Some tidbits from this weeks Observer:
- Lana has been trying out her new dancing gimmick on the NXT Florida shows. She’s wearing Nikki Bella like shorts and dances her way to the ring. This role is one that would theoretically be an eventual babyface, and they are breaking up the act with Rusev. The act seemed like it needed a lot of work. I’m guessing with Eva Marie gone and Emma not working out in the new role that they feel they need someone with the super hot girl for marketing role as opposed to the pretty but athletic athlete types that are now in vogue. You want a variety of types and there are enough quality women wrestlers on both brands that there’s a spot for that role.
- One of the plans coming out of the roster split is for Corbin to be pushed as the lead heel on Smackdown and to be built up as the big opponent for Orton down the line. They are looking at ways of changing him up with new music and talking over other changes.
- In a cruel irony of fate, it now appears likely that the match designed to bring Katsuyori Shibata into a top tier position with New Japan Pro Wrestling may be the last match he’ll ever wrestle.
Shibata, 37, who remains hospitalized after his 4/9 IWGP title match with Kazuchika Okada at Tokyo Sumo Hall, is said by friends of his to be unlikely to ever be cleared to wrestle again after surgery due to a subdural hematoma from a sick skull-on-skull head-butt spot as a counter to being hit with the rainmaker.
The combination of the length of the match, dehydration and the trauma from the head-butt led to doctors advising New Japan that they would likely never be able to clear him to wrestle in good conscience.
New Japan has not announced this publicly, nor has anything been said publicly about Shibata’s situation after some brief statements in the days after the match.
Shibata collapsed backstage and was rushed to the hospital in a situation where nobody knew what was and wasn’t real, because Japan does have a history in keeping the lid on its most protected angles and making them seem legitimate.
But while there was a lot of questions last week, almost everyone at this point is going with the idea the injury and situation is exactly as it was described last week.
Dr. Shunji Asamoto, who performed the surgery, noted that he would need a strict examination before being cleared to wrestle and that he’s not optimistic at all.