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Rumor Look Back: Aug. 4 - 10, 2023

AEW

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.

August 4, 2023

  • WRKD Wrestling claims there are “growing frustrations backstage in WWE regarding the handling of the women’s division.”
  • That’s understandable, especially with Becky Lynch & Trish Stratus being cut from SummerSlam for time just having had happened. After they seemed to completely move Vince from creative, there were more women’s tag team matches.
  • Fightful was told that the reason why Becky Lynch vs. Trish Stratus was pulled from SummerSlam is not related to anything physical. Both wrestlers are healthy and available to work the event.
  • They ended up having a very good match at the next PPV.
  • Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer heard “there is a time constraint” regarding SummerSlam, and that’s a factor as to why some matches originally planned for the show are now off the card.
  • I do understand not wanting the shows to run long. And I appreciate that as a viewer. But I also fully understand talent who deserve to be on the card being pissed when they cut.
  • According to PW Insider, Rob Van Dam’s deal with AEW is very short-term, as he is scheduled to only work one match against Jack Perry.
  • I don’t know if that deal was one time but he’s worked more than that, as recent as a week ago.
  • The length of The Elite’s new multi-year deal with AEW is “supposed to be a secret, whatever the number is,” per Meltzer, though he heard a rumor that it’s for four years.
  • I would think they’d sign that contracting thinking that is was their last full time contract outside maybe Hangman who’s a bit younger than the rest by a few years.
  • Regarding WWE’s ongoing TV rights negotiations, Meltzer said there’s been talk that FOX is “not willing to go much higher” to retain SmackDown.
  • They did not retain SmackDown in the end. USA grabbed SmackDown while Netflix got Raw.

August 5, 2023

  • PW Insider has been “adamantly told by numerous sources” that Bray Wyatt’s extended absence from WWE has nothing to do with Vince McMahon’s return to power. The reason why Wyatt has not returned yet is because WWE is being “very, very careful with his health.”
  • It was 100% health. This is one of the rare times I wish it was because Vince just didn’t want to feature a talent. (1/1)
  • Even though there are reports of Randy Orton being in Detroit for SummerSlam, Fightful Select heard from people close to Orton that he is “nowhere near medically cleared to return” right now.
  • I don’t know about “Nowhere near” given it was November but it wasn’t at SummerSlam.
  • The site also confirmed that Becky Lynch is not in Detroit and is not expected to be there for SummerSlam.
  • She was not. (1/1)
  • This week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter says Ronda Rousey’s WWE exit will happen “relatively soon,” but it has not been confirmed that tonight’s SummerSlam fight with Shayna Baszler will be her last match.
  • That was the last match. (1/1)
  • Regarding The Elite’s majority rules voting pact to either go to WWE or remain in AEW together, one member of the group told The Observer, “You’d probably be surprised who voted where.”
  • I am curious who was pushing to go to WWE.
  • Fightful mentions that WWE doesn’t plan to add a last minute stipulation or gimmick to Cody Rhodes vs. Brock Lesnar at SummerSlam. It’s going to remain a standard singles match.
  • That it was - Brock’s last match in WWE to date, probably for a long time. (1/1)
  • Robert Roode is in Detroit with WWE and he will work in a producer role at SummerSlam, per PW Insider. Plans also call for him to help out on Monday’s Raw in Minneapolis.
  • Unfortunately, I’m not sure if Big Bob will ever wrestle again.

August 7, 2023

  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said he was told Brock Lesnar “will be gone for a while but not a long while” following SummerSlam. Having said that, he is currently advertised for Payback on Sept. 2.
  • Even if he wasn’t pulled from the Rumble for being alluded to (not by name) in the Janel Grant suit, that would still be a rather extended absence. (0/1)
  • Meltzer also said there were issues between WWE’s creative team and Ronda Rousey & Shayna Baszler regarding how they should work the MMA Rules match at SummerSlam.
  • It seems that Ronda wasn’t happy with that second run at all.
  • Fightful Select asked sources about Roman Reigns losing the WWE Universal championship and were told it would happen when Reigns and Paul Heyman say it will. The two will apparently have heavy input on the decision to end his reign, with an eye toward making someone in a big way when it happens.
  • Feels like that’ll probably be Cody, but given the way this story is twisting, who the hell knows.
  • Fightful also says Iyo Sky’s Money in the Bank cash in was not a last minute decision, though it’s not clear exactly how far out the decision was made to have her win the title at SummerSlam.
  • She’ll hold that title going into WrestleMania.
  • WrestleVotes claims Logan Paul and Ricochet had a training session together on Aug. 1 at the WWE Performance Center to get ready for their match at SummerSlam.
  • I think that match was solid but honestly, it doesn’t really stick out to me.
  • According to PW Insider, the reason Michael Cole is now doing commentary on both Raw and SmackDown is by request from Endeavor and WWE’s broadcast partners to make him “the face of the product going forward.”
  • He’s back to one show a week.
  • Per the Wrestling Observer, Pac is injured and while it’s unclear what his exact injury is it’s expected he’ll be out for quite some time.
  • He hasn’t wrestled since July. (1/1)

August 8, 2023

  • According to PW Insider, there have been “some rumblings over the last few days of a potential Nia Jax return” to WWE.
  • She has since come back. She debuted costing Raquel Rodriguez in a title match against Rhea Ripley. Jax will get a title match against Rhea Ripley in Australia. (1/1)
  • Even though Triple H recently downplayed Vince McMahon’s role in WWE creative, Fightful Select says Vince was “heavily involved in ‘final say’ aspects of WWE creative” before his spinal surgery in July.
  • He was removed from that position with Ari Emmanuel giving full creative control to Hunter. Then of course he was forced out after the Janel Grant lawsuit dropped.
  • On The Ryback Show, Ryback said he noticed five straight missed calls on his phone Friday morning from “a Stamford, Connecticut 203 number” that he “traced back to a Linda McMahon.” He also had a missed call from WWE headquarters that morning while he was out walking his dog. The Linda McMahon number called him three more times yesterday while he was in the shower.
  • Fascinating stuff from the Big Guy.
  • Per PW Insider, Sonya Deville is “highly regarded” within WWE and there is a lot of sympathy for her right now regarding her torn ACL. The site also heard “there is already a plan in place for the Women’s Tag Team titles.”
  • I don’t know if the plan was in place at this time, but eventually Piper Niven took Sonya’s spot.
  • The Wrestling Observer Newsletter notes that even though The Elite re-signed with AEW, “there do remain significant behind-the-scenes issues that haven’t been settled, between them and CM Punk, which keeps [Tony] Khan having to do a balancing act.”
  • They just ended up needing to wait for Punk to self destruct again.
  • Insider mentions that WWE brought in former Impact and NWA champion Nick Aldis to last night’s Raw taping “for a potential producer role.” He will also be at several upcoming tapings.
  • He’s now the on screen authority figure on SmackDown.

August 9, 2023

  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer updated word on Brock Lesnar being advertised for the next WWE premium live event saying he will be gone for a few months but back in time to build to WrestleMania next year.
  • He will not be back in time to do that. Unforeseen circumstances at that time, but didn’t play out this way nonetheless. (0/1)
  • Fightful Select has confirmed reports of Roman Reigns being hurt at SummerSlam but they say as of yet it hasn’t caused a change to any creative plans and he’s still scheduled for SmackDown this week.
  • He doesn’t wrestle often (and didn’t again for 2 months) so if he were hurt, he could probably just rehab most injuries in time.
  • For whatever it’s worth, PW Insider notes Ronda Rousey is still listed on WWE’s internal roster, at least for the time being. They also say that Jimmy Uso is now listed as a heel.
  • Ronda was out. Jimmy is a heel. (1/2)
  • WrestleVotes claims they heard “one creative force backstage wants WWE to wait for WrestleMania to do the first Uso ‘Brother vs. Brother’ match.” They note it’s unlikely WWE waits that long, however.
  • I think they will end up waiting that long, but we’ll wait to find out. They’ve made it this far already.
  • Kenny Omega was the top name on WWE’s “most wanted list”, and if they’d been able to sign him would have used him as a “top guy” at the level of Roman Reigns, Cody Rhodes, Seth Rollins, and Brock Lesnar, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • I do wonder what it would look like if someone (like Okada say) who seems like a shoo-in for AEW ended up WWE. How they’d be booked in WWE would be interesting. Seeing a Kenny Omega on the level of a Roman or Brock would be something else. Though I think it would be more at the level of Seth.
  • That said, the belief is Rollins could be presented as the company’s best wrestler for longer than Omega “because of long-term physical durability.”
  • Ironically enough, Rollins is nursing a knee injury he’s trying to rehab. (Omega is out with a pretty significant case of diverticulitis.)
  • The Wrestling Observer says Jamie Hayter is dealing with “various injuries.” Her current estimated return date is February 2024, but “that’s at best a rough estimate.”
  • We’ll see in a month.
  • Dave Meltzer claims he keeps hearing that the goal within WWE for NXT is to beat Dynamite in the 18-49 demographic one of these weeks.
  • They did when they completely loaded up the show. (1/1)

August 10, 2023

  • WWE never discussed the possibility of Jey Uso beating Roman Reigns at SummerSlam, at least based on what Dave Meltzer heard. Meltzer told that to Mike McGuire on “McGuire On Wrestling”, where he also speculated that Cody Rhodes would eventually dethrone Reigns.
  • We’ll have to wait (probably a while) to find out.
  • AEW Full Gear is planned for Sat., Nov. 18 at Kia Forum in Los Angeles, per Fightful Select.
  • Date and venue are accurate. (1/1)
  • Though it doesn’t specifically mention pro wrestling, CNBC’s report that Warner Bros Discovery’s Max will launch a live sports tier this fall has again raised hopes AEW’s PPVs or full library could end up on the streaming service.
  • We’ll still waiting on what AEW’s next deal looks like. As for Max, there was recent news of a joint Disney, Warner, & Fox creating a joint live sports streaming service.
  • Talk of repackaging Maximum Male Models’ Mace and Mansoor “picked up again” within WWE over SummerSlam weekend, Sean Ross Sapp tweeted.
  • They were released instead. (0/1)
  • Thunder Rosa is training for a return but isn’t expected back in time for All In, according to Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • She only just returned to the ring. (1/1)
  • The WON also reported that AEW signed Kip Sabian to a new three-year deal, along with Dark Order (Evil Uno, John Silver & Alex Reynolds).
  • Cool.
  • On their Off Her Chops podcast, The IIconics said they were asked to take part in the 2022 Royal Rumble. They declined as they felt it was too soon after their 2021 release, and WWE wasn’t guaranteeing they’d be used if they did show up.
  • It would be rather cruddy to show up and then not be used. I’d love to see those two back on my TV at least one time though.

This week: 10/14 - 71%

Overall: 4,964/8,644 - 57.4%

Have a great week, everyone!

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