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Rumor Look Back: May 28 - June 4, 2021

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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 get right to it!

May 28, 2021

  • The Mat Men Podcast indicated the reason why WWE is annoyed with John Cena’s apology to China is because “there are plans for John right now” in WWE.
  • They may have been thinking John vs. Roman Reigns at SummerSlam. But this was a non issue pretty soon after.
  • In addition to a guest host and a Saturday date, Andrew Zarian says SummerSlam 2021 will feature a big main event match that “we haven’t seen happen too often.” He included the following cryptic hint about the match: “What you can’t see, you can’t believe.”
  • I guess this is referring to Roman vs. Cena - which is the second time that happened. That hint may have to do with Cena’s catchphrase. (1/1)
  • Fightful has been told that WWE’s current plan for Eva Marie doesn’t involve her actually wrestling; she is there to help another female talent get over.
  • She wrestled. You can argue that maybe she helped put over Doudrop, but she was an active competitor. Even she’s since been released. (0/1)
  • WrestleVotes heard that members of the Raw creative team have been asking “for months” to get Finn Bálor on the show.
  • He came over in the draft. They’re not doing much with him right now.
  • Tony Khan and Cody Rhodes have mentioned that AEW will be looking to expand its roster now that the new Rampage show and eventual move to TBS have been announced.
  • They’re consistently bringing people in. (1/1)

May 29, 2021

  • PW Insider says that they were told the “main crux” of the talks between WWE and New Japan Pro Wrestling was over Daniel Bryan working some dates for NJPW.
  • Bryan is in AEW now. We’ll see if he eventually works in Japan, but the new omicron variant has Japan inflicting travel restrictions, even though they won’t seem to affect Wrestle Kingdom. WWE was really working to do what they could to keep Bryan in WWE.
  • There seems to be something going on with the SummerSlam location, as WrestleVotes says there has been “so much wildness” to the planning that hasn’t gotten out yet and Jon Alba saying Las Vegas has been planned for months, so a change would mean something significant happened.
  • In the end, it was in Vegas. And we never learned about that “wildness.”
  • Andrew Zarian says he was told Cardi B will be the host of SummerSlam this year.
  • That did not happen. Her pregnancy may have thwarted that if it was even ever a plan. (0/1)
  • The Observer notes that Velveteen Dream was fired not for past accusations but after a top star in WWE alerted management to an incident Dream was involved in.
  • That’s vague. An “incident” he was involved in? Anyone have an idea about this?
  • The WWE directive for new talent tryouts is to get younger and bigger guys again, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • That seems to be accurate with the direction of NXT 2.0. (1/1)

May 31, 2021

  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer noted that WWE put SummerSlam on a Saturday because the stadium in Las Vegas wanted it on that date. Now, it’s unclear if the show will even be held there but the date will remain no matter what.
  • It was held there on a Saturday.
  • He also said that he doesn’t think Vegas is the prime choice anymore.
  • We really don’t know what the issue was. They ended up Allegiant in Las Vegas in the end, prime choice or not.
  • More from Meltzer on WOR: he’s not sure what the plan actually is but he was told Roman Reigns vs. Jimmy Uso is NOT currently planned for Hell in a Cell.
  • That’s correct. Reigns actually didn’t work Hell in a Cell but defeated Rey Mysterio in a Cell match the SmackDown prior. (1/1)
  • Per PW Insider, Aleister Black was at SmackDown this week, WWE just chose not to use him to “let the story hang for a week so as not to rush the feud” with Big E.
  • He was soon released. I guess that is a way not to rush the feud.
  • Fightful Select says Impact Wrestling has reached out to “multiple” wrestlers who were released by WWE earlier this year for the upcoming Slammiversary event.
  • It’s a yearly tradition at this point. Mickie James and Chelsea Green showed up. I initially had that The IInspiration were there, but that was Bound for Glory having to deal with some visa issues.

June 1, 2021

  • Multiple wrestlers have advocated for WrestleMania to stay a two-night show, pointing out how crowds at this year’s show stayed energized both nights, Fightful Select reports. 2022’s WrestleMania 38 is currently on the calendar for only one night, but the company hasn’t ruled out making two nights the norm.
  • They made it two nights for Dallas, and thankfully so. And with NXT changing, they no longer have to worry about what night to put TakeOver.
  • WWE officials had nothing but good things to say about Logan Paul after his WrestleMania 37 angle, sources told Fightful Select. Sources told the site the YouTube star was easy to work with and “massively respectful”.
  • They brought him back for a bit later in the year.
  • Molly Holly was backstage at Raw last night. According to PW Insider, she was trying out for a producer role.
  • I’m sure she’s rather respected backstage.
  • Riho has moved to the United States and “we’ll be seeing a lot more of her” on AEW television going forward, per Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio.
  • The last two months, yes, but it was rather sparingly prior. (0/1)
  • Meltzer also says a late June episode of Dynamite will probably be moved to Saturday as a result of TNT’s coverage of the NBA playoffs.
  • This is a repeat rumor from a couple weeks back. Still correct. (1/1)

June 2, 2021

  • Per PW Insider, WWE is requiring talent to go to the Performance Center for some training in the coming weeks to prepare for the return to the road and live crowds.
  • That makes sense. May have needed to kick the rust off before consistent live crowds.
  • WrestleVotes says the Raw production people they’ve spoken with were thrilled with Jimmy Smith’s performance in his debut on commentary.
  • He’s very good. Fit right in immediately.
  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said it’s looking like Double or Nothing 2021 could be the second biggest show AEW has ever done.
  • Their PPVs just keep getting bigger.
  • Insider says Lio Rush signed recently with New Japan Pro Wrestling. He’ll continue to work for both AEW and MLW while appearing regularly for NJPW.
  • If he did sign with NJPW, it wasn’t for too long because he recently signed officially with AEW.
  • Finally, they say AEW Rampage will likely be live for its debut show on Aug. 13 and the two Dark YouTube exclusive shows will undergo changes to account for it.
  • This is accurate. Not all Rampages are live, but the firsts definitely were. Now the Dark shows are filmed on a closed set. (2/2)

Special releases Rumor Roundup

  • According to Fightful Select, “a few select people” at WWE knew about the releases yesterday afternoon, and the plan was to call talent this morning. A lot of the site’s sources were surprised by the cuts, and asked Fightful if they knew what “the endgame” was.
  • These seem to take a lot of folks by surprise each time, though at one point, people will just constantly expect them.
  • Regarding that endgame, fans and insiders are speculating the moves could be a sign the company is up for sale, but Fightful hasn’t heard anything about that from WWE officials.
  • There’s still speculation but nothing about that yet.
  • In terms of how quickly these plans seem to have come together, PW Insider says Santana Garrett was set to debut on SmackDown this Friday.
  • That’s gotta suck. From “You’re debuting on Friday” to “You’re fired.”
  • One name people backstage weren’t surprised to hear about was Braun Strowman. Fightful was told Strowman’s 2019 contract was a “monster deal” worth more than $1 million per year, so there’s considerable cost savings in moving on from Braun.
  • He was still a player that had value. He wasn’t going to be the guy but could be plugged in the main event scene whenever needed. I look at Big E’s title reign. I like both Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins but neither feel like a big threat for E. Strowman would just given his sheer size.
  • “Ruby Riott’s release definitely seemed to shake the WWE roster the most,” according to Fightful’s sources. Riott was “universally popular backstage”, and praised as a hard worker.
  • She found a home in AEW very soon.
  • Mat Men’s Andrew Zarian claims some of the people “were looking to get released” as “WWE has taken a different approach when it comes to this.”
  • I wonder the percentage of folks who were released wanted to be.
  • Zarian also says he was told “it’s expected more releases will be coming.”
  • They haven’t stopped. (1/1)

June 3, 2021

  • There’s speculation, from Wrestling Observer Live’s Bryan Alvarez, Ringside News and others, that Brock Lesnar’s name was included in the script for Monday’s Raw because WWE plans to bring him back soon, likely for a feud with Bobby Lashley.
  • Lesnar came back after SummerSlam to work with Roman. (0/1)
  • Regarding Zelina Vega’s possible return to WWE, Fightful Select says they never heard she signed a contract, or that there were any specific plans for her, alone or with Aleister Black.
  • She did eventually come back.
  • That site also reports there was “no long-term endgame” for the program Black started with Big E two weeks ago. The team putting that story together didn’t know Aleister was being released, but “creative was told to stop making pitches for Black, but weren’t told why.”
  • It’s all very messed up.
  • Fightful’s sources also told them that Buddy Murphy was said to be easy to work with and receptive to creative’s ideas. Nonetheless, he wasn’t in WWE’s plans lately.
  • He’s not a surprise release given the type of talent they were letting go. Hopefully he finds success outside WWE, though. He’s got tons of talent.
  • AEW didn’t renew the contracts of Awesome Kong and Shanna, per Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer.
  • Awesome Kong had such an odd, short run with AEW.

June 4, 2021

  • Mat Men’s Andrew Zarian was told more WWE releases are coming. These cuts will become “a regular thing” because WWE realizes the roster got bloated over the last few years.
  • They pretty much are a regular thing. (1/1)
  • Wrestlenomics’ Brandon Thurston spoke with five people in the WWE investor community, and none of them think WWE’s recent budget cuts are a sign that they are preparing to sell the company.
  • They still have a rather massive roster. They weren’t going to be able to use all the talent they had. This isn’t a defense of how they’ve done things but a possible refute of the “WWE is going to sell” theory.
  • As far as part-timers are concerned, Zarian said to expect “all of the big names that make sense” at SummerSlam 2021. Brock Lesnar’s return to WWE was specifically cited as part of the early plans for the event, with the challenge being to find a proper story and match to justify his pay.
  • Brock’s plans was a surprise return after the main event so he did not have a match. Cena and Goldberg both worked the show, so big names still. (1/2)
  • PW Insider learned that the Miz TV and Beat the Clock segments with Charlotte Flair that opened this week’s Raw went about 10 minutes too long. Vince McMahon wasn’t happy about this, and it led to the order of other segments on the show being shuffled around.
  • Live TV ain’t easy. I’m not sure how a Beat the Clock segment can run long though where there’s a specific time that things need to be finished by.
  • According to Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer, AEW will be taping the next three weeks of television this weekend. This is to account for all of the upcoming preemptions of Dynamite in June.
  • This looks to be correct. This is when they were still doing everything from Daily’s Place prior to the full return of live crowds. They had some Friday night 10 PM shows that made sense not to run live. (1/1)

This week: 11/16 - 69%

May 2021: 34/54 - 63%

Overall: 3,963/7,020 - 56.5%

Have a great week, everyone!

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