Welcome to the Latest PWI Weekly
Mere hours after last week’s email went out, WWE launched a surprise sequel to last year’s “Black Wednesday” incident, when two dozen wrestlers and personnel were released from their contracts. Exactly one year removed from that day, the company parted ways with a total of nine wrestlers, including some major surprises like Samoa Joe, Billie Kay, and Chelsea Green.
With so many companies currently operating within the U.S. alone, I’m not particularly worried that any of these athletes won’t have a chance to make a living elsewhere. But there was a cruel irony in the fact that this wave of releases also took place on April 15. And, to rub salt into the wounds, Green was released on the anniversary of the firing of her fiance, Matt Cardona (who acknowledged as much on his Twitter account).
WWE likely still has the richest talent roster in the world—arguably, the best collection of in-ring performers ever assembled—but I sometimes wonder if they’re simply signing too many people. Every time there’s a new class of talented recruits to the Performance Center, my first thought is “Congratulations!” But my second thought is always, “Gosh, I hope they’re used to their fullest potential.”
What do you think of last week’s releases? Any thoughts about where those wrestlers might end up? Drop me a line. —Kevin McElvaney
Wrestler Of The Week
As her reign as AEW Women’s World champion crawled ever closer to one full year—we’re at 334 days, at the time of this writing—Hikaru Shida successfully defended her title for the eighth time with a win over Tay Conti. While her schedule of championship defenses is by no means robust, each time Shida has been faced with a capable new challenger, she has summarily dispensed of them and sent them to the back of the proverbial line. Of course, with Britt Baker now announced as the new top contender, her days as champ may be numbered …
This Week In Headlines
From The Vault
At Ring of Honor’s 2013 Death Before Dishonor event, Adam Cole attempts a submission win over Tommaso Ciampa in the semi-finals of the ROH World title tournament. Cole would ultimately defeat Ciampa to qualify for the main-event final against Michael Elgin. Cole was similarly victorious in that encounter, leading him to leave the Pennsylvania National Guard Armory with the ROH championship belt.
A Quick Word About …
Heading into their ambush of Darby Allin at the end of last night’s Dynamite, the team of Ethan Page & Scorpio Sky was undefeated in All Elite Wrestling. However, I’m not so sure that’s a good thing. Between The North and SCU, respectively, Page and Sky have undoubtedly proven themselves to be skilled tag team competitors. Once Page departed Impact Wrestling and traveled south to AEW, it seemed success as a solo act was imminent. Similarly, when Sky won the Face of the Revolution Ladder Match at the company’s most recent PPV, it felt like only a matter of time before he’d capture singles gold. If I may be blunt, this feels like something to keep both men busy until something else is “ready” for them. That’s not a recipe for a great tandem. And, undefeated or not, it’s only a matter of time before the ambitions of one (or both) of these men cause the pairing to implode in some spectacular way. —Liz Hunter
Don’t Miss The Latest Issue Of PWI!
The June issue of Pro Wrestling Illustrated is out now on digital platforms and has begun shipping out to active subscribers. This is our WrestleMania issue, featuring a Hotseat interview with Smackdown Women’s champ Bianca Belair, a look at WrestleMania matches that might have been, and so much more. Here’s a preview of what’s inside:
Feature stories on Keiji Muto, Jonathan Gresham, Shotzi Blackheart, Miro, and Major League Wrestling’s Azteca Underground
New columns from Jordynne Grace and Righteous Reg
12-pages of coverage of the American independent scene
Information about this year’s PWI Poll
It’s a jam-packed issue that you won’t want to be without.
Find it on newsstands starting 4/27, or order your copy now at getpwi.com
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