WWE Rumors on Impact’s Moose; Lana Shoots on Release; Nikki Cross Talks New Gimmick
Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
WWE Eyed Impact Wrestling Star
Having already cleaned house with a series of releases in recent months, WWE was reportedly looking to Impact Wrestling as a way of replenishing its talent pool.
Fightful Select noted there was talk of Moose possibly going straight to the main roster, rather than debuting in NXT, if he had decided to sign with WWE.
Ultimately, no deal was worked out when Moose decided to re-sign with Impact on a two-year contract last month.
Since making his debut with Impact Wrestling in 2016, Moose has been one of the top stars in the company. He was the first TNA world champion when it was recognized as an official title in April 2020.
Most recently, Moose was defeated by Kenny Omega for the Impact world title in the main event of Against All Odds on June 12.
Given Moose’s size and athletic background as a former NFL player (62 games as an offensive lineman), he would have been an ideal fit in WWE based on the types of wrestlers Vince McMahon generally likes.
But WWE is often a difficult place to breakthrough because of how McMahon books. Moose has been a top star in Impact for five years and recently headlined a pay-per-view against arguably the best wrestler in the world.
Lana Discusses WWE Release
One month after being released from WWE, Lana appeared on the Talk is Jericho podcast to discuss what went down.
Lana told Chris Jericho (h/t Jason Ounpraseuth of Wrestling Inc) she got a phone call from John Laurinaitis, WWE head of talent relations, that she originally thought was about a separate acting project.
“And so I thought he was calling me about more of those details because that’s what we were all discussing the day before,” she said. “‘I’m calling you about your 90 days.’ I’m like, ‘Wait, what?’ I couldn’t even understand, and he’s like, ‘I’m calling you about your 90 days. You’re getting released,’ and I was literally standing right next to a pool. My heart dropped.”
The Ravishing Russian added that Vince McMahon sent her a text after she received the news.
“He thanked me for my incredible work ethic and for my unrelentingly desire to be the best that I could be and all the contributions I gave to WWE,” Lana said. “So that really meant a lot to me, and I thanked him for everything that he’s taught me because I learned so much.”
Lana was among a group of six superstars released on June 2. She started with the company in 2013 as Rusev’s manager in NXT before making their main roster debut in January 2014.
In addition to her career in WWE, Lana has acted in several movies and television shows.
As for the possible next step in her career, Lana didn’t say for certain she would remain in wrestling, but noted the 36-year-old would like a “no-cut clause because that was the worst, living in that state of a fear of you don’t know when your future endeavors is gonna come.”
Nikki Cross Explains Superhero Gimmick
After spending the first four years of her WWE run playing a very different type of character, Nikki Cross unveiled a new gimmick known as The Spirit on the June 21 episode of Raw.
The character is something that Cross told WWE Espanol’s El Brunch De WWE (h/t Marco Rovere of Wrestling Inc) she began forming the idea around the Royal Rumble based on her love of superhero cartoons she watched as a kid:
“I would always watch the X-Men cartoon, the Spiderman cartoons. For me, I really wanted to come up with something that was really inspirational to little girls and boys and something that is a very positive message. To me, the whole message is that I don’t have super powers, I don’t have super speed, I don’t have super strength, I can’t fly unfortunately but it’s so you don’t need superpowers to be a superhero.”
Cross added that she wanted to keep the costume, which is highlighted by a cape and mask, very simple so that fans would be able to cosplay as The Spirit if they want to do so.
The change in character seems to have paid off in the short term. Cross and Alexa Bliss defeated Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler on Raw two weeks ago to qualify for the women’s Money in the Bank ladder match.
Cross hadn’t been doing much of anything before altering her gimmick. She did appear in the women’s Royal Rumble on Jan. 31, but that was the first time she had been used on television since the draft in October.
Most recently, Cross had been stuck in a bad storyline in which she was being credited with countout wins over Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley even though she got destroyed in matches against both superstars before earning the cheap victories.
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