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Rumor Look Back: July 30 - Aug. 5, 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. First, let’s knock off some old rumors.

October 11, 2018

  • According to Ringside News, WWE’s recent acquisition of WCW trademarks like “Halloween Havoc” are for use with future television events under the Fox deal.
  • Almost surprisingly, SmackDown on Fox never gets any special editions. All the old WCW names were used in NXT. (0/1)

October 20, 2018

  • Per the Observer, those at FOX want WWE to make SmackDown less about comedy and presented more like sport, specifically for the purpose of cross-promotion with sports programs on the network.
  • Maybe they were thinking that when they brought in Cain Velasquez. But in the end, the presentation on SmackDown is really no different than the presentation on Raw. It’s not more sport than Raw or less comedy. (0/1)

November 2, 2018

  • That site also says WWE has filed a new trademark for “Tough Enough,” leading to speculation the show may make another comeback in some form.
  • It’s been three years. I’m going to say no on this. (0/1)

November 8, 2018

  • Quote-tweeting a report of theirs from May, WrestleVotes says a big Drew McIntyre push is starting now and WWE has “major plans for him in 2019”.
  • Really, Drew’s push didn’t start until 2020. Maybe you can point to the tail tail end of 2019, but it was early 2020 up to winning the Rumble where he really got the push. (0/1)

OK, now onto this week’s rumors:

July 30, 2021

  • WWE management isn’t too concerned about CM Punk possibly signing with AEW, but “a certain network is not very happy” about it, per Mat Men’s Andrew Zarian. There are a lot of people in WWE who think CM Punk’s stock is down due to his UFC losses, and so they are more disappointed about Daniel Bryan potentially joining AEW.
  • I assume that network is Fox? But even if Punk didn’t sign with AEW, he wasn’t signing with WWE. Bryan is a big loss for WWE, but I think there’s little debate that Punk was the more impactful debut.
  • Zarian was told that before Jeff Hardy tested positive for COVID-19, the plan was for Karrion Kross to keep losing on Raw until Scarlett shows up.
  • Even if that was the plan, it wasn’t really a good one.
  • According to Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer, it was 4 o’clock in the morning when Jon Moxley came up with idea to wrestle a “top New Japan wrestler,” and the match will likely happen on Sept. 5 at All Out.
  • He fought Kojima at All Out. The question is, does Kojima fit the bill of “top” wrestler? Or is that reserved for the likes of Tanahashi, Okada, and Naito? After consulting with our New Japan gal on site, we agreed that Kojima is not a current top wrestler in that company. (0/1)
  • Meltzer also indicated that Chavo Guerrero is not the surprise that Andrade referred to last month on Dynamite. AEW didn’t originally plan for Chavo to be Andrade’s manager.
  • Andrade never really had a surprise. If it wasn’t Chavo, it wasn’t anyone. (0/1)
  • WWE is looking at six or seven buildings they can bounce between if future COVID restrictions interrupt their touring schedule.
  • In general, there has been no issues with touring, even during the Omicron outbreak.

July 31, 2021

  • Rumors got around that Brock Lesnar had signed a deal somewhere other than WWE but the Wrestling Observer Newsletter says that’s not the case.
  • He’s in WWE, so initial rumors wrong and Observer correct. (1/2)
  • Per the Observer, there was talk of holding NXT TakeOver 36 in Las Vegas but as of now it’s scheduled for the Performance Center.
  • It was in the PC. Their WrestleMania show in a couple months will be the first show outside of that building in ages. (1/1)
  • Fightful Select says Slapjack’s move to SmackDown happened without WWE telling him and he was only informed when other wrestlers noticed him on internal roster sheets and told him.
  • Doing SLAPJACK wrong.
  • Wrestling Inc says Jeff Jarrett quietly parted ways with WWE back in January but it was an amicable split. Lucha Libre Online, however, says he’s still with WWE just under a non-exclusive deal.
  • Two dueling rumors. (1/2)
  • Front Office Sports claims WarnerMedia’s ad sales team was trying to “mend fences with Domino’s and its agency partners” by saying the pizza cutter incident on AEW Dynamite was an unfortunate coincidence.
  • I wonder if Domino’s was actually that upset. The entire thing was hilarious though.

August 2, 2021

  • For whatever it’s worth, PW Insider says Vince McMahon and Bray Wyatt’s relationship “ran very hot and cold at times” and Nick Khan has been given the ability to run things more than anyone ever before and that could be why there wasn’t pushback to this move.
  • I wonder if there was a lot of head butting about the creative direction and vision.
  • Fightful Select, meanwhile, says they were told the creative team was informed Wyatt was “getting protective of his character” after what he saw were poor creative decisions and ideas but added the caveat that many members of said creative team didn’t actually talk to Wyatt himself and “weren’t sure if it was hearsay.”
  • I can imagine that given it was clear that WWE had no idea how to book the Fiend. That character needs a creative with extended vision and WWE creative is about random moments and rarely about long term story telling. And you can tell Bray is a guy who has a protection of his characters. It was almost inevitable that his feeling would clash with the chaotic creative method of WWE. It makes his release feel more inevitable than the shocker it did at the time.
  • Lastly, Fightful says morale in the WWE locker room took a big hit from this and some veterans no longer feel their jobs are safe anymore.
  • I would imagine the feeling of “No one is safe” is not good for morale at all. Speaking of morale... still not great.
  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said that he was told Natalya will be back from her surgery much sooner than people think.
  • It was within a month. (1/1)
  • He also said that not only will Hangman Page not be in the main event of All Out, he likely won’t be on the show at all.
  • That’s accurate on both accounts. (2/2)

August 3, 2021

  • Ric Flair was frustrated with “certain booking decisions” on WWE TV and contacted Vince McMahon directly to air his complaints and ask for his release per Fightful Select. The report doesn’t specify what Flair was unhappy with, but “the booking issues he didn’t like were fairly recent.”
  • Maybe he didn’t like the Lacey stuff? Though that was months prior to this rumor.
  • Sticking with the frustration theme, WWE’s network partners are frustrated with the release of Bray Wyatt, sources told Mat Men’s Andrew Zarian. One told him it’s “really disappointing and a little scary” that top stars are being let go.
  • Yeah, it seems erratic and I can imagine both Fox & NBCUniversal would raise some eyebrows about that.
  • The timing of former Talent Development Director Canyon Cemen’s departure from WWE “very much lines up” with when company executives learned Adam Cole’s contract was up, according to PW Insider. On Wrestling Observer Live, Bryan Alvarez said “it is strongly believed” Ceman was let go over the Cole situation.
  • This is when they didn’t know when Cole’s contract was coming up.
  • Randy Orton was not backstage at Raw last night, says PW Insider. Jeff Hardy wasn’t there either as he’s still waiting to be cleared after his positive COVID test, and no NXT talents were brought in for Main Event or dark matches.
  • A quieter backstage.
  • Insider also notes WWE didn’t license “Cult of Personality” in perpetuity, so AEW should be able to secure the Living Colour song for CM Punk.
  • Punk uses it in AEW. In fact, when AEW tried to license it, they called Punk to make sure it was him. (1/1)

August 4, 2021

  • Bryan Alvarez said on Wrestling Observer Live that Ric Flair texted Vince McMahon with an ultimatum, and McMahon didn’t do what Flair wanted so the relationship ended.
  • I imagine Ric’ll be back when the money is right and WWE wants to do business.
  • TMZ has actually gotten into the Ric Flair story, saying they were told Flair and WWE’s split “has been in the works for a while now.”
  • Intriguing.
  • Ringside News notes that on a recent conference call Cody Rhodes couldn’t say if he sees a spot in AEW for Bray Wyatt. The obvious speculation is he will have a spot there.
  • Wyatt hasn’t showed up anywhere yet.
  • PW Unlimited claims Adam Cole has been offered multiple contracts from WWE and turned them all down.
  • Cole went to AEW.
  • Fightful Select, meanwhile, says he hasn’t been offered a new deal yet but it’s planned. Further, they say the hope was to keep the situation quiet but that obviously didn’t happen.
  • I’ll split the last two rumors (multiple contract offers vs. no contract offer). (1/2)

August 5, 2021

  • Ruby Riott, who’s now going by Ruby Soho, looks to be signing with AEW. Fightful Select reported it, along with a note her non-compete should be up just before All Out.
  • That’s the case. (1/1)
  • With COVID restrictions returning, says WWE is concerned that SummerSlam may not be able to run Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas and is preparing to return to their ThunderDome set-up.
  • Thankfully their fears were unfounded, though understandable. (0/1)
  • WrestleVotes, however, says thing “remain on track” for Vegas after conversations with the city and venue.
  • Accurate. (1/1)
  • During his recent Talk Is Jericho interview, Malakai Black said Paul Heyman told him he had one night of control at the start of his 2019 - 2020 run as Raw Executive Director, but “after that, everything became a fight.”
  • That sounds believable.
  • MLW has closed a deal with a streaming service that sources told PW Insider is a “big one” for the company. There’s also talk of launching a separate Azteca Underground series.
  • They never landed that streaming service. That may be the Fubo issues that is part of the WWE antitrust lawsuit. Azteca Underground is not its own series but a mini-series that is running the place of Fusion for a little bit. It’s not a separate thing in addition to Fusion. (0/2)

This week: 10/18 - 55.6%

July 2021: 35/57 - 61.4%

Overall: 4,043/7,145 - 56.6%

Have a great week, everyone!

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