clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Wrestling Hot Stove Report #2 (Jan. 27, 2019): The Post-Rumble Outlook

You hear that money? That’s WWE saying “new year, new signings.” And even though the rumors of talent wanting to break free from New York’s cage are flying everywhere, even Cody’s admitted that he can’t lure away talent under contract.

Of note, though, is that WWE launched its UK Performance Center, which could mean WWE having dual monthly new classes of talent at its PCs.

The Wild Card

  • The biggest free agent right now is Shane “Swerve” Strickland, who tweeted (on Jan. 15) that he’s “Officially a free agent again.” This gunshot declaration — as if he’s saying come and show me the money to Vince, Cody and whomever else is out there — is big.


  • UK standouts and Mae Young Classic participants Jazzy Gabert and Kay Lee Ray both appeared in the crowd at NXT UK TakeOver: BlackPool, so they’re good as signed with The ‘E.

The Expected February Performance Center Class, per many sources, will include:

  • Trevor Lee: the Impact-signed superstar gave his farewell speech at PWG: Hand of Doom, having already announced his WWE signing at a CWF-Mid-Atlantic show. In a tweet, Lee said PWG gave him “the opportunity to work with the best wrestlers on the planet and gave me a platform to become a Man on.”
  • ACH: this long-rumored signing was confirmed by the goodbye speech given by ACH’s Trollboyz tag partner Ethan Page at Alpha-1: Buck Wild 2 (streaming on Independent Wrestling TV)
  • Samuel Shaw: yes, WWE’s giving a look to the wrestler most-known for a short-lived off-brand American Psycho gimmick in TNA. (Wrestling Inc)
  • 3.0 aka **Scott Parker and Shane Matthews**, a Canadian duo whose signing has already been announced.
  • Jonah Rock: this long-rumored signing of one of PWG’s resident monsters seems imminent thanks to Australia’s Wrestle Rampage advertising Rock’s “final match in Australia.”
  • Karen Q and Rachael Ellering have been expected to show up in NXT for a bit, and supposedly will be in that February class. They’ll be joined by Elliot Sexton: another name from the Wrestling Inc report. You can preview Sexton’s solid promo work in Progress Coast to Coast Seattle, where he took on Brody King.
  • One name you might not be familiar with, Nick Comoroto, was also mentioned in the Wrestling Inc report. He’s held gold in Old Time Wrestling and at the Monster Factory, according to his entry at the Pro Wrestling Fandom Wiki.
  • As rumored, and noted in the previous edition of this column, WALTER signed and showed up at TakeOver: Blackpool, lining up at the front of the line for a shot at Pete Dunne.
  • During an appearance on the NJPW podcast, KUSHIDA took the opportunity to declare “people actually said I wanted to join Bullet Club and couldn’t and that’s why I’m leaving. This isn’t even slightly true.”
  • The signing of Ilja Dragunov to one of the WWE brands is still in the possible category, but we haven’t seen more evidence.

And outside of WWE? The signing rumors are slim to none:

Ring of Honor

  • The Los Ingobernable member RUSH, was officially signed to an exclusive ROH contract, which has already sent ripples. Specifically, MLW announced Rush has been pulled from a main event match against LA Park set for the upcoming tapings in Queens, New York during Mania week. MLW CEO Court Bauer noted “This is a match and organization Rush wanted to be a part of but sometimes politics get in the way and that’s what this comes down to: politics.”


  • Kenny Omega didn’t show up at the Rumble and is expected to sign to AEW, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t expect him to continue his work with NJPW, in some manner, especially as Cody’s interview on the Breaking Kayfabe podcast included his own statement on wanting to work with NJPW in the future.

All Elite Wrestling


  • Curt Stallion: the lone-star state grappler signed an EVOLVE deal, in a hilarious segment that pokes fun at the free agent wars.


  • Maybe Viper isn’t headed to WWE? She was crowned a champ at World of Sport on Jan. 18. She may be dropping it to Bea Priestly, who immediately declared her candidacy. Wrestling Observer Radio says Priestly turned down a WWE deal and AEW is interested.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats