We’re starting with New Japan on this post. Kevin Kelly roasted Ring of Honor Wrestling in a recent interview. Kelly was the voice of Ring of Honor for years, until he elected to work exclusively with NJPW full time, calling a majority of their action as they transition to include the west more. He was replaced by Ian Riccaboni, who has gotten mixed reviews at best. While Kelly was there, he worked for both companies, and would be nearly invaluable to the crossover events that ROH ran with NJPW stateside. While on with the Super J-Cast crew, he was asked about NJPW and their working relationships and he did not mince words with ROH. He’s quoted as saying;
When I was in ROH, (RevPro promoter) Andy (Quinlan) was trying to get ROH to sort of listen to him, and he has some really good ideas. For whatever reason, they weren’t interested. I always looked at Andy as this is a guy with a vision, this is a guy who sees the importance of this relationship other than just selling tickets. It’s not just, let’s just use NJPW like a girl that you call when you’re drunk and you need to get laid. That’s kind of what I always felt like ROH did with New Japan.
They never really did anything with them, they just needed them to sell tickets, but I think Andy sees the benefit of this, and sees growing his brand and also helping New Japan grow in terms of the UK, which is a saturated market to begin with. And yes, he’s doing it to sell tickets, but there’s a mutual benefit for the New Japan stars, who are treated like gods in the UK. It’s amazing to see, the fans love them and they love the fans.
In other NJPW news, following Kenny Omega and KUSHIDA’s exit from the promotion, Rocky Romero has apparently signed a new multi-year deal to remain with the promotion as a wrestler and a commentator. Another name that might be leaving when his deal is up is SANADA, the former IMPACT X-Division and current IWGP Tag Team Champion. According to Joe Lanza of the Voices of Wrestling, the WWE is high on SANADA, but I’m hearing that the success (or lack there of) of KUSHIDA will go a long way in his decision. In NJPW he’s seen as a future top guy, making top money; comparable to anything the WWE is offering. But that’s an ‘if’ he gets there.
In IMPACT news, Lisa Marie Varon has announced that she’s retiring form in ring competition in 2019. The former Victoria in WWE and Tara in IMPACT has become a legend in the business since debuting in 2002 with the WWE. She won the WWE Women’s Championship twice, and the IMPACT Knockouts Championship five times, while also holding the defunct IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team Championship.
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In current IMPACT roster news, The Rascals have a new documentary coming out. The film focus’ on the Ohio-Trio and their real life friendship. The trailer is below;
Here it is the official #Rascalz trailer!
Check it out!
— Rascalz: A Documentary (@RascalzDoc) January 4, 2019
Gail Kim has come out in support of non-wrestling female characters in wrestling. When talking about IMPACT’s use of Scarlett Bordeaux’s character, she said;
I know people are going to be surprised to hear me say this because they think I’m such an advocate for women’s wrestling… But I truly believe that the best time in wrestling, for me, was when I first got into WWE and they had a strong women’s division and they also had girls who strengths weren’t in the ring and were more for entertainment.
I think that giving that balance to fans is the most successful formula that you can have because you get a little bit of everything to everyone. So I don’t disagree with [Callis]. I think there’s room for everything.
…I think the fans are reacting in a positive way to Scarlett because she’s the one girl that really stands out because she’s not part of the Knockouts roster in terms of the wrestling division. But she’s still a prominent character on the show. She can wrestle, but that’s not her role for now and it’s good to give her a little bit of diversity.
In WWE news, apparently the company is also planning on bringing in Ric Flair to honor the passing of Mean Gene Okerlund. The company is bringing in Hulk Hogan as well, hoping to maximize the sympathy factor, and introduce Hogan back to the mainstream audience with minimal booing. This may
Pro Wrestling Sheet is reporting the obvious, SoCal Uncensored is going to All Elite Pro Wrestling. The trio have been loosely affiliated with The Elite for some time, even appearing on their YouTube show. The Elite’s rally is tomorrow’s and set for 5 p.m. ET from the parking lot of TIAA Bank Field, which is home of the Jacksonville Jaguars. It will stream live on the Being The Elite YouTube page and other social media accounts.