Oli Davis rounds up the biggest professional wrestling news in his daily WrestleTalk column…
TNA Impact Wrestling have been taping their TV for May over the last several days, and they’ve seen their fair share of shock returns, debuts and title changes. As these happen in not-yet-aired episodes of Impact Wrestling, skip the next few paragraphs if you don’t want to read them.
Spoilers coming in 3…2…
Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner showed up at the final night of Impact Wrestling’s TV tapings on Sunday 23rd April. Steiner has been a main eventer in WCW, WWE and TNA throughout his career, but has been locked in a legal battle with the latter since he was released in 2012, claiming he was owed royalties from the promotion, and that he was injured because TNA officials allowed Jeff Hardy to wrestle him while Hardy was intoxicated.
— SisterAbigail (@SisterAbigail3) April 23, 2017
Which makes his return under Jeff Jarrett’s new regime all the more surprising. In fact, if you were to ask me for odds on a Scott Steiner return to TNA just last Friday, I would’ve given you a 33 ⅓ chance, minus 25%, with a further 75% factored in, to then add 66 ⅔ percents, making it 141 ⅔ against.
Steiner appeared to align himself with Josh Mathews, making the Slammiversary tag match of Mathews and Steiner vs Jeremy Borash and Joseph Parks.
Pro Wrestling Sheet point out that Steiner has been working with Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling since that promotion’s inception, and the merging of both companies might have contributed to Big Poppa Pump’s Impact return.
Continuing the merger on-air, Alberto El Patron defeated Magnus at the tapings to win the GFW title, setting up a champion vs champion match against Bobby Lashley for Slammiversary, and the GFW Tag Titles have been vacated – congratulations Vacant! A tournament has begun which will crown the new champions.
And in another surprise, Matt Sydal – the former Evan Bourne in WWE – returned at the April 21st Impact Wrestling tapings to defeat Trevor Lee with a Shooting Star press. With the recent returns of Low Ki and Sonjay Dutt, Impact’s X Division is looking very promising. Sydal had previously wrestled for TNA from 2004 to 2005.
With the on-air commentator feud of Josh Mathews and JB, Impact would be very smart to pick up Mauro Ranallo once his WWE contract expires in August.
The Smackdown Live announcer hasn’t been on WWE TV since mid-March because of a reported bout of depression. Ranallo is a well-known sufferer of bipolar disorder, and it’s claimed WWE’s bullying corporate culture – specifically the actions of JBL – is what caused his latest episode.
Confirming the suspicions of many, Mauro has now officially confirmed he’s done with the company in a short statement via email to Newsweek:
“WWE and I have mutually agreed to part ways. It has nothing to do with JBL.”
A WWE spokesperson confirmed that Mauro would be leaving the company, but he’ll remain under contract until August 12th – ruling him out of any wrestling commentary until then. JBL also spoke to the site: “WWE addressed my behavior and I responded accordingly, yet my past is being brought up because of recent unfounded rumors. I apologize if anything I said playing ‘the bad guy’ on a TV show was misconstrued.”
The WWE spokesperson also referenced their B. A. Star anti-bullying campaign and that they even investigated the alleged JBL/Ranallo situation, despite a formal complaint never being made.
Dave Meltzer has maintained on Wrestling Observer Radio, however, that the truth will come out in the end.
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