Rumor Roundup for Thursday, August 15 - Smackdown Expansion, Ref Botch, and More!

Smackdown moving to three hours? Possibly going live? - WikiMedia Commons

Details of the possible upcoming Smackdown expansion, referee Marc Harris explains his apparent botch on Raw, Natalya/Maria update, and more!

Speculating on the rumors surrounding pro wrestling is a favored pastime of many fans, perhaps second only to actually watching the matches. In this daily column, we take a look at the latest rumors being churned out by the pro wrestling rumor mill.

Important reminder: Rumors are just that -- rumors. None of this has been confirmed as legitimate news or fact; so remember to take it all with a grain of salt.

Rumors for the Day:

  • When Raw moved to a three hour format last summer, fans seemed divided on whether it was a good move or not. While it meant more wrestling each week and more time to develop stars and feuds, it also meant possible exhaustion from the sheer length, especially when the show was underwhelming. Now, WWE is discussing the idea of expanding Smackdown to three hours as they negotiate with the SyFy channel on a new television contract. WWE wants to put more emphasis on Smackdown and increase viewership, making the show as "can't miss" as a live Raw. The biggest hurdle, of course, is that Smackdown is taped on Tuesdays for the Friday night airing. Spoilers are readily available and potential viewers can use them to determine if the show is worth watching come Friday night. Though it has been a while, past rumors suggested that WWE was also considering making Smackdown live on Friday night to avert this. This wouldn't create too much of a logistics headache, as WWE is already on the road most Fridays for their house show circuit. Regardless of exactly what they end up doing, expect major changes coming for Smackdown if/when WWE reaches a new deal with SyFy after their current deal expires at the end of September.
  • Relating to the above rumor is that WWE is hoping to bring NXT to US television in that same time frame. One idea that has been floated is that, instead of expanding Smackdown to a third hour, to instead make one of the hours a weekly NXT broadcast.
  • Referee Marc Harris caught some flak recently for apparently botching the ending of the mixed tag team match between Natalya/Khali and AJ Lee/Big E Langston. AJ clearly tapped once, but the ref made Natalya reapply her sharptshooter submission a second time before declaring her the winner. Here is what he had to say in his defense on Twitter: Does his explanation do it for you?
  • Speaking of Natalya, we've been following a story regarding her inviting Maria Menounos to SummerSlam as her guest, with Menounos recently training to get back into ring shape. The two will indeed have a match at SummerSlam Axxess, as they will be teaming up to take on Brie Bella and a partner of her choosing.
  • We noted yesterday that injured Ring of Honor wrestler BJ Whitmer was diagnosed with a herniated disc in his back. He sought a second opinion and got a different, but no less serious diagnosis: a bruised spinal cord. He was also diagnosed with spinal stenosis, the very same condition that ended the career of WWE Hall of Famer Edge. Edge has famously stated that, due to that condition, he will never be cleared to wrestle again. Hopefully that is not the case for Whitmer, but it does not sound like a good situation for him right now. We wish him the best in his recovery.

If you have heard of any interesting rumors that you'd like to add, feel free to post them in the comments section below. Please remember, these are merely rumors. Try not to take them too seriously, just have fun with them.

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