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The Grapevine (7/23/15): WWE vs. ROH, Round 3

Good morning, everyone! Welcome to the Grapevine, and for those who need to catch up, here's today's round-up of the (technically unconfirmed) dirt and rumors from the cartoon world of pro wrestling that you may have missed from the day before.

Some interesting developments are coming out of the Observer, so let's hop to it:

  • The WWE may have damaged relations with NJPW and ROH by booking Jushin Thunder Liger for NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn. While Liger is free to book himself wherever he wants, ROH—one of NJPW's partner promotions that they exchange talent with—apparently did not know about his NXT appearance until WWE announced it, and that reportedly amounts to a "major double-cross." NJPW is promoting Liger's NXT appearance, as well. ROH, which we've reported the other day that WWE is trying to make war with, is running Field of Honor in New York on the same night, and ticket sales to their event reportedly stalled after Triple H announced the Brooklyn TakeOver show. (Source: WON)

We say: Wow. Just... wow. Triple H is turning out to be Vince Jr.'s son-in-law more and more, as this is starting to feel like Vince's national takeover once again. If the news bit sounds messed up to you, what's really at stake here is NJPW and ROH's working relations, which have consistently produced some of the best wrestling outside the WWE since they began working with each other. This might lead to a working relationship between NJPW and WWE, which would constitute as another salvo in their war against ROH. 

As early as now, we can predict that if WWE is trying to court NJPW away from ROH, they'll win simply because of money and exposure, and such a move will change the landscape of North American and Japanese wrestling altogether. It's a shrewd move on Triple H's part (assuming Hunter is the guy behind these machinations) but it's definitely intriguing. We wait with bated breath for what happens next.

  • And more on WWE's relationship with other companies: they wanted to book Bully Ray for the Philadelphia event last May, but they changed their mind because he recently appeared in TNA for a one-shot. They ended up using Tommy Dreamer instead, even though Dreamer was also working for TNA at the time. The Dudleys have been pitching for another WWE run, even though Bully Ray is the new TNA authority figure as of last week.  (Source: WON)

We say: While it seems conservative on the WWE's part, we can understand why they'd keep away from Bully Ray, whose move to keep working with TNA we can also understand. Even though he needs to keep bringing in money, we think Bully should stay away from competitors if he's really serious about coming back to WWE. He should know how much they feel about TNA.

  • On to lighter news, ESPN might be covering SummerSlam in New York. The Coach himself, who now works for ESPN (if you didn't know), has been pushing fans to contact ESPN about covering the show, because there are some in the company who believe that WWE is hot right now, even though numbers have been saying otherwise. ESPN's business is down right now, too, so a move might drum up interest back into the network. There are, of course, some within ESPN who are against the idea, for the obvious reason that pro wrestling isn't actually a sport. (Source: WON)

We say: ESPN's already featured Brock Lesnar's own "Decision" special, among other things, so we don't see why not. Mostly because it's no skin off WWE's back should ESPN choose to cover it or not. SummerSlam isn't a bad event to put on ESPN, if only because Lesnar is wrestling on the show. Even if it's against the Undertaker.

  • Recently-eliminated Tough Enough contestant Patrick Clark turned down a WWE developmental deal. Patrick, whom no one seemed to like on the show, said he couldn't afford to relocate to Florida to train. He's only 19. (Source: Wrestling Observer Live)

We say: We don't all watch the show, but we heard he had the skills and the passion, which would explain why he got an offer. It's a shame that money has to be the issue, but if he's talented enough, he'll make it back sooner or later.

What do you think? Would you be stoked for a WWE/NJPW partnership? Or should NJPW stay working with ROH? Let us know in the comments!

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