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Rumor Look Back: Mar. 31 - Apr. 7, 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.

March 31, 2023

  • Even though an ESPN broadcaster referred to John Cena vs. Austin Theory as the headlining attraction on WrestleMania 39 night one, Fightful Select confirmed that WWE still plans to place Cena’s match in the opening spot on the card.
  • That’s where it was. There was no way that was going to be a ‘headliner.’ (1/1)
  • WrestleVotes told GiveMeSport that Triple H is increasingly confident that WWE will be able to sign free agent Jay White. However, it sounds like Kota Ibushi is not interested in signing a full-time contract with any promotion, which hurts his chances of landing in WWE.
  • Triple H did not sign Jay White. Kota does some work with AEW, but I’m not sure the contract situation. It could be a per-date agreement. We haven’t received any “Kota Ibushi is All Elite” graphics. (1/2)
  • Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer said the Roxanne Perez segment with Shawn Michaels on this week’s episode of NXT was not taped when the rest of the episode was taped. The segment was “largely kept from everyone” because “they didn’t want it out” until the episode aired.
  • Playing it close.
  • Meltzer indicated that Brian Cage has agreed to drop the ROH World Six-Man Tag Team Championship at tonight’s Supercard of Honor PPV if he is unable to reach terms on a new deal with Tony Khan.
  • It looks like he re-signed but late April. They still retained the titles despite them reaching terms prior to the match. (0/1)
  • While providing an update on the status of Don Callis after he suffered a horrific head wound on AEW Dynamite, Wrestling Observer Live’s Bryan Alvarez said Don did not get a concussion from the accident.
  • That’s good.
  • On a call with the media, Tony Khan said ROH’s Honor Club currently has 15,000 subscribers.
  • I mean cool? I think Honor Club is a poor way to market their show. It’s behind a paywall so even folks who are curious are gonna say ‘nah.’ It’s possible it lands on Max, but I think it should be on YouTube instead of Honor Club. If they do get a Max deal, we can finally say goodnight to Honor Club.
  • According to WRKD Wrestling, tonight’s episode of SmackDown will include a reference to the LWO.
  • That was the night of the official rebrand. (1/1)

April 1, 2023

  • Fightful Select heard from WWE sources that Charlotte Flair and Rhea Ripley have not been told their match will be the main event of WrestleMania 39 night one. It’s believed that Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, and The Usos have been told to prepare for that spot.
  • It was the tag title match. But both matches ruled. (1/1)
  • The Wrestling Observer Newsletter notes that Alexa Bliss will be in Los Angeles for WrestleMania, but it’s not clear if she will appear on the show. The original WrestleMania plan for Bliss had her doing something with Bray Wyatt and Uncle Howdy, but that was before Wyatt disappeared from WWE television.
  • Bliss hasn’t been on TV in awhile given her pregnancy.
  • Fightful says once it became known last summer that John Cena was a good bet to compete at WrestleMania 39, top stars in the company “were angling” to work with him. Cody Rhodes is one name the company initially had in mind for a match with John, but by the end of the summer it was clear Cody would be the guy to face Roman Reigns.
  • There were more rumblings about Cody vs. Cena recently but that never came to pass. I don’t think that match needs to happen. Right now, they’re using him to help elevate LA Knight. Who would have thought that six months ago?
  • The site also mentioned that Trinity Fatu (aka former WWE star Naomi) was backstage at last night’s ROH Supercard of Honor pay-per-view event.
  • She ended up signing with Impact.
  • The Observer indicates that Cody Rhodes is “hitting the levels of top tier main eventers as far as merchandise sales go.”
  • He’s in that spot. There’s debate that they should have pulled the trigger on him last year because maybe he wouldn’t ever be as hot as he was then. And that may be right. He’s extremely popular still so we’ll see. The issue is since the Brock feud, which I really liked, he hasn’t had a big story of his own.
  • Per WON, the WrestleMania match between Rey and Dominik Mysterio is “not a one and done.” Triple H is “high on Dominik and his future.” There are long-term plans for Dom as a superstar heel.
  • It was for now. Maybe it’ll happen in the future but Rey and Dom aren’t even on the same show to interact. (0/1)
  • Titus O’Neil told that Batista wasn’t part of the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony because he’s filming a movie in South Africa this week.
  • Batista is a busy man.

April 3, 2023

  • WWE asked outlets to put out the word Randy Orton was not ready to return from injury so fans wouldn’t get their hopes up for a him to appear at WrestleMania 39, Wrestling Observer says.
  • That’s a good move. There were whispers he could be close so shutting that down is smart.
  • Drew McIntyre is in the final year of his WWE contract, and the two sides reportedly aren’t close to new deal. That’s according to reports from PW Insider and the Observer, who assure there’s plenty of time for the sides to come to a new agreement.
  • Drew is back on TV but the word is that deal still hasn’t happened. It looks like there are some long term plans for him though. They’re doing a slow heel turn it seems. Granted, if he decides not to sign, he could just do the job to Seth Rollins on his way out. But I think he stays. He said himself he can see he doesn’t plan to be elsewhere.
  • “WWE is eager to keep Drew McIntyre,” per Fightful Select. Their report mentions that several wrestlers contracts will be up by the end of 2024. That’s because WWE signed “dozens” to five year deals after AEW hit the scene in 2019. Some of those were released during the pandemic, however.
  • Rollins and LA Knight, along with a couple other contracts, are supposedly up soon.
  • Insider notes that when Finn Balor was busted open last night, WWE medical injected him with a numbing agent then stapled the wound closed while Edge distracted the audience by pulling weapons out from under the ring.
  • That was a nasty injury and the fact he went on was impressive, even if not surprising.
  • They also said Shane McMahon wasn’t stretchered out after his leg injury, but “walked out as he was supported by others.”
  • What a freak accident, just like his father.
  • Matt Jackson is “hopeful for Double or Nothing”, according to Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer. The timetable he’s been given for rehabbing his partially torn biceps is 6-8 weeks.
  • He was there for the PPV but wrestled multiple times in April. (1/2)
  • WWE will receive $1.8 million in subsidies from Puerto Rico tourism groups to hold Backlash in San Juan this May, reports Wrestlenomics.
  • That was a super popular show.

April 3, 2023 - Special Raw After Mania edition

  • Triple H will take a page out of Tony Khan’s book and open the show with an announcement, according to WRKD Wrestling.
  • He opened the show, but there wasn’t really an announcement. It was after the sale, but he was just saying they’re not going anywhere. (0/1)
  • Bad Bunny is set for Raw, per Fightful Select. The site wasn’t sure what the music superstar & Backlash host will be doing, but notes “there was a possible Dominik Mysterio angle with Bad Bunny pitched for the future.”
  • This was when Damien Priest beat the hell out of him. So Priest and not Dom. (1/2)
  • Possibly related, WRKD tweets that tonight’s show will feature “a special guest joining the LWO”.
  • LWO wasn’t even on the show. Rey was but not the rest of them. (0/1)
  • A fan-shot video of Bray Wyatt driving around L.A. last night is making the social media rounds. In it, Wyatt is asked why he wasn’t at WrestleMania. He responds, “My WrestleMania’s tomorrow, bro.”
  • He never returned. His health must have taken another turn at this point.
  • Cody Rhodes will team with a “mystery partner” to take on Roman Reigns & Solo Sikoa, per WRKD.
  • That was Brock Lesnar, who turned on him before the match even got underway. (1/1)
  • That mystery partner probably won’t be either Kevin Owens or Sami Zayn, as WRKD says they’ll be defending their newly won Tag titles tonight.
  • It wasn’t either guy as we said. But while the tag champs had a match, it wasn’t a title. match. (1/2)
  • Matt Riddle is in L.A. today, according to PW Insider Elite. The site hasn’t confirmed the former Raw Tag champion will return on Raw, but notes he wasn’t backstage at WrestleMania over the weekend.
  • Riddle did return on Raw.

April 4, 2023

  • Sources told Fightful Select WWE’s sale to Endeavor had nothing to do with the decision to have Roman Reigns retain the WWE Universal championship in the main event of WrestleMania 39.
  • It was likely to get Roman to one thousand days and allow Cody to face more adversity prior to the match. Time will tell if it was the right move.
  • In an earlier report, the site said it had confirmed Reigns was set to win as of “several weeks ago”. While “several people” were aware of the plan, it’s not known when the talent were told.
  • I wonder what their official reasoning was.
  • After yesterday’s Endeavor news, WWE held an all-employees meeting led by Nick Khan, Frank Riddick & Triple H. Wrestlenomics’ Brandon Thurston tweeted that the message was “Endeavor won’t interfere with creative or production,” but there was “no hint what the merger will mean for staff in other departments.”
  • It means a lot of layoffs.
  • An internal email Vince McMahon sent after the sale/merger was announced, also reported on by Wrestlenomics, specified that “Paul Levesque will remain WWE’s chief content executive.”
  • Why mess with a good thing? I suppose because Vince is petty and that was his baby for so long, but Triple H has been a definite improvement.
  • There remains a great deal of talk about Vince’s role in creative, however. WrestleVotes claims last night’s Raw had a “large Vince McMahon feel and presence to it”. UPDATE: Much more on this here.
  • That Raw After Mania was pretty awful and reeked of Vince. That left a lot of fans worried about the future but Vince stopped coming in (though would do rewrites remotely) and the product most certainly did not tank.
  • About an hour into the Raw After WrestleMania, Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp tweeted that “this show is categorically different than how it was laid out even a few hours ago.”
  • Yup, that’s very Vince alright.
  • Fightful Select says WWE wasn’t happy with Ric Flair’s induction speech at the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony, though it’s unclear what exactly the issue with was. Meanwhile, they did really like Konnan’s speech.
  • I didn’t listen to any of the speeches. Was Ric’s particular bad or randy or something?
  • On his YouTube show, Pat McAfee said his surprise appearance at WrestleMania 39 was kept a secret from everyone, as he hid backstage for hours before making his entrance. Neither Michael Cole or The Miz knew until just before he went out.
  • That was fun. I remember hoping LA Knight would be one of the guys to get a moment there, but at the time, I think I was just an LA Knight mark (along with others) before the powers that be took notice.

April 5, 2023

  • In addition to the two stars who told Fightful Select they’d request their release if Vince McMahon resumed running creative full-time, “multiple wrestlers” told the site they were “already exploring what their options would be” if things revert to how they were before McMahon’s resignation.
  • It did not revert. Though I don’t know what option these talents would have. These WWE contracts do not allow folks to leave when they’re locked in.
  • Another Fightful report on morale at Raw with Vince in charge said a big issue was that the roster had repeatedly been told for months that McMahon would no longer be a part of creative, including Monday after the Endeavor announcement when they were told Triple H would still be the one producing shows from gorilla position.
  • I would normally says that Vince wouldn’t care about this thing, but I do wonder if the employee and fan backlash was something he took notice of.
  • Monday’s show left “many staff and talent” feeling demoralized: “In all, this was the biggest hit to morale since Vince McMahon left his spot last year, and probably the lowest point of morale in totality since pre-WrestleMania in 2022 when it reached near all-time lows.”
  • I mean basically all the rumors was how everyone hated that he was back. Again, Vince is a “Fuck ‘em” kind of guy, but he always has to register it.
  • One of Raw After WrestleMania’s scrapped segments would have seen Bad Bunny joining the LWO, but WRKD Wrestling says it still might happen as WWE already has Puerto Rico LWO merch made.
  • He was wearing the shirt in Puerto Rico so I’ll go with it. They didn’t do any segment where they inducted him. But in wrestling, you wear a shirt, you’re in that group. Even worked for Disco Inferno for God’s sake. (1/1)
  • Another change, per Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp, was to do the Women’s Tag Title #1 contenders match instead of a pair of Triple Threats that would help determine Raw Women’s champ Bianca Belair’s next challenger. This caused “several of the women on the roster” to become frustrated on Monday night.
  • Apparently a lot of women’s moments were cut.
  • The decision to have Brock Lesnar team with and turn on Cody Rhodes was made Monday morning, according to Fightful. The script on Sunday had him calling someone about being his mystery partner.
  • I ended up liking Cody’s feud with Brock.
  • Omos vs. Elias was also added late, said the site. Omos was in catering when he found out about the match, and had to scramble to find something to wrestle in. Not having his gear was said to violate “an old Vince McMahon rule... to always bring your gear, and always stay til the end of the show, largely because he was constantly changing things.”
  • Omos is an active member of the roster. Why wouldn’t he have his gear?
  • WRKD also tweeted that LA Knight was slated for a segment with Bobby Lashley on night two of WrestleMania 39. It’s not clear why that was nixed.
  • It should have happened. Even if it was LA just jobbing for Lashley. Oh well. Hopefully we’ll get LA at the next WrestleMania.
  • “There was absolutely no discussion of former NJPW star Jay White within WWE at all over WrestleMania 39 weekend,” says PW Insider Elite. Conversations the site’s had with WWE officials and wrestlers indicated White won’t be signing with the company.
  • He ended up with AEW. He’s now feuding with MJF for the . (1/1)
  • A fan claims their “Give Dana Brooke a chance” sign was confiscated at Monday’s Raw. Brooke responded that it would be “addressed”.
  • Addressed how? Brooke was recently released, but I don’t think that’s what this was referring to.

April 6, 2023

  • Wrestling Observer Live’s Bryan Alvarez said, “It’s a countdown now to people being axed” in WWE following the announcement of Endeavor’s acquisition of the company.
  • It was after the official merger but it happened on the talent and office side of things. (1/1)
  • Alvarez was mostly referring to WWE office employees with the above statement, but it sounds like many wrestlers who were previously fired by Vince McMahon, only to later be rehired by Triple H, are worried about being released again now that Vince is fully back in charge.
  • Top Dolla was the only guy brought back that was released again.
  • Tony Khan told Sports Illustrated that AEW is considering the idea of doing its own multiday signature event, similar to WWE’s WrestleMania.
  • They haven’t done anything like this yet.
  • According to Fightful Select, ROH Six Man Tag Team Champion Brian Cage is currently a free agent. He had an agreement to work with AEW and/or ROH through the Supercard of Honor pay-per-view event on Mar. 31, and became a free agent at midnight after the show. There are ongoing discussions between Cage and AEW to work out a new deal.
  • They eventually came to an agreement.
  • The site also indicates that Shotzi’s tank was originally supposed to be used as part of her entrance at WrestleMania 39, but for some reason it didn’t happen.
  • Timing maybe?
  • PW Insider says that WWE’s former Vice President of Public Relations Adam Hopkins has been hired by AEW and is already on the road with the company. Hopkins’ exit from WWE was reported in January after he worked there for over 25 years.
  • WWE has a lot of long established office folks that I’m sure AEW would happy to bring aboard.
  • Miro was backstage at ROH Supercard of Honor last Friday despite not being booked on the show, per Fightful. That’s led to speculation he could return to AEW television soon.
  • Not until Collision months later. (0/1)

April 7, 2023

  • The Cody Rhodes/Brock Lesnar program was not a last minute Vince McMahon change, per Fightful Select. It was set well before this week, with Fightful’s sources telling them Brock knew it was the plan “nearly a month ahead of time.”
  • Probably an idea to have Cody build his stock before finally winning that title.
  • That also means Lesnar was likely working when he said goodbye to people backstage at Raw last month, and openly contemplated retirement in pre-WrestleMania interviews.
  • Lesnar would be one to work the boys.
  • The Twitter account cautions that “things are currently volatile” and “can change on a whim”, but WRKD Wrestling says Roman Reigns isn’t scheduled to be at SmackDown tonight. A segment that ramps up tension between Paul Heyman & Jey Uso is planned.
  • No Roman less than a week after Mania. (1/1)
  • Shane McMahon was flown to Birmingham, Alabama on Sunday, according to PW Insider. It’s assumed he had surgery at the Andrew Sports Medicine & Orthopedic Center to repair the torn quad he suffered at WrestleMania on Sunday night.
  • Hopefully he’s healed well.
  • “WWE was after” Jay White, Dave Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Radio. Will Washington of Fightful’s Grapsody podcast tweeted that multiple people at WWE were confident White was signing with the company.
  • I wonder where he would have slotted into the WWE landscape.
  • Fightful Select’s report on White signing a multi-year deal with AEW notes that Triple H & William Regal were interested in landing the former New Japan star, but says WWE “failed to communicate properly along the process.”
  • Yeah, it sounds like a dropped ball.
  • Shinsuke Nakamura is expected to return to television on SmackDown in the next few weeks, per Insider.
  • That’s the case. (1/1)
  • After reporting WWE had granted their release request, Meltzer said on Observer Radio that Rip Fowler & Jagger Reid (aka Zack Gibson & James Drake)’s status is currently “up in the air”. The pair were allegedly telling people they’d been released, but worked Tuesday’s Level Up taping with their Schism teammates Joe Gacy & Ava.
  • They were not released. They worked through the end of their contracts.

This week: 13/22 - 59%

March 2023: 56/96 - 58%

Overall: 4,776/8,343 - 57.2%

Have a great week, everyone!

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