Friday, April 16, 2021

On The Air: Grit & Glory (2021)

 This past winter, WWE contracted with Chevrolet to produce an online interview series, Grit & Glory, hosted by former NXT, Ring of Honor, & WWE US champion Samoa Joe, who was moved to the broadcast desk last year after a series of concussions put him on the injured list.

There might not be a 2nd season after the company's annual spring cleaning yesterday.

Joe, age 42, was among 10 wrestlers cut from the roster. We'll talk more about that after you watch this installment of Grit & Glory with 2-time Intercontinental champion, multi-time tag champion, and former US champion Big E:

Since the episode was released in February, Big E has dropped the IC title to Apollo Crews at Wrestlemania. Four days later came the spring purge. It's not a coincidence that former director of talent relations John Laurinaitis, step-father to Hall of Famers the Bella Twins, was the hatchetman, meaning he was restored to his former position. And you wonder why some of these folks got the ax:

In addition to Samoa Joe, there were:

The IIconics (Peyton Royce & Billie Kay): The Australian duo were split up for storyline reasons last year, but Vince McMahon gave up on pushing either one as a single almost immediately, making folks question why the former women's tag team champions were split in the first place. Billie appeared at Wrestlemania, partnered with former women's champion Carmella, in a tag team turmoil tournament.

Next stop?: Royce is married to AEW's Shawn Spears, and everyone's assuming that's next, although Impact has a women's tag team division, and AEW does not.

Mojo Rawley: Being pals with Super Bowl hero/detergent shill Rob Gronkowski doesn't guarantee anything. Mojo was another victim of McMahon constantly changing his plans on a minute-by-minute whim (partially because of his advanced age).

Next stop?: Impact seems likely, since he could reform the Hype Bros with Matt Cardona (fka Zack Ryder), though AEW is always going to be a possible destination.

Chelsea Green: Someone check and see if she walked under a ladder in 2020.

Green, who was a women's champion with Impact as Laurel Van Ness a couple of years back, barely had time for a cup of coffee when she was moved from NXT to Smackdown last fall. A broken wrist in her only match for the blue brand put her on the shelf.

Next stop?: Some are already suggesting a return to Impact, since Cardona, her fiancee, is there. AEW and Ring of Honor are also possible.

Bo Dallas: A clear example of creative not knowing what to do with a 3rd generation (dad is Syracuse product Mike Rotunda, grandpa is Blackjack Mulligan) talent who was a tag team champion not too long ago. Many believe he could've been added to his brother Bray Wyatt's act as The Fiend, but the creative dimwits didn't see it. Dallas (real name: Taylor Rotunda) had been on the inactive list for 18 months.

Next stop?: I'm guessing AEW would be a better fit.

Mickie James: This one hurts. A 6-time women's champion during her first run (December 2005-April 2010), Mickie was last seen doing pre-show commentary prior to NXT Takeover: Stand & Deliver last week, but the creative idiots were reluctant to put her back in the ring on a steady basis, when she can help get younger, fresher talents over.

Next stop?: The most likely destination is the National Wrestling Alliance, where her husband, Nick Aldis, is the current World champion. Otherwise, AEW or a return to Impact is possible.

Kallisto: Formerly with the Lucha House Party after runs with the US & Cruiserweight titles, Kallisto had largely been off television until last week's Smackdown.

Next Stop?: Mexico, ROH, or AEW.

Wesley Blake: Former tag team champion in NXT, Blake was called up with Jaxson Ryker & Steve Cutler as the Forgotten Sons several months ago, but Ryker's political issues got in the way. Ryker was spun off from the team, and Cutler (released earlier in the winter) & Blake were rebooted as lackeys for Baron Corbin toward the end of last year for what amounted to a cup of coffee. He & his wife, former NXT wrestler Sara Lee, just welcomed their 3rd child. Some present.

Next stop?: Your guess is as good as mine.

Tucker Knight: It was bad enough that copyright-obsessed Vince McMahon stripped away Tucker's surname when Heavy Machinery was called up in 2019. Then, the team was split up in October via storyline contrivances involving the Miz. A planned feud with ex-partner Otis never materialized.

Next stop?: The Twilight Zone! Just kidding. Have no clue.

Back to Joe. It's been speculated that his injury history contributed to WWE's decision to cut him loose, but smart money is they'll regret that as soon as Joe gets past the 90-day no compete clause in July. Returning to ROH or Impact is certainly possible, and people are also touting Japan or AEW.

Grit & Glory gets an A.

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