At the press conference this morning to announce the Hulk Hogan vs Jerry Lawler match in Memphis on April 27 it was announced that Lawler was pulled from the match due to “contractual reasons” and replaced by Paul Wight, formerly The Big Show. Jerry Lawler gave some background on how the match came about. Lawler said they expected it to be the biggest event in the history of Memphis Wrestling, but “as most people know” Lawler works for World Wrestling Entertainment announcing every Monday.
He said this past Monday, he was called into the office and asked if he was going to wrestle Hogan in Memphis. He told them that he was and they said that was a problem. Lawler noted that the business is fun, but there’s a not so fun side of it and that’s the business side of it. He noted that he was under contract to WWE while Hogan is under contract to VH-1 for his reality show. He said that there is a problem with any NBC/Universal talent (which WWE stars fall under) appearing on VH-1. He noted that Hogan cannot pull out of his deal with VH-1 because one of the major reasons the show was being done was to have footage for the reality show. Lawler reiterated that he cannot appear on VH-1, so he’s going to have to “bow out of the match”
Hogan said the Forum called the WWE to make sure it was OK and WWE told them it wasn’t a problem because Jerry Lawler, Jimmy Hart, and Cory Macklin were involved . . . until Hulk Hogan’s name came into the picture. Hogan said that WWE officials tried to get the Forum to cancel and were told no. Hogan said that WWE then offered to pay Cory Macklin’s deposit back, plus interest but were turned down by Macklin. Hogan said that he feels its a personal thing against him. He said that he feels bad Lawler doesn’t want to participate because WWE is his main source of employment. Hogan noted that perhaps WWE and Vince McMahon feel that Hogan, at 53, can be a threat to them and perhaps they are right.
Macklin said that they are staying the course for the show and nothing, no matter who they are, are going to stop them, because Hogan’s opponent will be “formerly known as the Big Show”, Paul “The Great” Wight. Wight said that Hogan had given him a lot of advice and was a big influence on his life. He said that he can’t think of a better opportunity than to wrestle Hulk Hogan on 4/27 and put him in his place with a chokeslam and a pinfall. He said that he admires Hogan and what he’s done for the industry but he’s not going to walk into the ring as Hogan’s friend. He said he sees a chance to carve his place in history and he’s going to take it.
Cory Macklin said that no matter what happens the “Big Show must go on.” Wight returned to the mic and said, “I renounce my slave name. My name is Paul Wight.” Macklin said that he believes to the fans and the city of Memphis and he refused to sellout and not deliver for the city. Macklin was asked about WWE’s feeling on the show. He said they were asked by WWE to pull the show and refused. He said that WWE offered to reimburse them for not running the show and they all refused.
Hogan said that he’s not done with his career and when he saw WWE made fun of his daughter Brooke, that made his perception of them as people change forever. He said that made him decide he needs to do something and Memphis is a great place to start. Hogan noted that Wight isn’t part of the WWE anymore. Hogan said this show is the start of Hogan deciding how to write the end of his legacy. He said that the only way to do that is to show that Hulk Hogan fans and the Hulkamania fans are bigger than the WWE. He said if they fill the building, this will send a message. He said the show is exciting to him because he’s going to be part of the match that fans were cheated out of for Wrestlemania 23. He said that they were in negotiations for the match but WWE didn’t want to take it “on the straight and narrow.” He said he isn’t going to let the period on his legacy be that WWE made fun of his children.
Paul Wight said that he’s trying to break out of his own and give back to the fans and the industry. He said that he’s got to bring his best side because he has his kids and family to feed. He said that he doesn’t want to live in the shadows of anyone, Vince McMahon or otherwise anymore. Wight was asked where the new name came from. Wight joked that it was his real name. When asked why he got involved in the match, he said that he’s one of the few talents not owned by Vince McMahon anymore. He said he wants to build his name and his brand and Hogan will help him springboard that. He said now he gets to do what he wants as opposed to someone else taking 97% of the merchandising rights and having to do what someone else thinks is funny or worthwhile. Big Show was asked about TNA. Show said that Billy Gunn is a good friend of his and he’s close with Kurt Angle. He said at this point, he’s leery of working with any established promotions because he doesn’t want to be owned by anyone at this point of his life.
Kylie Rae, Austin Theory Among Wrestlers Heading to WWE Tryouts
The next set of WWE tryouts are set to begin next week and they feature some notable names, including Reality of Wrestling’s Kylie Rae and Evolve’s Austin Theory.
Squared Circle Sirens issued a report confirming Rae will be among the wrestlers at tryouts, which will be held at the WWE Performance Center.
Rae made her professional wrestling debut in 2016, winning the ROW’s Diamond Championship from Ivory Robyn in her first match. She is a two-time holder of the title, defeating Robyn to the belt in December.
Rae has also wrestled in RISE, as well as Freelance Wrestling.
In a report from PWInsider, Theory was listed as one of the wrestlers traveling to the WWE Performance Center for a tryout.
Theory is another wrestler who is making a name for himself, holding the FIP and FPSW Heavyweight titles. Like Rae, Theory made his professional debut in 2016, defeating his trainer AR Fox to win the WWA4 Heavyweight title. He has found a string of success in Evolve.
Other wrestlers confirmed for a WWE tryout according to the PWInsider report:
Evan Cloyd – aka Jarek 1:20
Also known as Chase Silver, Jarek 1:20 is a seven-year veteran who got his start in Beyond Wrestling. He has competed in various promotions in the United States. In the last year, he has made appearances in Evolve.
Barnes is a veteran of the United States Air Force and has wrestled in different promotions, including the World Association of Wrestling in the U.K.
Hailing from Canada, Nicole is a four-year veteran who has wrestled in her home country and in the United States. She is a two-time PWA Elite Women’s Champion and a former APW Women’s Champion.
Although Vieru has no wrestling experience, he comes in with an impressive athletic background. Vieru played football for Oregon State University and was a three-sport athlete in high school.
Matt Van Buren
Known as “Gutter,” Van Buren comes to the Performance Center with an extensive MMA background. He has fought in both Bellator and the UFC where he made it to the finals of “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Edgar vs. Team Penn” light heavyweight tournament.
Like all the tryout classes at the Performance Center, these competitors come the performance from all different backgrounds and varying levels of experience. Rae, Theory, Jarek and Nicole will have a leg up because of their experience wrestling on the independents as well as platforms like ROW and Evolve, which broadcast events – so they know how to work in front of a camera.
But fans shouldn’t out Van Buren and Vieru just because they haven’t competed inside of the squared circle as professional wrestlers. Having an athletic background can help a performer when it comes to learning the basics and conditioning.
Even if they don’t get signed to a developmental dea, all of the aforementioned people will have the opportunity to learn some tips that will help them in their journeys as professional wrestlers.
And if they do get signed to a developmental deal after this tryout, they have the opportunity to take the first step to becoming WWE superstars.
Rey Mysterio Talks About Being A Free Agent, Wanting One Final WWE Run
Former WWE, WCW, ECW and Lucha Underground superstar Rey Mysterio has been a free agent for quite some time, but is eyeing one final run in WWE.
Mysterio spoke with ESPN and talked about being a free agent as well as finishing his career in the place he experienced his most success.
“I’m not locked up to any company. I’m an independent contractor, as we say. I could go work wherever I want. That’s the beautiful thing about being on this side of the fence. You don’t have a commitment with only one company. You can go around and pretty much wrestle wherever you want. You can choose when you want your off-days to be. That was one of my main priorities when I left WWE.”
“I told myself, once I started feeling aching and I was having hard times getting up from my bed in the morning when I woke up, it was gonna start getting close to that time [to quit]. I was feeling that right towards my end of the last year or so of WWE. It came to the point where I was feeling like that constantly. I didn’t want to fall into another phase of taking either medication to ease my pain. I wanted to use the rest way to heal my body up. Believe it or not, the last two years, I don’t think I’ve felt better.”
And about a WWE return?
“This is the way I was thinking at the time, and I still think that to this day. When I left WWE, from my understanding and from the time that we sat down … that I decided not to re-sign another contract with WWE was for me to get some off time. I never meant or insinuated in any way or form that I was gonna leave for good. I think that should say a lot. I wasn’t announcing that was the end of Rey Mysterio’s career. I would definitely love to go back and finish up. Whether it’s one year or whatever the case might be. Whether it’s a farewell. I owe a lot to that company. That company gave me such an amazing opportunity, and I took advantage of every single moment I was with WWE to the fullest. I wouldn’t want to just be remembered as ‘Oh, man, he never re-signed and he never came back.’ I would definitely love to come back and do a last run and say goodbye to my WWE fans. Tell them goodbye in a proper way.”
TNA Releases Lance Rock And Petey Williams
TNA has released both Lance Rock and Petey Williams. The reason for the releases is said to be an effort to freshen up the undercard roster by replacing talent that has been with the company for an extended period of time.
The plan is to bring in some new performers to replace them. There is no heat with either Williams or Rock, and the feeling is that both could be back with the company down the line.
Other releases are expected.
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