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:
- In case you missed it last night, the Undertaker has reportedly requested to work with Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania XXX. Reportedly, WWE officials are concerned that the Undertaker's previous choice of opponent, Brock Lesnar, works too stiff of style for the aging Undertaker who, in the past several years, has had surgery on both shoulders and hips, including the repair of a damaged hip replacement following his WrestleMania 28 match with Triple H. The Undertaker's WrestleMania undefeated streak is obviously a big draw for WWE, and it makes sense that WWE would like to protect the Undertaker's health so that he can be part of the show for as many years as possible. If Taker has indeed asked for Daniel Bryan instead, perhaps it means that he was convinced to choose a less physical opponent in order to preserve his body. By all accounts, including one from Jim Ross who seems to be the authority on all things Undertaker, the "Deadman" and Vince McMahon have a ton of mutual respect for one another and would do as the other asked if the other really pushed for it. With Lesnar possibly out of the mix, and the damning silence on the Sting front likely meaning he is out, it is possible that Daniel Bryan may indeed end up being the next to challenge the streak. One darkhorse candidate being mentioned is said to be Sheamus, who is expected to be a surprise return at the Royal Rumble and has long been rumored to be due for a heel turn upon returning. We noted several weeks ago that Sheamus was petitioning for a match with the Undertaker backstage, and could be a legitimate plan C or D if none of the others work out.
- Another interesting note that has come out in the Lesnar/Undertaker discussion is that Undertaker has reportedly been privately and extensively rehearsing his WrestleMania streak matches with his opponent dating back for years now. Another concern with Lesnar as Taker's opponent is said to be that WWE officials didn't feel that Lesnar would be willing to put in that kind of time and effort to extensively rehearse their match.
- WWE apparently still hasn't given up on working Hulk Hogan into a match in some fashion come WrestleMania XXX. Initially, it was said to be a match with John Cena. When the geriatric Hogan proved to beat up for that plan, they were said to be considering having him team up with Cena for a tag team match. When it was said that Hogan still wouldn't pass a physical for such a match, the talk of having him as a ringside enforcer or guest referee picked up. Now, according to the latest rumors, WWE officials are back to the idea of a tag team match with Hogan teaming with Cena, possibly against the Real Americans, Jack Swagger and Antonio Cesaro. It is also being said that WWE is considering involving Roddy Piper in the match in some way, as it was a feud between Hogan and Piper that created the main event tag team match for WrestleMania I.
- Back to Daniel Bryan for a second; he recently appeared on Stone Cold Steve Austin's podcast and gave some backstage insight on the three-hour editions of Monday Night Raw. Per Bryan, wrestlers hate going on in the third hour of the show, especially wrestlers who haven't quite gotten over with the crowd yet. Bryan said that going on in that 10:15 p.m. or 10:20 p.m. timeslot is hard, as the crowd has already seen their favorites earlier in the show and just isn't as into matches featuring lesser stars during that time. Bryan said that he himself prefers to be in the first two hours, unless he is involved with "something special" in that third hour. Still, Bryan noted that it's important for an up-and-coming wrestler to simply be on television at all, regardless of the time: "I got over doing unimportant matches. They would say, 'we've got segments to fill, let's throw Daniel Bryan out there with somebody.'"
- It is now expected that the Ultimate Warrior will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame class of 2014. It is also being said that he will have a "role" of some kind at WrestleMania XXX itself.
- We've mentioned a few times recently that CM Punk's contract with WWE is up this summer, and he has been dropping hints that he may follow through on past plans of retiring early. The belief backstage, among fellow wrestlers and WWE officials alike, is that Punk still has a few years left in him and that he often talks about retiring or threatens to retire whenever he is frustrated with the grind of being a WWE superstar, but usually gets over it quickly.
- In a major change from past practices, WWE sent out a memo stating that the company will air footage of Chris Benoit on the WWE Network, with an advisory preceding any footage he will be in. WWE caught some flak in the media by including Benoit in some matches on their War Games DVD collection, stating that they just couldn't effectively tell the history of the match type without including matches Benoit was involved with. WWE then caught flak going the other direction when it was announced that they would not be including the WrestleMania XX match between Benoit, Triple H, and Shawn Michaels on Shawn Michaels' upcoming DVD.
- With Jeff Jarrett's resignation from TNA last month, some have been wondering who has been running the show backstage. Prior to his resignation, Jarrett had taken a more active role with the shows and talent, acting as a "road agent" and running things from the "gorilla position" backstage. With Jarrett no longer with the company, those responsibilities have now fallen to John Gaburick, a former WWE executive who was promoted to TNA's Executive Vice President of Television Production last summer.
- In news that should scare those in charge of TNA, there are some quiet rumors that Spike TV, home of TNA's Impact wrestling show, may get into the bidding for WWE's package of television programs which will soon be up for sale. Spike TV's steadfast support of TNA has been one of the few bright spots for the company, which struggled mightily in 2013. However, every current indicator is that NBC Universal (which owns the USA Network and the SyFy channel where WWE's shows currently air,) will pay what it takes to retain the rights to those programs.
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.