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Rumor Look Back: Mar. 24 - 30, 2023

Triple H on Twitter

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.

March 24, 2023

  • WrestleVotes told GiveMeSport that WWE has a backup plan in place for Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania 39 if Bray Wyatt does not return in time to work the event. There have been discussions about LA Knight being involved in the backup plan, which might also include Stone Cold Steve Austin.
  • The backup plan being winning the Andre on SmackDown and waving to the crowd for a minute at WrestleMania? Yeah, there was no real backup that came to fruition. That’s a shame because Bobby Lashley isn’t the type of talent that should be left off WrestleMania. (I was saying at the time LA Knight should get a spot, but I at least understood leaving him off as opposed to with Lashley.) (0/1)
  • Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer says Vince McMahon is doing “a lot more than just working on the sale” of WWE. Meltzer specifically mentioned that Vince is an insider in the creative process who knows things that nobody is supposed to know about.
  • I’m sure he was involved in creative to some degree before he officially came back.
  • Fightful Select claims that “several companies” are interested in booking free agent Goldberg, including one in Israel.
  • Goldberg hasn’t been seen since the end of his last WWE deal.
  • The site also indicates that AEW is considering the idea of changing the venue for All Out 2023 (in September) from the NOW Arena to Chicago’s United Center.
  • It was in the United Center. Without CM Punk (who hadn’t even come back at the time of this rumor) because he was fired. (1/1)
  • According to WRKD Wrestling, Rey Mysterio will have Legado Del Fantasma in his corner for his match at WrestleMania 39.
  • They played a part. They were already rebranded as the LWO by this time. (1/1)
  • Per Sports Illustrated, the Motor City Machine Guns have signed new contracts with Impact Wrestling.
  • I’ve always been a fan of MCMG. They’re champions right now, but not together. Chris Saban is X Division champion and Alex Shelley is the world champion.
  • Multiple outlets heard that WWE is planning to book GUNTHER vs. BUTCH on tonight’s episode of SmackDown.
  • That is correct. (1/1)

March 25, 2023

  • Even though CM Punk initially considered legal action and wanted out of his AEW contract after the backstage fight at All Out 2022, Fightful Select heard that talks between Punk and AEW had been progressing well lately, and he was open to a return.
  • He did come back. Not for long. But he came back. (1/1)
  • Several people close to the situation said Punk expressed regret for his media scrum tirade after All Out, and at least one person believes he’s willing to apologize for it.
  • I don’t know if that happened.
  • However, sources within AEW are no longer confident that Punk will return to the promotion after he buried Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley on Instagram this week.
  • Understandable. That whole Instagram rant weird. But he did. (0/1)
  • More details on the All Out backstage fight have been revealed, including a second person besides Nick Jackson being hit with a chair. It’s believed to be a production employee.
  • Poor production guy catching strays.
  • Punk and Kenny Omega apparently spoke to each right after the fight in a composed manner, with CM telling Kenny that he had no issues with him.
  • It felt like Kenny was never really the problem when it came to this feud. He surely sided with his close friends, but it didn’t seem like Punk ever had a real problem with him as opposed to the Bucks and Hangman Page.
  • The site also mentions that Punk thought he could be medically cleared from his torn triceps by the end of January. It’s believed that he should be cleared for an in-ring return very soon, if he’s not already cleared.
  • We don’t know when he was cleared. He returned to action in June.
  • Regarding talk of Brock Lesnar’s future with WWE beyond WrestleMania 39, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter says only a handful of people — Vince McMahon, Triple H, Nick Khan, and maybe two others — know about his plans. Everything about Brock and what he’s doing is considered a secret.
  • Brock kept working - right through SummerSlam.
  • WrestleVotes told GiveMeSport that Bad Bunny recently had a training session with Damian Priest and Jamie Noble in order to prepare for something physical at either WrestleMania 39 or WWE Backlash in Puerto Rico.
  • He had a match with Priest at Backlash. (1/1)
  • The Observer also says WWE officials haven’t been happy with NXT crowds lately. They sent a memo to talent and crew encouraging them to bring family and friends to this week’s double taping “to help bring energy to the crowd in the final shows leading up to Stand & Deliver.”
  • I don’t follow NXT. Were the crowds underwhelming? It’s not a large set up in general.
  • WWE filed a trademark for “NXT Battleground”.
  • That was an NXT event in May.

March 27, 2023

  • WrestleVotes told GiveMeSport that Randy Orton wanted to make his return to WWE at WrestleMania 39, and it’s possible that could happen but not 100-percent confirmed. At the very least, he’ll be in town for the show.
  • Maybe he was in town, but he didn’t work the show.
  • Other names who will be in town who could make surprise appearances at WrestleMania 39, according to the Wrestling Observer: Matt Riddle, AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, and Big E.
  • None of those guys were surprises WrestleMania appearances. Though Riddle, who has also since been fired, returned with in the week. (0/4)
  • Fightful Select says original plans called for Ronda Rousey to defend the SmackDown women’s championship against Raquel Rodriguez at Royal Rumble, then Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania 39. Charlotte Flair would have returned and challenged Bianca Belair for the Raw women’s title at the same show. Instead, she pushed to do the tag team with Shayna Baszler.
  • If this is true, the whole slate of women’s matches changed. I’m glad we got Charlotte/Rhea over Ronda/Rhea.
  • Per PW Insider, the plan is for Gangrel to play a part in Edge’s entrance at WrestleMania, and he might also play a part in the match with Finn Balor.
  • Gangrel was not part of that. (0/1)
  • Any rumors of Rey Mysterio retiring after WrestleMania are untrue, says the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • Mysterio is still going strong. (1/1)
  • WRKD Wrestling says there have been talks of Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa reuniting on the main roster after WrestleMania.
  • Maybe eventually, but not yet.
  • They also say we should “keep an eye out for some glitches and QR codes this week.” Take that as you will.
  • I’ll be honest. Without going back and watching the SmackDown from this week, I can’t say for complete certainty. But since there was nothing this time that had paid off (especially since these were associated with the late Bray Wyatt and he was out with a serious medical condition at this time), I’m comfortable saying there were no QR codes at this time. (0/1)

March 28, 2023

  • Sources told PWTorch’s Wade Keller that “the vast majority of wrestlers” at AEW don’t want CM Punk back. Keller’s heard that while there’s some tension between top guys at the company like Kenny Omega, The Young Bucks, Jon Moxley, Chris Jericho & Hangman Page, none of them get along with Punk.
  • He came back. But again... not for long. Even though Punk’s biggest enemy, Jack Perry, wasn’t mentioned in this rumor.
  • While he couldn’t rule it out, Keller doesn’t think there’s a great chance of Punk returning to WWE. There are “high-up, influential people” there who used to support him who now “don’t want him anywhere near that locker room”, and Triple H “was never in love with Punk.”
  • I guess we may still find that out.
  • In other Punk rumor news, on Wrestling Observer Radio Dave Meltzer expressed regret for his message board post about last summer’s AEW World title feud between Punk & Jon Moxley that seemed to trigger Punk’s quickly deleted Instagram post about Mox, Jericho & Meltzer. Specifically, Meltzer said he should have included that Punk’s recovery from his broken foot was a factor in the disagreement about his World title unification match with Mox.
  • That IG post was still a weird call for a guy actively trying to come back. It’s like he just can’t help himself.
  • WWE has a new title belt approved and ready to introduce at any time, WrestleVotes told GiveMeSport. Other than that, the Twitter account doesn’t know specifics about things like the title’s name or if it would replace the WWE or Universal championship.
  • They revamped a bunch of titles after WrestleMania. (1/1)
  • Another source of belt talk, Belt Fan Dan tweeted he hasn’t heard anything about a new WWE title in a while. In early 2022 he’d heard a pitch for the Big Gold Belt replacing the Universal, and that Vince McMahon wanting a unified strap for WrestleMania 40, but Dan’s heard nothing since and admits he could be out of the loop.
  • There were changes on the horizon. (0/1)
  • Another WWE higher-up pushed back on a previous rumor about WWE not seeing Sami Zayn as a “top guy”, telling Fightful Select that his current role on television & for WrestleMania and headlining a PPV (“Elimination Chamber didn’t happen in his hometown by accident”) are proof Zayn is viewed at the top level.
  • I believe they value him greatly. Maybe they don’t see him as a champion for a long time (and he himself said that), but he’s a staple of TV every week.

March 29, 2023

  • PW Insider claims WWE is preparing an announcement on the official match line-ups for the two nights of WrestleMania 39, and that should happen in the next day or so. Either way, it won’t be a mystery going into the show.
  • It was not a mystery going into the show. (1/1)
  • Fightful Select notes there were originally plans to do a UFC style weigh in for Brock Lesnar and Omos on Raw this week, including with towels prepared to be used for some reason, but that obviously changed.
  • That was a weird build but not a bad match.
  • While Rey Mysterio isn’t expected to retire after WrestleMania 39, he did tell WESH 2 News he will be calling it quits before he turns 50. He is 48 and will turn 49 in December of this year.
  • We’ll find out.
  • Triple H is behind the idea of BUTCH becoming Pete Dunne again and working the Bruiserweight gimmick he used down in NXT, per the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • We haven’t seen that yet. (0/1)
  • NXT’s Cora Jade is still out dealing with an undisclosed injury from two months back, says the Observer.
  • She was back, but recently “quit” as part of an angle.
  • Regarding what’s next for Nick Aldis, Dave Meltzer mentioned on Wrestling Observer Radio that he doesn’t think he ever had talks with Tony Khan but previously talked with Christopher Daniels and previous issues with Bruce Prichard may have prevented his going to WWE. It’s unclear what’s next for him either way.
  • Aldis is still a free agent.

March 30, 2023

  • Vince McMahon will be in Los Angeles for WrestleMania 39 this weekend, multiple sources tell PW Insider Elite. It’s not clear if he plans to appear on camera.
  • He was not on camera.
  • Fightful Select received more reports from WWE talent concerned that Vince McMahon was back in creative due to some “red flags” they’d noticed like an increase in day-of-show script rewrites, character gimmicks being changed back to the way McMahon liked them, and a “Vince’s Office” sign seen backstage at tapings.
  • It seemed pretty clear he had a big hand in the Raw after.
  • WWE officials remain adamant that McMahon is not working in creative despite these “red flags”. Fightful also said in a follow-up that the “Vince’s Office” sign just wasn’t updated after McMahon left last summer, and is currently used to point to production/set design area.
  • Must have sucked for talent who felt like they were walking on egg shells less with Vince around on for him to roll on back.
  • Some of the players who could be in the market to buy WWE would like to see Stephanie McMahon return to the company, sources told Fightful Select. Someone at Disney told the site, “Stephanie seemed to bring a lot of positive to the company.”
  • Doesn’t seem like Encore is one of those companies.
  • WrestleMania 39’s Hell in a Cell match will see the return of the old silver & black cage, according to PW Insider. The retro version of the cell was said to be hanging above the ring at SoFi Stadium as set construction started earlier this week.
  • That is the case. (1/1)
  • On Impaulsive, Logan Paul said his WWE contract is up after his WrestleMania 39 match with Seth Rollins. When he & WWE announced the signing last year, outside reports indicated it was for multiple years.
  • That was weird given the discrepancy of what we heard, but apparently he re-signed.
  • Don Callis was legitimately injured last night on Dynamite, per PW Insider. He hit his head as he fell when selling Jon Moxley’s forearm, and was busted open the hard way. When Excalibur later said Callis was receiving medical attention backstage, that was a legitimate update.
  • He still seems to have a scar.
  • While Fightful Select says Carmella is currently “sidelined” for unknown reasons, any rumors of her having heat that spread online after she’s missed the past two weeks of television are “ridiculous”. She’s in the L.A. area doing WrestleMania week appearances for the company.
  • Likely due to her pregnancy.
  • It’s not clear if it’s what triggered Ronda Rousey to publicly complain about “octogenarians” messing with the booking of her program with Liv Morgan, but Dave Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Radio that both Rousey & Morgan were upset they weren’t allowed to use thumbtacks or do things traditionally found in men’s hardcore matches in their Extreme Rules match last year.
  • Given Vince wasn’t around during that time, I don’t know who she was referring to. Triple H is only in his mid-50s. Apparently, that would make him a quinquagenarian. Though it’s possible Ronda was using that term just to apply to all older people.

This week: 9/19 - 47%

Overall: 4,763/8,321 - 57.2%

Have a great week, everyone!

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