Wrestling

It was foolish to think this wouldn’t happen

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Welcome to the weekly Rumor Look Back, where we look at the rumors from six months ago and see which played out as originally stated. Let’s jump right to it.

January 2, 2023

  • For whatever it’s worth, BetOnline has Rhea Ripley and Becky Lynch as the top favorites to win the women’s Royal Rumble.
  • It was Rhea. Becky was eliminated by Bayley, continuing that feud. (1/1)
  • Fightful Select says they were told by Rocky Romero that he keeps Tony Khan in the loop on some things, like talks between WWE and New Japan Pro-Wrestling surrounding Karl Anderson. Romero apparently said Khan was understanding and “cool” about it all.
  • Anderson would soon lose the NEVER title at Wrestle Kingdom.
  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said there were originally plans for The Young Bucks to work Wrestle Kingdom 17 but that obviously changed at some point.
  • They’ve worked their fair share of WKs.
  • According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, a “major WWE source” said even if the company could bring in Tyson Fury for the Royal Rumble match, booking him would be tricky because he’s “not willing to put people over or even look vulnerable.”
  • That didn’t end up being a problem given they didn’t use him.
  • The Observer notes that when Dragon Lee was deciding whether to sign with AEW or WWE, some people who gave him advice believed he would “almost surely be lost in the mix in AEW” if he joined their roster.
  • We’ll see if that changes with Collision adding 2 extra hours of TV time.

January 3, 2023

  • There were pitches for John Cena to face Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania 39, per Fightful Select, but those were “before the WWE regime change”.
  • Cena would have gladly done the job for Cody I’m sure. Hell, he put over Cody after burying his actual opponent Austin Theory.
  • After word got out WWE had moved away from doing Becky Lynch vs. Ronda Rousey at this year’s WrestleMania, sources told DAZN’s Steve Muehlhausen that “people close to Lynch feel the match has lost its luster and should’ve been 1 on 1 at WrestleMania 35 when Ronda was at her apex.”
  • It absolutely should have been a one on one match, but Vince and creative muffed that one big time. Instead of a strong one on one grudge match, it got overly convoluted with Charlotte’s involvement.
  • Per Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Stardom wants to make their April 23 show in Yokohama Arena the biggest women’s show in decades. This could be where Sasha Banks vs. KAIRI takes place, and they’re working with free agents and other companies (including the Sendai Girls promotion run by WWE’s Meiko Satomura) to make it a multi-brand supershow.
  • Mercedes defeated KAIRI at Battle of the Valley. She lost the title at the April 23 show to Mayu Iwatani. (0/1)
  • On his Keepin’ It 100 podcast, Konnan said AEW pulled Tay Melo and Sammy Guevara from AAA Night of Champions when Melo was needed on Dynamite because “some girl, I don’t know who, had COVID.” He said he “gets along with” Sammy and Tay, but stripped them of AAA’s Mixed Tag titles because this was the third booking they’ve missed.
  • All these promotions working together is overall good, but it can get messy sometimes.
  • According to the WON, AAA wants to put their titles on members of their own roster going forward due to recent cancelations like Guevara and Melo’s. They would make an exception for Kenny Omega and the Mega Championship, though.
  • Hijo del Vikingo is the current champion, but Kenny is involved in that scene still, with a title match next week.
  • WWE should be moving into their new corporate headquarters in Stamford, Connecticut by March of this year, per CT Insider.
  • Looks like they weren’t moved in by April, but that’s still the plan. (0/1)

January 4, 2023

  • While there is nothing official on Naomi, Bryan Alvarez said on Wrestling Observer Live that he’s under the impression she’ll be returning to WWE.
  • She went to Impact. (0/1)
  • Meanwhile, PW Insider notes that Bayley is in Japan in support of Sasha Banks’ appearance at Wrestle Kingdom 17. What all that entails is unclear but it could simply be a friend being there for a friend and nothing more.
  • It was nothing more.
  • Fightful Select says there are no plans to slow down on using wrestlers on both brands going forward, especially when it comes to feuds involving The Bloodline.
  • I think they curbed it a bit after the Draft, but not that much. The product is entertaining, so I don’t mind they bending the rules to keep it that way if they have a good story to tell. (1/1)
  • They also say that while Summer Rae was backstage at Monday Night Raw this week there are currently no plans to bring her back on full time.
  • Summer has not returned. She was quite entertaining during her WWE run. (1/1)
  • Dave Meltzer mentioned on Wrestling Observer Radio that visa issues are to blame for some wrestlers from the United Kingdom not appearing on WWE or NXT TV lately.
  • International travel can sometimes be an issue.

January 5, 2023

  • William Regal officially returned to work at WWE yesterday morning, according to PW Insider. Other than that he’s a Vice-President, we still don’t know his title or official responsibilities.
  • He’s solely behind the scenes, though that’s part of the agreement he made with Tony through 2023.
  • The Young Bucks are negotiating new contracts that would keep them in AEW “for quite some time”, per Fightful Select. Not much is known about the terms or where they are in the process. The locker room is said to be aware talks are ongoing.
  • Given there is still speculation whether they stay or they go, I don’t think those contracts have come to fruition. I wonder if the CM Punk situation plays any significant roll in their decision.
  • It’s not clear why it didn’t happen, but Dave Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Radio that Charlotte Flair was originally penciled in for a comeback last summer. WWE creative began planning for the return that did happen on last Friday’s SmackDown about a month ago.
  • Charlotte takes a decent amount of time off. Which isn’t at all a criticism. Take your time when you can get it.
  • A tweet from Bobby Fulton claims John Laurinaitis will be appearing at a WrestleMania week collectibles show. It would be Laurinaitis’ first since being fired by WWE after misconduct claims against him surfaced as part of the Vince McMahon hush money investigation.
  • That appearance was canceled due to negative feedback.
  • In response to speculation she was one of the UK talents who are reportedly off WWE television due to visa issues, Doudrop tweeted that her visa was updated in April and she’s actually been “very sick” but is “healing”.
  • We haven’t seen the former Doudrop in a while. She returned in the Royal Rumble as Piper Niven but has been MIA.

January 6, 2023

  • Fightful Select heard from dozens of people in WWE who were all “floored” by the news that Vince McMahon has set into motion his plot to return to WWE. The reaction of shock spanned numerous departments within the company, with seemingly nobody tipped off as to what was coming.
  • Honestly, that shows a level of ignorance to the reality of the situation. Vince never wanted to leave, still wielded voting control, and the controversy that affected him initially never got that wide main stream press that would keep him down for long. I think it was a lot of wishful thinking at that time from many (including myself I’m sure) that he wasn’t coming back.
  • One talent expects there will be “roster uproar” if McMahon returns to his position as head of WWE creative.
  • If there was uproar, those roster members just dealt with it. And apparently have since resigned themselves to the reality of the situation.
  • Wrestlenomics’ Brandon Thurston put a rough estimate of 60% on the likelihood that McMahon’s plan will succeed.
  • That seems low. But hindsight is always 20/20.
  • According to Wrestling Observer Live’s Bryan Alvarez, Sasha Banks has told people that she will not be on next week’s episode of AEW Dynamite in Los Angeles. F4WOnline’s Dave Meltzer adds that “everybody” in Japan was saying that her NJPW deal has nothing to do with AEW.
  • She was not on that show. Should could have been working folks so I won’t mark this as correct, but she hasn’t stepped foot in an AEW ring. I wonder if she hadn’t gotten hurt, if she would have been part of Forbidden Door.
  • PW Insider notes there are talks in WWE of turning Bobby Lashley heel very soon. Given the fact that MVP was spotted in the background of Raw talking to Shelton Benjamin and Cedric Alexander, there is speculation that Bob’s turn might coincide with the return of The Hurt Business.
  • Big Bob’s alignment at this time was muddled as he worked with Brock, but I don’t think we ever got a true heel turn. (0/1)
  • Now that he’s officially back with WWE, Insider says William Regal will be at tonight’s SmackDown taping as part of his new responsibilities.
  • Regal and Triple H are apparently pretty close so I’m sure Trips his happy to have him back at his side.
  • Meltzer said there is a “difference of opinion” in AEW on whether Death Triangle or The Elite should win the final match of their best-of-seven series in Los Angeles on Dynamite. Meltzer believes that AEW President Tony Khan wants to put the AEW world trios title on The Elite.
  • It was the Elite.

January 7, 2023

  • PW Insider said there is “lots of trepidation for sure” inside WWE following the news of Vince McMahon’s return to the Board of Directors. Multiple people told Insider that they “want out” upon his return.
  • Understandable. He isn’t around like he used to be at least, which probably means the environment isn’t as bad as it was when he was there full time. But it’s not what some of the wrestlers want to see.
  • Insider mentioned that a lot of people in WWE have been “living in denial” about Vince’s return to power, and others were unaware that it could even happen. Everyone they spoke to in the company had a similar reaction of “how insane” things have been since the news broke about McMahon’s plot to reclaim his spot.
  • Folks compared it to Succession, though never seeing that show, I can’t speak to that.
  • Sean Ross Sapp notes that Man Jit Singh, who resigned from WWE’s Board of Directors yesterday when Vince McMahon officially returned, was the internal lead investigator of McMahon’s hush money payments. Insider said Singh pushed hard for WWE to “do their due diligence and investigate” when the scandal was revealed last year. Singh’s resignation was described as the “least shocking” news of the day.
  • It’s always disappointing to see how these things actually work.
  • For what it’s worth, Insider was told that Vince McMahon was not at WWE headquarters yesterday, despite rumors to the contrary among WWE employees.
  • As mentioned, he’s not around a lot.
  • WrestleVotes claims that “business as usual” was the main theme of WWE’s all-hands meeting on Friday addressing Vince’s return to the company.
  • I’m sure they tried to calm folks but it likely didn’t have the desired effect.
  • Front Office Sports heard that “Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund is emerging as a possible bidder for WWE” if the company goes up for sale. The site notes that the Public Investment Fund “controls about $620 billion in assets.”
  • There was some real worry that it would be Saudi but it ended up being Endeavor.
  • It sounds like the identity of Uncle Howdy is a mystery to most people in WWE. Fightful Select was told that the person behind the mask doesn’t take off the costume in front of others backstage.
  • It’ll always be a mystery since this storyline never finished.
  • Regarding the debut of Mercedes Moné (fka Sasha Banks) at NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 17, Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Dave Meltzer heard that most fans in the live audience “did not know who she was” because “most New Japan fans aren’t fans of WWE or women’s wrestling.”
  • I wonder if the buzz helped sales/streams of the show.
  • After giving 6.25 stars to Kenny Omega vs. Will Ospreay in the Tokyo Dome, Meltzer said the two wrestlers held back on some big moves because the idea is to do a “series of matches.” It’s expected that their match at Wrestle Kingdom 17 will be mentioned on AEW television very soon.
  • It was one of the Forbidden Door matches. (1/1)
  • Fightful confirmed that EJ Nduka’s deal with MLW is over and he is a free agent. Per WON, “there is interest in him from multiple promotions including WWE having expressed some interest in bringing him back.”
  • He’s apparently with AEW now. I forgot that he had a confrontation with Drake Wuertz when Drake was going off the deep end.

This week: 4/8 – 50%

Overall: 4,618/8,096 – 57.0%

Have a great week, everyone!

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