna is a little bit of an interesting situation because she is the lineal champion, but she also has other contractual obligations with other companies, so I don’t know when we will get to decide on the undisputed title. But there’s a lot of exciting stuff happening in the division.

Tony Khan also spoke in more detail about Maria Kanellis and what she could potentially offer. He wants to talk with her at some point, as he doesn’t know what she is like behind the scenes entirely.

“I would be excited to talk to Maria, and depending on what she did backstage, I don’t know exactly. For example, during the matches, was she on the headset? I don’t know exactly, is she a note-taking producer? I am not sure, it’s stuff I will maybe learn from her,” he claimed. “As far as the creative and stuff, I do have a plan which I think unfolded throughout the night, and played out pretty well. So, I had a lot of ideas, and I am always down to take ideas from other people.”

Wrestlers often like to pitch their own ideas, and Tony Khan revealed he gets around 100 per week. However, he turns down 80% of them, because everybody is pushing him to work with similar people, so he has to be organized.

“A lot of the ideas I eventually do, do come from other people, and I try and organize them and make them work with what I already have. But I do get pitched over 100 ideas a week, and most of them, I don’t do. So, who am I kidding, 80% of them I usually don’t do,” he said. “Because you get asked too many things, and how can you possibly do something when like five different people are asking to work with the same person?

“Everyone’s like, ‘oh he never listens to my idea.’ Well, okay, but the person you’re asking to work with, there’s like five different people that came to me with an idea this week, ‘I want to wrestle this person.’ You can’t do it. So, that’s why being able to keep things organized, that’s why we have got a good flow of the shows. So as far as coaching, I am probably more interested in coaching right now than I am with booking.”

Tony Khan also talked about Trisha Adora, as another wrestler that he likes. The AEW President even considered using her for the interim title match at one point. He believes she did a great job when there were no fans in the arena.

“I like Trisha. She was on a shortlist of people for that interim match that I would have considered. I do like her, and the women we used I think are great. I brought in AQA from AEW, and Alize has been in Ring Of Honor before, I think she’s great. Obviously, I know Willow, and Mercedes very well,” he pointed out. “But I like Trish, and yeah, she was one of the people I considered for one of the spots. I’ve seen her on Ring Of Honor, mostly on the empty arena shows, and it’s hard to sometimes tell.

“But a lot of people learned from that and became better wrestlers. I know that when the fans came back at 25% capacity, on a bad night it was 6-700 people. And a good night it was 1200 people. It felt like anywhere from 5,000 to 25,00, because we were so used to not having them. So, I watched her and I really like her. I thought she was impressive that she was doing it in matches with no fans, connecting through the camera, which is a really good sign.

“Because that’s what a lot of the people, to your point, connected like her on Dark. She was good on there. But I probably saw her more and saw her connect more this past year in Ring Of Honor in some of the TV matches that they did with her. That’s one of the reasons that I did consider her for a spot here.”

During a recent interview with The Wrestling Perspective PodcastEddie Kingston discussed his wish for Cesaro to sign with AEW.

It’s no secret that Claudio Castagnoli aka Cesaro is now a free agent. Now that he’s no longer contracted to WWE, AEW is a logical landing place. If Kingston had it his way, Cesaro joining AEW would help them solve some “unfinished business”.

“I know I say I don’t want him at AEW, but Claudio Castagnoli, I would him to be in AEW, so I could smack the s*it out of him because we have a lot of unfinished business,” Kingston replied when asked who he’d want to face. “There’s some serious stuff between us. I would love to end it and see if he does the right thing at AEW, but again not my show. I don’t book it. Definitely him. Punk, definitely. At least they’re in AEW, so I may have another chance at them. There’s a lot more history there to explore with me and Punk.

“I’ll get with anybody in the ring. I don’t really care. The way I look at it is, you’re not going to pull out a gun, you’re not going to pull out a knife. I’m fine. I’ll be okay. I’ve had things broken before. Broken bones heal. I’ll be alright. Definitely, without a shadow of a doubt, Claudio is number one, and Punk’s definitely number 2. Claudio for sure. I wanna kind of end whatever beef we had.”

AEW and WWE come across as two vastly different products on television. According to Kingston, the difference between the two companies and the morale of the locker room is creative freedom. However, he also notes that his loyalty to AEW stems from them their loyalty to him.

“There’s a lot of us in AEW who have either A, never went to the big time, or have gone to the big time and didn’t like it. Now we’re part of this company where yeah we have freedom, but we’re also appreciated in a different way,” Kingston said. “We just appreciate what we have. For instance, me after 20 years on the independents grinding, being able to go to a TV show is something that’s just great.

“Whether I’m on or not. Just the possibility of being on TV, I’m happy with and I’m grateful for. I ride with AEW because they rode with me. You look at the people who left WWE, who are now with AEW, that they weren’t happy with WWE or their contract expired, or whatever the case. Now they go to AEW, and they’re like oh wow this is different.”

“I feel appreciated here. Whatever they want to say. They have more freedom there. That’s on the person. That’s why people ride with AEW when they get there because it’s a different environment. Now for the young ones in the locker room, they’re going to learn that not everywhere is like this. That’s why I think guys like myself 20 years in and other guys who’ve had X amount of years in grinding or been in WWE and now here see it for what it is and are appreciative of it.

“They know that it’s not always like this in wrestling companies. There’s not that much freedom, and there’s not a boss that’s going to talk to you about an angle instead of telling you, you’re going to do this, and that’s it. We had open discussions.”

As a guest on The Kurt Angle Show, AEW superstar Miro spoke about the key differences between his former company WWE and AEW. The former TNT Champion talked about what aspects of AEW are different compared to WWE, and why he believes AEW has more of an “Attitude Era-ish” vibe.

“Big differences, first, the creative,” Miro said. “There’s no writers, we just have Tony that writes certain things. But on a day-to-day basis, you’re pretty much in charge of your own writing. If you have a promo, yeah, Tony may have a suggestion, but usually, it’s going to be on you and what do you want to say.

“The matches, yeah, we have producers, or agents, or coaches as we call them, but they’re not going to be on every match and they’re not as hands-on as WWE is. They’re not going to tell you ‘Oh, they dived in the last match so you can’t do dives before that,’ the control level, it’s all about peer-to-peer. There’s not going to be a middle man, there’s not going to be a man on top that tells you what you can and can’t do.

“I had times where Vince tells me ‘Don’t smile, don’t look at the people, don’t raise your hand, don’t do this.’ Tony Khan is not going to do this, he’s a big wrestling fan and he wants to see good wrestling matches. The styles, you can tell the style is much different.

“If you watch WWE, you can tell it’s kind of the same pattern, same storyline, same people. While in AEW, we’re trying to be way different than that. Our matches are different, we have a lot more Attitude Era-ish, not with the blood and stuff, but just more Attitude Era to it. It’s more adult-oriented.”

Since the inception of AEW, many superstars have jumped the ship from WWE to Tony Khan’s company, with several revealing in their opinions, the key differences between companies and their fans. Paul Wight spoke about being excited about the different environment AEW has, while Bryan Danielson mentioned how accessible Tony Khan can be and how open the company is compared to WWE.

Miro continued to talk about AEW vs. WWE and named what he believes is the biggest difference between the two companies and how they operate. The former TNT Champion mentioned the differences in travel as well and talked about the idea of an offseason with AEW.

“The biggest thing is the freedom,” Miro said. “Also, we don’t travel 300 days in a row, we have one show a week, sometimes two, sometimes three if we have pay per views or whatever. Those are only so often and that’s what I love the most. The opportunity for me to rest my body, being home with my wife, going to work, doing my best and then going home and resting again. I think Tony was talking about off-seasons as well and all of that, he’s just a way different thinker.

“It’s not just the old carny thinking which I think a lot of wrestling promoters are just carny. This old carny vibe, they’re all trying to screw you over while I don’t think Tony is like that. I think Tony is a businessman first, he owns quite a few successful businesses and sports franchises and that’s how he operates for it.”

As The IInspiration, Cassie Lee and Jessica McKay are back together, and they’re already thriving in IMPACT Wrestling. The duo won the IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team Championship in their debut with the company. This triumph was particularly meaningful for Lee and McKay, as it came just a few months after they were released by WWE.

The promotion split the team up near the end of their time there, so when Lee and McKay entered free agency, they were determined to stay together. That’s exactly what they’ve done, and they’re enjoying the ability to show the world what they can do in IMPACT.

In a recent interview with Denise Salcedo, Lee and McKay described the creative freedom they’ve gained in their new home, as McKay noted that IMPACT offers them the chance to make their dreams a reality. On the other, she compared their time in WWE to Groundhog Day because it felt so repetitive.

‘”It’s easy, you know, when we were with WWE, it’s very much Groundhog Day — it’s the same thing over and over and over again,” said McKay. “And you can get into this routine and it’s just, everything’s the same. But for Cass and I, we’ve always wanted more. We’ll never be complacent with our lives or where we are. And that’s why IMPACT was the perfect place for us to call our new home because they give us this whole world and we can step into that, and we can do whatever we have dreamed of. And it’s just amazing, and we’re really fortunate to be a part of IMPACT and to have that creativity and that freedom, and also that trust.”

McKay also expressed her gratitude for her friendship with Lee and made it clear that she’s glad they’re on this ride toegther; she also noted that The IInspiration has a bright future from here on out.

“But yeah absolutely. I’ve always known that Cassie is a damn star, and I’m so glad that I’m her best friend. Because we just make each other people, and there’s no one else on this whole entire world that I’d want my life to be with, so it’s just, you know, we’ve got many years ahead of us. Onward and upwards, as we say.”

Lee then shared her belief that she and McKay are better together, as she sees their team reaching new heights on a journey that promises to be much more “fun” than their previous venture as singles competitors.

“There’s some sort of a saying that I can’t exactly remember right now, but it’s something along the lines of, ‘If you want to go far, go together,’” said Lee. “And when I think of Jess and The IInspiration, whatever it is, whatever brand we create now, or in the future or in the past, I just see us together going so much further than we could go alone. And alone is a lonely road ahead, you know. But together we have so much fun.”

The IInspiration retained their titles at IMPACT Wrestling Turning Point, so they continue to reign supreme as the IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team Champions.

All Elite Wrestling’s crew of Executive Vice Presidents are no longer as heavily involved in the company’s creative process, reports Bodyslam.net’s Cassidy Haynes.

Per the report, Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega, and The Young Bucks have effectively been taken out of creative, with everything now going through company owner Tony Khan. While AEW wrestlers are still encouraged to pitch ideas, Khan has the final say on what actually makes it to television.

Haynes’ report contains the following quote, with a source shining a light on the EVPs’ new functions:

“… basically they are EVPs in name only in 2021. They no longer have final say in creative or talent hiring. Any of them. TK pulled back on the reigns and took that power away from all.”

It is also stated that while Rhodes remains good friends with Omega and the Bucks, he is now “on the outside looking in” as far as their relationship in AEW goes.

Breaking things down individually, Matt Jackson helps wife Dana maintain AEW’s merchandising in his EVP role, with his brother Nick working on Being The Elite. Omega, meanwhile, retains a heavy role in AEW Gaming and the women’s division, while Cody, once an office regular, has had his input diminished as well.

In an appearance on the WrestleSlam podcast, former WCW executive Eric Bischoff discussed which former WCW talent had creative control in their contracts. The general consensus is that all three nWo members, Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall, had creative control, but Bischoff claims in fact only one of them did.

“Hall and Nash didn’t have creative control,” Bischoff said. “To clarify, they did have language in their agreement that gave them meaningful consultation. Meaning they were guaranteed to have a conversation with me and it would have been a meaningful conversation, but a meaningful conversation and creative control or two different things, And they did not have creative control.

“Hulk Hogan had creative control and he only used it once. So, the creative control issue was not an issue, even though people like to talk about it and it’s part of the narrative, so I know there’s a lot of narrative and a lot of people have reported that there was creative control and none of those people know what the f–k they’re talking about, to be honest with you. So it didn’t create an issue.”

The topic came up due to the WrestleSlam hosts wondering if some of the AEW talent being EVP’s could lead to clashes creatively. Bischoff believes that would not be the case because, in the end, the buck stops with Tony Khan.

“As far as AEW goes, as far as I know, Tony Khan is the one that’s calling the shots,” Bischoff said. “Look, you’re always going to have conflict, not necessarily negative conflict, but people are fighting for attention, they’re fighting for TV time, they’re competing for promotion. Any time you have that level of competition among high caliber people, it’s going to get challenging from time to time. Whether you give them a title of EVP or whether they have something in their contract that says meaningful consultation, or if a bunch of people had creative control, that would obviously create a lot of challenges.

“But I don’t think the challenge that people are talking about really exists in AEW today. That’s my guess. I’m not behind the scenes, so I could be dead wrong. I know enough of the people involved and the little bit of that I do know about AEW from the inside, which is not a lot, Tony Khan is calling those shots. And as long as Tony Khan is calling the shots, it will be challenging but it will be manageable.”

Despite a report to the contrary earlier this week, Andrade El Idolo does not have creative control in All Elite Wrestling.

Wrestling Inc.’s Raj Giri has issued a correction on his original report, stating that the former WWE United States and NXT Champion didn’t leave his negotiations with Tony Khan with a creative control clause in his contract, apologising for the error in the process.

Giri has also been informed that no AEW wrestler has a creative control close. Khan, as president, has total creative control.

Andrade debuted for AEW on last week’s episode of Dynamite. Introduced by manager Vickie Guerrero, his signing has since been confirmed by the promotion, though there’s currently no word on the actual terms of his agreement.

WWE released Andrade without a standard 90-day non-compete clause on 21 March. He is currently expected to face AEW World Champion Kenny Omega for the Canadian’s AAA Mega Championship at the Mexican promotion’s Triplemania XXIX event on 14 August, though his first official AEW match is still to be determined.

Andrade last wrestled on the 12 October 2020 episode of WWE Raw, which was also his last appearance on American wrestling television prior to last week.

Darby Allin was interviewed on Saturday night at the post-AEW Revolution media scrum about teaming with Sting to take on Brian Cage and Ricky Starks in a street fight. Allin said it was an honor to team with Sting.

“It means the world to me to be teaming with Sting,” Allin said. “To have any part of his legendary career, especially the tail end, it’s a complete honor. We did a lot of work and we busted our asses out there.”

When asked about working with not only Sting but Taz, Darby was complimentary to both.

“A lot of it goes into them trusting me and seeing my vision,” said Allin. “We’ve been putting in this work for about a year now with Team Taz and six months with Sting. It’s like, me and Tony Khan just sticking to the vision, them trusting my vision. I visualized a lot of this match tonight and to put it out there and them not second guess my directing, it meant a lot to me.”

Allin further elaborated on how much creative control he had over the match.

“I would say I was involved in 90% of it,” Allin stated. “I was doing damn near everything that night, a lot of work put into this. I was up for weeks producing this. It was a good experience. I had dropped out of film school so this was a good test for my directing.”

When asked about his upcoming match with Scorpio Sky on this Wednesday’s AEW Dynamite, Darby made it clear the title was still his priority.

“I’m the TNT Champion and I want to remind everyone about that,” said Allin. “Even though the title wasn’t on the line tonight I want to remind everybody why I’m champion in the first place. And Scorpio Sky, that’s gonna be the first step.”

“I see the messages and everyone says ‘Darby isn’t defending it.’ Well yeah; I was stuck with Team Taz and having to work with that. There was a lot of work put into that. And now I want to remind everyone why I’m TNT Champion, and it all starts with Scorpio Sky.”

Allin closed by once again putting over his partner.

“Having Sting coming to AEW, having a lot of trust and faith in me, it meant the world,” said Allin. “And for us to have this big match, this big blow off, it meant everything for him to trust me with his career. I respect the hell out of Sting.”