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Rumor Look Back: May 15 - 21, 2020

Illustration by Ad Age; composite images: WWE, XFL, iStock

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 get right to it!

May 15, 2020

  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said the impetus for Mike Tyson’s upcoming appearance at Double or Nothing is that he was backstage at last year’s event and loved everything about it.
  • It looked like they were going to run a program between him and Jericho. Maybe pandemic reasons put a halt to it. (The angle was run after the pandemic, but with everything in constant flux, that could have affected things.)
  • According to WrestleVotes, a long storyline akin to something like the Nexus invasion or McMahon limo explosion, was supposed to play out in WWE during the spring and summer months, but it was scrapped because it greatly depends on fan reaction.
  • They went with a lame RETRIBUTION reveal instead.
  • NBA star (and former 24/7 champion) Enes Kanter said that he has been offered a WWE deal and plans to accept when his basketball career is over.
  • I guess we’ll wait and see.
  • Even though Hangman Page and the Young Bucks have not wrestled on Dynamite in roughly two months, they are expected back for the Stadium Stampede match at Double or Nothing.
  • They were back for that match, coming back at the go home show. (1/1)
  • Per PW Insider, WWE has taped two weeks of 205 Live episodes, and regular episodes of the show will return to WWE Network this week.
  • They were back with live eps that week. (1/1)

May 16, 2020

  • Per the Observer, many within WWE are upset about the decision to strip Sami Zayn of the Intercontinental championship.
  • He ended up winning it back when he returned months later. Given how long he was out, they didn’t have much of a choice but to strip it. I’m glad he got it back soon after returning.
  • For that matter, some are apparently working when they would rather not to avoid any possible repercussions.
  • This isn’t surprising at all.
  • The Wrestling Observer Newsletter notes that original plans called for Becky Lynch to wrestle Nia Jax at Money in the Bank before her pregnancy changed things.
  • They were going to go to that feud eventually given the history.
  • They also say Shayna Baszler was planned to win the women’s Money in the Bank contract and that would lead to her continuing her feud with Lynch through the summer.
  • That also makes sense. There was rumor they’d come back to that feud after Baszler’s WrestleMania loss.
  • Money in the Bank running at a shorter length than usual WWE shows is not a new doctrine, says the Observer, but could become the new rule until fans are back.
  • In general, shows are shorter. I often find myself saying “I don’t mind being done at 10:15 pm” after shows. (1/1)

May 18, 2020

  • Vince McMahon is determined to have a live crowd at SummerSlam, says the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, and that could mean pushing it back so it can have fans in attendance for it.
  • He didn’t push it back and eventually settled on the ThunderDome. That’s the closest they’ll get to live fans until at least spring of next year. (0/1)
  • They also say the word is WWE is not giving out any raises right now, and that could be part of what’s holding up a new deal for Rey Mysterio.
  • I wonder if Rey got his money. WWE is insanely profitable now and used COVID as an excuse for bad business practices, such as laying off a bunch of folks. I’m sure they’d use that as an excuse to offer people less money.
  • Speaking of which, Drew Gulak’s negotiations with WWE came to a standstill when he asked for more money.
  • He eventually worked something out with them.
  • The Observer does say, however, that it may not be a dead issue, though the belief is that he’s gone.
  • He came back. (0/1)
  • Per WWE Network News, episodes of WWE Confidential from 2003 and 2004 will be added to the Network this week.
  • They’re on there. But I don’t know when they were added. (1/1)

May 19, 2020

  • WWE sources told Fightful that Roman Reigns “does not seem in any rush to return, and nobody here faults him for it.” The site says Reigns doesn’t figure into the company’s creative plans at this point.
  • He came back at SummerSlam.
  • That report also claimed there’s been no pressure on Roman to return, and several people “high up in the company” weren’t told why he was edited out of the Seth Rollins Money in the Bank cash-in video.
  • Yeah, that was the weirdest part of all this. That sent the message they wanted people to forget him.
  • Asuka’s face turn came about for the reason most of us figured it did, per Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer - because heels Nia Jax and Shayna Baszler are the next title programs.
  • She faced Jax but never really had a program with Baszler. (1/2)
  • According to Sportskeeda’s Gary Cassidy, NXT officials have been conducting virtual seminars with the UK roster and have a plan to resume tapings as soon as possible.
  • That soon as possible was late summer.
  • PW Insider reported that WWE Vice President of Global Television Production Michael Mansury recently departed the company after giving notice several months. Wrestling Observer says many thought Mansury would eventually replace Kevin Dunn.
  • It looks like he works for Pat McAfee Inc. right now. That’s NXT star Pat McAfee.

May 20, 2020

  • Per the Observer, there does seem to be something to the talk of Sting possibly going to AEW.
  • Nothing on that front yet. (0/1)
  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer noted that “wrestling” is no longer a banned word and Paul Heyman loves it, which could be why this Edge-Randy Orton feud has gone the way it has.
  • Of all the banned terms they’ve had over the years, “wrestling” was always the worst one. Just an insult to their past.
  • He also said that Charlotte’s presentation is that she’s supposed to just be a star, not necessarily a babyface or a heel.
  • I can see that. She certainly wasn’t a babyface.
  • WrestleVotes notes that it’s still to be determined what is planned for the rest of the year for WWE on PPV but prior plans had Clash of Champions on Sept. 20 in Newark, Hell in a Cell on Oct. 18 in Atlanta, the Saudi Arabia show on Nov. 5, Survivor Series on Nov. 22 in Dallas, and TLC on Dec. 20 in Chicago.
  • All of those will be in the ThunderDome, which will be moving to Tampa in December.
  • Despite the push for Drake Maverick of late, all signs still point to his being done with WWE.
  • They re-signed him. (0/1)

May 21, 2020

  • WWE is instructing media outlets to introduce Drew McIntyre as “the star of Monday Night Raw” when they interview him, per ESPN’s Arda Ocal.
  • He pretty much is. I don’t recall if media outlets used this term often.
  • Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer said WWE is no longer worried about whether released wrestlers will sign with AEW or other competitors in the current environment.
  • They may regret it down the road if someone breaks out big time, but it’s not something that’s going to hurt them.
  • According to an article in The Athletic, creditors believe Vince McMahon may have declared bankruptcy for the XFL to avoid paying operating costs during the pandemic, with plans to buy back the league at “fire sale prices” and re-start it with a clean slate.
  • He did not buy back the league. Instead, in a crazy turn, the Rock did! (0/1)
  • Contrary to a report last week, Meltzer told Sunday Night’s Main Event that Ric Flair is not currently under contract to WWE.
  • I don’t know if he was under contract at this moment, but he re-signed.
  • During an interview with Ring The Belle, Taynari Conti claimed WWE officials told her not to say “crazy” on television after she taunted opponents by asking “are you crazy?”
  • I can see why WWE would say that, though that’s a rather tame one. Tay Conti is in AEW right now.

This week: 5/11 - 45%

Overall: 3,545/6,316 - 56.1%

Have a good week, everyone. Stay safe out there. Wear a mask.