Yesterday, a rumor from WrestleVotes about a “current, big time WWE Superstar” getting an “‘outstanding’ offer” from All Elite Wrestling (AEW) hit the web. After a few hours of speculation, another report from Fightful linked a possible name to that one, and it wasn’t a name a lot of people expected to hear associated with AEW:
This quickly spread around Wrestling Twitter as “All Elite made a big offer to Randy Orton!” But what was actually said by Fightful’s Sean Ross Sapp on the site’s Feb. 5 podcast?
“Now they [WrestleVotes] did not reveal the name and I know who the name is. Now before I get into this, I am not saying this person was offered a AEW deal. I’m not saying that happened because I don’t know if that happened. In fact, I asked people in AEW about this and I was told, ‘We are not tampering. We are not doing that. Our approach is - let’s see [checks screen, presumably for the official response All Elite sent him] - fresh and independent is the goal for a majority of our recruitment. What you’re likely seeing is a particular agent trying to leverage more money out of WWE by possibly planting s*** like this.’
What I was told this afternoon, was that Randy Orton has been openly discussing his willingness to speak with All Elite Wrestling... now I‘m not saying that he’s gotten an offer, I’m not saying that he’s talked to them. I’m saying that people backstage have said, and I heard it from a source - the same source that has given me so much good news of late, and then it was subsequently confirmed with like two or three other people that he’s just been like, ‘Yeah, I talked to ‘em. Why not?’
... let me reiterate. The only thing I said is that he has openly discussed his willingness to speak to them. Not that there was an offer. Not that he got an offer. Not that AEW has approached him. AEW very, very clearly stated to me, ‘We are not going to tamper.’ Now, what tamper is? I don’t have a copy of Randy’s contract, I don’t have a copy of standard WWE contracts and how that will play out... but that’s what I heard.”
Sapp and podcast partner Alex Pawlowski kick around the topic in much the way Twitter has and Cageside’s comment section will... surprise at the possibility of Orton wrestling for any company for WWE, how this story fits perfectly with the 13 time WWE World champ’s “no f***s given” reputation, why it doesn’t make sense for a company trying to brand itself as an alternative like AEW is to sign someone like Randy, why it does make sense for a company trying to land a huge TV deal like AEW is to sign someone like Randy, and the likelihood the third generation Superstar or his people are getting this out there as a negotiating tactic.
Don’t expect the Viper to walk through the curtain at tomorrow’s Double Or Nothing ticket party, is what we’re saying. Probably don’t expect him to ever get a wrestling paycheck signed by anyone whose last name isn’t McMahon.
But as everyone in wrestling loves to say, never say never. If AEW’s arrival on the scene does nothing else, it seems intent on reminding us of that.