Welcome to the latest edition of WWE News and Rumor Roundup. A new report has highlighted why a young star received a significant spotlight on television not too long ago.
Another recent rumor focused on what some of the talents in the NXT locker room think of the show’s current direction. Today’s roundup also highlights Charlotte Flair’s harsh words for Toni Storm after Smackdown.
A former women’s champion has given her take on possibly facing Sasha Banks and Bayley in the future. Additionally, Naomi and Sonya Deville’s latest WWE Smackdown segment has caught the attention of a wrestling legend.
With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at these news and rumor stories.
#5. Backstage note on how some talent feel about working on WWE NXT 2.0
A few days back, Beth Phoenix announced that she would be leaving her commentary role on NXT 2.0 after the WarGames pay-per-view to spend more time with her family.
She will remain a part of the company, with reports suggesting that the WWE Hall of Famer could play a role in Edge’s (her husband) current storyline with The Miz and Maryse on Monday Night RAW.
Bryan Alvarez recently mentioned Phoenix’s departure from NXT on Wrestling Observer Live:
“It’s not like she couldn’t do the main roster feud with Miz & Maryse and also do NXT commentary. She has just decided she is done with NXT. Whatever that means, she says it’s due to family, but this also, again might not be the last person.”
Alvarez said his sources told him that working in WWE’s third brand isn’t as fun as it used to be:
“There are people there who have told me that it’s just not fun anymore.”
Several weeks ago, former NXT star Bronson Reed (a.k.a. JONAH) told Wrestling Inc. that “some frustration definitely has grown backstage,” something he witnessed “firsthand” before being released by the company in August.
Interestingly, Scotty 2 Hotty, who was one of the coaches in NXT, announced his departure from WWE last month. Current AEW star Adam Cole also left the promotion a few months ago. And while Kyle O’Reilly and Johnny Gargano’s contracts will expire soon, higher-ups are reportedly seeking to re-sign both of them.
#4. Charlotte Flair takes shots at Toni Storm after WWE SmackDown
A week after Charlotte Flair hit Toni Storm with two pies to the face, the latter finally got some revenge against the WWE SmackDown Women’s Champion.
During the blue brand’s latest episode, The Queen denied Storm an opportunity at her title. Unfortunately for Charlotte, the former NXT UK star launched a pie at her face on the same night.
Speaking on Smack Talk after their latest segment, the SmackDown Women’s Champion claimed that she still doesn’t take Toni Storm seriously:
“I still don’t take her seriously. Had someone thrown a pie in my face last week, I would’ve beat their a**. I would’ve one-upped them. All she did was throw a pie in my face, monkey see, monkey do. No, that doesn’t make her a contender. That doesn’t make me take her seriously. You know what that makes me want to do? Send her my dry cleaning bill. Thank God I wasn’t wearing one of my $8000 robes, no, just one of my $6000 body suits. It makes me want to send her my dry cleaning bill, because I’m sticky, my title is sticky. If she thought she was going to get my attention tonight, she didn’t do a good job. All she did was copy me,” said Charlotte Flair.
These events are likely leading up to a match between the two. How WWE gets to that point will be interesting to see, as Charlotte is pretty adamant about not wanting to put her title on the line against Storm.
#3. Why Austin Theory received screen-time with WWE CEO Vince McMahon recently
The latest episode of WWE RAW saw Vince McMahon and Austin Theory form a bizarre teacher-student relationship in a series of segments. However, the night ended terribly for Theory, as he was slapped across the face by McMahon.
The 24-year-old even received a WWE Championship match against Big E last month. Although Theory came up short in that instance, a recent Wrestling Observer Newsletter report highlighted that their world title main event on RAW was well-received by teenagers:
“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.”
It’s no secret that WWE aims to attract younger fans with its product. So if the above report is true, it makes sense why Austin Theory — out of so many stars — is getting the rare opportunity to interact with Vince McMahon on-screen.
While Theory had appeared on RAW before this year’s WWE Draft, higher-ups seem to have bigger plans for him during this run. Except for the world title clash against Big E, he has won every televised match on the main roster since October 2021.
#2. Io Shirai looks forward to potential matches against Bayley and Sasha Banks on WWE’s main roster
Io Shirai has been a staple of the women’s division in WWE NXT over the last few years. The former NXT Women’s Champion recently told Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated that she is open to a main roster move in the future.
Shirai, who defeated Sasha Banks in singles action last year, is looking forward to their rematch. The Japanese star also expressed that she would enjoy a first-time-ever, one-on-one clash against Bayley in WWE.
“Of course, I would be open to a move to SmackDown or RAW. The opportunity would present new goals and encounters different from what I have achieved and experienced in NXT. I would like a rematch with Sasha Banks as soon as possible. I also heard Bayley say she wanted to have a match with me, and I would definitely relish my first confrontation with her. If it is a title match, even better,” said Io Shirai.
Bayley has responded to Shirai’s comment, stating — in character — that the latter would have to beg for a match against her.
#1. Dutch Mantell criticizes Naomi and Sonya Deville’s latest WWE segment
Dutch Mantell reviewed this segment on the most recent episode of Sportskeeda Wrestling’s Smack Talk. The wrestling legend liked the intensity of the slap but wasn’t a fan of how the official suffered no consequences for her actions.
Mantell referenced how Brock Lesnar was fined one million dollars for attacking Adam Pearce, yet Deville got away with laying her hands on Naomi from a storyline standpoint:
“Well, I’ll say one thing, she (Sonya Deville) slapped the hell out of Naomi. I think that’s a 90 percent shoot. So she slaps her but Naomi can’t do anything. It doesn’t make sense. Even though, I mean if you’re a fan and she gets slapped like that and she doesn’t get the match, that’s like the million-dollar thing (Brock’s fine). Nobody believes that and now I think the way the legal system is, if your superior hits you, shouldn’t they be fired? See, it goes against common sense. We need to throw common sense into wrestling.”
Although both women will face each other in singles action on the upcoming SmackDown episode, Mantell believes WWE could postpone their clash to the Day 1 pay-per-view.
Interestingly, Naomi and Sonya Deville had two one-on-one encounters on WWE television back in 2018. Both have won a single match each, so it will be interesting to see which woman breaks the tie in her favor soon.
What are your thoughts on any of the topics covered in today’s roundup? Sound off in the comments section below.