Bischoff on AEW Return; McAfee Talks WWE NXT Match; Baszler on Raw Underground

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 12, 2020

FILE - In this April 26, 2019, file photo, Former Indianapolis Colts player Pat McAfee announces the Colts' third round pick at the NFL football draft, in Nashville, Tenn. The former Indianapolis Colts punter had his  talk show debut Monday morning, Sept. 9, 2019, on DAZN in the U.S. and Canada as well as Westwood One radio in 40 cities. This is in addition to calling Thursday night college football. (AP Photo/Gregory Payan, File)
Gregory Payan/Associated Press

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

   

Bischoff Talks Potential AEW Future

Eric Bischoff appeared on last week's episode of AEW Dynamite as the moderator for the debate between Chris Jericho and Orange Cassidy. It was a fun surprise and cameo, but it doesn't necessarily mean Bischoff and AEW will ever work together again.

During an appearance on his 83 Weeks podcast (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Marco Rovere), Bischoff discussed the AEW Dynamite appearance and noted that he has no interest in a full-time backstage role with the company:

"I may never go back to AEW. It may be a one-and-done appearance. I have no interest. First of all, they don't need me. Why would anybody hire me for a position that they don't need? They're not gonna do that. They're on a roll, they don't need Eric Bischoff backstage or in creative. They don't need it, they're doing just fine.

"I have no interest in it if they did; I don't want to do that. I don't want to get involved in creative, I have no desire. But if you think for a second that if I did, in some twisted way wanted to weasel my way back to creative control in that environment, you think anybody in AEW would go, 'Hey, that's a good idea?' So, relax folks."

Bischoff didn't completely rule out working with AEW again in the future in some capacity, though, noting: "If you see me anywhere, whether it's WWE, AEW or anywhere, I'm showing up for the fun."

The former WCW president's comments suggest that he would be far more open to doing on-screen work as a character if the story interests him than working in a creative or administrative capacity.

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Prior to his appearance on Dynamite, the 65-year-old Bischoff's most recent job in wrestling was with WWE. He was hired as the executive director of SmackDown in June 2019 and held that role until October 2019 when he was relieved of his duties and replaced by Bruce Prichard.

Bischoff is still a fairly significant name in wrestling due to his success in WCW, including leading the promotion to 83 consecutive ratings wins over WWE's Raw during the Monday Night War. Additionally, his podcast is among the most popular ones in wrestling currently.

He is capable of moving the needle when used correctly, and while Bischoff seems content to stay out of the spotlight, it also stands to reason that AEW could look to bring him back at some point if it comes up with an interesting way to use him.

   

McAfee Expects to Perform Well vs. Cole

Former Indianapolis Colts punter and popular sports personality Pat McAfee is set to face Adam Cole in a match at NXT TakeOver: XXX on Aug. 22.

McAfee is inexperienced when it comes to working pro wrestling matches, but he insisted Tuesday on his Pat McAfee Show podcast (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News) that he won't embarrass himself unlike some other crossover performers in recent years:

"Listen, I got in shape for my wedding. Best shape that I've been in in a long time. It is nothing just to continue that to go, and I will make sure that I won't look terrible in there like the Saturday Night Live guys did. And by the way, Tyson Fury, best boxer I've ever seen, he looked terrible in the [WWE] ring. There's been a lot of outsiders, even though I've worked for NXT for a few years, and I've had a match before. Shout out WARPIG, IWA East Coast. I also kicked his head off, pinned him. It's a common trend here. I am undefeated. I don't know if anybody in NXT is currently undefeated throughout their entire professional wrestling career like me."

Cole and McAfee have been at odds for the past two years dating back to an NXT live event in Indianapolis in 2018, which saw McAfee interfere and prevent Cole from cheating against Aleister Black.

Last month, Cole appeared on McAfee's podcast and blew up at the former NFL punter. Cole dropped several curse words and shoved a producer before storming off. It turned out that the incident was an angle meant to build a match between them.

McAfee was on commentary last week during an NXT Tag Team Championship match between Imperium and Undisputed Era. Cole heard McAfee taking shots at him, which led to Cole pouring water on McAfee.

They then had to be separated, but McAfee broke free and punted Cole in the head, leaving him laying on the floor as NXT went off the air.

NXT founder Triple H challenged McAfee on Cole's behalf and Cole accepted, which made Cole vs. McAfee official for NXT TakeOver: XXX.

It will be the first celebrity crossover match to ever take place at a TakeOver, but given McAfee's charisma and athletic background, he should have what it takes to acquit himself well and tell a good story with one of the best all-around wrestlers in the world in Cole.

   

Backstage Notes on Baszler's Raw Underground Appearance

Shayna Baszler made her Raw Underground debut on Monday's episode of Raw and didn't disappoint, as she beat down three women at the same time.

Baszler is a former UFC fighter and close friend of former UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, so it came as little surprise that she was booked to mow down whoever was put in front of her.

That was by design, as Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer Live (h/t Upton) said Tuesday that the three women Baszler decimated were told to hold back and act like they didn't know how to fight.

Alvarez noted that in actuality, Emily Andzulis, Marina Tucker and Sofia Castillo all have MMA training and likely could have held their own far better in a legitimate situation.

While all of them have trained, none have top-level fighting experience like Baszler, so it is fair to say that the result likely would have been the same regardless even if Andzulis, Tucker and Castillo were told to try.

Raw Underground is designed to look like a shoot fight, but it is still a worked situation that is booked out ahead of time, so the fighting experience of the women Baszler beat down was never going to play a role.

Thus far, Raw Underground has been used to introduce new talent and put over existing talent, and if WWE continues to put Baszler in a featured spot, it could work wonders for her career, as it is an environment in which she can thrive.

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