By Bayani Domingo, Associate Editor
I recently read a report that recently signed Indy star Lio Rush was on his way to being released after only 2 matches due to a Twitter post where he commented on the reason for Emma being fired was that “I guess she wasn’t ready for Asuka”. It was a fairly innocuous comment that wasn’t a huge dig at Emma. Lio also doesn’t have a huge following on social media so the fact that a fairly benign comment touting Asuka’s own catchphrase might cause his release is mindboggling. To be fair, I don’t know whether other factors were involved or it was his reaction to being talked to about this, but if it was a simple matter of a very small dig at an outgoing performer then perhaps the E needs to reconsider how they handle these cases on a seemingly case-by-case basis inconsistently.
There was a recent episode of “Total Divas” where Lana had posted a pic of her shoulder being up while Naomi scored a pin fall victory over her. While she had regrets soon after, she was actually rewarded with another championship match afterward. In fact, she was given 2 championship matches after her social media post. We’ve also seen other wrestlers engage in on-line feuds in the past, which have either been ignored or incorporated into angles. There was another report that the week before Paige returned to RAW officially, she was actually set to return, but because she had posted some pics of her backstage right before the show aired on her Instagram, the plans were scrapped. My guess is she got a slap on the wrist. Surprising, because she is returning to the E after becoming a huge pain in the ass after her sex tape was leaked…but apparently, she’s been training for those kinds of pains in the ass.
This isn’t merely a recent E problem either. Earlier this year Bram was kicked of a show in Japan for posting a pic of him “taking a nap” in a Japanese convenience store’s freezer. One would think that anyone working in Japan would understand the significant differences in culture and manners. Matt Hardy was famously fired after an online rant against Lita and Edge years ago, only to then use social media to cause such a stir that he returned…to job out to Edge. Cody Rhodes left the E with a cryptic photo of a list showing goals he wanted to achieve on the Indy scene and it suddenly shot him to the top of booking lists and he became the IWC’s darling in 2017.
Social media is now a dual edged sword. In some cases, the wrestler(s) are in concert with their companies in order to orchestra or continue feuds, even sparking interest that lead to huge headlining matches like Chris Jericho vs Kenny Omega. Other times it’s just a wrestler who is either not thinking about their consequences, like Sasha Banks deriding the anti-bullying campaign by the WWE, then being moved to 205 Live and dropped from title contention for a spell, or trying to get themselves over with fans instead of with the people that are truly in charge of their careers. Do you really think if the E took fan’s opinions into consideration as the #1 factor in determining a wrestler’s career that CM Punk, Daniel Bryan, or Bray Wyatt would’ve had to wait as long as they had to-to become a champion? Or Low Ki would’ve been shit on as much as he had after winning the 2nd season of “NXT”? As a matter of fact, it doesn’t even mean that you have to be guilty of doing something questionable on-line currently to feel the consequences. Zahra Schreiber, better known as Seth Rollins ex, was let go after pics were found of her on-line with pro-Nazi artwork on old Instagram posts.
If you were hoping that by the end of this column I’d have an answer for all this, unfortunately I don’t. Outside, of course, the obvious: If you are or ever hope to become famous, you had better scrutinize what you post on-line very closely because it might come back to haunt you later. Even in the real world an employer can decide to terminate an employee if they are found to have posted on their social media anything they deem to be illegal, inappropriate, or morally against the company’s values. When you’re in the public eye it’s even more important. To be fair, it’s partially the E’s fault for not having a standard policy, then having all their talent attend a training to learn what that is.
What we are seeing, however is that wrestling companies have taken very different stances on what they deem punishable and what they allow to slide by with a slap on the wrist. A potential 205 Live wrestler and NXT newbie like Lio Rush may be fired, but Paige gets a huge push. The E cuts ties with their biggest star in their history, yet proudly tout their ties to probably the most controversial President in the history of the country. There really aren’t any rules in the world of Social Media, but I’ll be damned if wrestling isn’t trying to make them up on the spot. Geez, it’s like Russo got his hands on the Social Media usage guidelines and is trying to book it like a WCW PPV.
- More speculation on the 4 Horsewomen of MMA reuniting in NXT soon. I think people will be surprised when it turns out that Shayna Baszler is the Ric Flair of the group. Because as they say, “To BE the man, you’ve got to BEAT the man”, and…she might actually BE a man.
- The E had a tour in the UAE recently, and to abide by the standards in Dubai, to have their first ever women’s match there Alexa Bliss and Sacha Banks had to wear full body suits to cover themselves and hide their bodies. Said Kevin Owens: I could get used to this place.
- I had no clue what “Tabarnak de Team” meant. I had to google that shit. It apparently means, “a crap ton of” or something. So…those two guys are essentially “A shit load of team”? I’m sure in Canadian it makes sense, but with the exchange rate now, when they wrestle in the US, they’re really only “Quite a bit de Team”. Doesn’t really roll off the tongue, eh?
- “Absolution” is a weird name for a stable. Especially for an all-female group. I’ve got to think this leads to them bringing back “Unforgiven” as a PPV. Which in turn means to be fair, they’re creating a new PPV called “Sapphire Fracas” for the SDL women.
- Btw, if you debut 2 different women’s factions on TV for 2 different shows, you can’t allow the 2nd in command of one group beat the leader of the other on NXT. It’s like if on The Walking Dead, Negan found out that he’s been dreaming all of last and this season and after he bludgeoned Glen, the whole group actually gave up. Rick has actually been the Saviors’ Bikram Yoga instructor the past 4 months.
Lars Sullivan has an interesting look…like if you took Brock Lesner when he debuted in 2002, and asked your 4-year-old to make him again in “Create-A-Wrestler” mode on WWE 2K17.
- The “Ace” of NJPW, Tanahashi, is apparently off the rest of the World League Tag tour after an injury has sidelined him. I don’t have a joke for that…but it allows a loose segue into the question: When you hear “High Fly Flow” does anyone else think about the reason you have to jerk off in the bathroom after she goes to sleep? Anyone? No one? Fine.
- Michael Elgin has quit Twitter, sold his Indy promotion “Glory Pro” and been dropped from a booking due to allegations that he had knowledge of a sexual assault that had taken place between one of his students and a fan backstage at one of his shows earlier this year. So, I guess the woman …Ring Ratted out the wrestler? Look, sexual assault is a serious accusation and I don’t condone it in the least. You would think that if a woman isn’t safe backstage at a small Indy wrestling event, then she is probably not safe in any…Alabama Mall.
- Ric Flair has been featured in a video and on a song with Reggaetone artist “Bad Bunny”. Which is an…interesting name for a rapper. Unless…the producer that discovered him was Elmer Fudd.
- John Impact and Taya Valkyrie have reportedly re-upped their contracts with IMPACT this week. Which is surprising, since you’ve gotta assume Johnny was never going to be able to gain a work visa when he has 18 different Passports. “Uh, sir, this one says Nitro….and…this one here says Number 5….”.
- It looks like IMPACT Wrestling is now the first major Canadian wrestling company after the management and talent have begun to migrate there. It kind of explains why LAX was suddenly turned semi-face. I mean, what did Canada ever do to Latinos? I’m not looking forward to their rebranded shirts however, “LAX-A”.
- I’ve been watching too much CNN and MSNBC, because when I heard that latest “Jobs Report” came out, I just assumed it was Dolph Zigler’s latest Podcast episode…
- So…he went from “Broken” Matt Hardy, to “Woken” Matt Hardy? I see a pattern here. Can’t wait till he gets traded to SDL after the gimmick loses steam and joins The New Day to become, “Token” Matt Hardy.