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Rumor Look Back: Feb. 14 - 20, 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.

February 14, 2022

  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said it’s looking like Sami Zayn vs. Johnny Knoxville for the Intercontinental championship is the plan for WrestleMania 38.
  • That was the match, but the title was not on the line. Sami lost the belt to Ricochet prior. (1/2)
  • Meltzer also speculates that Peacock could be in line to score second day rights to Raw and NXT soon, and maybe SmackDown as well.
  • Looking at it, both Raw & SmackDown have episodes from July as their the most recent Peacock uploads. (0/1)
  • Per PW Insider, Vince McMahon doesn’t think there are any issues with WWE and its creative process.
  • It’s all subjective. But given that it seems to have gotten better when he resigned, maybe he’s wrong on this one.
  • Advertisements for post-Mania shows have led to speculation that Rhea Ripley will be back in the Raw women’s title scene soon.
  • Rhea has not been back in that title scene. It looked to be heading that way a few months later but then an injury got in the way. (0/1)
  • Meanwhile, WWE has filed to trademark “NXT: Level Up” and the Observer notes that it may be the new name for 205 Live.
  • That’s the case. (1/1)

February 15, 2022

  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer indicated that an edited version of the contract signing segment that featured a botched Charlotte Flair/Ronda Rousey spot will air on Friday’s SmackDown.
  • They did edit it. Honestly, one first real time watch, it wouldn’t have looked good, but the scrutiny that comes with Twitter made it worse. (1/1)
  • Josh Alexander tweeted that his Impact contract and visa to work in the U.S. both expired yesterday. The Observer notes he’s open to re-signing with Impact, but also reminded that Brandi Rhodes name-dropped Alexander in a recent promo on Dynamite.
  • Josh Alexander is still with Impact.
  • Last week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter had updates on some AEW stars who’ve been out recently. Eddie Kingston is expected to return to AEW this week. He’s been sidelined with a fractured orbital bone.
  • He did return this episode. (1/1)
  • Kyle O’Reilly was given time off after the birth of his child. That’s why he and Bobby Fish have been missing from the Adam Cole/Young Bucks storyline.
  • Unfortunately, O’Reilly is currently out hurt, as is Cole. Hopefully they’ll be back soon enough to feud with the Elite.
  • It’s believed this render of Elias from WWE 2K22 could be the Randy Savage-inspired look Vince McMahon allegedly nixed last year.
  • That looks like Elias wearing his younger brother Ezekiel’s outfit.

February 16, 2022

  • On Cody Rhodes, the Wrestling Observer says most in AEW thought everything was fine and he would re-sign with the company all the way up until it was announced he and Brandi were leaving.
  • I think Cody leaving AEW was one of the bigger surprises in recent memory. Could have been one of the shockers of the year. But now it’s just an afterthought, overshadowed by Vince resigning and the WWE shakeup.
  • The word going around is there were no issues between the EVPs over the last year and things were actually pretty great between them all.
  • Speculating about the relationship between the AEW EVPs was a favorite speculation of folks.
  • PW Insider says WWE first reached out to Steve Austin about doing something at WrestleMania 38 in late December/early January but there didn’t seem to be much to it.
  • By the end of the discussions, there was a good amount to it.
  • They also say that as of right now Austin hasn’t committed to wrestling but the plan all along has been for him to be a part of the show in Texas in some form.
  • He did wrestle. (1/2)
  • According to Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio, AEW is being a little more conservative in regards to its signings until the next TV deal, where they hope to get an increase.
  • With new leadership at Warner causing major uncertainty, we’ll see how the next TV negotiation goes.

February 17, 2022

  • After Mat Men’s Andrew Zarian reported hearing rumblings that WWE hoped Stone Cold Steve Austin’s WrestleMania 38 match wouldn’t be a one-off, there’s been speculation Austin could be looking for a Goldberg or Edge-type deal where he works a handful of matches per year.
  • It does not look that way. I wonder how many matches he could work at the level he worked at Mania before it didn’t feel as special, especially with his physical limitations. Or is he such a big star that even at 57, if he came out twice a year to cut a couple promos the way only he can, it’d still be good enough to over come the match limitations to not get old? (0/1)
  • Sports Illustrated’s report on Cody Rhodes said that Tony Khan taking over all the booking in AEW was an issue between them. Cody saw that role as a “chance to pay homage to his father [Dusty Rhodes] as a booker while also further cementing his own legacy. Losing that opportunity in AEW hurt Rhodes more than any loss he suffered in the ring.”
  • This is a narrative we heard plenty - that he expected to have more booking control and losing that changed things.
  • That same Justin Barrasso report reiterated that Cody is headed back to WWE, and speculated he could start filming return vignettes at the Performance Center this weekend. Barrasso’s sources indicated that Brandi Rhodes is not expected to join her husband in WWE.
  • This is accurate on both accounts. Cody returned without Brandi. (2/2)
  • In her Elimination Chamber tag match with Naomi against Charlotte Flair & Sonya Deville, Ronda Rousey will have to wrestle with one arm tied behind her back. PW Insider says the stipulation will be announced on Friday’s pre-taped SmackDown.
  • Yes, that’s the case. (1/1)
  • AEW has a “working plan” to bring in Buddy Matthews (fka WWE’s Buddy Murphy), according to Fightful Select. The site says several talents were told of the plan last month.
  • He ended up in the House of Black. (1/1)

February 18, 2022

  • Andrew Zarian mentioned on We’re Live, Pal that people on the WWE side were the ones who first contacted the media to tip them off to the story of Cody Rhodes leaving AEW. Zarian said the WWE guys were “waving their WWE flag in victory” over the news, and the celebratory tone was excessive given Cody has not signed with WWE.
  • Cody being the big victory, especially at that time when his character wasn’t being received well, is something. But to their credit, they made Cody feel like a huge deal when he returned.
  • Someone told Zarian that Cody was particularly “upset” with the Forbes’ profile on Tony Khan where Khan took all the credit for AEW’s success.
  • Some egos were bruised.
  • Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer heard that “twists and turns” will be coming at WWE’s Elimination Chamber 2022 tomorrow in Saudi Arabia. He also indicated there’s a push to do title vs. title between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 38.
  • I don’t know about twists and turns, but that title vs. title match was the play. (1/2)
  • Per Hugo Savinovich of Lucha Libre Online, WWE has fired Carlos Cabrera. He worked on the Spanish language commentary team for 29 years.
  • I hope they didn’t send him his things in a trash bag.
  • WWE Hall of Fame star D-Von Dudley said he can never wrestle again following spinal surgery that fused his L4, L5, and L6 spinal segments.
  • This business takes its toll.

February 19, 2022

  • Cody Rhodes’ AEW contract had an option Tony Khan could have exercised to give Cody a raise and keep him for two more years, according to Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Khan did that with Hangman Page and The Young Bucks’ deals, but an Observer source speculated he didn’t in this case because he knew Rhodes was unhappy.
  • That’s good that Tony didn’t force Cody to do something that he didn’t want. Probably would have been a pain to work with if that were the case, but still.
  • Some WWE talent told the Observer they believe AEW has a budgeting issue that won’t be resolved until/unless they sign a bigger TV deal in 2024.
  • Again, there are some questions about that deal now with changes at Warner.
  • Regarding other AEW contracts, the WON says Chris Jericho is signed through the first week of 2024. Kenny Omega has a year left on his deal. Jericho and CM Punk are believed to be the company’s highest paid stars.
  • That makes sense regarding the highest paid stars. Jericho was the big centerpiece at signing and Punk was the game changing signing last year.
  • WWE is planning to run NXT Stand & Deliver Sat., April 2 at noon ET before night one of WrestleMania 38, per WrestleVotes. Speculation from Wrestling Observer Radio and elsewhere is that Dolph Ziggler vs. Bron Breakker will happen on that show.
  • That’s the case. (2/2)
  • According to PW Insider, WWE is bringing back the Saturday Night’s Main Event brand name after WrestleMania for Saturday house shows.
  • Looks like it. (1/1)

This week: 13/19 - 68%

Overall: 4,265/7,502 - 56.9%

Have a good week, everyone!

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