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Rumor Look Back: Jan. 17 - 23, 2022

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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.

January 17, 2022

  • Fightful Select notes there was a heated argument between Vince McMahon and Mustafa Ali over a pitch for his character and that may be why he hasn’t been used, which could be why he’s asked to be released.
  • Eventually, Ali came back to lose on TV all the time for a little bit. Ironically, it’s Vince who is gone from the day to day of the company before Mustafa. We’ll see if that changes Ali’s fortunes at all or if there’s still enough folks who saw things the same way he did.
  • As far as whether he’ll be released or not, Ringside News claims WWE’s policy is to let go of anyone who wants let go unless WWE expressly wants to keep them.
  • Well, it sounds like they expressly wanted to keep him, though it feels like they wanted to keep him out of spite.
  • According to PW Insider, Lita’s appearance on SmackDown this past week was a last minute decision. She was booked Thursday for the show the next night.
  • This built to her in the Rumble and then facing Becky Lynch at the Elimination Chamber Saudi show.
  • Speaking of Lita, Fightful says she engaged in talks with AEW in 2021 for a possible program with Britt Baker that would have included a match at All Out but they couldn’t come to an agreement.
  • That would have been interesting.
  • Fightful also says there is still a chance Kairi Sane re-signs with WWE in February when her contract is up but many believe she won’t and an appearance in AEW wouldn’t be a surprise.
  • No WWE or AEW for her. At least not yet. (0/2)

January 18, 2022

  • In an update to their report on Cody Rhodes’ AEW contract status, Fightful Select notes they’ve heard Rhodes doesn’t have a deal in place for his Executive Vice-President role either.
  • He was soon in WWE, so no, there was no contract in that regard. (1/1)
  • Dave Meltzer wrote on F4WOnline’s The Board that his AEW sources were avoiding him on the Rhodes story, “so either it’s true and they are all mad it’s out or it’s a work and they don’t want to lie to me.”
  • That’s some quote.
  • Regarding talk of a forbidden door entrant in the men’s match next weekend, Wrestling Observer: “There will be no AEW involvement at the Royal Rumble. Jon Moxley will not be at that show.”
  • That’s accurate. (1/1)
  • After Tony Khan announced that Eddie Kingston was injured at last weekend’s Dark taping, PW Insider heard Kingston “would be out a few weeks” and “obviously” off Sunday’s GCW show at Hammerstein in New York. A subsequent report from The Observer said Kingston fractured his orbital bone and expects to be out for three weeks.
  • This delayed the program he had with Jericho, as did Jericho’s pulmonary embolism. Said program is still going, with most recently a very sloppy Barbed Wired Everywhere match.
  • The day after she was injured at a house show, Fightful says WWE creative was told to take Sasha Banks out of their Royal Rumble plans but that she would be available for WrestleMania.
  • She was in the Rumble. (0/1)

January 19, 2022

  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said Mustafa Ali asked for his release after he was given an idea for a new character and he didn’t like said idea.
  • We still don’t know what the idea was. Maybe with Vince gone, he’ll feel more free to tell it. Though still not likely to happen while he’s employed by the company. That’s an eventual shoot interview that I’m very interested in.
  • He also said Cody Rhodes will not, in fact, be in the Royal Rumble this year and his new contract could be announced today, possibly on Dynamite.
  • He was not in the Rumble. No new contract was announced for AEW. (1/2)
  • WrestlingNews.co claims Vince McMahon has put Finn Balor in the role Jeff Hardy had been in, as a mid-card act to help get younger guys over.
  • Harsh for Finn. I wish they’d let him work the style he worked in NXT at least. With Vince out of creative, I wonder if guys he just didn’t see much value in will find another opportunity. I think the answer to that goes with who is in charge. If Bruce Prichard and Kevin Dunn are, like the word is right now, probably not. If Triple H gets control of a show, which there isn’t any indication of right now but it’s certainly something that’s possible, then guys that he’s valued in the past like Finn Bálor may see a bigger spotlight. Fascinating times and the Look Backs six months from now will be fascinating to evaluate.
  • PW Insider says Monday Night Raw will air on SyFy twice in February due to Olympics coverage on USA Network.
  • That’s accurate. (1/1)
  • According to Fightful Select, Rok-C did well at her WWE tryouts and there is a push to sign her to the company.
  • She’s Roxanne Perez in NXT, who recently lost an NXT women’s title match because of betrayal from Cora Jade. (1/1)

January 20, 2022

  • On a recent Wrestling Observer Radio, Meltzer mentioned that Bryan Danielson is interested in working with an indie in an area of the country AEW hasn’t run yet, and while AEW isn’t against it, they want his first match in that market to be with them. Most speculation is that Meltzer was referring to Danielson’s return to PWG.
  • That makes sense. I think we learn this was related to a Seattle indie. And it’s tough since AEW runs the west coast so rarely.
  • Multiple sources reported Konnan recently underwent heart surgery. While there was some disagreement about the reason for the operation, all indicated the procedure was successful and that he’s safely recovering. On Tuesday, the WCW & lucha legend tweeted a positive response to a fan’s question about his health.
  • We haven’t heard anything about his health lately so hopefully he’s doing well right now. Soon after, he discussed it in detail and it sounded bad.
  • Bryan Alvarez said on Wrestling Observer Live that Raquel González is “on her way out” of NXT, but is being kept around because they need to fill out the Women’s Dusty Classic next month.
  • She eventually debuted on the main roster as Raquel Rodriguez. I don’t know why the last name change. Alliteration? (1/1)
  • Like the Feb. 7 & 14 episodes of Raw, PW Insider says NXT will also be moved to SyFy on Feb. 8 & 15 due to Winter Olympics coverage on USA.
  • Also accurate. (1/1)
  • The FTR vs. Lee Johnson & Brock Anderson match AEW originally scheduled for last night “was canceled due to medical protocols,” per Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer.
  • Always gotta play it safe as much as possible in this business.

January 21, 2022

  • According to Mat Men’s Andrew Zarian, a lot of people in WWE “had no clue” about the Nazi connection to the name “Gunther Stark” until journalists started looking into it.
  • I would hope that’s the case and they didn’t purposely name him after a Nazi. Still - not hard to do a quick google.
  • Zarian also heard that compared to just a few years ago, many more wrestlers today in WWE openly complain to the creative team when they don’t like the material they are given to work with. This is especially true of the top stars in the company.
  • There should be more give and take than “here’s what you’re doing tonight.”
  • A source in WWE told Ringside News that Vince McMahon views Finn Balor as just “filler on the roster.” More specifically, Vince thinks Finn is “a high spot guy that doesn’t sell in a way that means box office.” Vince was never big on Balor, even when he put the Universal championship on him.
  • Woof. Well, again. Let’s see if things change with Finn, who clearly has his supporters in the company.
  • While discussing Konnan’s current heart problems, Dave Meltzer mentioned on Wrestling Observer Radio that Konnan needs another kidney transplant.
  • This was certainly a harrowing experience for him.
  • Meltzer said that even though FTR’s match on this week’s Dynamite was canceled due to medical protocol, the issue is not with FTR. They are fine and do not have COVID.
  • That’s good. Those dudes are killing it.

January 22, 2021

  • WWE is “disappointed” with NXT 2.0 thus far, tweets WrestleVotes. A source told the account that WWE “thought more fans would gravitate towards the newer stars quicker than they have.”
  • I can’t imagine why fans wouldn’t want to watch a brand new program where most of the folks are new and green. I used the change as a jumping off point. But I was already pretty overloaded with wrestling and didn’t really care for the new direction.
  • Following up on Votes’ tweet, a source told Andrew Zarian that much of the blame is being put on how abruptly everything changed, and that “fan perception of the product isn’t helping either.”
  • Yeah, the abrupt nature didn’t help.
  • PW Insider notes that the Undertaker will be at Royal Rumble. It’s not clear if he’ll only be there to support his wife Michelle McCool, who is wrestling that night, or if WWE has something planned for him.
  • They didn’t have anything planned for him.
  • WarnerMedia was upset about WWE’s “gory self-mutilation” quote, per Wrestling Observer Newsletter. AEW’s partner took it as “an attempt at a personal attack against the company in an attempt to hurt their ad sales.”
  • I can imagine that could ruffle some feathers.
  • Drew McIntyre is “insistent on being cleared for WrestleMania,” according to the WON. He is on an aggressive rehabilitation schedule, similar to the kind John Cena used to use when returning from injury.
  • He was back by the Rumble. (1/1)

This week: 8/12 - 67%

Overall: 4,224/7,429 - 56.9%

Have a great week, everyone!