Photo credit: WWE.com
Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
Black Says Relationship with McMahon Was Positive
Following his surprising release from WWE on Wednesday, Aleister Black addressed several topics regarding his time with the company.
During a Twitch stream (h/t WrestlingInc.com’s Jason Ounpraseuth), Black said that he had a good relationship with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon:
“In all my conversations I’ve ever had with Vince, he was always very positive. I have a good relationship with Vince. I always told him how I felt. He always respected that about me. He always praised me on my creativity and my ability to have manners and respect, but still being honest with him about how I felt. You never truly know why things end the way they did. All I can tell you from my point of view and the word that I was always given was that Vince was always pretty high on me. I did well on television.”
Black noted that the biggest issue was that he and WWE “could never really nail down what it is what we wanted Aleister to be on the main roster vs. what he was on NXT.”
The timing of Black’s release was shocking since he had recently returned to television after seven months away. It started with the airing of several vignettes followed by Black attacking Big E during an Intercontinental Championship Fatal 4-Way on SmackDown two weeks ago.
After Black was released Wednesday, he expressed his surprise in the following tweet:
Tommy End @WWEAleister
Im gathering my thoughts as this was a complete left field for me as obviously we just started the dark father character but this was it, thank you so much WWE universe for allowing me to create and give you small bits of myself.
While some released Superstars tend to hold a grudge and burn bridges on the way out, that hasn’t been the case for the former NXT champion.
In addition to having nice things to say about McMahon Black praised the creative team, as well as WWE Executive Director Bruce Prichard and Paul Heyman.
As of now, it seems like Black’s wrestling career will continue elsewhere such as AEW, Impact Wrestling or New Japan Pro-Wrestling, but based on Black’s comments, the door may be open for a return to WWE down the line.
Details Regarding Potential Working Relationship Between WWE and NJPW
Additional details regarding negotiations between WWE and New Japan Pro-Wrestling for a working relationship came to light this week.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t WrestlingInc.com’s Marc Middleton), who first reported on the talks last week, WWE President and Chief Revenue Officer Nick Khan was not the one who conceived the talks.
Meltzer noted that there is some belief that Khan was suggested to McMahon as the one who should lead the negotiations between WWE and NJPW.
Also, Meltzer reported that while free-agent Daniel Bryan was a major subject of the talks when they first started in March or April, that has not been the case during more recent discussions.
PWInsider (h/t Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats) reported last week that Bryan was initially the “main crux” of the WWE-NJPW talks, as WWE was hoping to re-sign him with the promise of allowing him to work some matches for New Japan.
Another new piece of information provided by Meltzer on Friday was that a WWE-NJPW partnership would likely relate to NXT more so than top NJPW stars appearing on WWE’s main roster.
Meltzer added that NJPW “will not agree to any deal unless they feel like it’s extremely beneficial to them.”
Currently, NJPW has a working relationship with both AEW and Impact Wrestling, so making WWE its exclusive North American partner would mean terminating those relationships, as well as the one it has with AAA.
AEW President Tony Khan cut a tongue-in-cheek promo on Nick Khan last week regarding the New Japan negotiations, suggesting that Tony Khan doesn’t believe WWE will pry NJPW away:
All Elite Wrestling @AEW
Ahead of tonight’s Live #AEWDynamite at 10pm ET/9pm CT, and #AEWDoN on ppv Sunday, AEW Owner/President @TonyKhan, aka the Forbidden Door, addressed rumors of a relationship between @WWE & @njpwglobal, + what this means to @AEW! Watch Dynamite tonight LIVE coming up on @TNTdrama! pic.twitter.com/atFTSrvyqZ
Working with WWE would give NJPW the biggest possible platform, although there may be some concern within NJPW ranks about how New Japan wrestlers would be presented in WWE given WWE’s history of putting its own talent over those who made a name for themselves in other companies.
NXT Reportedly Returning to Touring Soon
WWE has announced that it is returning to touring in front of fans beginning July 16, and NXT reportedly may not be far behind.
According to Meltzer (h/t Middleton), NXT wrestlers have been informed that touring for the black and gold brand will resume in July as well.
Meltzer added that the NXT touring loops will run through Central and Northern Florida, as was the case before the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to touring last year.
NXT live events were a huge deal for Performance Center recruits lacking experience performing in front of live crowds, which is something they have now lacked for over a year.
Since those training at the Performance Center aren’t yet television ready, it was difficult for them to ply their trade over the past year, as very few of them have been featured on NXT’s two-hour weekly show.
Touring also allows lesser-known wrestlers to build up a fanbase, which is something that can lead to them getting an opportunity on television.
As the world trends toward normalcy, WWE is as well, and that means fans will once again get to enjoy live wrestling both from the main roster and NXT.
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