Coming on the heels of WWE announcing the first eight competitors for the upcoming United Kingdom Championship Tournament in June (you can see that here), it appears that the company may be looking to fill out the division.
According to Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio, WWE has offered contracts to roughly 20 independent stars, primarily out of the United Kingdom. Reportedly, names like El Ligero, Joe Coffey, Dave Mastiff, Chris Brookes, Eddie Dennis and Travis Banks have all either signed or received an offer, in addition to New Zealand’s Toni Storm. Storm had previously been advertised for the United Kingdom Championship Tournament (which you can read here), but obviously the thought is she would be signed for NXT.
There’s speculation that WWE is making a push to sign more United Kingdom stars to keep them away from ITV World Of Sport. It was previously revealed by Triple H that there would be an announcement regarding the future of WWE’s United Kingdom Division (check that out here), the current rumors being that it could involve a local television deal.
EA’s Take: I’ve definitely crapped on some of Meltzer’s stuff before, but this one does make a lot of sense with the participants that were announced for the UK Tournament earlier. I did say it was unusual there would be so many non-contracted talents competing, so it lines up. Triple H had also spoken previously about expanding NXT (read that here) and having developmental territories across the world and I think this is already the first signs of that long-term plan. I think we could see more of this in other countries in-terms of WWE “swiping up” talent as well. The one that will be REALLY interesting to see? If people are upset because of World Of Sport losing talent, just wait until WWE tries Japan whenever that day eventually comes.
*BREAKING* WWE Reinstates Hulk Hogan Into The Hall Of Fame
As noted earlier today, Hulk Hogan was seen flying into Cleveland, Ohio last night, which normally wouldn’t be news, however tonight’s WWE Extreme Rules takes place in Pittsburgh tonight, merely a couple hour drive away. This of course sparked loads of speculation regarding Hulk possibly appearing at tonight’s event, as the multi-time World Champion did not have any appearances scheduled in the area and also attempted to throw fans off as to his whereabouts (for everything on that go here).
WWE has now just announced that following his suspension three years ago after racially charged comments from Hulk went public, he has now been reinstated into the WWE Hall Of Fame:
— WWE (@WWE) July 15, 2018
Hulk has said in recent interviews that progress was being made about a return to the company he’s synonymous with, even commenting that talks were moving “quite quickly” (check that out here). At this time, it’s still not known if Hogan will be seen at Extreme Rules tonight. Below is WWE’s official announcement:
STAMFORD, Conn. — After a three-year suspension, Hulk Hogan has been reinstated into the WWE Hall of Fame. This second chance follows Hogan’s numerous public apologies and volunteering to work with young people, where he is helping them learn from his mistake. These efforts led to a recent induction into the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Alumni Hall of Fame.
WWE News: WWE Reportedly Signs Crash & Aro Lucha Talent
We’ve seen the WWE seemingly up their game in the past few months when it comes to signing new talent, recently holding a massive tryout at the Performance Center (check out that here) and also inking names like Io Shirai, Deonna Purrazzo and Keith Lee to contracts among others. The launch of the NXT UK brand also brought a host of signings (for more on that go here), in what seem to be the first steps towards Triple H’s ultimate vision (read about that here).
In some more signing news today, Squared Circle Sirens is reporting via LuchaCentral that ‘Pretty Reckless’ Lacey Lane has signed a developmental deal with WWE. The 30-year old got her start in the business with The Dudley Boyz’s Team 3D Academy, reportedly making her pro debut on August 25th, 2016. In that short time, Lane has been Women’s Champion for The Crash Lucha Libre promotion and more recently could be seen with Aro Lucha on a fairly regular basis.
Lane previously had a developmental offer on the table with WWE, stating on an episode of the Spinning Heel Kick Podcast that she would be reporting to the Performance Center in March 2017. However, the deal was taken off of the table when it was discovered she had arthritis in her knee. At this time, it’s not known if Lane would be used for the Mae Young Classic as of yet with only six names announced thus far (find those here).
WWE News: Betting Odds For Tonight’s Extreme Rules
Less than six hours remain before the Kickoff for tonight’s WWE Extreme Rules gets underway inside the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh. With rumors already swirling about who may make a surprise appearance (for more on that go here), the latest betting lines for every match (including the two on the Kickoff) on the card are now also in.
Sky Bet has the updated lines and there’s been some movement in a couple of matches. Previously, Team Hell No was favored to defeat The Bludgeon Brothers (this doesn’t necessarily mean they were favored to win the titles, just the match), but that has now shifted and the champions now have the odds leaning their way. Additionally, Finn Balor was originally favored to win his match against Baron Corbin, but that is now at a coin flip. Here’s the latest lines:
- AJ Styles vs. Rusev: Styles 1/4, Rusev 11/4
- Alexa Bliss vs. Nia Jax: Bliss 4/5, Jax 10/11
- The Deleters Of Worlds vs. The B-Team: Deleters 1/3, B-Team 9/4
- Carmella vs. Asuka: Carmella 5/6, Asuka 5/6
- Bludgeon Brothers vs. Team Hell No: Bludgeon 4/6, Hell No 11/10
- Dolph Ziggler vs. Seth Rollins: Ziggler 5/4, Rollins 4/7
- Bobby Lashley vs. Roman Reigns: Lashley 5/6, Reigns 5/6
- Jeff Hardy vs. Shinsuke Nakamura: Hardy 2/1, Nakamura 4/11
- Baron Corbin vs. Finn Balor: Corbin 4/5, Balor 10/11
- Braun Strowman vs. Kevin Owens: Strowman 4/11, Owens 2/1
- The New Day vs. SAnitY: New Day 9/4, SAnitY 1/3
- Andrade ‘Cien’ Almas vs. Sin Cara: Almas 1/6, Sin Cara 7/2