“Thank you, and goodnight!”
Could Kenny Omega be showing up at The Royal Rumble? Not according to Dave Meltzer. Besides his contract not being up until February 1st, it appears as though Kenny will be pursuing a career in All Elite Wrestling. According to Meltzer, everyone was given top money offers by the WWE, with Page making the last, though still main roster money. Page would of stayed in NXT though, despite his huge price point. The Bucks would of been given a seven figure deal, with a six month-opt out window if they were unhappy. They would of been making as much as AJ Styles. No details on Cody’s deal was mentioned by Dave, but it was apparently a huge deal that would of convinced many to join the WWE from what I was told.
As for Omega, he was offered an even better deal than Cody, but according to Dave Meltzer, he still rejected this deal. “Absurd” and “ridiculous” were used to describe it. Despite that, he still rejected it. He’s expected to agree to a deal with AEW on February 1st, and since he was still under NJPW contract, that’s why he wasn’t able to appear at the rally, I’m told.
But that’s not all the AEW news that came out today. Apparently AEW has a deal for AJ Styles if he opts not to re-sign with the WWE. The word is that the contract is for big money, comparable for what he’d be making in the WWE, while doing less work. Styles has always prioritized his family over anything in his career, and the opportunity to make great money for even less dates would appeal to the 41 year old, who has four sons who are growing up with him on the road. Styles wants a reduced schedule from the WWE no matter what, according to rumors. So if he doens’t get the offer he likes from the WWE, AEW is a serious threat to poach Styles. Will it happen? Who knows, but Styles’ history of loyalty is gone, and he’s become the pro wrestling version of LeBron James. Since leaving IMPACT (TNA) back in early 2014, he’s signed and left ROH, NJPW and now possibly the WWE. So the idea that he would re-sign off of some kind of brand loyalty is a dead concept.
As for the rest of the AEW roster, Meltzer has more of a scoop. Joey Janela, Penelope Ford and MJF have signed no-exclusive deals with the promotion, meaning they can work wherever they want within reason. It’s being told to me, not via Melzter, that the only exception for these contracts would be the WWE. Which works for MLW’s Court Bauer, as he has MJF on a two year deal. The talent according to Meltzer have been given single-date, three month and three year deals depending on which talent we’re talking.
One of the talent who got a three year deal was in fact the lead singer of Fozzy, Chris Jericho. Dave Meltzer claims that this contract is much better than anything he’s ever earned in WWE. That doesn’t mean he’s getting paid more in a year, but he might be getting paid more per date. He’ll be allowed to work NJPW shows and his Cruise, but for Jericho those are his only known exceptions; meaning IMPACT is now a closed door.
In WWE news, the company has gone ahead and opened up an official UK Performance Center today. It was hinted at by Pete Dunne, Tyler Bate and Trent Seven appeared on a UK outlet and teased that a performance center had opened up in the UK, but did not disclose where. Several hours later, an official press release came out, declaring the first ever UK Performance Center has been opened up in London, England. The WWE has 30-plus European talent already under contract.
And two more might be heading that way to various industry insiders Kay Lee Ray and Viper, two of the biggest female UK names, are set to join the WWE’s new UK brand of NXT.
In more sizeable news, John Cena has a tall and tough task at WrestleMania if the current Meltzer rumor is to be believed. Cena is set to take on the debuting Lars Sullivan at ‘Mania, as of right now. This isn’t surprising, as Braun Strowman, Lars Sullivan and Finn Balor were all signed at the same time, and were viewed as the new cornerstones of the promotion; even posing together in photos. Sullivan and Strowman had no wrestling experience prior to signing and they did the slow-cook for Sullivan before bringing him up. The current issue that exists though is apparently Sullivan suffers from anxiety issues, and missed a scheduled dark match on RAW due to an attack of sorts. He flew home to Colorado after RAW. According to Meltzer, things were smoothed over, and there doesn’t appear to be any residual heat for this.
In IMPACT Wrestling news, IMPACT is bringing in AAA and Lucha Underground star Aerostar for their Mexico tapings. Melissa Santos is also expected to make her IMPACT debut. She claimed last year that she was set to do work with the promotion and with McKenzie Mitchell leaving IMPACT, it’s looking more and more like IMPACT opted not to re-sign Mitchell, who was a Dixie Carter hire. Santos has far more appear to wrestling fans, due to her Lucha Underground run, and has a relationship with Brian Cage, as she’s both his fiance and mother to his child. As Cage is seen as one of IMPACTS’ top guys, it’s not surprising they’d move on from Mitchell in order to give Cage an incentive to stay with the promotion long term.
Also in IMPACT news, Tessa Blanchard, who’s also with AXS’s Women of Wrestling promotion, will get to host a new show on the network. It’s called “Women of Rock”, and it’ll be a concert event series that starts this Saturday.