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Rumor Look Back: Feb. 6 - 12, 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.

February 6, 2023

  • Booker T speculated on his podcast that WWE is doing Charlotte Flair vs. Rhea Ripley at WrestleMania 39 because of the former’s Hollywood aspirations. Make of that what you will.
  • I don’t know how that would connect. I guess if it’s the idea that they want to get the title off her so she could work in Hollywood. She did do some work on a film about Mildred Burke, but apparently the filming was set to start in June, well after WrestleMania. And Flair was back by early June. So no real knowing if it was related.
  • Dave Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Radio that Dragon Lee’s debut in NXT has been affected by issues with his visa. It’s possible they wanted to bring him in for Vengeance Day but it couldn’t happen.
  • Visa issues seem like they can be difficult in the world of wrestling (and likely in general).
  • On that note, he addressed the word going around that NXT would let wrestlers work independent shows. For now, it’s only Booker T’s Reality of Wrestling but the belief seems to be that that could expand to other indies, specifically ones that “have a good relationship with AEW.”
  • I don’t believe that’s expanded. (0/1)
  • The Wrestling Observer Newsletter notes that the reason the rumored Brood Edge vs. Demon Finn Balor Hell in a Cell match at Royal Rumble didn’t happen is because the former was filming a television show and couldn’t be around to build the match up.
  • It felt more like a WrestleMania match anyway. Looking into it, it looks like Edge is playing Ares in Percy Jackson and the Olympians. I was hoping for a series based off the critically acclaimed Money Plane myself.
  • Also per the WON: “There have been a lot more cuts on the corporate side in the past few weeks in different departments since the return of Vince McMahon. The belief is that these cuts are being made to lower the costs to get the company ready for a sale.”
  • Must have been a tough time to be working there with such uncertainty. And the sale hasn’t gone through officially yet so that uncertainty likely remains to some degree. It sounds like it’ll be official in the next month so we’ll find out then. Given talk of “Cost saving synergies” (ugh, corporate speak), it probably is happening.
  • The Daily Mail’s Alex McCarthy: “Several talents who underwent a character change under Vince McMahon’s tenure have discussed what their future looks like under Triple H, but not all wanted to revert back to their NXT characters or otherwise - but Triple H has welcomed those talks.“
  • LA Knight did revert back (and clearly wanted to if you listen to any interviews of his) and now he’s one of the most over men in the company. Repackaging him as Max Dupri and then releasing him is a stark example of how out of touch Vince McMahon could be.

February 7, 2023

  • Trinity Fatu changed her Instagram bio to read “JUST TRINITY” without any references to her time in WWE as Naomi, leading to speculation she has no plans to return to WWE at this time.
  • She ended up in Impact. (1/1)
  • After last week’s Bloomberg Businessweek profile on Tony Khan included claims that AEW’s “Fight Forever” video game was coming out next month and that the company is close to a streaming deal, Dave Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Radio that neither is true. Regarding the streaming service, he said, “Of course they want one. It’s been talked about forever, for more than a year. But it’s not a deal that’s on the horizon right now.”
  • Dave was right. Neither was true. The game has since released though. We overall dug it. (2/2)
  • Backstage reaction to the AEW house show announcement was “positive,” says Fightful Select. Not surprising, since the site says “multiple wrestlers” pushed for the move. One of the big reasons is because it will enable more inexperienced members of the roster a chance to work with AEW veterans on the road rather than relying on indie bookings to get reps.
  • Working some house shows would be good for the younger contingent of their roster.
  • Pepsi’s sponsorship of Royal Rumble’s Mountain Dew Pitch Black match was “a million-dollar deal,” per Meltzer on Observer Radio.
  • That match featured LA Knight, who also won their Slim Jim battle royal. He’s all over their Big 4 sponsorships.
  • PW Insider points out that the Feb. 17 Rampage is listed as airing at 7pm ET on TNT’s schedule. This is due to the network’s coverage of NBA All-Star Weekend.
  • Rampage often got moved around due to sports. We’ll see if that ever affects Collision at all.
  • It’s believed that a conflict with the rumored ROH TV taping that weekend led to Beyond Wrestling announcing that several previously advertised AEW/Ring of Honor-affiliated wrestlers won’t work their Feb. 26 show.
  • That’s tough for Beyond.

February 8, 2023

  • According to PW Insider, Alexa Bliss is taking a break from WWE television. There’s no word on how long the break will last but it was noted that it is not injury related.
  • This could be due to the Masked Singer or her pregnancy. From her telling, it sounds like she was ready to come back after the Singer but then she learned about the pregnancy.
  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said there was at least some talk of creating a new championship that Cody Rhodes would have probably won if WWE ended up doing Roman Reigns vs. The Rock at WrestleMania like they wanted to, but that’s obviously not happening now. They are planning to eventually separate the WWE and Universal titles again, though.
  • They never separated the titles. They merged the titles and introduced a new one. It’s the same end game, but technically different. (0/1)
  • Meltzer also said Indi Hartwell was given “a main roster look” this week, so we’ll see if they end up wanting to call her up soon.
  • They called her up during the draft. I don’t think her look was any different though. (1/1)
  • For what it’s worth, Booker T said on his podcast that he believes his appearance in the Royal Rumble match will be the last time he ever wrestles.
  • Yeah, we’ll see.
  • Dirty Dango, the artist formerly known as Fandango in WWE, told Windy City Slam he signed a one year contract with Impact Wrestling.
  • He’s currently working a heel gimmick alongside Alpha (formerly John. E) Bravo.

February 9, 2023

  • An account called WRKD Wrestling tweeted on Monday afternoon that Lita would be on Raw, and said Trish Stratus would return next week to set-up a Lita, Trish & Becky Lynch vs. Damage CTRL match for Elimination Chamber. After Raw, Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp gave WRKD credit for the Lita scoop. He also said their tweet contained “another spoiler”.
  • They were right about Lita at that Raw and they right about Trish eventually joining Becky & Lita to face CTRL. But the timing of that was off. Trish did not appear the next week and the match was at WrestleMania and not Elimination Chamber. (1/3)
  • Meanwhile, Bryan Alvarez said on Wrestling Observer Live that as far as he knew Lita’s appearance this week was just a rescheduling of what she was supposed to do on Raw XXX before Becky & Bayley’s steel cage match was cut for time.
  • That makes sense and would answer why she was suddenly cut from Raw XXX.
  • Alvarez also shared a story he heard about the Jacy Jayne/Gigi Dolin spot on NXT that left Gigi with cuts & bruises on her face. Apparently they thought the door used for Bayley’s talk show would open the other way, and Jayne kicking Dolin into it would cause it swing open. Instead her face got repeatedly slammed into it.
  • They probably just figured that the door opens both ways.
  • Her Twitter account isn’t currently public, but several followers with access reported that Alexa Bliss responded to this week’s report that she’s taking time off from WWE with, among other things, “Don’t believe things you read. Unless it comes directly from’s not real lol”.
  • I mean she did take time off.
  • In addition to Maximum Male Models switching brands, PW Insider says Los Lotharios have been moved from SmackDown to Raw.
  • I had to check because the never wrestle on either show, but they are technically on Raw. (1/1)
  • Impact exercised an option on Deonna Purrazzo’s contract that will keep her with the company through the end of this year, per Insider. The site’s heard there will be a lot of interest in signing Purrazzo when she does become a free agent, so extending her deal “was an obvious choice” for Impact officials.
  • She’s still working in Impact.
  • MLW officials were happy with Reelz promotion for the premiere episode of Underground, according to PW Insider.
  • There are so many stations that I just haven’t heard of. Remember when Impact found themselves on a hunting channel?

February 10, 2023

  • Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer says CM Punk “will be available to come back, if [AEW wants] to use him, in a couple of months.”
  • He returned to TV in June.
  • Meltzer has been told been “so many times” that Brock Lesnar’s opponent at WrestleMania 39 will not be GUNTHER.
  • This is accurate. (1/1)
  • Wrestling Observer Live’s Bryan Alvarez claims that “Gigi Dolin is fine” after having her head smashed into the door during the Toxic Attraction breakup angle on NXT. She will be kept off TV for “a few weeks” to sell the injury.
  • That’s a tough spot to go wrong.
  • Various outlets indicate that the reason why WWE ran the angle between Cody Rhodes and Paul Heyman on this week’s Raw, instead of waiting until after Elimination Chamber, is because WWE wants to make sure that Cody’s WrestleMania story doesn’t become secondary to Sami Zayn.
  • That makes sense. All things considered, they managed the dual stories well.
  • PW Insider was told that “The Miz has been spotted in Phoenix ahead of the Super Bowl.”
  • Cool?
  • Insider also notes that Thunder Rosa was backstage at this week’s AEW television tapings in El Paso, Texas.
  • She’s part of the Collision roster and looks like she’ll be back rather soon.

February 11, 2023

  • In this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer writes that the story of Mercedes Moné making more money than Chris Jericho did in NJPW is incorrect, and “it’s not even close.” She’s being paid “very good money on a per appearance basis,” but still not at the level of what she would make in WWE or AEW.
  • I can imagine Jericho would make more than Mercedes. She’s a big name in wrestling and should be getting paid well. But Jericho going from WWE to NJPW to face Kenny Omega at WrestleKingdom was a huge deal.
  • WrestleVotes heard that WWE is filming “movie parody” promos for WrestleMania 39 in Hollywood, similar to the ones the company produced for WrestleMania 21 in Los Angeles. Some of the wrestlers who will be involved in these parodies include the Street Profits, the Brawling Brutes, The Miz, and Drew McIntyre.
  • They were pretty fun. (1/1)
  • As far as a potential sale of WWE is concerned, The Observer notes that “the belief is that [Vince] McMahon’s presence is a hindrance and not a help in these negotiations.”
  • They ended up getting 9 billion so not that much of a hindrance.
  • According to PW Insider, the match between Jamie Hayter and The Bunny on this week’s AEW Dynamite went to the finish early because The Bunny was injured. It’s believed that “she may have suffered a concussion or even a possible broken orbital bone.”
  • I’m always impressed with the ability to call an audible during a wrestling match.
  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Meltzer said this week’s breakup of JBL and Baron Corbin was not the original plan when WWE put them together months ago. Triple H decided it wasn’t working so he pulled the plug.
  • It never was a good fit. Corbin never needed a mouthpiece. He’s good on the mic. Taking that away from him and making him just a wrestler was never a good idea.
  • “A big name in gaming” told Mat Men’s Andrew Zarian that the AEW: Fight Forever video game is expected to have a release date in the second quarter of 2023.
  • That’s correct. (1/1)
  • During an appearance on Matt Hardy’s podcast, Sean Ross Sapp addressed Karl Anderson & Luke Gallows not being around for Royal Rumble and recent episodes of Raw. Apparently WWE agreed to a clause in The Good Brothers’ new contracts that essentially says, “if you’re not going to use us, we don’t want to be there.”
  • That makes sense. If they’re going to just sit around, may as well be home with their families.

This week: 9/13 - 69%

Overall: 4,682/8,196 - 57.1%

Have a great week, everyone!

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