Welcome to this week’s edition of WWE/wrestling rumors we hope are true and those we hope aren’t. We have begun the final month of the calendar year, and WWE will be looking to end it with a bang as they build-up to the Day 1 pay-per-view.
This week’s edition features big backstage news on WWE stars and staff being upset over what happened on RAW, the company’s potential interest in AEW star MJF, why Austin Theory has been featured alongside Vince McMahon, a potentially big spoiler for the Day 1 pay-per-view, and more:
#4. Hope is true: WWE’s backstage plans for Austin Theory
WWE’s change in approach with the wrestlers they push seems like it’s getting implemented with no time to waste. The past decade has seen a rise in independent superstars getting opportunities in WWE, but the company seems to want to move in a different direction.
For one, the idea of NXT 2.0 revamp was to turn it into a developmental system and going forward, WWE will be looking to sign superstars in their 20s. One such superstar on the main roster who represents is Austin Theory, who is only 24 years old.
Austin Theory has been getting a push on RAW since he returned post-WWE Draft in 2021. With wins over Jeff Hardy, Rey Mysterio, and Dominik Mysterio, the young star has been in the spotlight throughout.
He was recently in the biggest spotlight of his wrestling career as he was the beneficiary of the Vince McMahon egg storyline – originally made as a tie-up between WWE and Netflix to promote The Rock‘s movie Red Notice.
While the original plan for that storyline is something we’ll focus on later, the reason why Austin Theory has been featured alongside Vince McMahon is a part of a larger plan.
As per a report from the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Austin Theory’s WWE title match against Big E on RAW did good numbers with teenagers, and the continuation of his association with Vince McMahon is a reward and a test at the same time:
“The idea here is that Theory’s match did well, particularly with teenagers, at holding the audience and he is young, so give him the rub sitting next to Vince.”
We hope this is true because Austin Theory’s push could be an exciting one to watch. Vince McMahon rarely appears in a storyline with a WWE star unless he intends on pushing them, and this could be a big sign for the 24-year-old superstar.
#3. Hope isn’t true: WWE Hall of Famer Edge made a possibly controversial decision on RAW
WWE fans lashed out at the company’s decision to include released superstars as a reference to get heat on RAW. This occurred on two occasions when Liv Morgan said that Becky Lynch’s lucrative contract was the reason why her friends (Sarah Logan and Ruby Riott/Soho) were released.
In the very same episode, WWE Hall of Famer Edge and grand slam champion The Miz had a stand-off on the mic, with the former referencing John Morrison’s recent release by WWE.
Mike Johnson of PWInsider said the decision to use the reference in Liv Morgan’s promo was either made by Vince McMahon or somebody on the WWE creative team. Sportskeeda’s Matt Black wrote:
“Mike Johnson of PWInsider shed some light with backstage news about last night’s show. In regards to the mentions of recent WWE releases being subject matter in promos last night, Johnson reports that the mention of Liv Morgan’s friends being released in her promo last night (Ruby Soho and Sarah Logan) was either a call from Vince McMahon or someone else on the WWE creative team.”
While stating that WWE has since edited out the line from their YouTube video, Edge using the reference was a decision he made on the fly as he enjoys creative freedom:
“As for Edge’s reference to John Morrison last night, it’s being reported that due to Edge having a lot of creative freedom in his promos, it’s likely something that he came up with on the fly and not something WWE creative told him to say.”
We hope this isn’t true because it’s a bad look for the WWE Hall of Famer to use to add more heat to the segment. It doesn’t help that he’s a babyface, but luckily John Morrison seemed to react well to it.
#3. Hope is true: Negative backstage reaction in WWE to the release references
Sticking to the topic of references made in WWE about the releases, it appears as though fans weren’t the only ones who were upset. For many WWE stars, producers, and staff, the past year has been tough because they have likely had to keep their jobs while watching their friends lose theirs.
Understandably, it has left a bad taste in the mouths of a lot of people backstage in WWE. According to a report by Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful, a lot of former WWE wrestlers and producers reached out stating that they thought it was in bad taste.
Even the current WWE Superstars reportedly reached out:
“It happened several times during this show, and I had former WWE wrestlers, former WWE producers, and a current WWE wrestler, that were all telling me how bad a taste they thought that was,” said Sapp. (H/T – WrestleTalk)
We hope this is true because even the “current” WWE star’s reaction will be indicative of the general backstage sentiment regarding the release references on RAW.
#2. Hope isn’t true: WWE’s original plans for the Vince McMahon egg storyline
The first page highlights how WWE used the Vince McMahon egg storyline to give 24-year-old Austin Theory the rub. It seems to have paid off, but even that wouldn’t have happened had WWE gone through with their original plan.
Sean Ross Sapp reported on Fightful Select that WWE’s original plan for the storyline was “much worse,” and stated that The Rock and representatives from Red Notice vetoed against it, forcing the company to change their plans. Sportskeeda’s Phillipa Marie wrote:
“The original idea was ‘much worse with the stakes much lower’. Creative reportedly had the idea for the egg storyline to be integrated with the 24/7 Championship. Fightful notes that they heard that the pitch was vetoed by representatives from both The Rock and Red Notice, which forced WWE to think much harder about the storyline which was produced.”
While it’s good that The Rock and other officials stepped in, we hope the original plan isn’t true because it truly is far worse than what played out. Using it to elevate a younger superstar was the best way WWE could utilize the storyline, one that they were reportedly paid a substantial amount for.
#2. Hope is true: WWE has reportedly paid for Impact Wrestling stars’ rehab in the past
On a more positive note, take a look at WWE’s rehab policy. For the past few decades, there have been several wrestlers whose lives were cut short after their career (and some in the middle of it) due to the effects of drug and alcohol addiction.
The use of alcohol and pills among WWE stars in the 1990s and early 2000s was no secret, and their policies seem to have been significantly tweaked following the tragic death of Eddie Guerrero.
In recent times, AEW star Jon Moxley has taken a hiatus to deal with alcohol addiction – one that he allowed Tony Khan to publicize, according to Dave Meltzer on the Wrestling Observer Radio, WWE can pay for Moxley’s treatment and has reportedly done so for multiple stars while they were in Impact Wrestling:
“Yes, I think, even in fact, they would [pay for Moxley’s rehab] because that’s the nature of the policy. Because they have definitely paid for people when they’ve been in Impact. They haven’t paid for the rehab of anyone in AEW that I know of, but they have definitely paid for Impact, you know, which is a rival promotion,” said Meltzer.
We hope this is true because it highlights one of the better parts of WWE’s approach to superstars with addiction, as well as a change in mentality when battling such issues.
WWE Hall of Famer and AEW commentator Jim Ross recently commended Moxley for openly seeking treatment, stating that in today’s world, Eddie Guerrero would have gone that route because it’s no longer viewed as a sign of weakness.
#1. Hope isn’t true: The real reason why Kevin Owens was added to the WWE title match at Day 1
The following could potentially contain spoilers for WWE Day 1. Proceed accordingly.
Kevin Owens is officially going to challenge for the WWE Championship at Day 1. Given how things stand, it could be his last shot at WWE world title glory, and one that he is unlikely to achieve.
All the talk about Kevin Owens in recent months has been about his WWE contract – one that is set to expire at the end of January 2022. Before that happens, he is set to compete in the second-most important match of the Day 1 pay-per-view on January 1st.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Radio, there is only one actual reason why WWE added Kevin Owens to the World title match at Day 1:
“This allows them to stretch the feud out between Big E and Seth Rollins because Kevin Owens can get pinned and they can keep the feud going. Because on that side, as long as Big E is a babyface champion, it’s going to be tough to put Edge in there. Who is there other than Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens? And we don’t know how long Kevin Owens is going to be there. His contract is coming up at the end of January after the Royal Rumble, and then he’ll have a decision to make,” Meltzer said.
We hope this isn’t true, but it could be as WWE has the option of extending the Big E-Seth Rollins feud until the 2022 Royal Rumble. That could see the end of Kevin Owens’ WWE run unless news emerges about a contract extension – one that there seems to be no sign of right now.
#1. Hope is true: The possibility of MJF in WWE and his future
Apart from WWE referencing the recent releases on RAW, one of the other things that caught the headlines was their reference of MJF and CM Punk in AEW. Edge, in his return to WWE, told The Miz that others use his name.
MJF has been advertised as one of the pillars of AEW and has been called a future world champion as well. There are few bigger heels in the business than the 25-year-old superstar, who has proven to be one of AEW’s biggest assets.
According to Dave Meltzer on the Wrestling Observer Radio, WWE rarely offers big-money contracts to superstars who, according to them, have never been a big deal in the industry:
“I had a conversation with him about it and I don’t think he is going anywhere… They usually don’t give ridiculous deals to someone who has never, in their mind, been a big deal. I could see there being a big bidding war. It’s just a question of how high they’re willing to go. I wouldn’t say he’s locked into AEW, but all things being equal, he won’t be leaving AEW,” said Dave Meltzer.
We hope this is true because a potential bidding war would be best for MJF and his value in the wrestling industry. While the idea of MJF in WWE sounds tempting, he’s best where he is in AEW and hopefully, he stays with the promotion for a long time to come.