Russo on WWE's Booking of McIntyre, Ripley Talks WrestleMania, Deonna Speaks out

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 22, 2020

SINGAPORE - JUNE 27:  Drew McIntyre enters the ring during the WWE Live Singapore at the Singapore Indoor Stadium on June 27, 2019 in Singapore.  (Photo by Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images for Singapore Sports Hub)
Suhaimi Abdullah/Getty Images

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.


Russo Criticizes WWE's Booking of McIntyre

Former WWE creative writer Vince Russo doesn't believe WWE is getting the most out of Drew McIntyre following his WWE Championship win over Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 36.

Appearing on AfterBuzz TV (h/t 411Mania), Russo took issue with a recent promo the Scottish Superstar cut on Raw:

"I love Drew, I've had Drew on my show, I'm a big Drew fan. Bro, when I'm sitting here watching Drew cut that promo, I'm watching it and I'm like, he doesn't know who he is. He's trying to be funny, then he's serious, it's not coming across genuine. So that's telling me, the writer has not tapped into who Drew McIntyre is. And that promo is coming across as very non-sincere, and it's hurting his character, and I can see that just by looking at it that, bro, that's not who he is. That's not what he would say. This is coming across very, very forced."

Russo called for McIntyre to "protect" his character and suggested that he should have a conversation with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and the writers if he encounters a promo that he doesn't believe fits his image.

After years of falling short of his immense potential, McIntyre was finally given the opportunity to take the ball and run with it a few months ago when he won the Royal Rumble. McIntyre then went on to beat Lesnar in impressive fashion at WrestleMania for the WWE Championship.

McIntyre has been the main focus of Raw ever since, as he regularly receives promo time and has had matches against the likes of Andrade and Murphy. He also successfully defended his title against Seth Rollins at Money in the Bank.

While McIntyre is in a difficult situation since no fans are permitted to attend shows during the coronavirus pandemic, he is making the most of it, and WWE is clearly committed to building him into a dominant force.

McIntyre is coming into his own as a top star, and he figures to find his voice more and more as time goes on.


Ripley Talks WrestleMania Match vs. Charlotte

Rhea Ripley lost the NXT Women's Championship to Charlotte Flair at WrestleMania 36 last month, but The Nightmare was still pleased with her performance overall.

During an appearance on WWE's The Bump (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Brie Coder), Ripley noted that she was proud of the way her match with Charlotte came across:

"To be completely honest, I'm proud of this match. We did very well. There's definitely a lot of lessons that I'm going to take away from it. I'm not going to speak of them though because they're my little secrets, and I don't want to give away anything. Let's just say the next time Charlotte and I meet in a ring, it's going to be a different outcome."

The match was supposed to be the biggest of Ripley's career, and while it was in one sense, the fact that there were no fans in attendance because of the coronavirus pandemic created a difficult situation.

Some WrestleMania matches suffered with no live crowd, but Ripley vs. Charlotte wasn't among them. In fact, a strong argument can be made the Rhea and Flair put on the best match of the entire event.

The Boneyard Match and Firefly Funhouse Match have received more acclaim, but what Ripley and Flair were able to do in an empty WWE Performance Center was special. The way Charlotte worked the leg and Rhea sold were both expertly done and made for a bout that would have been great no matter where or when it occurred.

Now, Charlotte is embroiled in a three-way rivalry with Ripley and Io Shirai on NXT, and after Flair interrupted a match between Ripley and Shirai on this week's NXT, it was announced that they will face each other in a Triple Threat match at next month's NXT TakeOver: In Your House.

As good as Ripley vs. Flair was at WrestleMania, the Triple Threat has a chance to be even better given the added element of Shirai.


Purrazzo Discusses WWE Release

After getting released by WWE as part of company-wide cuts due to the coronavirus pandemic last month, Deonna Purrazzo discussed her time in WWE on Friday.

Purrazzo appeared on The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast and expressed her belief that the decision-makers in NXT weren't receptive to her ideas: "It seemed like everything I did was looked upon negatively or I didn't get answers to and they just didn't want to deal with me."

Despite the success she enjoyed elsewhere, including Ring of Honor, Deonna was primarily used as someone to put over other wrestlers.

Her ability to make others look good was valuable, but Purrazzo suggested that she wanted more out of her WWE stint:

"I've said it in tons of interviews that I don't know if I maybe shot myself in the foot thinking I was coming in in a better position. I was the first of my kind in women that had done so much as enhancement talent before and now had a job. I just thought that all of the struggles and hardships I went through as enhancement talent, doing tryouts, being told no, being told not right now—that the tide had changed now that I had earned a contract. I thought that I was ready to be a Superstar and they had finally seen that in me through everything I did in ROH, Japan, traveling the world and reinventing myself to earn that opportunity. But ultimately, I didn't."

Purrazzo was in a difficult position in NXT since the women's division was so stacked during her time there that there weren't many opportunities for her to rise up. There is no denying that Deonna is a talented in-ring performer, but it never translated to NXT putting her on the level of Superstars like Ripley, Shirai, Bianca Belair, Tegan Nox, Dakota Kai and Candice LeRae.

Now, Deonna is a free agent, but with the COVID-19 pandemic preventing most wrestling companies from running shows, she is being forced to bide her time. There are more options than ever in wrestling now, though, with ROH, Impact, AEW, NWA, MLW and even Japan or Mexico standing out as potential landing spots for her down the line.

Given her talent and the fact that she is still only 25 years old, Purrazzo still has a bright future in the wrestling business.  


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