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Rumor Look Back: Apr. 22 - 28, 2023

All Elite Wrestling

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 22, 2023

  • This week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter notes that Stardom was interested in bringing in Trinity Fatu (Naomi), “but it was felt it would cost too much for the return and thus far hadn’t made that deal.” Bushiroad is still carefully managing costs after their wrestling brands took “a major financial hit because of New Japan’s declines related to the pandemic.”
  • Naomi has not done any work in Japan. She’s TNA’s Knockout’s champion.
  • F4WOnline’s Dave Meltzer believes that Tony Khan would love to feature Goldberg on AEW television, but his asking price isn’t cost-effective. Goldberg was reportedly making two million dollars per match in Saudi Arabia while under contract with WWE.
  • That would be quite the scene. Ric Flair is there. Why not Goldberg?
  • According to WRKD Wrestling, there’s a long-term pitch in WWE for New Day to feud with Imperium whenever Big E and Kofi Kingston are medically cleared to return from injury. Big E vs. GUNTHER would be “the centerpiece” of the story.
  • Big E may never be cleared from injury. It would be a great program, but unfortunately, I’m not holding my breath on Big E in the ring. I’m happy he’s healthy after his neck injury though.
  • In his latest report on CM Punk’s return to AEW, PWTorch’s Wade Keller described Chris Jericho as “the closest confidant of Tony Khan right now.”
  • That make sense. Bryan also surely has his ear if he wants, but I think Jericho would be more interested in having that influence.
  • On his subscription-required Twitter feed, Bryan Alvarez said it looks like NXT wrestlers who were previously planned to debut on the Raw After WrestleMania will now be called up via the upcoming WWE Draft.
  • I wonder what it’s like to be someone like Tyler Bate who has spent a lot of time in the NXT systems, with rumors of calls up that never seem to happen.
  • Drew McIntyre will remain out of action for “at least the next few weeks,” per The Observer. His WWE contract has “months to go” and the two sides are still “far apart on money.”
  • It was two and a half months until he showed up in WWE again. Which is “at least a few weeks” but long enough past that that I’m going to mark this incorrect. (0/1)
  • He couldn’t confirm it and AEW hasn’t officially said anything, but Meltzer claims there are people at AEW who have been saying All Out will still happen the week after All In.
  • It did. It was a lot to ask people to pay for two weeks of PPVs. All Out was rathert good but probably not worth paying $100 in a week for both shows. (1/1)
  • There was “a lot of positive reception” backstage for Seth Rollins & The Miz’s match on Raw this week, says Fightful Select.
  • Rollins is a great worker. Miz is capable of a really good match, but certainly not near the clip of Seth Freakin’.

April 24, 2023

  • Fightful Select notes that, not unlike years past, wrestlers aren’t being informed ahead of time what brand they are being drafted to.
  • It would help prevent leaks, but at the same time, it kind of sucks that the performers just get surprised what their future holds.
  • They also say since he didn’t get his fusion surgery done until December of last year, Robert Roode is “still expected to be out quite some time.”
  • I’m not sure he’s going to ever wrestle again either. He had a second surgery in May. (1/1)
  • PW Insider notes that there hasn’t been much word on AJ Styles of late, and they haven’t heard about him being spotted at the Performance Center or on the road with WWE.
  • He was out until early May - so not too long.
  • Regarding WWE changing the name of their upcoming Saudi show from King & Queen of the Ring to Night of Champions, it “will become obvious why after the Puerto Rico show and in the build to the show,” says the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • I don’t think it was ever obvious to why. (0/1)
  • Johnny Gargano re-aggravated a shoulder injury he suffered at a December house show before facing Grayson Waller at Stand & Deliver, per Fightful. It left him “severely hampered” in that match and he essentially wrestled with one arm. He’s doing physical therapy again in an attempt to avoid surgery, and there’s no word on when he might be back.
  • Gargano wrestled a handful of matches in May, another couple in July, and then back again in September.
  • Rey Fenix has been out nursing some injuries, says PW Insider, but he’s scheduled for a AAW show in Chicago on May 6 and that could mark his in-ring return.
  • He wrestled in Mexico at the end of April, so that Chicago show wasn’t his return. (0/1)

April 25, 2023

  • Vince McMahon wasn’t at Raw yesterday, but he worked on the show remotely... and we don’t just mean allegedly telling security to show CM Punk the door. According to PW Insider, “major changes” were made to last night’s script “at Vince McMahon’s request.”
  • This would be a theme for a good while.
  • On their Elite pay site, Insider reported that Vince’s changes resulted in “talent unhappiness.”
  • Also a theme for awhile.
  • Back to Punk, PW Insider says he was greeted “warmly” by WWE talents he met with backstage at All State Arena. Multiple sources told the site Punk met briefly with The Miz and the two “cleared the air”.
  • We’ll see if that is the prelude for a WWE return at Survivor Series. Most reports are suggesting probably not, but until WWE leaks a stronger denial (so fans aren’t let down when he’s not there), I think it’s still a possibility. Sounds like there’s a chance for him to go to TNA, but at the same time, that promotion seems a bit beneath his level of star power.
  • Fightful Select, on the other hand, said wresters they talked to about it were “shocked that he got backstage” and “numerous wrestlers in WWE believed that the move was a publicity stunt for a return to AEW soon.”
  • We don’t know the intent. He ended up visiting Impact too. He did eventually return to AEW... however so briefly.
  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said Mercedes Moné was “very, very well received” backstage at Stardom. Moné didn’t act like a big star, and had no complaints about dropping the IWGP Women’s title to Mayu Iwatani.
  • That’s good to hear.
  • Moné is not currently contracted for any more Stardom dates, per what Fightful Select heard from “members of her team”. The promotion is very happy with how her brief run went so both sides are open to continuing working together, “but that it would likely require a bigger renegotiation after the business she drew there.”
  • She ended up working another show and getting injured unfortunately in the tournament to crown the first NJPW Strong women’s champion.
  • Fightful also says the extension Mercedes signed with New Japan covers the already announced U.S. date, but it’s not clear what else: “Sources we spoke to in NJPW weren’t sure how long the deal ran, but did say there weren’t matches scheduled in Japan for ‘at least a while.’”
  • Because of that injury, we won’t know.
  • Trinity “Naomi” Fatu used her Instagram Story to refute last week’s report her asking price was too high for Stardom. Insider also says that on April 15, Fatu abandoned her trademark claim on the name “Trinity Starr”.
  • She should ask for whatever she feels she’s worth.
  • Andrew Zarian tweeted that AEW’s new Saturday show will air on TNT.
  • That’s accurate. (1/1)
  • NXT’s Cora Jade & Joe Gacy worked last night’s Main Event taping, and WRKD Wrestling claims “both also seen as potential Draft call-ups.”
  • Neither have been called up yet. (0/2)

April 26, 2023

  • Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio said that he heard from people saying CM Punk might want back into WWE, and that could be part of the reason he visited backstage at Raw this week.
  • We will find out if it’s in the cards.
  • According to WRKD Wrestling, there has been an idea floated within WWE for having brand exclusive monthly Premium Live Events.
  • Luckily, that has not come to pass... yet.
  • Per PW Insider, Braun Strowman is out with a concussion right now. The belief is he suffered the injury at some point during his match on SmackDown last week.
  • He ended up having neck surgery, though not resulting from this injury but one a month later.
  • On WOR, Dave Meltzer said LWO merchandise is “selling very well right now,” which helps explain why they’ve gotten quite a bit of TV time recently.
  • That’s good for them.
  • AEW has filed to trademark “WrestleDream,” says the Observer, and it’s thought to be the name of a new event.
  • That was a summer show. (1/1)

April 27, 2023

  • Seth Rollins is Triple H’s “leading candidate” to win the new WWE World Heavyweight championship, WrestleVotes tells GiveMeSport. Their story lists other possibilities, but says there’s a “very strong chance” Rollins will win the new title at Night of Champions.
  • Being a rare wrestler who didn’t have an L to the Tribal Chief, it really made perfect sense. (1/1)
  • The introduction of the new belt was a Triple H call, according to Sports Illustrated’s Justin Barrasso. The Game reportedly believes Raw needs a World title, which led Barrasso to write that “it will be a shock if” Roman Reigns & his titles don’t stay on SmackDown.
  • Yeah, Roman remained on SmackDown. (1/1)
  • Big E is “rumored to return during the upcoming draft,” tweets WRKD Wrestling.
  • Sadly, no. (0/1)
  • A Fightful Select story on changes Vince McMahon made to this week’s Raw said that a planned Piper Niven/Candice LeRae match was cut, as was a segment Niven & LeRae were going to have with Trish Stratus. Their match was replaced by the Street Profits vs. Cedric Alexander & Shelton Benjamin one.
  • We discussed this last week, but women outside the upper echelon have been getting more time since we’ve learned Vince is out of creative.
  • According to Wrestling Observer’s Bryan Alvarez, after Indi Hartwell was injured during Tuesday’s main event, NXT officials changed the finish to have Tiffany Stratton win the Women’s title, but went back to the originally planned one when Hartwell was able to return.
  • She ended up relinquishing the title.
  • In addition to Indi’s injury, Alvarez said on Observer Live that Grayson Waller was injured doing his rolling cutter finish at Spring Breakin’, which caused his match with Carmelo Hayes to immediately go to its finish. The attack angle NXT ran for Sol Ruca this week was also cover for her being legitimately hurt. Alvarez didn’t know the extent of any of these injuries.
  • Rough event for NXT.
  • Pretty Deadly will be at SmackDown this Friday, per PW Insider Elite. That’s the latest sign Kit Wilson & Elton Prince will be called up in the WWE Draft. Cora Jade is also said to be “in the race” for promotion after impressing during her Main Event appearance this week.
  • Pretty Deadline were called up - and they’re fantastic. Cora has not been called up. (1/2)
  • WWE CEO Nick Khan sent sent a letter to all employees telling them they have to return to office full-time by May 1. PW Insider got a copy of the letter, and also spoke to employees who weren’t happy about it, as it compounds stress they’re already experiencing due to fear of layoffs after the Endeavor deal goes through.
  • It was a turbulent time for folks.
  • Will Ospreay told DAZN his New Japan contract expires in February of 2024.
  • He’s recently said he wouldn’t be against going to WWE.

April 28, 2023

  • According to Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer, the idea behind last week’s meeting between CM Punk and Chris Jericho was, “they were gonna meet, and then Jericho was going to talk to [the AEW locker room]” and try to “smooth everything over” as an intermediary.
  • I’d say Jericho did a fantastic job.
  • Wrestling Observer Live’s Bryan Alvarez claims that NXT Women’s Champion Indi Hartwell was seen wearing a walking boot yesterday at the WWE Performance Center.
  • She was forced to give up the title. She had a match for that title against Becky last week, but she was unsuccessful.
  • Given all the injuries NXT is dealing with right now, Alvarez heard from a lot of people in NXT who “were complaining about the style of training that they’re told to do. A lot of people want to just be able to train on their own.”
  • I remember reading this at the time, but don’t think we’ve heard anything more. Injuries sometimes happen in rashes, but it’s possible the training played a part.
  • Fightful Select mentioned that WWE creative wants to “hammer home” the point that Brock Lesnar is “the most decorated combat sports star of all-time.” That’s why the WWE commentators and Cody Rhodes used that phrasing multiple times during this week’s episode of Raw.
  • Seems like a phrase WWE (and Vince) would want to drill in our heads.
  • Per Wrestlenomics’ Brandon Thurston, WWE CEO Nick Khan has pushed back the date that employees must return to the office full-time from May 1 to May 8.
  • They got that extra week.
  • Meltzer was told that the upcoming episode of Dark Side of the Ring on Marty Jannetty is “unbelievable” and “mind-blowing.” The insane episode will mention the alleged murder that Jannetty has both admitted to and denied.
  • I think we asked last week, but did anyone watch that?

This week: 7/14 - 50%

Overall: 4,803/8,389 - 57.3%

Have a great week, everyone!

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