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WWE UNDERCARD TALENTS, WWE GETTING EDGIER, WRESTLING ON HBO MAX, THE BIG STORY I PASSED ON REPORTING AND MORE

By Mike Johnson on 2019-11-01 10:00:00

With a lot of entertainment media promoting Warner's HBO MAX streaming service that is coming in 2020, why haven't we seen any AEW content touted for the service?

I don't think Warner promoted any sports-related content for the service.  I would say it's premature to promote potential AEW content that far in advance.

Has there ever been a story you passed on reporting and then when it broke, it turned out to be a major story?  Did you regret passing on it?

I can only think of one.  I had a source come to me and tell me the entire Matt Hardy-Edge-Lita story.  I trusted the source and confirmed the story was true, but after much discussion, the decision was made that the personal relationship story (at the time) did not have a bearing on the business, so it was out of bounds to report and we let the story go.  A few days (possibly a week later), someone else reported it and it blew up into a massive deal that changed the trajectory of the careers of all involved.  It was the first case of a personal situation having a ripple effect on how talents were booked creatively.  However, even with hindsight being what it is, I have zero regrets about passing on the story, as at the time, it was a private, personal matter between three people that, in our minds, had no bearing on their jobs or the pro wrestling industry.  Others felt differently, as was their rights, and we saw what the ripple effect turned out to be.  I continue to believe that unless a personal matter becomes a situation that has a direct bearing on the business of pro wrestling, it remains out of bounds.

Has there ever been a story you personally regretted reporting?

No.   I hate to break stories about injuries and arrests, but those have a bearing on the business, so I have to do my job writing about them.  I've had to write about people I personally like a lot being arrested and that's never fun, but it's the job I chose to do and I can't start regretting such things.  As a reporter, your duty is to your readership.

With WWE getting edgier of late with the Lana-Lashley-Rusev storyline, do you think they will back up on the blood ban?

Not at all.  You can be edgy without the blood aspect of pro wrestling.  WWE has been very adamant that they have zero plans to go that route, except in cases where they use fake blood, as they did at the end of Hell In A Cell with Seth Rollins.

I saw B Team on the Crown Jewel show.  Why does WWE keep these guys (and others like them) under contract if they have nothing for them?

WWE has talents under contract who play minor roles, no different from a TV series that has supporting characters.  Certainly there are talented performers who could always be used in a greater fashion in every company, but they are cast in certain roles and it's their job to portray them.  B-Team and others are signed and paid a guaranteed contract for their work, but there's no promise they'll all be used as main eventers.  They are there to be utility players - putting over others, working undercard matches, doing comedy, doing community outreach, representing the company, etc.  That is what WWE has for them.

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