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Rumor Look Back: Jan. 31 - Feb. 6, 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 31, 2022

  • WrestleVotes says WWE “legitimately has no idea what the WWE title match at WrestleMania is going to be at this point.”
  • This flies in the face of last week’s “The title match is set in stone.” Both can’t be right and we marked that correct. (0/1)
  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said WWE had Roman Reigns do the post-match chair beatdown on Seth Rollins so they would boo him instead of booing the match finish.
  • They protected Seth in this match, which I figured it was because they wanted to keep him strong for a rematch. But then they beat Seth a ton afterwards so what was the point?
  • PW Insider says there’s a belief that “we’d probably see more with Nikki and Brie Bella for WrestleMania 38.
  • The Bellas did not do anything after the Rumble. Now that they’re bringing back the tag titles, I’d like to see them hold them at one point. (0/1)
  • The Observer notes there were a lot of former wrestlers who were called to work the Royal Rumble matches and turned it down.
  • That’s not a great sign when people are like “Nah, I’ll pass” for the Rumble.
  • Bryan Alvarez mentions Kofi Kingston wasn’t supposed to be eliminated when he was, and there were spots planned with Big E later in the match.
  • Yeah, that was definitely a botched spot, which was bound to happen after all the times he pulled of some insane moments. Big E’s Rumble participation was disappointing and this may have an impact on why.

February 1, 2022

  • Riddle was originally scheduled to win the men’s Royal Rumble last Saturday, per PW Insider. Plans changed “a ton of times” during the week before settling on Brock Lesnar. Randy Orton was considered at one point, too.
  • At this time, they probably were still thinking of two different titles. Merging the Universal and WWE probably wasn’t on the table yet. So Orton could have won and they still could have done Brock/Reigns.
  • Which could be worth remembering, since WrestleVotes tweets that Riddle vs. Orton for the WWE title at WrestleMania 38 is being pitched by “a handful of creative members”. However, it sounds like most backstage are not in favor of splitting RK-Bro.
  • The majority won out with RK-Bro defending their titles at WrestleMania.
  • Back to the Rumble, Insider claims morale was down in the locker room after the show.
  • That men’s Rumble was rough. The women’s Rumble was definitely better but also not the best showing. There’s nothing more disappointing than a bad Royal Rumble event. It’s tailor-made to be awesome with spots for surprises and the ability to manufacture great moments. It has the chance to be so fun every year. So when there was little of that like this last year, it’s a massive let down.
  • They also point to the absence of Triple H and TJ Wilson as a reason why this year’s Rumbles fell flat. It’s traditionally been Hunter’s job to make sure people get individual moments to shine within the overall men’s Rumble story, and Wilson is usually lead on putting the women’s Rumble together. Neither were there Saturday.
  • That makes sense.
  • WrestleVotes also says Finn Bálor isn’t injured, but is currently out of the country. WWE expects him back by WrestleMania.
  • He was definitely back by WrestleMania, but he wasn’t booked for WrestleMania. (1/1)

February 2, 2022

  • Ringside News says Shane McMahon was one of the producers for the Royal Rumble and there’s a lot of heat on him for how it turned out.
  • You’ve got to believe there’s still more to this story that we don’t know. And I can’t wait to hear it when it comes out.
  • Speaking of Shane, Dave Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Radio that there were originally plans to have him in the Elimination Chamber match and set up a feud with Seth Rollins for WrestleMania 38.
  • It really sounds like he got so much heat that he worked himself off the WrestleMania card.
  • On Wrestling Observer Live, Bryan Alvarez said he was told Randy Orton is “going to be gone for a little while. I don’t know why. I don’t know when he’ll be back.”
  • At this time, this was incorrect. He was around pretty consistently after this. But then in the summer, he had to take a lot of time for injury and has yet to return. (0/1)
  • He also said at one point there was a plan to do Bobby Lashley vs. Shane McMahon at WrestleMania, but that’s changed.
  • Shane vs. Rollins. Shane vs. Lashley. And it ended up Shane persona non grata.
  • Per Fightful Select, WWE didn’t feel Asuka was physically ready to return in the Royal Rumble and that’s why she wasn’t used.
  • She returned in April.

February 3, 2022

  • Regarding why there was heat on Shane McMahon for his work putting together the men’s Royal Rumble, PW Insider says he was frustrated his ideas were being shot down by his father. Shane was upset “he wasn’t being allowed to do what he wanted,” and said to be “greatly preoccupied” with how he was booked.
  • Now that Vince is gone, the door is open for the Best in the World’s return! (Not really. Rumor is he and Stephanie don’t get along when working together.)
  • Sources also told the site they thought Shane was “taking the brunt of the heat for the poor reception to the men’s Rumble match.”
  • He did apparently help book it so it’s probably fair.
  • Based on the angle at the Jackass Forever premiere and a WWE survey asking fans their opinion of Johnny Knoxville’s run with the company, there’s a lot of speculation Knoxville’s feud with Sami Zayn will extend until WrestleMania.
  • That it did. They went one on one. (1/1)
  • Since they’ll be traveling to Saudi Arabia for Elimination Chamber on Feb. 18, WWE will tape that week’s episode of SmackDown in New Orleans on Feb. 11 after that night’s live show airs.
  • That’s the case. (I’m not sure this is officially a rumor though. No source on it so it may be via the venue.)
  • Riho revealed she suffered a broken collar bone in her Battle of the Belts match against Britt Baker last month. Wrestling Observer says she’s expected to be out three months.
  • She worked some matches in February and March. (0/1)

February 4, 2022

  • It sounds like morale in WWE is near an all-time low following Royal Rumble 2022, based on what Fightful heard from several “discouraged and disappointed” wrestlers up and down the card. There is a lot of frustration with WWE’s current direction among these wrestlers. One person said it feels like nothing matters outside of a handful of wrestlers.
  • I wonder how morale is now that Vince is out and Triple H is in charge of creative. Rumors are it’s very high currently. Do those wrestlers who think there’s no spot for them have some hope?
  • Several wrestlers feel like they are “less heard” than ever before, and their attempts to communicate with Vince McMahon are either dismissed, ignored, or end up working against them. They have to resort to social media to be heard.
  • Again, will Triple H listen more? Folks who have left WWE spoke highly of him after the fact (meaning when they didn’t have to) so it’s surely possible.
  • F4WOnline’s Dave Meltzer said Brock Lesnar and Shane McMahon were both pushing for certain changes to the men’s Royal Rumble match. Brock is the one who got a lot of what he wanted. Shane complained to several people about it and behaved unprofessionally.
  • I really need some shoot interviews on this Shane thing.
  • Fightful mentioned that Mustafa Ali has “well over a year, at least” left on his WWE contract. WWE recently denied Ali’s request to be released by the company.
  • Ali took an L on Monday Night Raw but he’s a guy who may have a little life now that Vince is gone.
  • Santino Marella told Stories with Brisco and Bradshaw that his daughter, Bianca Carelli, has signed with WWE and will report to the Performance Center in two weeks.
  • A lot of second generation wrestlers out there.

February 5, 2022

  • Drew McIntyre was supposed to have a moment with Brock Lesnar in the Royal Rumble, standing up to Lesnar and calling back to when McIntyre eliminated Brock in 2020, per Wrestling Observer Newsletter. That was cut, however, because the show was running long.
  • They had something cool planned and it was cut for time. That was an all time crummy Rumble.
  • Sasha Banks and McIntyre were late additions to the Rumble matches, according to the WON. The belief is Banks’ appearance was kept short as a safety precaution due to her recent injury.
  • Banks had some fun spots.
  • Royal Rumble was the most watched WWE show ever on Peacock, surpassing both nights of WrestleMania 37. The Observer also noted it was the most searched WWE event on Google since 2019.
  • A shame the show was such a let down.
  • Bayley and Asuka should both be back for WrestleMania 38. PW Insider heard Asuka should return this month, with Bayley returning in March.
  • Neither were back by Mania. (0/2)
  • F4WOnline’s Bryan Alvarez said WWE is aware the men’s Royal Rumble match was boring, and their plan is to make sure next year’s match is not boring.
  • “Not boring.” That’s a grand plan.

This week: 2/8 - 25%

January 2022: 47/86 - 55%

Overall: 4,247/7,475 - 56.8%

Have a great week, everyone!

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