It’s been a while since we’ve done one of these, so there might be some stuff you’re already well aware of, but let’s get down to the real business at hand.
Also, the below contains a spoiler for pre-taped NXT UK episodes.
The Wild Card’s Made a Decision?
- Previous editions of this column have relied on rumors, but I’ve got some news to report. According to a source, Shane “Swerve” Strickland will be reporting to Full Sail as a part of an upcoming NXT class. Presumably, this will be the post-WrestleMania class, as Strickland is advertised for a March 10 show in Newport, TN and an April 4 show in Queens, NY during ‘Mania week, and the show’s co-promoting brand Destiny Wrestling tweeted “mania might be his last weekend as free agent” in response to a fan asking if Swerve had already signed to WWE. Back on Jan. 15, Strickland tweeted “Officially a free agent again.”
On Feb. 27, WWE announced the signings of the following:
- Ilja Rukober, aka Ilja Dragunov, the Russian-born wXw star who wrestled Pete Dunne at Progress’ huge show last September.
- Kay Lee Ray, a Mae Young Classic 1.0 performer who was seen in the audience at NXT UK TakeOver Blackpool along with
- Jazzy Gabert the Alpha Female, who was also an original Mae Young Classic performer.
- Oliver Sauter, a former futbol player who’s a mere 24 years old.
- Jay Melrose, last but not least, Primate has officially signed, after performing at select NXT UK TV shows. A mainstay of the British scene, who had announced his retirement last May before being cleared in November (recovering from a broken jaw), Primate’s even wrestled for WWE, back in the days of the rebooted ECW, where he fought Mark Henry, before working in FCW as Monty Lynch.
In addition to that group, since #2 WWE has also confirmed:
- Chris Parks (Abyss), Sonjay Dutt, Jeff Jarrett and Shawn Daivari were formally announced as WWE employees, and are reportedly all backstage producers. Jarrett, obviously, is also working on-screen in small doses. Their specific roles are not announced in this video, which you should watch if you haven’t already, because Abyss in WWE is weird.
- Viper, aka Piver Niven debuted at NXT UK’s tapings in Coventry.
Ring of Honor
- PJ Black is officially out of his Lucha Underground contract, and tweeted that he’s for the honorable ring, and starting at the March 16 Las Vegas show. You may remember Black as Nexus member Justin Gabriel, or from his days on Lucha Underground.
- Arn Anderson has reportedly been fired from WWE. This is tied to reports he allowing Alicia Fox to wrestle while under the influence.
New Japan Pro Wrestling
- Mikey Nicholls FKA Nick Miller used to be in NXT, which he left. He’s joined NJPW, its Chaos faction, and the upcoming New Japan Cup.
- Josh Alexander: one half of Monster Mafia, has joined his other half, Ethan Page, at Impact.
- MOOSE re-signed with Impact. In an interview with Sporting News, the man known as Quinn Ojinnaka set his goals: “I definitely want to be the world champion, first and foremost. I always said I wanted to help Impact get back to where it was years ago.”
- Madison Rayne is also returning to the Impact Zone, fleeing Ring of Honor, reportedly due to creative differences.
- Sami Callihan? Also re-upped with Impact.
- Rosemary has re-signed.
- Fallah Bahh as well.
All Elite Wrestling
- Jimmy Havoc is All Elite.
- Bea Priestly is also All Elite.
- Kip Sabian, announced he was leaving WAW, the promotion owned by Paige’s parents, for AEW.
- Brandon Cutler is All Elite, and was highlighted in a video package that Sabian also appeared in.
- Michael Nakazawa of DDT, is All Elite.
So, it’s been since before the Double Or Nothing Tickets Event in Las Vegas, so let’s count the seemingly signed talent down:
- Sonny Kiss
- Sammy Guevara
- Chuck Taylor and Trent Beretta
- Kylie Rae
- Nyla Rose, who will face Rae and Britt Baker at Double or Nothing.
- Kenny Omega, an executive vice president, Omega’s contract is for four years and allows him to wrestle in NJPW.
That list consists of folks AEW has promoted with tweets, graphics, etc. which read “_ is All Elite.” It doesn’t include the following four, who seem to be freelancers.
- Lucha Brothers, Pentagon and Rey Fenix
- Aja Kong
- Yuka Sakazaki
The stove stays hot these days, so stick with Cageside Seats for further talent movement. We’ll see you back here before too long with report #4!