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Rumor Look Back: July 31 - August 6, 2020

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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.

July 31, 2020

  • WrestleVotes says that WWE has added a Payback pay-per-view to their schedule on Aug. 30, one week after SummerSlam 2020. This was previously rumored to be the possible date for a sequel to Evolution.
  • That’s the case. It ended up serving as a two week SummerSlam in one way and an epilogue to it in another. I thought the formula wasn’t going to work but it turned out to be really good. It shortened SummerSlam and both shows were good. (1/1)
  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer noted that Mark Henry had some brief backstage appearances on this week’s Raw because, like Ron Simmons from the prior week, he was also supposed to be part of a new Nation of Domination angle that was eventually nixed. Both episodes of Raw were filmed at the same set of tapings.
  • Probably for the best the idea was nixed.
  • It sounds like AEW is keeping a tight lid on the reason why Excalibur was absent from Dynamite commentary this week. Excalibur took the trip to Florida for Dynamite, but was not used on television. Meltzer speculates that it could be related to an angle with racist language that Excalibur was involved with in PWG around 2005, along with Kevin Owens and Disco Machine.
  • That was an odd one. He returned but the reasoning was never addressed.
  • Sportskeeda says that several people in WWE are “chewing Vince’s ear off” with praise for Tessa Blanchard and encouraging the company to sign her.
  • Still no Tessa sighting in either the #1 or #2 US company. We may have to wait until the pandemic finally starts to subside given she lives in Mexico.
  • WrestleVotes also claims that in early August, WWE was planning to announce date and location information for Royal Rumble 2021, but those details are now on hold.
  • We didn’t learn the date until December. (1/1)

August 1, 2020

  • WrestleVotes notes that meetings were held yesterday among those in power at WWE to finalize plans for SummerSlam, including its location.
  • I really wonder all the ideas tossed around for SummerSlam.
  • For what it’s worth, PW Insider said that as of yesterday the plan is for SummerSlam to be held at the Performance Center, though the company was still looking at other options.
  • Thank goodness that plan didn’t happen. I’ve said it often but the PC shows were rough. (0/1)
  • Per the Observer, Rey Mysterio is still in negotiations with WWE.
  • We’ve had many weeks of these rumors.
  • WWE has “several backup plans in place” in the event there is a shutdown in Florida forcing the company to make a change, says the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • That never happened. They were deemed an essential business so there was likely little risk of them being unable to run.
  • According to Wrestling Inc, Zack Ryder (Matt Cardona) is working on a five appearance deal with AEW right now
  • Surprisingly, he ended up signing with Impact. So the agreement here wasn’t more than a brief stint. (1/1)

August 3, 2020

  • According to Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio, the current plan for the next WWE draft is in October.
  • That’s accurate. (1/1)
  • Fightful said WWE originally wanted it in August before moving it around from September to October and back around again.
  • October is a very random date for it now. Sure it made sense last year when they moved to Fox, but now it’s just random October. That being said, there’s no great time to completely shake up the rosters.
  • WrestleVotes is hinting that WWE may have found a spot in the Northeast to host SummerSlam outdoors with limited fans.
  • That hint was incorrect. (0/1)
  • Sportskeeda says WWE has signed Anthony Greene to an NXT contract and more Evolve talent could be on the way in the near future.
  • He is signed to WWE. Leon Ruff is another one. (1/1)
  • Per PW Insider, MLW will likely be preempted on BeIN Sport in the coming weeks and another time slot will likely be announced soon.
  • It looks like there was a move that was announced in September. (1/1)

August 4, 2020

  • There may be multiple groups showing up in WWE soon. Wrestling Observer says the company’s plans for a new direction include “a return of the 90s mentality of factions.”
  • I don’t think there were new factions after this point. The Hurt Business was already doing their thing. RETRIBUTION also had been established. Are there obvious ones I’m not thinking of? (0/1)
  • Possibly related, Wrestling Inc reports WWE filed for trademarks on MVP’s stable name “The Hurt Business” and another name, “Justus”.
  • What is Justus for? Is that something they use? That doesn’t sound familiar at all.
  • The location in the Northeast being discussed for SummerSlam is Atlantic City, according to Wrestling Observer.
  • Like in a casino? On the boardwalk? Either way, they did not move to Jersey. I wonder if this was part of the wild ideas we saw last week about hosting SummerSlam on a beach or a boat. What could have been. (0/1)
  • Austin Theory has been on an “unannounced suspension of sorts,” per Dave Meltzer.
  • He eventually returned at NXT later this month.
  • The planned bankruptcy auction for the XFL was called off because The Rock’s ownership group was the only qualified bidder.
  • I’m very excited to see what the Rock and Dani Garcia do with the XFL. I was quite enjoying their run before the pandemic shut everything down. I even went to a DC Defenders game.

August 5, 2020

  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said the mentality at WWE right now is to do what worked in the 90s. That’s why things are starting to look a little more edgy.
  • What worked in the 90s was having two of the biggest stars of all time on the show at the same time.
  • He also said Monday Night Raw this week was about throwing a lot of stuff at the wall and seeing what would stick.
  • Raw feels like that most weeks.
  • PW Insider noted that many of the late rewrites to Raw this week were about inserting a lot of the backstage segments.
  • Interesting. I feel that backstage segments are less important aspects of the show so odd they were shuffling so many of them.
  • The Wrestling Observer Newsletter said Kairi Sane was originally to return to Stardom but it’s no longer clear if she’ll be doing that or simply retiring.
  • We’ll see. She hasn’t returned to wrestling in Japan. She’s still an ambassador for WWE and apparently was part of the Japanese announce team for Hell in a Cell this year.
  • It’s expected Ric Flair will be appearing alongside Randy Orton going forward.
  • Randy punted Flair the following Monday, effectively ending their partnership. (0/1)

August 6, 2020

  • “Problems regarding organization” at yesterday’s SmackDown taping led to only one episode being taped, according to Wrestling Observer.
  • Back when they were taping a bunch of episodes at once, something that meant talent didn’t have to go in as much.
  • This has forced WWE to change their pre-SummerSlam schedule. The Aug. 17 Raw will now be taped on Aug. 13 along with the Aug. 14 SmackDown. It’s not clear when the Aug. 21 SmackDown will tape.
  • There was a lot of shuffling of the taping schedules at this time.
  • Talent has not been told SummerSlam will be anywhere other than the Performance Center, per Fightful. Wrestlers who ask have been told WWE is scouting outdoor locations in New York and on the Florida coast.
  • They ended up in Orlando in Amway in the brand new ThunderDome.
  • James Kimbal, who ran operations at UFC’s Performance Institute, just jumped to WWE, ESPN’s Marc Raimondi reports. Kimbal will take on a senior business operations role based out of the company’s Stamford HQ.
  • The significance of these type of moves is lost on me.
  • On Wrestling Observer Live, Bryan Alvarez said he’s heard people at WWE are high on NXT’s Ridge Holland: “They think that he has the potential to be the next big thing.”
  • Unfortunately, Ridge suffered a brutal injury when it looked like he was getting a push.

This week: 6/11 - 55%

July 2020: 36/62 - 58%

Overall: 3,635/6,470 - 56.2%

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