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Rumor Look Back: Apr. 29 - May 4, 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.

WWE Draft special Roundup

  • AJ Styles has been spotted in Texas ahead of tonight’s SmackDown from Corpus Christi, according to PW Insider Elite. Seeing as Styles hasn’t been seen at events much since breaking his ankle late last year, the assumption is he’ll return via the Draft.
  • That’s the case. (1/1)
  • WWE is planning to present the World Heavyweight championship again tonight, per Fightful Select. This is said to something similar to how the new belt was introduced on Raw.
  • It does not look like he re-introduced it on this show. (0/1)
  • Following up on their report from earlier this week, Sean Ross Sapp’s site notes “there are still talent who don’t know where they’re going in the draft.”
  • Again, that’s gotta be annoying - not knowing what days you’ll be on the road and which you’ll be home until the time starts.
  • Fightful also says, “WWE has Raw and Smackdown draft rooms and a draft podium set for tonight.”
  • There were podiums but there were no draft rooms. (1/2)
  • Teddy Long is set for both nights of the Draft, per Insider. Wrestling Observer Newsletter speculates he could announce Raw and SmackDown’s picks, a role often held by Stephanie McMahon in the past.
  • Teddy was on for both nights, but he didn’t announce all the picks - just one each night. (1/2)
  • A “draft cameo” with Road Dogg is planned for tonight, according to Fightful.
  • He announced one of the picks. (1/1)

April 29, 2023

  • WrestleVotes told GiveMeSport that a Roman Reigns vs. Cody Rhodes rematch is “very much on the table” to be the main event of WrestleMania 40 next year in Philadelphia.
  • Sure seems that way.
  • PWInsider says Roderick Strong’s WWE contract expired last November. He took several months off to heal up from various injuries he was dealing with at the end of his NXT run. His AEW debut happened in Florida since that’s where he lives, so they wouldn’t have to risk him being spotted at an airport and ruining the surprise.
  • He’s been real fun in his current role.
  • According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, WWE employees were “shocked” by CEO Nick Khan’s order to return to the office full-time in early May, partially due to the short notice. Many employees believe this was Vince McMahon’s decision.
  • It was a tough time to be a WWE employee, especially with the uncertainty of job statuses with the pending merger.
  • The Observer also notes that Hangman Adam Page is one of the key AEW wrestlers whose contract is up at the end of this year.
  • He re-upped in the summer. (1/1)
  • Minneapolis-based reporter Patrick Kessler says his sources tell him the city is a finalist to host WrestleMania 41 in 2025.
  • We’re still waiting on any word on this.
  • Per POST Wrestling, AEW’s recent signee Komander appeared to suffer a knee injury at a Demand Lucha event in Toronto on Thursday night. Komander was taken to the back after he did a moonsault, and he did not return to finish the multi-man match.
  • That’s too bad. Looks like he only missed a couple weeks though.

May 1, 2023

  • CM Punk’s visit backstage to Impact Wrestling was “well received,” per PW Insider. He apparently spent a great deal of time visiting with various talent, many of whom told him stories of how he inspired them.
  • We’ll see if he does any work with them.
  • Fightful Select says “there’s nothing imminent regarding an announcement” about the location of WrestleMania 41 in 2025. Minneapolis is one of several cities that sent representatives to this year’s ‘Mania while considering making a bid.
  • We learned that Philadelphia would be hosting next year in July of 2022. It’s November of 2023 and we still don’t have any word on WrestleMania 41. (The three prior were announced in 2021 as they put forth a post pandemic road map. so it’s been awhile that we’ve had to wait this long.)
  • Fightful also says that Bray Wyatt has told people close to him that he’s excited to make his return to WWE when he is able to.
  • Unfortunately this never happened. What a tragic situation.
  • For what it’s worth, Andrew Zarian of Mat Men Podcast said he’s “been told numerous times that WWE wants to update its history books and needs longer title reigns.” This could mean Roman Reigns will be champion for a long time to come.
  • We’ll see on that. I expect until WrestleMania 40.
  • According to Brandon Thurston and Wrestlenomics, LWO has been the top merchandise seller for WWE for three weeks in a row now.
  • Good on them.
  • The Wrestling Observer Newsletter says it’s confirmed that “TNT will continue to air Rampage on Friday nights for one hour” after Collision debuts on the network in June.
  • That’s the case. Sometimes, Rampage has pulled in similar numbers to Collision (if the Saturday competition is tough). (1/1)
  • Nothing for Dark Elevation was taped along with ROH and Rampage on April 26. Regarding Elevation being cancelled, the Observer says “AEW hasn’t said anything specifically in that direction but it is known to be a subject of discussion as to the future of those shows (Dark and Elevation).”
  • It was cancelled.

May 2, 2023

  • Newly public Twitter scoopster BoozerRasslin says Alexa Bliss is “wanted” for Night of Champions in Saudi Arabia, so we should expect her return after Backlash.
  • She was not back, likely due to her pregnancy. (0/1)
  • On his Oh You Didn’t Know podcast, Road Dogg said WWE’s brought in a new writer for Bray Wyatt. He added, “So we’ll see how all of that unfolds down the road.”
  • If that’s the case, they never got a chance to work together.
  • Orlando will make a bid to host next year’s Royal Rumble, per local NBC affiliate WESH: They report officials in Florida’s Orange County have requested $850,000 to place the bid, saying that if Camping World Stadium hosts the event it will bring in more that $28 million for the area.
  • If did, they lost out to Tampa & Tropicana Field. It felt like kind of a let down that it was in the Trop to be honest.
  • After a report countered their initial report of a WWE hiring freeze, Fightful’s sources reiterated to the site that there has effectively been a hiring freeze in place at the company since the start of the year. Several people who’ve recently signed elsewhere were mentioned in the report, with Nick Aldis specifically named as someone WWE is interested in but unable to sign due to “corporate moves”.
  • They eventually brought in Aldis, though we don’t know if they couldn’t at this time.
  • A Fightful Select story on Aldis’ Impact deal says it’s a short-term one that will be a “feeling-out process” for both sides.
  • He’s now the SmackDown GM, and looking to be heel in that role.
  • Insider Gaming says all promotional material for AEW Fight Forever is finished, with the marketing team just awaiting the green light to start promoting the game.
  • Apparently the game was a really fun time.
  • Fightful Select’s sources mostly offered the same things about CM Punk’s visit to Impact that we already heard from others, but they did provide the new detail that Punk played Uno with some of the many Impact talent he spoke to.
  • Huge detail.

May 3, 2023

  • WrestleVotes told GiveMeSport that they were told Vince McMahon “has pitched several ideas for Roman Reigns’ next challenger.” What’s more, some of those ideas were “scoffed at.”
  • I wonder who he threw out. Omos? Did he suggest Omos?
  • WRKD Wrestling said they heard “many backstage are very happy with the way the rosters shook out” and they’re looking forward to the future, a bit of a contradiction of Dave Meltzer’s word of chaos in WWE.
  • Do these rumors technically contradict to the point we would split them? I do think so.
  • WRKD also says there are “preliminary plans” for The Way to reunite in the future now that they’re all on Monday Night Raw.
  • Theory is on SmackDown anyway, but this never happened. (0/1)
  • Fightful Select notes that prior to Day 1 last year there were no plans to unify the WWE and Universal championship but Roman Reigns missing the show due to COVID led to a quick decision to put the title on Brock Lesnar and then book the unification match for WrestleMania.
  • Interesting. Big E got the short end of that one.
  • Per PW Insider, Robert Roode was in Birmingham, Alabama recently to get looked at to see how he’s coming along following neck surgery last year.
  • This was before his second one.
  • For what it’s worth, they also say Sha Samuels, released by WWE in Aug. 2022, was spotted at the Performance Center recently.
  • Maybe they just let him work out there?

May 4, 2023

  • According to Wrestling Observer Live’s Bryan Alvarez, “there is a new rule that WWE talent are not allowed to take pictures of their injuries and there is an absolute you are not allowed to take pictures of any blood whatsoever.”
  • Lynch recently took pictures of a gruesome one. It’s possible it is a rule and some don’t follow it or it was and it isn’t any more.
  • In a follow-up report on AEW ending Dark and Elevation before it launches Collision, Fightful Select says it’s expected AEW and Warner Bros Discovery will announce a “new or altered” television deal this month.
  • They announced the show but never put out an announcement on a deal. Tony seemed to confirm there was some alteration when asked but it was vague and an announcement was never made. (0/1)
  • While that deal will make all AEW content WBD exclusive, Fightful believes it won’t include ROH TV. Furthermore, talent the promotions are considering signing “will still get opportunities, it will just more than likely be on the Ring of Honor brand.”
  • ROH is still on Honor Club. (1/1)
  • Tony Khan updated the pre-sale numbers for All In yesterday, tweeting that AEW has now sold more than 43,000 tickets, generating over $5.7 million in revenue.
  • They did very well in London.
  • Earlier, TK shot down ESPN reporter Mike Coppinger’s claim that Wembley would only be configured to seat 40,000. The AEW owner replied, “LIES. What a load of crap. Tell your agent Nick Khan to shove it up his ass.” Coppinger is represented by CAA, which NK left to join WWE in 2020, but it’s not clear if was his agent.
  • Not a surprising reaction from the calm hand of Tony Khan.
  • Speaking of Nick Khan, he said on yesterday’s investor call that WWE will be opening up more sections of Detroit’s Ford Field to meet demand for SummerSlam tickets.
  • They had a pretty big crowd.
  • An interesting “what if?”... last week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter claims that as of last November, WWE’s idea was to crown the new World Heavyweight champion on night one of WrestleMania, with Seth Rollins and Drew McIntyre at the time tabbed for the title match. A three-way involving Cody Rhodes was also considered in case they got The Rock to face Roman Reigns at SoFi.
  • Interesting. Ironically enough, Seth and Drew faced each other for the new heavyweight title yesterday.

This week: 7/13 - 54%

April 2023: 42/71 - 59%

Overall: 4,810/8,402 - 57.2%

Have a great week, everyone!

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