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Rumor Look Back: June 18 - 24, 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.

June 18, 2022

  • The word going around at last night’s SmackDown taping is that Sasha Banks has indeed been released by WWE, per WrestleVotes. Sean Ross Sapp adds that “some pretty important people” in WWE believe she is gone.
  • We don’t have confirmation of the details of all this, but it’s sounding like this is likely the accurate account.
  • PW Insider says John Laurinaitis was not backstage at SmackDown. According to Fightful, it’s expected that the scandalous allegations made against him and Vince McMahon in the Wall Street Journal’s reporting will result in Laurinaitis’ exit from WWE.
  • He was eventually fired. (1/1)
  • For what it’s worth, Insider claims Vince was in a great mood backstage at SmackDown and joking around, despite the serious nature of the hush money allegations made against him. Sapp heard reactions from current and former WWE talent that range from “confused to enraged” over McMahon’s appearance on the show.
  • Probably full of hubris until the end (and apparently afterwards).
  • Wrestlenomics’ Brandon Thurston has heard from many people that Stephanie McMahon and Kevin Dunn do not like each other.
  • One day, I want a multi-part documentary of the politics of the WWE higher ups. Not by WWE or the Vice guys. A complete independent documentary on the drama of this time. For what it’s worth, even with Vince gone, Dunn is still employed.
  • Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer notes that WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns is only scheduled to appear on one episode of Raw for the entire summer, and that’s July 25 at Madison Square Garden.
  • That is accurate. Good times. (1/1)

June 20, 2022

  • For whatever it’s worth, PW Insider says that as of this past weekend, at least, Sasha Banks was still listed internally on the WWE roster.
  • So she was either granted her release at this point or she was not. (1/2)
  • Fightful Select says the original plan for SummerSlam called for Roman Reigns vs. Randy Orton, but Orton’s injury situation led to needing to change to Brock Lesnar.
  • That made more sense - they were going that way. Felt like it was a rush to go back to the Lesnar well so soon. It’s possible we don’t see Randy in that ring again.
  • Speaking of Lesnar, Fightful also says the word of his return only went around backstage around 5 pm last Friday and he wasn’t listed in internal rundowns handed out just before the SmackDown.
  • Deal probably came together last minute. Their SummerSlam match ended up being great, but after so much Lesnar/Reigns within the six months prior, it wasn’t a build I was interested in. Randy’s injury effected that likely. And also hindered Riddle’s growth, though given the accusations surrounding him, that’s the least of his troubles right now.
  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said John Laurinaitis was never scheduled for SmackDown this past week, so his not being there wasn’t necessarily a story. But he does believe Laurinaitis is scheduled for Raw tonight.
  • He wasn’t long for WWE.
  • While talking to “The Five Count” radio show, Sheamus seemed to tease changing his schedule a bit in the future.
  • I don’t recall if he was working less then. He seems like he’s there pretty consistently.

June 21, 2022

  • WWE sent a memo to talent after Raw informing them that “pending the conclusion of our Board of Directors’ internal investigation” into misconduct allegations against him & Vince McMahon, John Laurinaitis has been placed on “administrative leave.” PW Insider reports the roster was also informed Bruce Prichard will serve as the interim head of talent relations.
  • He never came back. Jim Ross let it be known it couldn’t have happened to a nicer guy.
  • Apparently there was some speculation recently that Stephanie McMahon & Triple H had separated. Wade Keller of PW Torch refuted that, saying, “I’m told that’s just flat out not the case and that they are a team.”
  • That would be a bit disappointing.
  • As of last Wednesday, Bryan Danielson still wasn’t cleared for Forbidden Door, per Wrestling Observer Radio. Dave Meltzer did say he didn’t think AEW and New Japan would be talking about a match with Zack Sabre Jr. if they didn’t expect him to be cleared by Sunday’s show. Tony Khan announced Danielson will address his status on the June 22 Dynamite.
  • He was not cleared. Claudio debuted as Bryan’s replacement. It sounds like Tony would have debuted him at the ROH show instead of early, but this was a bigger debut for the Swiss.
  • Insider also reports the attorney defending WWE Hall of Famer Tammy “Sunny” Sytch in her DUI Manslaughter case filed a motion on June 16 asking the court’s permission to withdraw as her legal representation.
  • She is definitely struggling, and unfortunately, other people are also suffering for it.
  • Despite recently wrestling matches for AEW, NJPW & NWA, Fightful Select reports Ariya Daivari is still working as a producer for WWE on a trial basis.
  • He’s now working in AEW.

June 22, 2022

  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said Bruce Prichard being elevated to interim head of talent relations for WWE was a way to ensure Vince is still making all the decisions and Stephanie McMahon is basically a figurehead as CEO right now.
  • I believe Bruce is still working with WWE, but Triple H is the guy now that Vince is legit gone.
  • Meltzer also mentioned asking around about Rhea Ripley’s injury situation and “nobody seemed to know what the exact thing is.”
  • That day, she clarified it was “brain/teeth” related.
  • Shotzi told Ryan Satin on the “Out of Character” podcast that no longer using the mini tank in her entrance wasn’t her decision.
  • Triple H brought it back and better than ever.
  • Fightful says Darius Martin is not expected back in 2022, though he could come back before the end of the year, and Lee Johnson is expected to miss the rest of the summer with their respective injuries.
  • Darius did come back in November. Johnson did miss the summer. (1/1)
  • While there were several injuries coming out of Slammiversary, PW Insider notes that Mike Bailey, despite not wrestling on the post-PPV taping, was not injured.
  • That man had to take 5 years off from working the states due to his visa issues, which just resolved this year. That’s so hard on his career when he was just starting to heat up. (Not that he didn’t work and do well in that time, but to take the US out of play is hard.

June 23, 2022

  • Paul “Triple H” Levesque was in Orlando yesterday and spoke at the WWE Performance Center, Post Wrestling’s John Pollock reports. Pollock tweeted: “Of the people I heard from, Levesque stated ‘he’s back’ - it is unknown what that entails but that was the wording I was given.”
  • He never really returned to NXT.
  • Bryan Alvarez confirmed the Triple H visit on Wrestling Observer Live, adding WWE’s executive vice president of global talent strategy and development said he “was there for business reasons and he couldn’t say why yet.”
  • He’s now head of all creative with Vince gone.
  • Charlotte Flair is being advertised by the venue for the Aug. 12 SmackDown, leading to speculation Flair’s return could come after SummerSlam.
  • Flair still hasn’t returned. (0/1)
  • Dewey Foley is no longer working for WWE, per PW Insider. Mick’s son, who’s been a member of the creative team since 2016 and was at one point a lead writer for 205 Live, is said to have resigned in April.
  • I wonder what he’s up to now. Hopefully not being caned.
  • Solo Sikoa told BT Sport that WWE considered putting him with his brothers The Usos on SmackDown, but he wanted to establish his own identity so they put him on NXT instead.
  • He eventually found his way into the Bloodline. But it was smart to establish himself alone in NXT first.

June 24, 2022

  • Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer indicated that Triple H “is back with more power” in WWE.
  • I don’t know how much power he had before Vince left. But he has a ton of it now.
  • While discussing Rhea Ripley’s brain injury, Meltzer noted that she’s expected to return “fairly soon.” He also mentioned that WWE tells talent to not talk about concussions or COVID.
  • She actually didn’t wrestle for months, but she was back on TV sooner than that. (1/1)
  • Per Meltzer, Andrade and Rey Fenix aren’t allowed to wrestle at Forbidden Door because “CMLL is the exclusive provider of Mexican wrestlers to New Japan Pro Wrestling.” That’s why Tony Khan booked them to wrestle each other on this week’s Rampage and have their pay-per-view match there.
  • It’s a shame that the politics effect shows, but it is how it is.
  • Fightful claims that Ricky Steamboat was open to wrestling at Ric Flair’s Last Match, but his asking price was “extremely high” and a deal could not be reached.
  • The Dragon did wrestle recently.
  • According to PW Insider, Skye Blue is the latest AEW wrestler who is out of action due to injury.
  • That is an occupation hazard, though always unfortunate.

This week: 5/7 - 71%

Overall: 4,411/7,747 - 56.9%

Have a great week, everyone!

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