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By Mike Johnson on 2021-09-12 10:00:00


I have a few questions about WWE pulling the women's tag bout from Smackdown:

1 - Are we sure they really happened?  It seems really short-sighted to me.

2 - Who would have made that call?

3 - Was there something else they could have done?

4 - Do you think the company realizes the poor reception they received on social media?

It absolutely was pulled from the show over the course of the evening.  I don't think it was done for any reason other than they were worried about running short on time and it's something that happens all the time on live programming.  Segments get cut from SNL the same they do Raw or Smackdown.   I personally understand that and get it.  Talents have matches pulled all the time.

This was a different situation, however.  Where WWE fell short here is that they marketed the show leading up to Friday's broadcast in part, at least locally, as Vega performing in the Garden the day before the 20th anniversary of her father passing on 9/11.  Even before the taping began, Stephanie McMahon specifically talked about Vega performing as part of the introduction of the company's Never Forget 9/11 documentary.  So, to market that and have Vega do media for the show and talk about the loss of her father and then pull that match from the show, especially given it was in her hometown, just feels wrong, no matter the reason.   It was her hometown and the night before she was to pay tribute to her father at the 9/11 Memorial on the 20th anniversary of his passing.  I don't know anyone who wouldn't feel bad for her - and that's not even factoring in that her family might have been in attendance at the show.

As for who made the call to pull the segment, it had to have been Bruce Prichard or Vince McMahon.  They run the show, so it had to have been one or the other or both.     As far as what I think they could have (and should have done, honestly), is that they could have cut the match from TV and just held it immediately after Smackdown as a dark match.  Even if the match was two minutes long bell to bell, they would have given Vega the moment and they could have just filmed it and released it on 9/11 on YouTube, the same way they released Lilian Garcia singing the national anthem on Friday, positioned as Vega paying tribute to her father.  It would have been great PR for the company and it would have been a nice tie-in to everything the company did so greatly on Smackdown to pay tribute to those who lost their lives in 2001.   

While I don't think they would ever acknowledge it, WWE knows the poor reaction they received.  They have people tasked with mining all the social media trends and data to report it back to the company.  Whether they react to it, I have no idea.  You would hope that someone privately addresses it with Vega and apologizes, if they haven't already.  

With AEW doing so well with All Out and with so many talents on the roster, do you see them expanding their PPVs to 6-12 a year like WCW did when they got hotter?

No, because WCW didn't do that.  WCW went from quarterly PPVs to monthly shows because they needed to generate income.  They weren't paid a TV rights fee by Turner Broadcasting, so they weren't making income from the shows.  They were, however, making PPV revenue, so by adding more shows, they brought in more money.  AEW doesn't need to do that.  I think AEW has the right idea with doing four "big" shows a year.  There's no need to burn through more shows just for the sake of doing them and potentially burning through stories, matches and making the shows "less" important because they take place more often.

Is it true Nicolas Cage was going to be Randy the Ram in the Wrestler?

Yes.  He actually attended a Ring of Honor show in NYC to study and watch.  Several years ago, I interviewed Afa Anoa'i and when the subject of the film came up, he noted that he trained Cage and then after a session, suddenly Cage was out and Mickey Rourke was in.  Obviously, it worked out for both as Rourke got an Academy Award nomination and Cage went on to star in Willie's Wonderland.

Whatever happened to Nailz and Brian Lee?

I believe Nailz lives in Minnesota.  He has turned down overtures to do any wrestling-related appearances for years.  Brian Lee was recently spotted in Florida but hasn't done anything pro wrestling-related in years, either.

Why should anyone go see Onita vs. Tremont when the last one was a letdown?

Well, first of all, it's not the same company promoting it.  Two, it's outdoors for a reason, so they can do the FMW-esque pyrotechnics the proper way.  Three, it's Onita.

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