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Rumor Look Back: Apr. 8 - 14, 2023


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.

April 8, 2023

  • PW Insider notes that Vince McMahon was not at last night’s SmackDown taping.
  • This was big news after the disastrous Raw After Mania. That was a pretty bad feeling when things were going well creatively, they had a strong WrestleMania, and then a pretty awful Raw that reeked of Vince McMahon. The wind was let out of the sails big time.
  • F4WOnline’s Dave Meltzer adds that Vince called in remotely and made “minor” changes to the show.
  • That seemed to be the trend for awhile. It seems like that trend may have changed again.
  • Meltzer mentioned that Drew McIntyre missed SmackDown due to a health issue. The timetable for his return is unknown.
  • Drew was out for a little bit.
  • The Wrestling Observer Newsletter says that as of Monday, Roman Reigns wasn’t planned for WWE’s Backlash premium live event on May 6 in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
  • He was not part of that show. It was still a super hot show with Brock vs. Cody Rhodes & Damian Priest vs. Bad Bunny. (1/1)
  • According to WRKD Wrestling, there have been discussions about moving away from the Legado Del Fantasma name and instead using LWO as the group’s permanent name going forward.
  • That’s what they did. (1/1)
  • WRKD also says the current plan is for the upcoming WWE Draft to take place on May 8 in Jacksonville, Florida.
  • It was the week before. (0/1)
  • On his podcast, AEW star Matt Hardy mentioned that his brother Jeff recently had eye surgery and is a few weeks away from being physically cleared.
  • Kind of need to see to wrestle. Well... I guess not all the time.

April 10, 2023

  • According to PW Insider, “there is no expectation” that Bayley will be leaving WWE and her recent social media activity is not an indication of that but rather her doing in storyline work.
  • Bayley is still hanging around and being awesome. (1/1)
  • For that matter, WRKD Wrestling notes she is listed internally as “available to use” for Monday Night Raw this week.
  • She was on Raw. (1/1)
  • Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer said there’s nothing official but Damage CTRL could be breaking up soon and that could be what Bayley’s social media activity has been about.
  • It’s felt that way for a little bit but they’re still chuggin’ along. Though it feels only inevitable that Bayley is going to cost Iyo the title and then it’s on. (0/1)
  • The assumption, including from the likes of the Observer, is that there will be NXT call ups in the WWE Draft this year.
  • There were, such as Grayson Waller and Isla Dawn & Alba Fyre. (1/1)
  • Not surprisingly, Fightful Select says morale was way up at SmackDown this past week with Vince McMahon not around but everyone is still in wait-and-see mode.
  • Vince not being around seems to be a morale booster in general.
  • They also say they’ve been told by wrestlers that WWE is in the midst of a hiring freeze. They don’t know why, and it’s not official, but it appears to be the case as of right now.
  • They’re hiring wrestlers now.
  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer mentioned Drew McIntyre’s health issue dates back to even before WrestleMania 39 and that’s why he’s out right now. It has nothing to do with any contract or other issues with WWE.
  • He’s been back since this and it sounds like the contract negotiations are on going. Drew has a title match against Seth in Saudi Arabia. That may be the official heel turn for the Scotsman, which definitely seems like it’s coming.

April 11, 2023

  • The talent travel issues Corey Graves mentioned at the start of Raw last night were legitimate. Sean Ross Sapp and Andrew Zarian both reported prior to the show that the script had to be changed extensively because so much of the roster either didn’t make it to Seattle for the show, or would be arriving late.
  • Travel issues sometimes rear its ugly head as a reason to change plans.
  • Sapp’s sources also said Vince McMahon wasn’t present at last night’s show.
  • Again, big information at this time given the worry after the prior Raw.
  • Writing about future Roman Reigns challengers in the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer had an update about the possibility of Dwayne Johnson facing Reigns at WrestleMania 40: The Rock left “a crack in the door open” about maybe wrestling on next year’s show in Philadelphia, “but that was far from a commitment and certainly nothing anyone should count on happening.”
  • I still feel that’s a long shot. As long as he’s filming movies, he’s not wrestling legit. Cena said when the SAG-AFTRA strike is over, he’s back to Hollywood.
  • We haven’t heard much about Eric Young since last December’s report he was re-signing with WWE after his Impact run ended. According to Fightful Select, despite the fact he hasn’t been backstage let alone on screen, Young is under contract to WWE.
  • He’s not any more. But this also confirms he was. (1/1)
  • Pretty Deadly “received high praise” for their main roster house show appearances earlier this year and are “poised for a call-up in the next few months,” per WRKD Wrestling.
  • They were part of that WWE Draft call up. The medical miracle that Elton Prince just had was like nothing we’ve ever seen. (1/1)
  • Fightful also had an update on Santana, who they say is still with AEW and being paid while rehabbing the knee injury he suffered in last year’s Blood & Guts match. Prior to getting hurt, Santana teased leaving AEW and indicated he’d be a free agent after Sept. 2022, so it’s possible his deal was extended for the time he’s been out.
  • Santana and Ortiz are back and feuding with each other.

April 12, 2023

  • WRKD Wrestling claims there have been discussions to do a GUNTHER vs. Brock Lesnar program “sometime this summer.”
  • We still have not gotten that program. I expect we may though. (0/1)
  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer noted the Matt Riddle vs. The Miz match on Raw this week was pulled before there were any travel issues, though he’s unsure why.
  • Riddle got a lot of chances in WWE, but those eventually ran out.
  • Fightful Select says there was “concern from some backstage” with regards to Finn Balor working a match against Rey Mysterio considering how “banged up” he is coming out of WrestleMania 39.
  • He got busted up good during Hell in a Cell.
  • Tyler Bate and Zoey Stark were set to be backstage at Raw this week and worked the Main Event taping but, per WRKD, it may not be time for a main roster call up for either just yet.
  • Zoey was called up in the draft. Tyler was not. (1/2)
  • Brian Cage signed a new long-term contract with AEW this week, according to Fightful.
  • He’s rolling with them right now.

April 13, 2023

  • CM Punk has expressed his desire to return to AEW, per a report from Fightful Select. He’s “laid out numerous scenarios in which he’d return”, including for a program with The Elite, but “at least as of a few months ago, [Kenny] Omega and [The Young] Bucks didn’t seem keen on doing that”. It’s mentioned that it’s possible The Elite’s stance has changed as part of their own contract negotiations, however.
  • Y’all, just check out the photo that was the of this Roundup.
  • Another Punk proposal would see him “keep completely separate from the Elite”. Some of Fightful’s sources on the roster think a rumored Saturday AEW show could be a way to accomplish that, but no one in management mentioned that scenario.
  • That’s the way it went. It was a pretty strong split between those two. Even though I felt it was bad management to say “Let’s separate them” instead of forcing a workable peace, I think the shows benefitted from a brand split. (1/1)
  • Finally, Fightful was “told Punk has been open to working elsewhere, though we’re not sure if that means within the auspices of AEW such as Ring of Honor, or the likes of WWE and NJPW.”
  • We could see him in WWE soon. Or maybe not. Reports differ.
  • A copy of Vince McMahon’s new WWE employment contract got into The Hollywood Reporter’s hands, and it states that “‘McMahon’s continued employment shall be conditioned on’ compliance with the company’s ‘Conflict of Interest and Code of Conduct,’ as well as its ‘Equal Opportunity and Non-Harassment Policy,’ among other terms.”
  • A bunch of legal jargon here.
  • WWE still plans to hold off until SummerSlam for the Becky Lynch vs. Trish Status match that was set-up by Stratus’ heel turn on Raw, per Wrestling Observer Radio.
  • That did not happen at SummerSlam, which was a bit of a controversy. (0/1)
  • A manager with AEW: Fight Forever publisher THQ Nordic who goes by “Zyddie” online was asked on Twitter about talk the video game is finished and just awaiting a release date. They replied “if you want an unfinished game sure we could release now”.
  • It was released in June.
  • In a subsequent Twitch stream, Zyddie explained that comments from Tony Khan and Kenny Omega about Fight Forever being ready don’t mean they “lied” or are evidence of “miscommunication”, but are a case of the AEW execs looking “at it differently because they don’t look at it through the eyes of a publisher.”
  • That makes sense.
  • Billie Starkz has signed with AEW, per Tony Schiavone on his podcast.
  • She works some AEW shows, and had a title match against Athena at Forbidden Door.

April 14, 2023

  • Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer believes that Dax Harwood’s public proposal of CM Punk & FTR vs. The Elite at AEW All In at Wembley Stadium is a disingenuous “power play” to make The Elite look bad if they don’t agree to work with Punk or do the match.
  • Punk worked at Wembley against Joe (and a preshow backstage brawl with Jack Perry). He was then fired.
  • According to Fightful Select, the launch of AEW’s new Saturday television show might come with a “soft roster split” that could be used to keep certain wrestlers away from each other.
  • That’s how it played. Again, it obviously didn’t work. Punk lasted three months this time around. (1/1)
  • The site was also told that Jeff Hardy is still recovering from recent surgery, so AEW has “alternate plans” for him in the coming weeks that don’t involve working a match.
  • Hardy hasn’t been in a prominent spot lately.
  • PW Insider heard the decision to change the name of King & Queen of the Ring to Night of Champions was a “creative choice” that allows WWE to “revive” the Night of Champions PPV and “bring it to an international market.”
  • To me it doesn’t matter either way, but they’re probably right.
  • WrestleVotes told GiveMeSport that WWE would be “very surprised” if Edge moves on to working for AEW after wrestling his last match for WWE in Toronto in August 2023.
  • Edge is in AEW. (0/1)
  • Meltzer heard that the upcoming Dark Side of the Ring episode on Marty Jannetty “might be insane.” Meltzer added that “Marty Jannetty is completely insane” so “there will probably be a lot of insanity” on that episode.
  • Did folks watch it? Was there a lot of insanity?
  • Meltzer clarified that Kenny Omega has not signed a new contract with AEW, despite Konnan’s podcast remarks suggesting otherwise. Tony Khan extended Omega’s existing deal until November or December 2023 to make up for the time he missed last year due to injury.
  • He re-signed last summer.

This week: 10/16 - 63%

Overall: 4,786/8,359 - 57.3%

Have a great week, everyone!

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