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Rumor Look Back: Dec. 19 - 25, 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 jump right to it.

December 20, 2021

  • Andrew Zarian of Mat Men noted recently that there seems to be a divide happening between wrestlers in AEW and WWE, with a growing belief that many wouldn’t switch to the other company even if given the opportunity.
  • Some, but not all. I am sure there are those who wouldn’t even consider it, but money talks. And for professional athletes who have a short window to make money, if there’s one offer that is much better than the other, it should definitely be considered.
  • Ringside News claims the WWE writing team was told that SmackDown this past week was to feature “some big shifts” in the Roman Reigns/Brock Lesnar feud and nothing else.
  • “Focus on Roman/Brock and nothing else” sounds about right.
  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer mentioned a belief that Bray Wyatt may have been released by WWE because he wanted out and “made a lot of noise about it.”
  • There are many different reasons thrown out there for why Wyatt was released. We still don’t have any real idea of the truth.
  • The new line on WWE not wanting independent wrestlers is that the company will look at anyone on the men’s side if they’ve got the right size and look, per the Observer.
  • They’ve been focusing a lot on the NIL college athletes, but there’s no reason they should just ignore the indies if there’s someone on there that fits what they’re currently looking for. It’s just that their past independent signees don’t fit what their new requirements are.
  • They also said that they would look at women from the Indies — Rok-C was at a recent tryout — but the main focus there is looks and not necessarily size.
  • Rok-C was signed, wrestling as Roxanne Perez.

December 21, 2021

  • WWE wants Steve Austin to have a “meaningful” role at WrestleMania 38 in Texas, per WrestleVotes. It wouldn’t involve wrestling, but something more than just appearing. They’re said to be working on creative.
  • It did involve wrestling, shocking enough. When they started building it, I figured it’d be maybe a promo segment that could get more physical than usual. But actually having a match for 13 minutes, even though it was mainly a brawl, was an impressive surprise. (1/2)
  • Even though his paternity leave is over, Fightful Select reports Mustafa Ali is not on the road with WWE because creative has nothing for him.
  • He requested his released about a month later. It wasn’t granted. Now he’s back on TV just losing all the time.
  • Quebec has instituted new lockdown measures in light of a record number of new COVID cases on Monday, including closing concert venues and mandating sporting events be played without fans in attendance. This has cast doubt on the WWE house show planned for Laval on Dec. 30. The company hasn’t made an announcement, but PWInsider notes that tickets are no longer available on Ticketmaster.
  • Looks like that show was postponed and they moved to Buffalo. (1/1)
  • There’s speculation, including from WrestlingNews.co, that Madcap Moss & Happy Corbin will soon be splitting up with Moss going face.
  • It happened after WrestleMania, with Moss even winning the feud. (2/2)
  • Alex Hammerstone confirmed to Fightful that he’s signed a new multi-year contract with MLW.
  • He’s a cornerstone for them.

December 22, 2021

  • WrestleVotes says the Omos & AJ Styles split was rushed because WWE has “significant plans” for both wrestlers in early 2022.
  • I guess? Omos had a singles push against Lashley which not surprisingly didn’t work well. And AJ faced Edge at WrestleMania. (1/1)
  • According to Fightful Select, Vince McMahon is now adamant about not granting any “no cut” clauses in new contracts for any talent.
  • I still think someone like Roman could get that in his contract, but there’s also no world they’d release Roman.
  • Ringside News claims the writing team was told they can come up with long term ideas for Sami Zayn, furthering the belief he’s re-signed with WWE.
  • That he did. (1/1)
  • They also say WWE is in the process of making a lot of contingency plans in case COVID leads to a change in touring plans.
  • Balancing COVID and touring must be a huge pain.
  • According to Forbes, CM Punk’s relationship with WWE management is such that he’ll likely never appear in any future WWE game.
  • Yeah, that makes sense.

December 23, 2021

  • Following up on their initial report about positive COVID tests within WWE, PW Insider says the company currently plans to run all of their U.S. shows next week, using alternate line-ups and even filling in with NXT talents if necessary.
  • Their MSG show had to be altered because of it. (1/1)
  • More wrestlers and staff received positive results during the day yesterday. Insider also said there was “a lot of running around” as these came in and WWE found out who could or could not travel this weekend.
  • That’s gotta be a huge pain in the ass.
  • The hope is that even if talent can’t work the Holiday Tour, they’ll be cleared by Day 1.
  • That would give it a week, and I think most talent made it back who were out this week. But that doesn’t include Roman, which was a big hit.
  • WrestlingNews.co believes Drew McIntyre will be Roman Reigns’ opponent for Royal Rumble.
  • It was Seth Rollins. (0/1)
  • After Alberto Del Rio gave an interview to Mexico.as.com claiming he’ll sign “with one of the three main companies in the United States” in 2022, Sean Ross Sapp tweeted that sources at WWE, Impact & MLW said they aren’t interested and would be shocked if it happened. AEW talent told Sapp they’ve never even heard Alberto’s name mentioned as a possible addition.
  • Alberto full of shit? Shocking. (1/2)

December 24, 2021

  • According to Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer, the current COVID outbreak in WWE seems to have hit NXT harder than the main roster.
  • That used to be a constant theme of these outbreaks - it spreading much more through the PC. That area is probably smaller and not as well ventilated as their various ThunderDome locations.
  • Meltzer mentions that several people in WWE’s recent NIL class were signed because they have large social media followings. WWE wants to bring in people who have larger than life charisma, and they believe social media followers is an indicator of that type of charisma.
  • I’m interesting to see how this plays out for them. It could work. But we’ll have to wait some time to see.
  • Mat Men’s Andrew Zarian said WWE didn’t want to move SmackDown to Friday nights two years ago when the show began airing on FOX. The schedule “is a logistical nightmare” for WWE. FOX told them if things go well then the day for SmackDown can be changed.
  • I don’t think it’s changing. But who knows if they are happy enough with these ratings to give WWE such leeway.
  • Per Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics, the median age of NXT’s television viewership this week increased to 64 years old.
  • Old folks love them some NXT.
  • Fightful claims there is heat on Anthony Ogogo backstage at AEW for recent comments he made on social media mocking ROH World champion Jonathan Gresham and Impact Digital Media champion Jordynne Grace, who are married.
  • Ogogo hasn’t been in AEW since his injury, and I believe he’s healed up and working.

December 25, 2021

  • Regarding a report from earlier this week that both company’s rosters have bought into AEW vs. WWE tribalism, Fightful Select’s Sean Ross Sapp said he hears that mentality “a lot with management and people in the office and stuff but I never hear it with talent.”
  • That makes sense. Most talent has friends on the other side who they probably want to see succeed on a personal level.
  • There’s currently no time table for Kenny Omega’s return to AEW, per the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • We’re still waiting on Kenny. The fact they aren’t using him for the New Japan is surprising. I don’t know if they just want to wait for him to show up in a big spot in an AEW story if he’s got a bit of a ways to go.
  • FOX cancelled their New Year’s Eve programming, FOX’s New Year’s Eve Toast & Roast 2022, due to COVID concerns. It’s not clear yet how this will impact SmackDown or a rumored “Best of” show WWE was said to be prepping for FS1 on Dec. 31. There is no live event that night, and currently nothing taped for broadcast.
  • The “Best of” show ran that night.
  • According to Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer, the Lash Legend vs. Sarray match that aired on the Dec. 17 episode of 205 Live had to be “heavily edited”. It was Legend’s second match in WWE.
  • That’s why they put new talent on taped shows that they can edit.
  • Sources on the North Pole say that Santa Claus put a lump of Adam Cole in Vince McMahon’s Christmas stocking this year, but Vince didn’t notice it because it was too small.
  • Vince will be getting coal for years to come.

This week: 8/11 - 73%

Overall: 4,196/7,379 - 56.9%

Have a great week, everyone!