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Rumor Look Back: May 20 - 26, 2022

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.

May 20, 2022

  • According to PW Insider, “no one but the most inner circle” in WWE knew that Stephanie McMahon was taking a leave of absence from the company prior to her announcement. Most people in WWE were “completely shocked and taken aback” by the news.
  • This was all very weird. There was word it was legit on her end. There was word she was kind of forced out. And now she’s co-CEO. Wild how things work out.
  • Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer said WWE is unlikely to fire Sasha Banks and Naomi for walking out on the company. They don’t want either wrestler to go to AEW, so WWE is more likely to freeze Sasha and Naomi’s contracts while they refuse to perform.
  • They never released them officially. We’ll see if Sasha or Naomi come back soon. (1/1)
  • Insider claims that Johnny Elite (fka John Morrison) is not signed with AEW despite wrestling as the Joker this week on Dynamite. However, “the door is open” for future appearances with the promotion.
  • He was not signed. He’s been working some AAA dates but not any major US promotion. I wonder if he got a call from Hunter. If they’re looking to continue to bolster the midcard, they could do way worse than John Morrison.
  • Kenny Omega returned to AEW tapings over the last several weeks and has produced some of the women’s matches, per Insider.
  • I wonder if Kenny is as involved in the women’s division as he was earlier on.
  • Fightful indicates that WOW was partially meant to serve as a rehabilitation project for Tessa Blanchard, but that strategy began to change when AJ Lee joined the promotion last year. Blanchard is not fired from WOW after a recent falling out, but she is no longer factored into their plans.
  • Tessa couldn’t stay out of her own way.

May 21, 2022

  • Former WWE writer Kazeem Famuyide said on The Masked Man Show that he heard Sasha Banks is also negotiating a new deal with WWE, as her & Naomi’s contracts expire “within the next two months”.
  • We don’t know if that happened. I don’t think they ever became true free agents.
  • Even though Triple H is back on the job full-time in WWE, Fightful was told that his current duties are “categorically different” than they were prior to his heart operation.
  • Another example of things massively changing in 6 months. Right now, his duties is to overall see all creative.
  • According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WWE is trying to save a singles rematch between Bianca Belair and Becky Lynch for a major pay-per-view (PPV) event. Hell in a Cell is not a major PPV, so that’s why Lynch did not win the number one contender spot earlier this week on Raw.
  • That happened at SummerSlam. (1/1)
  • In addition to concerns about his lack of improvement, the Observer Newsletter reports WWE released Parker “Harland” Boudreaux because “the company found something out” about him.
  • That’s very vague. And I don’t believe we learned any more. He’s in AEW now.
  • Ric Flair & Wendy Barlow are back together, per the WON.
  • Good for them.

May 23, 2022

  • According to the Wrestling Observer, Sasha Banks was upset earlier this year when Ronda Rousey was given a WrestleMania title match WWE had planned for her and she was pushed down the card to the women’s tag team titles as a concession.
  • That would be frustrating. Chris Jericho has talked about how they told him he was going to win the Universal title at WrestleMania 33, but then plans changed, and he pushed down to the US title scene and the second match on the card. It sounds like that played a factor in his leaving WWE. He understood why plans changed, but it still stung enough for him to bring it up years later when talking about leaving WWE.
  • Meanwhile, WrestleVotes claims that after talking to some folks they believe the whole Sasha Banks/Naomi situation is “going to get worse before it gets any better.”
  • I don’t know if it got worse per se, but it hasn’t gotten better.
  • Ringside News is now claiming they were told Sasha Banks has alienated everyone backstage, and there is apparently a belief among “many people” that she manipulated Naomi into walking out with her.
  • There were a lot of dueling accounts likely coming from folks with agendas.
  • For whatever it’s worth, PW Insider says they believe “there is a lot more to” Stephanie McMahon taking time away from WWE than anyone knows right now.
  • I remember a theory she stepped down because they knew what was going to happen and it was better if she weren’t there for it. That was never reported by anyone legit - just fan speculation that obviously was not the case. And then there were those leaks to the press burying her on the way out that didn’t make any sense. We still don’t have any real idea what that was all about.
  • The opening of SmackDown this week was originally set to feature Sami Zayn, says Fightful Select, but obviously that didn’t end up being the case.
  • This was before Zayn was an Honorary Uce.

May 24, 2022

  • The decision to unify the Raw & SmackDown Tag titles was a last minute one, per Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer. There was “no plan” for The Usos vs. RK-Bro beyond using the post-match beatdown to set Riddle & Randy Orton up as future Roman Reigns’ opponents.
  • Unfortunately, an Orton injury never got us that Randy/Roman match. (And that Orton injury sounds bad enough that his return is not assured). Meanwhile, the Usos have the longest reign for the tag team championships in WWE history.
  • While he again noted there isn’t universal support for Sasha Banks & Naomi in the WWE locker room, PWTorch’s Wade Keller said there are members of the roster who “think this is a cool thing that they did. And they sort of wished that they had the guts to do something like that and take a stance.”
  • Sounds like it was a polarizing decision.
  • On Wrestling Observer Live, Bryan Alvarez claimed NXT officials were told women from the brand will likely be used to fill out the WWE Tag Team Championship Tournament.
  • That tournament never happened under Vince. It was dropped until Triple H took over. (0/1)
  • Nick Khan is working with several of WWE’s partners in Stephanie McMahon’s absence, but PW Insider’s sources believe the company will eventually “bring someone in to handle Brand Management on an Executive level full-time.”
  • Steph & Nick are co-CEOs now.
  • Sammy Guevara & Tay Conti vs. Paige VanZant and either Ethan Page or Scorpio Sky is “internally listed” for Double or Nothing, according to Meltzer. The former UFC star has been training with Gangrel in Florida.
  • It ended up being a 6 on 6 match with Kazarian on Guevara’s side. This was in the brief Sammy babyface stint. (0/1)

May 25, 2022

  • According to PW Insider, Seth Rollins, Kevin Owens, and Cody Rhodes are all scheduled to be at SmackDown this coming Friday night.
  • Owens was the only one of the three on the show. (1/3)
  • To piggyback on that, Bryan Alvarez said on Wrestling Observer Live that while there isn’t anything official yet the brand split is “essentially done.”
  • While they loosened it a bit, it’s still a thing. (0/1)
  • Fightful Select says WWE cut a planned segment between Theory and Mustafa Ali, apparently due to time constraints. They note they were told creative plans are still in place for The Miz and Mustafa Ali on Raw.
  • Those plans being Ali losing to Miz all the time?
  • Sports Gamers Online claims WWE really wanted Cody Rhodes to be included in the 2K22 video game but it was too late in the process for him to be added.
  • He did not make the cut. (1/1)
  • Speaking of Rhodes, his wife, Brandi, posted a tweet some are taking as a tease of a WWE return.
  • She’s still not part of WWE. (0/1)

May 26, 2022

  • WWE will soon announce they’re moving Money in the Bank from Allegiant Stadium to MGM Grand Garden Arena due to poor ticket sales, at least according to Brad Shepard.
  • That’s accurate. (1/1)
  • NXT aired a teaser for the debut for a new character named “Giovanni Vinci”. It’s believed that will be a repackaged Fabian Aichner.
  • That is Vinci, who’s back with his Imperium mates, but still using the Vinci name. (1/1)
  • Killer Kross was in talks with AEW to be Wardlow’s mystery opponent on the May 4 Dynamite, per Fightful Select. Kross declined because Scarlett wouldn’t be involved and he was worried his AEW debut would be too similar to his first appearance on Raw. The two parties are said to be on good terms.
  • Kross returned to WWE when Triple H took over. Prior to that, he was part of Freddie Prinze Jr.’s wrestling startup.
  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported Kenny Omega is currently recovering from hernia surgery, and PW Insider said he’s been working behind the scenes at AEW television tapings this month. Neither outlet had a timeframe for his return to the ring.
  • That man was dealing with a lot of physical issues.
  • After fellow promoter & wrestler Mikey Gordon (aka “Dirty” Ron McDonald) alleged he helped fake COVID documentation for GCW shows during the height of the pandemic, GCW owner Brett Lauderdale declined to provide Fightful with a comment on the advice of his lawyers. Several wrestlers, including Joey Janela, Tony Deppen & Jordan Oliver, refuted Gordon’s story.
  • Seems ugly.

This week: 6/12 - 50%

Overall: 4,383/7,703 - 56.9%

Have a great week, everyone!

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