Posts Tagged ‘WWE Brand Extension’

One performer from WWF’s Attitude Era who Shawn Michaels believes would have been “phenomenal” in today’s WWE is Chyna.

A founding member of D-Generation X, alongside Michaels and Triple H, Chyna was a former WWF Women’s Champion and two-time WWF Intercontinental Champion. She died in 2016 at 46 and was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame as a member of DX three years later.

In 1999, Chyna became the first woman to appear in the Royal Rumble match, a groundbreaking moment. The WWE did not introduce a Royal Rumble match for the women’s division until its 2018 Royal Rumble event.

In a recent interview with The New York Post, Michaels said he believes the Chyna would have fit in great with WWE’s current roster.

“From a performer standpoint, she would clearly fit in and be phenomenal,” Michaels, 57, said. “I think what makes her the awe-inspiring, innovative and transforming woman that she was was that she did it earlier than all of them.”

Michaels said her style and character “would be a bit more commonplace today.” “She would certainly have an incredible career — but I don’t know that she’d be the trailblazer today that she is if she were currently doing it today,” he added, pointing out her status as a pioneer in wrestling world by competing for titles in both the men’s and women’s divisions.

Michaels’ interview comes as D-Generation X celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. The group is scheduled to make an appearance on the October 10 episode of “Monday Night Raw” at the Barclays Center in New York City.

Mandy Rose had zero clue she was earmarked for a jump to NXT before it happened in July 2021.

The current NXT Women’s Champion told Ryan Satin’s ‘Out Of Character’ show that she found out the news last-minute. That left her with a choice: Mandy could either grumble to WWE management and view the change of scenery as a demotion/negative, or she could double down on hard work and prove herself.

Rose, clearly, chose the latter.

She’s been NXT Women’s Champ for almost a full year now – Mandy beat Raquel Gonzalez (now Rodriguez) to win the belt at Halloween Havoc on 26 October 2021. Since then, she’s gone from strength to strength as a character and has visibly improved between the ropes.

Being able to lead her own Toxic Attraction group has given Rose more confidence too.

Mandy wanted to “ask a million questions” when WWE informed her she was NXT-bound, but decided against it. Instead, she promised herself she’d use the third brand as a platform to remove “stigma” that had followed her around for years.

Basically, Rose wanted to show that she could be a better wrestler.

Booker T is predicting that “WWE Smackdown” star Sheamus will someday join him as an inductee into the WWE Hall of Fame.

Speaking on “The Hall of Fame” podcast, the six-time world champion praised the Irish-born wrestler as someone who “has always been in my fave five,” noting how his focus makes him stand out within WWE.

“He’s a worker,” Booker said. “He’s not one of those guys that [is] just looking to be at the top of the guard. He’s a soldier and soldiers normally find their way to the top of the card.”

Booker also highlighted how Sheamus can switch wrestling personas with ease.

“As of late, he’s been able to change his character,” he continued, noting Sheamus’ latest incarnation as the “Irish pub drinking man with his boys hanging out whatnot. Sometimes when you’re in the business you’ve got to be able to shift gears for a second.”

While Booker admitted he was “one of the guys who wanted to see the “Celtic Warrior” again,” he nonetheless considered Sheamus to be a wrestler who “can actually go out there and have those matches with a Drew McIntyre, another big guy, [and] go to another big guy.”

Booker predicted this is “going to be the year of the heavyweight” and added that he loves “seeing Sheamus go out there [and] perform at this level. And, then again, I love what he tried to do also by switching his character and giving me some entertainment for a minute as well.”

Paul “Triple H” Levesque recalled how the late Dusty Rhodes taught him a lesson that has stuck with him. Rhodes worked behind the scenes on the “NXT” brand as its creative director before passing away on June 11, 2015, and Levesque never forgot how crucial “The American Dream” was to the decision-making process.

Now the WWE Chief Content Officer, Levesque has a platform to put his creative vision on full display, but sometimes things don’t go as planned. In those situations, Levesque remembers the valuable lesson he learned from Rhodes.

“When you’re first starting something, the successes stick with you, but the things that go wrong stick with you even more so,” Levesque told The Ringer. “You’ll have something in mind, and in your mind, it’s gonna be great. And then you watch it come to life and you’re like ‘that was terrible,’ and you beat yourself up. And Dusty would always walk by me and he’d tap me on the shoulder. He’d say. ‘Kid, remember what I said, if you get 70 percent of what you see in your head to come out on TV, that’s a grand slam.’ I keep that thought in my head all the time. It’s been a valuable lesson.”

Levesque believes it speaks volumes to Rhodes’ legacy that his work still serves as inspiration to those in the wrestling business today.

“When we lost him, it was tragic, because he contributed so much to the business, and his ideas and his concepts and his business ideas are still floating around today,” Levesque said. “That should tell you something, because there’s very few people in this industry with that [influence].”

Madusa (WWE’s Alundra Blayze) recently did an interview with Scott Fishman for SEScoops.

During the interview, the WWE Hall of Famer spoke about Cora Jade putting her “NXT” Tag Team Women’s Title belt in the trash on the July 19 edition of “NXT 2.0.” It was on December 18, 1995, on “WCW Nitro” when Madusa infamously dropped her WWE Women’s Title in the garbage.

“The Cora Jade throwing the belt in the trash, what was that? They keep trying to steal my gimmick,” said Madusa. “What is that? You’ll never be able to do it. The thing is when I saw that, I said, ‘Well damn at least that b*tch got to keep her job.”

Madusa appeared on the July 27 edition of “NXT 2.0,” a week after Jade’s incident. While on the show, she brought Roxanne Perez the garbage can, where her former tag team partner dumped the title belt and announced a Fatal 4-Way Tag Team Championship match to crown new champions. The winners of the match ended up being Kayden Carter and Katana Chance. The duo still holds the “NXT” Women’s Tag Team Titles.

Also, during the interview with SEScoops, Madusa teased that she isn’t done in the ring. 

“Never say never. That damn saying is such a trademark in this business because you can’t. I’ve never had a retirement match and I would love to have a retirement match, but that may have gone and sailed.”

Teaming with Claudio Castagnoli reignited Sheamus’ love of pro wrestling.

The WWE star told ITR that his zest for the biz had waned when he started working alongside the then-Cesaro as ‘The Bar’ in 2016. Claudio’s skills and passion for wrestling helped to restore Sheamus’ own passion, and that’s why they ended up clicking as a team.

Sheamus recently earned plaudits for his performance opposite current Intercontinental Champion Gunther on WWE’s Clash At The Castle special in the UK – the Irishman received a standing ovation from the Cardiff crowd, and he clearly enjoyed how physical the bout was.

That’s the kind of energy Castagnoli breathed back into his bones during their stint together as ‘The Bar’. Sheamus admitted during the interview that working with Cesaro was “great” for him. He also “learned a lot” from the Swiss technician during matches.

Together, Sheamus and Cesaro became four-time Raw Tag-Team Champions. They also held the SmackDown versions on one occasion, and had hot matches with everyone from The Hardys to Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins.

Mandy Rose has been the “NXT” Women’s Champion for 330 days and counting. Partnering up with Gigi Dolin and Jacy Jayne, the trio known as Toxic Attraction established their presence pretty quickly upon their “NXT” arrival. During Rose’s current reign, Dolin and Jayne have held the “NXT” Women’s Tag Team Championships twice, and the faction has been a focal point on the show since the “NXT 2.0” rebrand. 

On the main roster, a new women’s stable emerged recently with Bayley returning from injury alongside Dakota Kai and IYO SKY to form Damage CTRL. Being the only two all-women groups in WWE today, Rose was asked, while on “Out of Character with Ryan Satin,” about interest in a potential six-woman tag match between them down the road. “Bayley’s trio, I think, is super cool,” Rose responded. “I think it would be really awesome to face off … [against Damage] CTRL.”

Damage CTRL has been on “Monday Night Raw” every week since coming onto the scene as a group at SummerSlam. Kai and SKY have since won the WWE Women’s Tag Team Championship by defeating Raquel Rodriguez and Aliyah, and Bayley looks to add more gold to the mix when she challenges for the “Raw” Women’s Championship, held by Bianca Belair, at WWE Extreme Rules.

Dolin and Jayne have appeared on the main roster previously, registering two tag team matches together on “Smackdown.” Prior to her current “NXT” run, Rose was full-time on the main roster from 2017 to 2021.

Former WWE star CJ ‘Lana’ Perry has publicly credited Paul Heyman for the final two years of her company career.

Perry told WrestleZone that the “incredibly creative” Heyman helped secure an “amazing” contract for the final phase of her WWE run. That, she claims, was due to the big numbers her storylines alongside Bobby Lashley and Rusev received between 2019-2020.

Segments involving the trio drew a lot of eyeballs on YouTube, in particular.

That, CJ says, was all due to the creativity of Paul E. He also believed in her as a star attraction, and went to bat for Lana as a character during meetings with WWE’s writing team. She’s very “grateful” for that, because it made her feel wanted and like she was contributing to the product.

In an interesting moment, Lana went on to credit Heyman for Roman Reigns’ recent success too. She called him “the brains” behind Roman’s heel turn, and isn’t sure it would’ve worked quite as well without his influence.

Back to Perry – she closed by saying her recent studies outside the wrestling industry are heavily inspired by Heyman’s intelligence.

Trish Stratus recently underwent successful surgery to remove her appendix. The WWE Hall of Famer revealed via social media that she drove herself to the hospital after experiencing “a nagging pain” in her lower right quadrant. 

Upon reaching the hospital, Stratus discovered that her appendix was about to burst and that it was a wise decision on her part to rush to the emergency room.

“A reminder that if you ever have a nagging pain in your lower right quadrant – do go to emergency…,” Stratus wrote on her Instagram.

Along with a lengthy note describing her ordeal, Stratus shared a video of herself at the hospital. Stratus revealed she was “working through the pain” after “a crampy 10 hour travel day” last Monday (September 12) and was preparing to make an announcement until she realized the pain was “getting pretty intense” and had to be tended to. Stratus added that she avoided disaster by taking the initiative of driving herself to the hospital.

“I have a pretty high pain tolerance so when what I thought was 💩 cramps but ended up getting pretty intense I drove myself to emergency and turns out my appendix was getting ready to burst – which can be really bad if it happens and like cause death and stuff so I’m really glad I went to check it out, you know to avoid the whole dying thing,” Stratus wrote. 

Stratus then implored her followers to “listen to your body” and never take anything for granted. As for her recovery, Stratus described the situation as “definitely manageable.” Stratus also confirmed she will be making an announcement on Monday, September 19.

While there’s no word on the nature of Stratus’ announcement, there have been rumors of her returning to the ring over the past year or so. During the 8/22 “WWE Raw” in Toronto, Stratus teased coming out of retirement until she was interrupted by Bayley’s Damage CTRL stable. Stratus also got physical in the ring at a pair of WWE live events in Canada last month, coming to the aid of Alexa Bliss & Asuka during their brawl with Bayley’s stable.

Stratus officially retired following her loss to Charlotte Flair at SummerSlam 2019 in Toronto.

During 2020 and 2021, WWE let go of over 200 talent signed to the company, including several major stars. One of the most shocking, however, was former Universal Champion Braun Strowman, who was positioned at the time of his release as a top star within the company. However, like many former WWE stars, the resignation of Vince McMahon and ascension of Paul “Triple H” Levesque led to Strowman making his shocking return to the company at the beginning of September, causing destruction and chaos in the process. The former world champion spoke about his release as a guest on “WWE After the Bell with Corey Graves.”

“It was a really hard pill to swallow, probably one of the biggest pills I’ve ever had to swallow in life, but a reality check,” Strowman said. “It was disheartening, to say the least, stepping up at the beginning of the pandemic when other people couldn’t come to work, people didn’t come to work, not knowing what’s going on in the world and strapping this company on my back and going out there week in and week out, doing everything in my power to get the quality product out so I could take the peoples minds off the stuff that was going on.”

“I have no hard feelings, business is business,” Strowman continued, but noted that he “had this feeling of, well, I was just a stray dog, and all of a sudden I was kicked off the porch.”

“All those doubts start to play into yourself because it’s a cold call out of nowhere,” Strowman continued. “I was literally making breakfast at 9:00 am and got the phone call like, ‘Hey, sorry, we have bad news. Due to budget cuts, we’re initiating your 90 days and then your contract is going to be terminated.’ I was just speechless, I think I said ‘Thank you’ and hung up the phone.

“I was just like literally, what the fuck? Yeah, it definitely sent me to a bad place for a bit, but I definitely know that everything in life happens for a reason, everything is a test and I’m a firm believer in God never puts more on your back than you can handle without you breaking, and he just tests my strength once again. Did I falter at times and want to give up? Absolutely, I’d be a liar if I said I didn’t.”

The Monster Among Men didn’t appear anywhere outside of WWE during his one-year absence, though he was instrumental in creating the Control Your Narrative promotion alongside his friend, EC3, though CYN’s feature remains uncertain now that Strowman is back in WWE.