Raw general manager Kurt Angle did something no WWE Superstar has done before — he directly referenced TNA Wrestling (now Impact Wrestling) on an episode of live WWE television.
During a backstage segment, Angle was approached by Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, dressed in suits and asking for spots on the roster. Angle said he didn't have one, but did know of one place that was hiring.
Come on, Kurt... Kevin and Sami can really make an impact for you. pic.twitter.com/RhozCRxKy4— TDE Wrestling (@totaldivaseps) April 10, 2018
"My tag team division is full, but I hear TNA is hiring," Angle said.
The two were fired by SmackDown Live general manager Daniel Bryan several weeks back and had a shot at earning them back at WrestleMania 34, but lost to Bryan and Shane McMahon in a tag team match.
Angle said he only had one spot open, and demanded the two friends have a match to determine who could join the roster.
The reference was particularly shocking since WWE had been noticeably against referencing their main competition in the United States for many years, going so far as to refer to is as a "Florida promotion" whenever somebody who joined the roster first made their name in the Impact Zone.
However, given that former owner president Dixie Carter has been on the WWE Network and co-founder Jeff Jarrett was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame on Friday night, it's possible that unwritten rule is no longer enforced.
Owens and Zayn have been at war with authority figures for months, starting when Owens headbutted and powerbombed Vince McMahon in the middle of the ring. Then at the Hell in a Cell pay-per-view, Zayn revealed he had turned heel by saving Owens just as McMahon was about to jump onto him from the top of the cell.0comments
Bryan, coming from the same independent background as Zayn and Owens, sided with the two when McMahon tried to punish them. But his attitude eventually changed when they jumped McMahon two night after Fastlane, and he choose to fire them on the same night he announced he was returning to in-ring competition in March.
The Raw after WrestleMania has become a huge event in recent year's, and Monday's episode was no exception. Ember Moon, No Way Jose and the Authors of Pain made their main roster debuts, Jeff Hardy and Samoa Joe returned from injury and Bobby Lashley returned to the company for the first time since 2008.