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Rumor Look Back: Jan. 9 - 15, 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.

January 9, 2023

  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said that William Regal’s situation has been a topic of discussion internally now that Vince McMahon has come back and it’s unclear how this may affect him.
  • We haven’t heard anything about Vinces return affecting Regal’s job status. But it also sounds like Vince has let things run the way they have been but will call in with creative changes.
  • During a recent talk with Corey Graves on “After the Bell,” Ric Flair said Charlotte Flair had an issue with her teeth and that was something she dealt with during her time away from WWE.
  • It’s a violent business so having some dental issues is not surprising. I’ll never forget Claudio’s dental issues.
  • In addition to her scheduled match against KAIRI in February, The Observer says Mercedes Moné (fka Sasha Banks) is expected to work “selected New Japan shows as well as the 4/23 Stardom show at the Yokohama Arena.”
  • That’s correct. (1/1)
  • Fightful Select notes WWE has interest in bringing in Tama Tonga of New Japan Pro Wrestling.
  • They did not do that. He’s still in New Japan and part of this year’s G1.
  • There’s been a positive reception among AEW talent in relation to the updated look of Dynamite and Rampage, says Fightful.
  • I personally wasn’t too impressed. I kind of liked the old Dynamite set better than the current one. But I do really like the Collision layout.
  • The Wrestling Observer Newsletter on Konosuke Takeshita’s AEW booking: “Although he’s not being featured on television right now, and when he is, he’s there to lose to the top stars in great matches, there are significant plans for Takeshita to be pushed as a top tier guy.”
  • I wouldn’t say he’s a top guy yet, but he’s working his way up the card. He’s part of the big Elite/BCC battle.

January 10, 2023

  • While discussing Vince McMahon’s return to WWE on Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer joined the chorus of those who believe McMahon’s ultimate goal is to regain creative control after the company is sold, likely by making it a condition of the sale. “I think everyone kind of expects that,” he added.
  • I don’t know if it was a condition of the sale, but it’s certainly how it ended.
  • Meanwhile, multiple outlets report Vince didn’t show up at either of the television tapings since his comeback, nor has he been to WWE headquarters in Connecticut.
  • He has rarely been at TV, which is probably for the better. Though the sale isn’t finalized and there was one rumor that there could be big changes after the sale officially goes through. And maybe he’d play a big role in that.
  • As of late November, Fightful Select says an Edge vs. Finn Balor Hell in a Cell match was “pencilled in” for Royal Rumble, as was a mixed tag between Edge & Beth Phoenix and Balor & Rhea Ripley for February’s Elimination Chamber. The site reminds us of the limited dates remaining on Edge’s deal though, and that nothing’s “official until WWE officially announces it themselves.”
  • The Cell match happened at Mania but the mixed tag happened at Elimination Chamber. It made sense the way it played out - the Hell in a Cell should be at the end of the feud. It shouldn’t be the set up for a mixed tag. (1/2)
  • Last night’s Raw made this clear, but PW Insider reported that Seth Rollins’ “knee spots” from the Jan. 2 main event “were all part of the storyline of the match with Austin Theory.” Rollins didn’t miss last weekend’s house shows; he was never scheduled to appear on them.
  • Given he lost significant time with a knee injury earlier in his career, I can see worry any time he sells that extra hard.
  • That site also brings word that “Xavier Woods is banged up and not yet 100% cleared,” which is why New Day hasn’t been wrestling lately. It’s believe Woods will be good to go by Royal Rumble, if not sooner.
  • Woods was back for the Rumble. So was his partner Kofi, who had another year of a botched save spot. (1/1)
  • Chelsea Green has been signed to WWE “for quite some time and is still awaiting creative,” per Fightful Select.
  • She was signed, though I don’t how long. She’s part of a team with Sonya Deville currently. (1/1)
  • Tessa Blanchard & Daga announced their separation. The couple was married in 2020 after they left Impact.
  • You can’t really watch Tessa wrestle anywhere right now. It’s a downfall that could be studied.

January 11, 2023

  • There have been a lot of hints from a lot of folks within the industry of major news coming soon. Sean Ross Sapp was the only one willing to say that those rumors seem to be related to Saudi backers buying WWE and the company then going private. He makes sure to note nothing is confirmed but that’s what all the tweets teasing big news seem to be about. UPDATE: The latest on this story can be found here.
  • The Saudis did not buy WWE. That was a night where Wrestling Twitter lost its mind assuming it was a done deal. And I’ll admit, I started getting swept up in it as well, but never to the point of full doom. A bit surprising that Twitter overreacted to rumor that had no real back to it. (0/1)
  • WWE is still telling media outlets that Triple H remains Chief Content Officer and remains running creative even after his wife, Stephanie McMahon, resigned from the company.
  • That’s still the case.
  • Not surprisingly, Bryan Alvarez said this wasn’t great for morale within WWE, as a lot of folks there really liked Stephanie.
  • I can imagine folks who worked in WWE were not pleased at this time.
  • Per PW Insider, minority shareholders are considering filing a lawsuit against Vince McMahon and other WWE directors over a “breach of fiduciary duty.” A complaint is apparently coming soon.
  • There were a couple of things like this, but it didn’t lead to anything significant.
  • Fightful Select states Jay White’s contract is up soon and he’s expected to leave New Japan Pro-Wrestling at that time.
  • He’s full time with AEW. (1/1)
  • They also say both WWE and AEW are apparently interested in signing White, with WWE folks seemingly believing they will be the ones who land him.
  • Apparently, that was the word even after this missed on him - that they thought they had him. (0/1)

January 12, 2023

  • While it’s clear the sale of WWE to Saudi Arabia isn’t the “done deal” it was being discussed as on Tuesday night, there remains a lot of speculation it still could happen. It’s fueled by the precise wording of the denials, and the lack of any comment from WWE about the story even as it appeared to have an effect on the stock price.
  • Thankfully, it did not happen. (0/1)
  • In discussing the tweets falsely reporting a sale and their impact on early Wednesday trading, CNBC’s David Faber said he’s heard “from prospective buyers that it’s very much unclear if Vince McMahon really would want to sell this thing.”
  • He ended up selling, but in a way where he’s still in charge.
  • Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer says Vince McMahon started talking to the Saudis about a possible sale shortly after he “retired” in July.
  • He was never going to stay retired.
  • On The Ringer Wrestling Show, David Shoemaker said Vince McMahon is back at WWE’s corporate offices this week, and “working pretty exclusively on the sale of the company.”
  • If it weren’t for the promise of selling, he probably wasn’t going to get back in the door without definite resistance. The promise of a sale, and the money that would bring in, trumped everything else.
  • On a recent episode of his What Happened When podcast, Conrad Thompson claimed he’s heard that if Nick Khan helps facilitate the sale of WWE he’ll earn a bonus worth “more than AEW’s TV contract is for a year.”
  • It was about $72 million. And it looks like that is more than AEW’s currently yearly. (The number I found was $44 million, but certainly not close to $72.) (1/1)
  • “There have been multiple wrestlers who have told me they’d leave WWE if the company ends up being Saudi Arabia-led,” Sean Ross Sapp tweeted.
  • Luckily, that wasn’t the outcome.
  • A Fightful Select report also said there would likely be “pushback” from talent if Vince took over creative.
  • What does that even mean? What power do they have?
  • William Regal’s new WWE title is Vice President, Global Talent Development, per PW Insider.
  • I wonder what that entails.
  • Insider also says X-Pac and Kane are scheduled to be at the 30th anniversary episode of Raw on Jan. 23. Ric Flair, Kurt Angle, and Tatanka have all teased appearances on their social media and/or podcasts.
  • X-Pac and Kurt were part of a DX segment. Ric Flair was part of a women’s segment involving Charlotte & Bianca Belair. Kane & Tatanka were not on the show. (3/5)

January 13, 2023

  • Axios heard that Triple H and Stephanie McMahon “had opposed a sale” of WWE.
  • They probably opposed anything that could lead to Vince taking control back.
  • Per CNBC, if AEW President Tony Khan actually buys WWE, he is “open to discussing a potential role” for Vince McMahon after the sale.
  • That would have been something.
  • Axios claims that Apple is another possible buyer of WWE.
  • There’s a world we’d all be signing into Apple TV + to watch our PLEs.
  • Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer notes that Stephanie is “gone for good” from WWE and “she may never be back.”
  • She’s still gone, but never is a long time.
  • According to PW Insider, Edge is scheduled to return to WWE later this month at Royal Rumble 2023.
  • That’s when Edge returned to continue his feud with the Judgment Day. (1/1)
  • The site adds that Beth Phoenix will also be at Royal Rumble, and an appearance from Logan Paul is “absolutely being talked about.”
  • They were both there - though not working together in any capacity. (2/2)
  • While discussing the surprise return of Adam Cole on AEW Dynamite, Wrestling Observer Live’s Bryan Alvarez said “there was definitely concern” that he was “never coming back” after suffering multiple brain injuries last year.
  • That sounded very serious.
  • Xavier Woods is hurt and it will be “a few more weeks” before he can wrestle, per Alvarez.
  • His next match was the Rumble at the end of this month. (1/1)
  • Alvarez also believes that Nick Jackson has a broken toe.
  • That’s painful.

January 14, 2023

  • According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Mercedes Moné already has some heat with New Japan/Stardom over social media posts promoting competitors like Sendai Girls and Tokyo Joshi Pro. “The feeling is that now that she’s with Bushiroad, she [should] be only promoting Bushiroad companies in Japan.” Dave Meltzer noted Moné didn’t go to the Stardom dojo while she was in Japan.
  • It’s not hard to get heat in this business.
  • There are rumors that after Vince McMahon returned to WWE, he sent messages to multiple departments saying they are “doing things wrong,” per Fightful.
  • What a morale boost.
  • Fightful Select heard from multiple sources in WWE that “a usually composed Stephanie [McMahon] was disheartened and frustrated” by the way her team was “dismantled” by Vince.
  • That sounded like a straight up vengeful move.
  • Citing analysis from Morgan Stanley, the Observer notes that SmackDown has been “a major money loser for FOX,” partially due to “the lowest ad rates of any Friday night network prime time show.” The financial losses for FOX are expected to get even worse on these final two years of the current TV deal. [Editor’s note: Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics has pushed back on the Observer’s analysis of this month-old Morgan Stanley report, acknowledging that SmackDown is a loss leader for FOX, but disputing the conclusion rights fees won’t go up in the next round of bidding.]
  • They’re pulling in good ratings often currently, even possibly being #1 overall last week. But it doesn’t mean they’re a loss leader. And I don’t know enough about the landscape to know if it’s the type of show, if the time slot plays a factor, or what.
  • Per the WON, people within WWE have said that Saudi Arabia is “in the running but not the favorite” to buy WWE.
  • Endeavor was the buyer in the end.
  • Contacts within Comcast and Disney told Fightful it’s doubtful that “any major company” would want to keep Vince McMahon around “in any capacity” after purchasing WWE.
  • Is Endeavor a major company? Likely not if you’re comparing them to Comcast or Disney or Apple.
  • Xero News claims that the unified titles held by Roman Reigns and The Usos “will be split” before WrestleMania 39.
  • Inaccurate. (0/1)
  • Pretty Deadly “did a really great job” working main roster house shows last weekend, sources told PW Insider.
  • These boys are full time on the main.

This week: 13/20 - 65%

Overall: 4,631/8,116 - 57.1%

Have a great week, everyone!

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