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By Mike Johnson on 2020-12-25 10:00:00

 I was wondering if there was any update on Zelina Vega and her plight after leaving WWE?  I follow all the WWE stars on Instagram and despite the third party stuff, there's still talents like Elias doing promotions of outside company for his gear and for all the Onlyfans talk, there's Liv Morgan and Chelsea Green posting thirst traps on their IG, so what the hell did this woman get fired for?  I don't get it.  Xavier Woods can have a G4 job, Maryse can promote face creams on Miz & Mrs., Sasha Banks can be in Star Wars but Zelina got fired?

There's been no update as far as I know, but I do think that if a talent is doing any third-party promotional work and WWE is allowing it, that's pretty bad on everyone's part, because if Vega/Thea Trinidad wanted to sue and claim she was treated unfairly in comparison to other talents, there's at least an argument that the proof, to paraphrase Fox Mulder, is out there.  I would think the right lawyer would say all of that is actionable if they could prove WWE didn't police their talents equally across the board.

You mention Xavier Woods and G4 and Sasha Banks.  For the Woods stuff, G4 is owned by NBC Universal, who is a WWE partner, so my guess is that all flowed through WWE.  Banks got her Star Wars gig outside of WWE and you've seen they have done zero to really promote it in comparison to other, similar appearances.    The Maryse stuff was obviously through WWE as it would never have appeared on their reality show if it wasn't approved in some fashion as a product placement.  I guess WWE could argue the IG stuff is free and talents aren't making money on it, but anyone even remotely familiar with IG and the term influencer knows that's not really the case.  Elias promoting third-party stuff certainly is one you can point to and say is extremely unfair, especially if WWE came down on a woman for something they are letting a male performer do.  That isn't right at all in my mind.

As far as why Vega got terminated, as we have written in the past, she was vocal about wanting to speak with Vince McMahon about the situation and we are told there were numerous tapings where she waited outside his office for long periods of time to see him, only for it never to happen.  It could be they felt she rocked the boat too hard and just didn't want to deal with it.  I interviewed the former Sin Cara a few weeks back and he noted that at one point, all he wanted was to have a conversation with Vince McMahon and it was made clear he wasn't going to get it and that was part of the reason he felt he needed to walk away from the company and do his own thing as Cinta de Oro.  a

As far as an update, she's still, to the best of my knowledge, under the 90 day no compete and until that expires, she's still technically under contract.  WWE could even, as they once did with Matt Hardy, turn around and bring her back into the fold by coming to terms with her.  If they did that, all the talk of fairness and unionization would go away, if that's what she wanted.  Until or unless she's free of her WWE deal, I don't see anything new coming to public light, so I guess, stay tuned for 2021?

Is it fair to say WWE iced Aleister Black because of his wife's firing?

I am told that is not the case and that the plan was for him to return in 2021.  Let's face it, the booking for him on Raw was in many ways, abjectly terrible.  He was moved to Smackdown and I can see the argument that he needed to disappear in order to come back fresh and stronger.  My gut is that's what is happening here, but if he's not back by say, Royal Rumble, certainly people will be wondering what's going on here and will start making the connection to his wife's termination more and more.

Why was Ric Flair's first run in WWF at the time so short? I've heard once that it  was cause if he wasn't going to always be booked as a main eventer then that he didn't want to stay. Is that true? Or is there another reason? I believe if Ric had stayed around, he would had great matches with those that at the time where coming up in the business like Shawn Michaels, Diesel, 123 Kid or Razor  Ramon. Can you fill me in?

Ric Flair and Vince McMahon had a verbal agreement that if Flair wasn't going to be used in a main event position and had an offer to go elsewhere, he would be released from his contract.  McMahon respected Flair and his legacy enough to give him that promise.  In early 1993, Flair was going to be moved down towards a mid-card position following runs with Roddy Piper, Bret Hart, Randy Savage and Hulk Hogan and received an offer to return to WCW from Bill Watts.  Flair asked for the release and McMahon stayed true to his word, giving Flair an unconditional release after he worked a few weeks of TV and house shows putting over Curt Hennig and Randy Savage. 

Where did Malcolm Bivens come from?  He's really damn entertaining in that 1980s manager sort of role.

Bivens is from the NYC area and worked Ring of Honor and EVOLVE prior to signing with WWE.  I agree with you on his upside.  He's great.

I am supposed to go to Universal Orlando next month and was wondering where they taped Impact?

It was usually Soundstage 21.  There may even be a small plaque outside listing the series was shot there.

What was the worst weather conditions you attended a show in?

If you mean a traditional show, I certainly drove through a few blizzards to attend ECW shows over the years.  If you mean outdoors, I once attended an outdor ECW show that took place DURING a tornado warning.    I also remember driving from Birmingham, Alabama to Atlanta, GA after a PPV in 2000 and literally watching things flying across the road because there was an imminent threat of a tornado hitting the area.  Looking back, not smart or fun!

What was the worst travel experience you had covering pro wrestling?

A few summers ago, I was covering a convention in Charlotte and had a 7 PM flight home on a Sunday.  As soon as I walked through TSA, I received a text telling me my flight would be delayed until 10.  10 PM turned into 1 AM and that then turned into the flight was canceled and I was rebooked to fly home FOUR days later.  My only other option was to now rent a car at 2 AM, drive to Raleigh, NC in the middle of night (including having to stop as a herd of deer ran across the highway), return the car and hope to catch the 6 AM flight to Boston, then wait standby to then get on a flight to NYC.  I arrived in Boston at 9:30 AM and waited until 4 PM to get on another flight.  I landed in NYC at 5:15 and with traffic, walked in my house at 7 PM, a full 24 hours after my initial flight was to take off!  The worst part of it was that by the time the first flight had been canceled, I could have driven back to NYC in much less time had I just left at 12 Noon that Sunday afternoon.  To this day, I was so overtired and exhausted when I finally walked in my house that I have zero recollection of much of the next day.  As much as it sucked - and it did - it's a reminder of what talents put themselves through on a weekly basis and then go bump in the ring on top of it.  That's why so many talents joke they get paid to travel and then wrestle for free.

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