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Rumor Look Back: Dec. 11 - 17, 2022

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.

December 12, 2022

  • Although PW Insider didn’t know if Sasha Banks would be appearing on the actual Wrestle Kingdom 17 show for New Japan, the Observer says she is scheduled to be a part of the live show.
  • She debuted for New Japan at Night One. (1/1)
  • This week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter said there is talk in WWE of “splitting up the titles so Raw has a world champion” after WrestleMania 39.
  • This is incorrect. They never split the titles. They added a new one. While it’s the same in results, it is not taking a belt from Roman Reigns. In fact, that dude has three! (0/1)
  • For what it’s worth, Shawn Michaels said on the Deadline post-event media call that he hopes to have The New Day representing the NXT tag team titles on SmackDown and to have them on the Vengeance Day event in Charlotte next February.
  • The New Day did rock the titles on SmackDown before losing them to Gallus at Vengeance Day.
  • The Observer mentions Sheamus is “banged up but working through it.”
  • Sheamus is probably in a constant state of banged up.
  • During a recent episode of his podcast, Kurt Angle said he was the one who pitched WWE on celebrating his birthday on SmackDown in Pittsburgh. Obviously they went for it.
  • “Hey guys. How do you feel about celebrating my birthday next week and paying me for it?”
  • From the WON: “Multiple people have noted to us in the past week that there was discussion regarding having MJF be the lead face coming out of Full Gear.”
  • MJF is a great heel, but I still think that should have been the way to go. Though he couldn’t have won the title if they were going to do a turn. He’d have to chase.

December 13, 2022

  • Matt Riddle was written off television because he failed a drug test and is being sent to rehab, sources told Cassidy Haynes of This is apparently Riddle’s second failed test. His first one led to the SummerSlam injury angle that put his feud with Seth Rollins on hold — not the “creative adjustments” that were reported at the time.
  • Riddle has had his issues.
  • Court documents obtained by David Bixenspan also indicate the tests and time off could be related to Riddle’s divorce case.
  • His personal history makes it tougher for me to root for the guy.
  • “Someone who is familiar with the creative plans” told that Brock Lesnar vs. Gunther is currently planned for WrestleMania 39.
  • That did not happen. Gunther defended his Intercontinental title against Drew McIntyre & Sheamus while Brock faced Omos. It’d be a good match and maybe we get there eventually. (0/1)
  • Fightful Select reports recent main roster storyline pitches have involved NXT’s Von Wagner and Cameron Grimes, an indication their call-ups are being discussed. The report also says WWE plans to have a steady flow of talent from NXT to the main roster, cutting down on the number of people who spend a long time in NXT.
  • I wouldn’t say a steady flow as instead a big drop during the draft almost six months later. (0/1)
  • Karl Anderson’s NEVER Openweight title defense on Wednesday won’t be his last New Japan appearance, per PW Insider. NJPW’s long had plans for Anderson to have a “strong role” at Wrestle Kingdom 17 in a singles match, and WWE, New Japan & The Good Brothers were able to work out a deal that wouldn’t require those plans to change.
  • Anderson did work Wrestle Kingdom. He dropped the NEVER to Tama Tonga on that show. (1/1)
  • WWE officials are very happy with the buzz around NXT’s Sol Ruca after her finishing move from Level Up went viral, according to Fightful.
  • Unfortunately, she’s out with an ACL tear.

December 14, 2022

  • Sean Ross Sapp said the WWE higher ups he’s talked to recently have “indicated to us they want nothing to do” with Vince McMahon returning to the company.
  • Well, tough shit for them I guess.
  • With the Wall Street Journal’s report that Vince McMahon is considering making a comeback to WWE, the stock price dropped. PW Insider speculates the company may be forced to make a statement if it gets any worse. They also echoed Sapp’s words that all the people they talked to at WWE don’t want McMahon back.
  • As soon as he forced his way back with intent to sell, that stock price jumped.
  • Insider also says WWE filed a trademark on “WWE King and Queen of the Ring” recently and it looks like it’s for a show of some sort.
  • They were going to run that show in Saudi, and announced that as such, but then it became Night of Champions. (1/1)
  • A user on r/SquaredCircle figured out a Nikki Cross Instagram story that seemed to tease the return of Sanity. There’s been talk of Eric Young making his return to WWE recently.
  • SAnitY never made a return. I think the consensus is that EY is in WWE, but I don’t see anything confirming that. (0/1)
  • For what it’s worth, Arn Anderson said on that he’s under contract to AEW for another year-and-a-half and he misspoke saying otherwise. He hopes to continue contributing as long as possible.
  • He’s paired with Wardlow currently.

December 15, 2022

  • On Wrestling Observer Live, Bryan Alvarez said there were multiple stories going around backstage at WWE about Mandy Rose’s release for posting racy material on her FanTime page. Some believe she “was totally caught off guard,” only finding out she was being let go when she showed up for work on Tuesday. Others say she & WWE came to a “mutual agreement” she was leaving. Another version claims the two sides agreed she was leaving, but Rose was surprised when WWE moved up the timeline.
  • Mandy eventually spoke on the issue.
  • Mixed up in this is the decision to have Roxanne Perez beat Rose for the NXT Women’s title. Alvarez say it was planned to happen on Jan. 10 regardless. Dave Meltzer tweeted that doing the change this week was “a last minute decision”, but it’s not clear if he meant the decision to do the change at all, or the decision to do it on Dec. 13.
  • It sounds like that was going to be the plan, just was it sooner than planned? It felt rather sudden the way they did it so my guess is they were planning a more legit build.
  • There’s also speculation, on F4WOnline’s The Board and elsewhere, that WWE backtracked on the Bobby Lashley angle from Raw to avoid having a storyline firing in the headlines alongside Mandy Rose’s actual firing.
  • I suppose that could make sense.
  • Triple H & his team are “severely underwhelmed” by some of the talent they brought back to WWE since he took over creative, per WrestleVotes.
  • Hit Row likely fits into that. Again, without Swerve, they don’t have it. They really got jobbed out during the gauntlet match on SmackDown two nights ago.
  • Sources told Voices of Wrestling that Sasha Banks and Stardom had talks shortly after she walked out of WWE, but that the joshi promotion left the table after hearing her asking price. The president of Stardom & NJPW’s parent company Bushiroad later approved signing Banks to solidify Stardom as Japan’s second biggest wrestling promotion.
  • Sasha did work there prior to getting injured.
  • VOW’s report says Sasha’s limited appearance deal will make her the highest paid contract wrestler working for Bushiroad. Her rate is said to be much higher than what Chris Jericho was paid during his 2017-2020 New Japan run.
  • Good for her. Get your money.
  • NXT will be ditching the “rainbow” title belts introduced during the 2.0 era in favor of “the prior non-colored ones,” per Belt Fan Dan.
  • Looks like that design, which I dig, is still in use. (0/1)

December 16, 2022

  • Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer claims there is a ton of uncertainty in WWE right now regarding the potential return of Vince McMahon to power, and it’s affecting morale in the company.
  • He eventually worked his way back.
  • While discussing Vice’s The Nine Lives of Vince McMahon documentary, Meltzer told The Fight Game Podcast that a lot of wrestlers “wanted nothing to do with” the project. There was “a very big list of talent they wanted that they didn’t get.” That’s because the talent in question “did not trust that Vince will never come back” to WWE.
  • Smart.
  • Fightful Select mentioned that Mandy Rose signed a five year contract with WWE in 2019. She was said to be “in good spirits” on Tuesday night during NXT television and even after she was fired.
  • I guess she checked her savings account.
  • Meltzer believes that Mandy’s exit from the company was entirely decided by WWE and not some kind of mutual agreement. It sounds like there’s no truth to the rumor (possibly leaked by WWE sources) that Rose requested her release a couple weeks ago.
  • Let’s give this a split rumor. (1/2)
  • Per Fightful, multiple wrestling conventions “went to great lengths” to try getting around the terms of Sasha Banks’ WWE contract and book her for an appearance before Jan. 1, 2023.
  • Sasha didn’t wrestle for anyone until that time frame was done.
  • The site also notes that Tony Khan wanted to secure the rights to use John Tesh’s “Roundball Rock” song as soon as the best-of-seven series between The Elite and Death Triangle was announced. He finally got what he wanted in the days leading up to this week’s Dynamite, and it was said to be a “very reasonable and easy” process.
  • They should have gone with the version that had the lyrics.
  • PW Insider indicates that Shotzi was written off WWE television for six weeks because she is dealing with a legitimate injury.
  • She just set herself a match against Bayley for Bayley’s Money in the Bank spot.

December 17, 2022

  • heard there have been discussions at WWE about doing a “Pitch Black” match at Royal Rumble: “The source did not have any more details on the structure/rules of the match but one source in the company believes that the match is for Bray Wyatt.”
  • That happened. The match was pretty terrible, but that feud helped propel the million dollar megastar. Yeah! (1/1)
  • Regarding Vince McMahon’s potential return to WWE, Dave Meltzer writes in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that the talent is happier with him gone, and “the general feeling within the company is that things are so much better without McMahon there.”
  • I’m sure that’s accurate. It didn’t stop him from coming back.
  • According to The Observer, people in WWE believe that Sasha Banks will eventually return to the company, but they have no idea when it will happen.
  • It probably won’t be for awhile, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they eventually found their way back to each other.
  • While it looks like we know what Sasha’s next move is, the WON says it’s been quiet with regards to the woman she walked out of WWE with, Naomi: “Nothing has been said about her. We were told that she has to make a decision” between staying home, returning to WWE without Banks, or wrestling elsewhere.
  • She eventually debuted for Impact.
  • Fightful mentions that WWE plans to make sure the Dec. 30 episode of SmackDown featuring the return of John Cena is a must-watch event.
  • It had a Roman Reigns main event teaming with Sami Zayn against Kevin Owens and Cena. Mixing a Cena main event with the hot Bloodline story sounds pretty must watch to me. (1/1)
  • Regarding reports Matt Riddle was sent to rehab by WWE after failing a second drug test, Meltzer notes that the company’s handling of Riddle’s situation doesn’t line up with their existing Wellness Policy: “... either WWE has secretly changed its policy or something doesn’t add up.”
  • He was also off TV 60 days though. Isn’t that the policy? Though often it’s “effective immediately” and maybe that was not the case here.
  • Tony Khan always planned for Chris Jericho to drop the Ring of Honor World title back to Claudio Castagnoli at Final Battle, but TBS Senior Vice-President Sam Linsky was originally against Jericho appearing on PPV for a brand other than AEW, per Meltzer. At one point, Khan changed his plans to do the change at Full Gear, but eventually management came around.
  • The TV execs sound like they could be tough to deal with at times. But they also write the big checks.

This week: 6/12 - 50%

Overall: 4,598/8,057 - 57.1%

Have a great week, everyone!

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