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Rumor Look Back: July 7 - 13, 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.

July 7, 2023

  • According to Fightful Select, there has been contact between AEW and Kota Ibushi. Many people in the company believe Ibushi will join the promotion soon, at least for the Blood & Guts episode of Dynamite on July 19.
  • He is All Elite, though limitedly so. After a rather rough match at a Pro Wrestling NOAH show, he left to address an ankle injury (an injury that surely contributed to the quality of that match prior). (1/1)
  • The site also notes that Colt Cabana returned to AEW for this week’s Dynamite taping. He worked in a producer / coach role. Cabana has not appeared on AEW television since last November.
  • I’d love to follow the thread from such an innocuous move such as “AEW signs Colt Cabana” down the path of all the drama that came from there.
  • Per Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer, WWE star Baron Corbin is “a regular now in NXT” and “there’s going to be more people like that.”
  • Corbin is a full time guy on NXT and hasn’t done any real work on the main roster lately. But that’s a good thing. Not because I dislike Corbin, but he had been on the main roster for so long that he was getting stale. This gives him a break and allows him to work with some young guys before he eventually comes back. He’s been used well in NXT too. (1/1)
  • Meltzer also says “there’s more than meets the eye” regarding attorney Jerry McDevitt’s claim that he is no longer representing WWE in the MLW antitrust lawsuit due to his upcoming retirement.
  • I don’t think we ever learned about that. But of course a WWE attorney is going to be rather tight lipped about this type of thing.
  • On his Keepin’ It 100 podcast, Konnan said it seems like the Young Bucks no longer want to be in AEW based on their body language, attitude, and lack of motivation right now. He speculated that they could continue building their legacy with a jump to WWE.
  • His reading of body language was off - at least in the outcome. They re-signed with AEW. (0/1)
  • Pat Laprade spoke to multiple sources in AEW who say the company will make its Montreal debut at the Bell Center on Tuesday Dec. 5 and Wednesday Dec. 6. The Wednesday show will be for Dynamite and Rampage. He assumes the Tuesday show will be a taping for Collision and ROH, but was unable to get that confirmed.
  • This is correct about the timing in Canada. (1/1)

July 8, 2023

  • The Wrestling Observer Newsletter has confirmed the following eight matches are listed for SummerSlam: Rhea Ripley vs. Raquel Rodriguez, Ricochet vs. Logan Paul, Ronda Rousey vs. Shayna Baszler, GUNTHER vs. Drew McIntyre, Roman Reigns vs. Jey Uso, Asuka vs. Charlotte Flair vs. Bianca Belair, Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar, and Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus.
  • This is a repeat-ish rumor from last week (and a bit of a rumor stat padder). The two that are wrong are the Rhea/Raquel match and the Becky/Trish match. (6/8)
  • The Observer also says “there is a lot of competition to get on the show” because Triple H generally likes to have a shorter card, but WWE still needs to find a spot for other top stars like Seth Rollins, Edge, Austin Theory, and Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn.
  • Not everyone made the show. Rollins had a title match against Finn & Theory was in the Slim Jim battle Royal. Edge, KO, and Sami were not on the card. (2/5)
  • According to Wrestlenomics, WWE’s next Saudi Arabia show is scheduled for Saturday, November 4.
  • That was Crown Jewel, where LA Knight got his first title match. (1/1)
  • There are plans to launch a new joshi promotion in the United States, according to a PW Insider report. The “completely new entity” will utilize wrestlers from existing Japanese women’s companies. “The group behind the company has invested significant resources, and enlisted notable names spanning entertainment, media, wrestling, and fashion as part of its front office” in an effort to help the new promotion succeed.
  • That would be the case with Sukeban. (1/1)
  • Insider also reports that Vince McMahon was backstage at last night’s episode of WWE SmackDown at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
  • That’s not far from HQ and I’m sure Vince loves the MSG shows.

July 10, 2023

  • According to Voices of Wrestling, CM Punk pitched AEW on being the fifth and final member of Blackpool Combat Club’s team for the Blood & Guts match against The Elite. Fightful Select backed that up and said “neither team would want Punk” while also saying the mystery partners have already been determined at this point.
  • The mystery person was Ibushi, who was referred to earlier. It would be a weird spot for Punk in a match where no one likes him.
  • BWE claims that plans are being discussed at the moment that would see a “star get a big Stone Cold Steve Austin rub soon.”
  • We have not seen Austin in awhile. (0/1)
  • Andrew Zarian notes that after the success of SmackDown at Madison Square Garden this past week, WWE “will be considering running a much smaller stage set up in the future.”
  • There hasn’t been a change in the stage set up or general set up of the shows. (0/1)
  • WRKD Wrestling says Grayson Waller is “being set up for a big future” right now and there are many within WWE who feel he “has the tools” to “be a future main eventer for years to come.”
  • He’s very good, though isn’t being used in a big way right now. That’s not being said as a negative. The worst is when it feels like a talent is being rushed. He’s on TV often and quite entertaining and when the time comes, they’ll move him up.
  • According to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, there is currently “no timeline on the return of Jade Cargill.” She’s been out since she lost the title — and her winning streak — at Double or Nothing.
  • She returned in September, put over Kris Statlander a second time, and then signed with WWE.

July 11, 2023

  • Bray Wyatt is still not medically cleared to return to action, reports Fightful Select. WWE is “hopeful for a return” when Wyatt is cleared, but he isn’t factored into current creative plans due to uncertainty about when that might happen.
  • Sadly, we never got to that point.
  • While the site doesn’t know what Johnny Gargano’s status is for SummerSlam or where things stand with a planned #DIY reunion, another Fightful Select report says Johnny Gargano is cleared to return after being sidelined by a recurring shoulder injury.
  • He didn’t return until October.
  • WWE pulled promotion of Becky Lynch & Zoey Stark’s Raw match from their website and social media channels yesterday afternoon, with WRKD Wrestling tweeting it was off the show as Lynch wasn’t cleared to compete. Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp confirmed that, but said Becky’s injury wasn’t “major” and that the match could still happen — which turned out to be the case.
  • This was part of the Trish/Becky feud. Becky’s match with Trish Status didn’t make SummerSlam, which was something she was surely not pleased about.
  • After some initial tension stemming from his return promo, PW Torch’s Wade Keller hears that CM Punk’s return to AEW is going well with Punk “showing good leadership backstage so far at Collision”. Punk’s said to take pride in Collision being “his show”, and is working to make sure it runs well on-screen and behind-the-scenes.
  • That did not last long.
  • While Vince McMahon was backstage at SmackDown last week, PW Insider’s sources say he didn’t make any major changes to plans for the show. What changes did occur were due to the opening Bloodline segment running long which caused “a ripple effect where later segments had their time cut to fit the FOX broadcast.”
  • That’s frustrating, though Bloodline segments feel like they often run long.
  • AEW does plan to finally have a singles match between Swerve Strickland & Keith Lee “at some point”, according to Fightful Select.
  • They booked it for January but it didn’t actually happen due to a Keith Lee injury. But it was booked and it was within 6 months so I’ll give it the nod. (1/1)
  • Per PW Insider, Bull Nakano will be involved in the new promotion looking to bring Japanese women’s wrestling to the United States that the site reported on last week. Nakano will work in behind-the-scenes and non-wrestling roles for the new joshi company. Their first show is planned for September in New York City.
  • She was revealed as the commissioner. (1/1)

July 12, 2023

  • PW Insider notes that folks in WWE feel like the SAG-AFTRA strike is happening at the perfect time, as the company becomes more valuable as an entertainment property by simply being a non-union production.
  • I don’t know if WWE necessarily saw a bump from this. They did get Cena back for a bit though.
  • They also say WWE was ecstatic with The Bloodline story as it played out on SmackDown last week and many believe there could be a long tease for Roman Reigns vs. Solo Sikoa moving forward.
  • I honestly don’t need to see that match. I guess if they want to extend Roman’s run another year so he could have feuds with guys individually like Lashley, Styles, Orton, and CM Punk, they could run a Solo match then. But man, I’m getting tired of this part time reign. It leaves episodes of SmackDown underwhelming when his underlings are representing him most of the time. I like Roman when he’s on TV, and I don’t need that every week, but there are some long stretches without him.
  • Regarding the backstage argument after Raw, Fightful Select says Kevin Owens left almost immediately for other obligations and Seth Rollins got “cracked pretty hard” in the match. Again, though, everything seems to be fine and it appears this was a fairly normal type of situation in a business like this.
  • We really didn’t hear more about this. I can imagine sometimes, tensions run high in this business. It’s a business where you get hit for a living and if it’s at all a bit too hard (even by accident) I can see people getting pissed. Or if folks just are meshing well, I can see frustration.
  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said WWE is doing the best they’ve ever done in merchandise sales, saying “merchandise has never been higher, ever. Not in the Attitude Era, not in the Hulk Hogan era.”
  • They are doing very well business right now. Could consider it a boom period for them.
  • Carlito was spotted in Pittsburgh (where WWE does medical screening) recently and PW Insider says that while WWE had been targeting last week for his return it worked out that he didn’t because of The Bloodline’s story taking up so much time on SmackDown. He should be back on TV soon.
  • He didn’t return until much later in October. (0/1)
  • According to Fightful, Warner Bros Discovery is much more interested in where AEW Collision ranks relative to the competition each Saturday night than they are in the show’s number of viewers or rating.
  • That makes sense in general regarding ratings numbers. WBD has made it clear they’re happy with AEW.

July 13, 2023

  • AEW has been in talks with Warner Bros Discover for months about extending their media rights deal, according to Fightful Select’s sources at WBD. An announcement on one with “huge money increase for AEW” could be announced this summer or fall.
  • That announcement has not happened. (0/1)
  • WBD is said to be very happy with AEW, “especially the flexibility they’ve provided with adding and subtracting shows, providing different kinds of content, and working around preemptions and network changes.”
  • We’ll see where they land. There was also rumor that WBD may want to get in the WWE game, but I still don’t see that happening, especially with Warner making it clear they’re very happy with AEW.
  • Another Fightful report on the negotiations says WBD wants AEW to expand their PPV schedule, possibly to where they’re running one per month. Nothing is finalized, including whether the events would be sold individually or be added to the Max streaming service, but more PPVs have been discussed.
  • They’re running a bit more, but we’re not there yet.
  • A PW Insider source at WWE chalked up the disagreement after Raw’s main event to everyone at the company being “sensitive” to making sure that they do their part to keep up WWE’s current hot streak.
  • Don’t want to be the one to let the air out of the balloon.
  • While appearing on The Footy with Broden Kelly, Bronson Reed said he’d heard “rumblings” about a WWE tour of Australia this October, but that he believes those have been “nixed”.
  • They are going there for Elimination Chamber in February.

This week: 15/25 - 60%

Overall: 4,925/8,592 - 57.3%

Have a great week, everyone!

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