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WWE’s “Big Internal Focus” Revealed ; May 26th Live Wrestling News Round-Up

Welcome to the May 25th Inside The Ropes Live blog, bringing you the latest news from WWE, AEW, NJPW, IMPACT Wrestling and more.

Today’s biggest stories:

  • WWE’s ‘big internal focus’ revealed.
  • WWE’s long term plans for Cody Rhodes revealed.
  • Tony Khan comments on Sting’s looming retirement.
  • Kota Ibushi still interested in WWE deal.

 Get involved and send us your thoughts to join in the conversation.

Alundra Blayze

Madusa Reveals How Little Money She Made In WWE And WCW

Madusa has admitted that her wrestling career wasn’t as lucrative as fans might have imagined.

Speaking exclusively to Nick Hausman for Inside The Ropes, Madusa looked back on the peak of her career and opened up about the frustration she felt at the time. The WWE Hall of Famer said that WCW promised that she would become the face of a newly rebuilt women’s division, and much like in the WWF it never happened. To make matters worse while top male stars were earning well over $500,000 per year, she was making only $75,000.

You can read Madusa full comments, here.

Alundra Blayze

Madusa Describes Depraved Behaviour Of Male WWF Stars

Exclusive - Madusa

Madusa has lifted the lid on the “sick” behaviour of some WWF stars during the 1990s.

During an exclusive interview with Nick Hausman for Inside The Ropes, Madusa was asked about her own experiences of dealing with Vince McMahon, and whether she had ever been put in uncomfortable positions during her career.

The veteran explained that while McMahon never did anything to her personally, her principled stance may have cost her bigger contracts financially, noting “There were girls that came in that had a lot less experience than I did in the ring and got a lot more than I did.”

When asked if she had been put into uncomfortable positions, Madua urged fans to read her book, before discussing some of the distressing things she saw behind the scenes. The star said that despite people complaining at the time, nothing ever got done, revealing that she was held back because she spoke up.

You can read this Inside The Ropes exclusive interview, here.

Cody Rhodes

WWE Night of Champions Media Event - Cody Rhodes Arrives

Cody Rhodes has arrived at the WWE Media Event in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Rhodes is met by a thunderous ‘WOAH’ as his entrance theme blasts across the event.

He addresses his opponent at WWE’s Night of Champions PLE Brock Lesnar as he is met by a “we love you chant” from the Jeddah natives.

Rhodes calls Lesnar a future WWE and UFC Hall of Fame but states he has beaten him once and did it in less than ten minutes, so nothing is going to stop him doing the same thing again tomorrow.

You can check out the live broadcast below ⬇️

Triple H

WWE Night of Champions Media Event LIVE

Tomorrow night WWE will present Night of Champions a PLE broadcasting live from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Ahead of the event Triple H has taken to the media for the Night of Champions media event which is currently broadcasting live on WWE’s YouTube.

You can check out the live broadcast below ⬇️

AJ Styles

AJ Styles Comments On Aiming For A "Strong Finish" To His Career

Ahead of AJ Styles’ WWE World Heavyweight Championship match tomorrow against Seth Rollins, hear what ‘The Phenomenal One’ had to say about the end of his career in this exclusive interview with Alex McCarthy of Daily Sport.

Eric Young

Eric Young Teases A “Big Change” Following WWE Signing

SAnitY Eric Young Alexander Wolfe Big Damo

Back in April, it was reported that former NXT Tag Team Champion Eric Young was once again signed to WWE.

According to the report from Fightful Select, Young re-signed with the company as far back as November 1st when his IMPACT Wrestling contract was through. However, he continued to appear on IMPACT programming in pre-taped segments, last appearing on the December 1st episode.

Despite having been under contract with the sports entertainment giant for a number of months, Young has yet to appear on WWE television. However, he recently took to social media to tease that a “big change” was coming soon and that he would see his fans “soon.”

You can read Young’s full statement, here.

What would you like to see Eric Young do in WWE? Let us know using the ‘get involved’ feature at the top of the page!


Jamie Hayter "Banged Up" Ahead of Double Or Nothing

Jamie Hayter entrance at AEW Revolution.

AEW Women’s World Champion Jamie Hayter is said to be “banged up” going into Double or Nothing.

The star was pulled from the May 17th edition of Dynamite with Tony Khan announcing that she was injured.

On the latest edition of Fightful’s After Dynamite show, Sean Ross Sapp noted that Hayter is “hurt”, adding that he believes we could see a big shift in the AEW women’s division in the very near future.

You can read the full report, here.

Theodore Long

Teddy Long Reveals Bizarre Dream WrestleMania Main Event

Teddy Long

Teddy Long has named his surreal WrestleMania dream match.

During a special Q&A edition of Sportskeeda’s Wrestling Time Machine, WWE Hall of Famer Teddy Long was asked to name his WrestleMania dream match and surprisingly picked a match involving Strowman. However, that was nothing compared to the surprise of his opponent, AEW World Champion, MJF.

“For WrestleMania, I’ll tell you what, I’d like to give them, maybe, MJF and Braun Strowman.”

Speaking on an earlier episode of the podcast, Long discussed the status of Randy Orton as speculation about his future continues to swirl. After it came to light that doctors have told Orton not to wrestle again, the former SmackDown General Manager believes that’s a sign that he should step away from the ring.

You can read more about that, here.

What is your dream WrestleMania main event? Let us know using the ‘get involved’ feature at the top of the page!


WWE Night of Champions Predictions

This Saturday WWE will present their returning Night of Champions PLE from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

During the show a new WWE World Heavyweight Champion will be crowned and Roman Reigns will have the chance to capture another two WWE Championships.

Here are my predictions for tomorrow night’s show:

  • Seth “Freakin” Rollins defeats AJ Styles for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship
  • Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens defeat Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships
  • Asuka defeats Bianca Belair for the Raw Women’s Championship
  • GUNTHER defeats Mustafa Ali for the WWE Intercontinental Championship
  • Becky Lynch defeats Trish Stratus
  • Rhea Ripley defeats Natalya for the SmackDown Women’s Championship

Let us know your predictions for tomorrow evening’s show and we will share them throughout this afternoon, right here on the ITR live blog!

Steve Austin

Steve Austin Reveals Recent Message To CM Punk

Steve Austin

Stone Cold Steve Austin opened up about the details of a recent message he sent to CM Punk.

Speaking in a new interview with SI Media, Austin was asked about the ongoing situation between CM Punk and AEW. The Texas Rattlesnake answered that he recently had a conversation with Punk about his dog Larry and his recent triceps injury.

“I just sent a message to Punk yesterday and we were just talking about his dog. He posted a picture of his dog and I sent him a message. I heard through the grapevine that he pulled his tricep. I said, ‘Did you tear your tricep?’, and he confirmed that he had. I don’t know where he is on the healing process.”

When it comes to the uncertainty surrounding Punk’s potential return to the company, Steve Austin says he doesn’t know the details of the situation and admits he doesn’t watch AEW programming.

You can read these full comments, here.

Are you looking forward to CM Punk’s AEW return in just 22 days? Let us know by hitting the thumbs below!


Celtic Warrior Workouts With Sheamus & IndyCar's Rinus VeeKay

In the week leading into the Indy 500, Sheamus joins 22-year-old IndyCar racer Rinus VeeKay for his workout session before the big race. See how Rinus and other IndyCar drivers stay in shape and why it’s crucial for their races, and watch the Indy 500 live this Sunday on Peacock at 11 a.m. ET.

You can watch the full episode of Celtic Warrior Workouts with Rinus VeeKay below ⬇️

New Japan

NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 2023 Final Set

New Japan Pro Wrestling

The 2023 Best of the Super Juniors finals are set and it features once of the companies rising home grown stars taking on a major international name.

During today’s NJPW Best of the Super Juniors semi-finals, Master Wato would defeat fan favourite Mike Bailey before El Desparado would fall short in the shows main event allowing international sensation Titan to book his ticket to the finals.

Master Wato and Titan will face off in the main event of Sunday’s show for the chance to win NJPW’s most prestigious Junior Heavyweight tournament and punch their ticket to a future IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship opportunity.

You can watch the full show for free legally, here.

Will you be tuning in to the tournament finals this Sunday? Let us know by hitting the thumbs below!

Jim Cornette

Jim Cornette's UNTOLD Frustration With MJF's Booking

Jim Cornette spoke to Kenny McIntosh about his frustrations with Tony Khan’s booking of MJF and the AEW Championship heading into Double Or Nothing

Check out this previously unseen interview clip below ⬇️

Sami Zayn

Sami Zayn Makes Pilgrimage To Islamic Holy City of Mecca

WWE Night of Champions Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens (c) vs. Roman Reigns and Solo Sikoa - Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championships

Sami Zayn has taken to social media to share incredible photos of himself inside Mecca, the birthplace of the religion of Islam and one of the holiest cities in the world.

Writing on Twitter, the WWE Tag Team Champion would state@

“Being a pro wrestler and being with WWE has taken me to places I never dreamed I’d get to see and do things I never thought I’d get to do. It has provided me a life filled with incredible experiences that I will cherish forever. This one is at the top of the list. الحمدلله”

Mecca is located just 88km from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and the Islamic faith itself. Only Muslims are allowed in the city, with millions arriving for the annual Hajj (pilgrimage).

Hajj typically takes place in July each year tying in with the Dhul Hijjah (the twelfth and final month of the Islamic calendar), however Zayn is clearly making great use of his time in Saudi Arabia for WWE’s Night of Champions PLE set to take place in Jeddah on Saturday May 27th.

You can check out Zayn’s photos and post in full, here.

Vince McMahon

Vince McMahon Had "No Idea" Who AJ Styles Was Prior To WWE Signing

WWE Night of Champions Seth Rollins vs. AJ Styles - World Heavyweight Championship

Former WWE Champion AJ Styles has revealed that Vince McMahon had no idea who he was when he joined the company, despite his extended time in TNA and NJPW.

In a new interview with Mark Andrews of My Love Letter to Wrestling, Styles said that McMahon had no idea who he was, and there were no plans for him on Raw the night after his debut. This led to him having a basic match on the show with Chris Jericho because that’s what he thought McMahon wanted.

“Vince McMahon had no idea who I was. There’s no way because he had no plans for me after the Royal Rumble. I wasn’t supposed to be at Raw the next day.

Yeah, so he just thought it was a fluke that I got the pop that I did in Orlando and I didn’t need to be on TV but I was and I had a very basic match because I thought that Vince wanted to see a babyface be a babyface.”

You can read Styles’ full comments from the interview, here.


Update On AEW's New TV Deal

AEW Warner Bros Discovery logos

Writing in this morning’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer has provided an update on AEW’s new TV dealing revealing that it did not include an extension for either Rampage or Dynamite.

When WBD first signed AEW back in 2020 they included an optional year extension at the end of the deal that would see Rampage and Dynamite remain with them without any additional cost increase, something that could prove a significant bargain to WBD given AEW’s ascendancy since the partnership began three years ago.

You can read Dave’s full comments below:

Regarding the television deal, the new deal did not include an extension for either Dynamite or Rampage.

We are told that talks are going on right now regarding the option year, which would come at a somewhat significant increase,. But that option year number was something agreed on in 2020, and would be way under the value of sports delivering the same level of numbers for 2024.

WBD does have the option year it can pick up at what I’d consider a bargain price, and it’s not like WBD is looking at increasing spending if it legally can keep a property without doing so.”

If you were WBD would you extend AEW’s contract for the optional year? Let us know by hitting the thumbs below!

Steve Austin

Steve Austin Made Over $10,000,000 From Austin 3:16 Merchandise

Steve Austin WrestleMania 19

WWE Hall of Famer has revealed that he has earnt over eight figures in WWE royalties from his Austin 3:16 t-shirts alone!

Appearing on SI Media with Jimmy Traina, Austin revealed that the shirt has helped net him a staggering eight figures.

“I don’t know how much. I mean, it’s definitely seven figures, probably eight figures now. In WWE you get your royalty checks every quarter.”

Continuing on, the WWE Hall of Famer explained that the popularity of the shirt forced a change in how WWE’s merchandise royalties worked. Austin said that it quickly became apparent that the sales didn’t reflect what he was earning in royalties, so asked Vince McMahon to change the deal.

You can read more about these changes and the influence of Steve Austin, here.

Is Austin 3:16 the most iconic piece of WWE merchandise of all time? Let us know by hitting the thumbs below!

Kota Ibushi

Kota Ibushi Remains Open To WWE Switch

Kenny Omega Kota Ibushi

Kota Ibushi is one of wrestling’s hottest free agents and despite interest from AEW he remains interested in a move to the WWE IF certain criteria are met.

Writing in this morning’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer has revealed that Ibushi remains open to a deal with the WWE if he is allowed to work with Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura.

Additionally, Meltzer has revealed that Ibushi would only agree on a deal if he was allowed to work in the WWE Performance Center helping to train the next generation of talent.

“Kota Ibushi said he would still be interested in WWE if he could work with Zayn and Nakamura and help train wrestlers.”

Would you like to see Ibushi sign for the WWE? Let us know using the thumbs below!

Vince McMahon

Former WWE Talent Reveals Vince McMahon's Bizarre Shoe Habit

Vince McMahon Trish Stratus

A former WWE employee details Vince McMahon’s bizarre fascination with… stealing shoes?!

Speaking in a recent interview with Cheap Heat Productions, former WWE photographer Tom Buchanan revealed that a common practice in the company was to steal people’s shoes when they fell asleep during flights. Buchanan recalled finding out about this custom when shoes were dropped in his own lap during a flight, and one of those shoes was delivered by none other than Vince McMahon.

You can read this bizarre story in full, here.

What is your favourite Vince McMahon story? Let us know by writing in using the ‘get involved’ feature and we will share some of our favourite responses throughout the day!

Trish Stratus

Trish Stratus Arrives In Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, For WWE Night of Champions!

Trish Stratus has arrived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia ahead of her highly anticipated clash with Becky Lynch at WWE Night of Champions this Saturday.

Taking to Twitter the WWE Hall of Famer would share a photo of herself in traditional Saudi Arabian Abaya (a long dress/robe garment).

Stratus would share the photo alongside the following caption:

“Hello Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The GOAT is here #WWENOC”

You can check out Trish’s full post, here.

Dave Meltzer

Dave Meltzer's Match of the Week - Desperado vs Akira

AEW Dave Meltzer

Dave Meltzer has revealed his match of the week for the week beginning May 22nd 2023 and it’s a fan favourite on Twitter.

The 2023 Best of the Super Juniors tournament has almost come to an end with the semi finals between El Desperado & Titan and Mike Bailey & Master Wato set for this morning’s show and the final just two days away.

But it was the May 21st clash between El Desperardo and United Empires’ Francisco Akira that has reserved the honour of being Meltzer’s match of the week.

Writing in the May 29th edition of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer would state:

The general consensus for the match of the week was the 5/21 Korakuen Hall main event where Desperado beat Francesco Akira. I had it at ****3/4 and very close to five.

It and Takahashi vs. Bailey were the two bouts that people who saw the entire tournament saw as the standout matches. T

hey were very different. Desperado vs. Akira was awesome storytelling. Takahashi vs. Bailey had the cool moves and was your PWG super match. It’s a matter of taste and I liked the Desperado match very slightly more.”

What has been your match of the week? Let us know by writing in using the ‘get involved’ feature at the top of the page!


The Undertaker 1 deadMAN Show Returning To The UK

The Undertaker in sneaker shop

When WWE returns to the United Kingdom for Money In The Bank, The Undertaker will be coming along for the ride.

It has been announced that the WWE Hall of Famer will be bringing his popular one-man show to England and Scotland to coincide with the event on July 1st.

The shows see the WWE legend lifting the lid on his legendary career like never before, with a number of never-heard-before stories.

The Undertaker 1 deadMan Show will make stops in London, Wolverhampton, Manchester, and Glasgow.

You can find dates, ticket information and prices for the event, here.

Seth Rollins

How Does WWE Really Feel About Seth Rollins' Movie Career?

Seth Rollins WWE Raw

A new report has attempted to clear up speculation that Seth Rollins could miss out on championship glory because of non-WWE projects.

However, in recent days reports emerged that there was some hesitancy within WWE about making the star World Champion. This reportedly stemmed from Rollins’ upcoming appearance in Captain America: New World Order. Filming for the project is why the star has missed the last two episodes of Raw. Although a later report attempted to clarify this by noting that WWE’s hesitancy would only become an issue if outside projects continued to be a huge factor in the future.

A new report via Fightful Select has now offered a further update, noting that WWE higher-ups “vehemently denied” the speculation.

You can read the WWE higher-ups comments in full, here.

Do you think Seth Rollins is going to capture the WWE World Heavyweight Championship this weekend at Night of Champions? Let us know by hitting the thumbs below!


Community Question - What Is The WORST WWE Feud of All Time?

Michael Cole Jerry Lawler

Earlier today we took to Twitter to ask you, what is the WORST WWE feud of all-time.

Throughout this afternoon we are going be to sharing some of your best responses here on the ITR Live Blog!

Friend of the blog, Antony Fitzpatrick has taken a break from celebrating Oldham managing to avoid relegation for once and written in with his pick for the worst WWE feud.

Antony has picked Michael Cole & Jerry Lawler’s infamous WrestleMania feud.

Michael Cole Vs Jerry Lawler was just terrible throughout. Having to watch Michael Cole “wrestle” at a Wrestlemania was a slog and the feud felt like a year long and went 2 months longer than it needed.  Should have ended at mania with Lawler victorious!”

Great pick! I still remember this era of Michael Cole and ‘The Cole Mine’ in particular really turning me off wrestling for a short period. I am glad we are now getting to see Michael Cole get his flowers as one of the best commentators in wrestling history, but when he ends up in the WWE Hall of Fame (and he will) let’s not mention this feud!

If you want to get involved, you can let us know your pick for the worst feud of all time, here.

Sasha Banks

Backstage Update On Mercedes Mone's NJPW Contract

Mercedes Mone

Mercedes Mone looks to be locked in with New Japan-Pro Wrestling at least for the foreseeable future.

Writing in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer reported that Mone had agreed a “longer-term” deal back with NJPW in April.

At Resurgence Mone lost in the finals of a tournament to crown the inaugural NJPW Strong Women’s Champion to Willow Nightingale, but only after suffering an injury. Meltzer confirmed that not only was Mone scheduled to win that match, but the title was created specifically for her.

Following her injury, NJPW released an update on Mercedes Mone. Interestingly, the statement only refers to the star having an ankle injury and makes no mention of it being broken, as had been reported. Some have taken this as a sign that the injury isn’t as bad as first feared.

You can read Meltzer’s full comments and breakdown of Mercedes Mone’s contract status, here.

Cody Rhodes

WWE's Long Term Plans For Cody Rhodes Revealed

Cody Rhodes celebrates Royal Rumble win

Fans around the world were shocked when Cody Rhodes failed to ‘finish his story’ in the main event of WrestleMania 39.

However, according to a new report Rhodes’ story with Roman Reigns is far from finished.

Writing in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer noted that the rematch is the long-term direction for the ultimate destination match Cody Rhodes in the WWE. He noted that while WrestleMania 40 is a strong possibility, it’s too far out to be certain.

The news comes after it was reported that there had been talks backstage regarding a match between the American Nightmare and Gunther. It was noted that both men have expressed a desire to work together in the past and they’re seen as the top babyface and top heel on Raw.

You can read Meltzer’s full comments on WWE’s plans for Cody Rhodes, here.

Do you think Cody Rhodes should be the man to end Roman Reigns’ legendary WWE Championship reign? Let us know by hitting the thumbs below!

Triple H

WWE's "Big Internal Focus" Revealed

WWE Headquarters Logo and Flag

WWE has had a whirlwind year with Vince McMahon retiring, returning and then selling his company all in the space of six months.

Following WWE’s sale to Endeavour much discussion has featured online regarding the future for the product and what changes we me see under WWE’s new ownership.

Nick Khan had previously claimed that nothing on screen will be changing anytime soon, however talks of new weekly TV shows and a potential third hour of SmackDown have already begun to surface from WWE management.

According to Dave Metlzer of the Wrestling Observer, WWE’s “big internal focus” currently however is getting younger talent featured on Raw and SmackDown.

“There is a big internal focus right now to get younger aged talent on Raw and Smackdown right now”

WWE has shown a real intent to modernise their product to the outside world over the past twelve months, with Roman Reigns being utilised to break multiple long time records throughout his 1000 day WWE Championship reign and GUNTHER set to smash Honky Tonk Man’s legendary Intercontinental Championship reign.

Alongside this the 2023 WWE draft feature a high volume of NXT call ups and names such as Pretty Deadly and Indi Hartwell have immediately found themselves featured on weekly WWE TV alongside recent staples such as Austin Theory, Matt Riddle and Logan Paul.

Which up and coming stars do you think could be the face of the WWE moving forward? Let us know by writing in using the ‘get involved’ feature at the top of the page!


Good Afternoon!

WWE Night of Champions

Good Afternoon!

Ahead of a busy weekend of wrestling we are back with the Inside The Ropes live wrestling news blog.

We will be kicking things off this morning by looking at WWE’s “big internal focus” and their long term plans for Cody Rhodes. We will then be taking a look at Tony Khan’s comments on Sting’s impending retirement, before we take a look at our predictions for WWE Night of Champions, AEW Double or Nothing and NXT Battlegrounds, all of which take place this weekend.

If you have any questions for us or stories you would like an update on, let us know by using the ‘get involved’ feature at the top of the page and we will reply to all questions throughout the day.