The Shield’s “One Last Ride”, Becky Lynch’s standing with Vince McMahon and other pre-Fastlane stuff

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A week after Roman Reigns made his return from a 5 month leave of absence, The Shield is getting back together “One More Time. The most dominant faction both together and separate in WWE history will reunite for what may be the last time at Fastlane where they will face Baron Corbin, Bobby Lashley and Drew McIntyre.

As most folks are aware by now–and it was mentioned on the air for the first time–Dean Ambrose will be leaving after Wrestlemania 35 when his contract with WWE expires. He opted not to sign a new contract with WWE. He made it clear the decision is not money-related but has more to do with his on-screen character. He reportely stated he “hates doing hokey shit” and his desire to leave is not money-related. He candidly indicated he’s left a lot of money on the table in not renewing.

His wife Renee Young said something interesting that fellow Commentator Corey Graves reacted to on RAW this past week. She said Ambrose is “Moving on to Greener Pastures”. Weather this means Ambrose is looking t AEW, NJPW another promotion or just something else entirely remains to be seen. Rollins and Reigns have clearly known about Ambrose’s status all along. Is this match at Fastlane just a nostalgia trip…or could it also be an attempt to get Ambrose to reconsider leaving? We probably won’t know for sure until next month after Wrestlemania. Like Rousey, Ambrose’s last booked on-screen appearance is the RAW after Wrestlemania so we’ll see.

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I meant to comment on this a few weeks ago but according to various backstage sources, Becky Lynch is Vince McMahon’s new “Golden Goose”. She ls, We saw what happened with Roman Reigns and John Cena before her: Both were booed week after week by the house crowd as soon as it was revealed they were Vince’s favorites. Clearly that doesn’t seem to be happening with Becky Lynch, who is the hottest thing in not just WWE but the industry right now.

The last superstar favored by Vince who was a fan favorite and stayed one was Stone Cold Steve Austin. Vince revealed he favored CM Punk a bit more than Daniel Bryan to be John Cena’s successor as the next face of the company but then Punk walked out on WWE and those plans were derailed. Vince settled on Roman Reigns, who is the Rock’s cousin and would be a company guy like Cena and Austin before him. At least, that was the idea.

We saw what happened at Wrestlemania 31 . I do think fans booing Reigns at Wrestlemania 31 was the reason Vince made the call for Seth Rollins (then a Babyface Heel) to cash in the Money in the Bank briefcase during the match’s climax. Lesnar would drop the title without himself or the new top guy looking bad. Three years later, Reigns would be fed to the beast at Wrestlemania 34 to appease the fans.

…Reigns coming back after his latest battle with Leukemia has fans rallying around him for the first time in years. This gives WWE a VERY good “problem” going into Wrestlemania 34 and more so after years of force-feeding Reigns to fans failed. Everyone loves a good comeback story and more so when the person came back from illness or injury. Look at Daniel Bryan from this time last year. Yeah.

The “problem” is like I said, Becky Lynch is the hottest thing in Pro Wrestling and has been since last year’s Summer Slam. Charlotte has clearly had a Hall of Fame career at this point but her being Hall of Famer and Wrestling Legend Ric Flair’s daughter will always be a sticking point to many. Reigns, Nia Jax and The Usos–all cousins of The Rock–have the same kind of problem. People like to say the only reason they’ve had so much success is because of who they’re related to when that’s totally unfair–especially for Charlotte and Reigns. Just look at Cody Rhodes’ WWE career. LOL.

My point is Lynch’s then intended Heel turn lit the wrestling world on fire. Rather than boo her, fans cheered for her.  The start of her feud with Ronda Rousey at Evolution…that RIGHT THERE was when Vince realized he trapped lightning in a bottle. The Smackdown Invasion the week before Survivor Series was when “The Man” was born.

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When The Man Comes Around, everyone shuts up and pays attention.

It took 15 years but WWE got its new “Stone Cold” in Rebecca Quinn: A superstar that can and will sell out arenas months and will be talked about for years to come. Even better is she was home-grown and is 100% organic as she revealed in her Chronicle episode back in December.

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Bayley dropped some hints a few weeks ago in an interview that WWE will test the waters with real inter-gender singles matches in the coming months. The wrestling world is split on the idea of mixed-gender singles matches but all agree the one promotion that would likely be the first to at least try it is WWE. Bayley along with Nia Jax, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks (and Ronda Rousey obviously) have all indicated they would jump at the opportunity to compete against some of their Male counterparts.

Some Male Superstars have expressed an interest or willingness to get in the ring with a Female superstar, too. So, it’s a matter of when not if.

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This bit of news broke on Total Bellas, which aired during the Fastlane PPV.

Brie Bella–real name Brianna Garcia Danielson–announced she is retiring for good from wrestling. Not just WWE but wrestling period. The announcement caught her twin sister Nikki off guard, who commented she always thought it was something they would discuss together first.

The twin sisters debuted together and competed as a tag team for most of their wrestling careers, all with WWE. They both won the now retired Divas Championship on separate occasions. They had a storyline feud with each other at one point that got deeply personal and was a few years before Brie married her now husband Daniel Bryan (real name Bryan Danielson). Brie gave birth to their daughter Birdie Joe in 2017 after announcing her first retirement in 2016 after Wrestlemania 32.

Brie returned to WWE on a part-time basis last year. She competed in the first Women’s Royal Rumble and made it to the final 3 before being eliminated by her sister, who was the runner up to the eventual winner Asuka. She teamed with her husband Daniel Bryan for a years in the making feud with The Miz and Maryse, who also recently became parents themselves. The Bellas later teamed with Ronda Rousey to battle the Riott Squad at Super Show Down and then turned on the RAW Women’s Champion. Brie was in her sister’s corner when Nikki challenged Rousey for the title at Evolution.

My guess is Brie wants to make the announcement from now because Wrestlemania is right around the corner. She did reveal on Total Divas last year she is ready to try to have another baby and that’s likely a driving factor in her decision to retire. The fact that she apparently didn’t talk to her sister about it in advance should be enough for anyone to know she’s made up her mind and clearly thought about it for some time. As she said, she’s decided to leave this part of her life behind and focus on the future. As has been the case with others who’ve retired–most recently Beth Phoenix, Trish Stratus and Lita–that doesn’t mean we won’t see her every now and then.

As for her sister, all I can say for now is time will tell either way.

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News broke the morning after Fastlane that 2013 Hall of Famer Booker T will join Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels as a 2-time WWE Hall of Fame Inductee. He will be inducted along with his older brother Stevie Ray into the 2019 class, who were 10-time WCW Champions as the tag team Harlem Heat.

I kinda had a feeling WWE had something planned for Booker T when a collection featuring his “King Booker” persona was added to WWE Network a few months ago. Most in WWE know Booker T is a 5-time (5 time, 5-time, 5-time, 5-time) WCW Champion and hence his first Hall of Fame induction back in 2013.

One of the brothers’ few regrets professionally was they never competed as a tag team in WWE. Stevie Ray stepped away from wrestling in 2000 after the birth of his daughter so he could watch her grow up. They had actually become estranged for several years but made up at Booker T’s Hall of Fame Induction.

Booker T went to WWE after WCW folded as a singles competator for several years. His King Booker persona was perhaps his most memorable run and more so for him since his wife Sharmell joined him during that run. After he retired, Booker T continued his involvement with WWE as a commentator for several years.

Booker T actually does run his own promotion based out of Houston called Legends of Wrestling. He his brother teamed up for a one-off in his promotion back in 2015. I mentioned earlier the brothers has a falling out years earlier. It was about deciding on the name of their promotion at the time. He’s still got it but has sworn off getting back in a WWE ring unless it’s for his own promotion or will be a one-off. When asked, he explained in an interview he doesn’t want to take away from current talent in WWE who are competing for air time. Such a classy guy.

Speaking of his wreslting promotion:

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Everyone knows the story by now that Ember Moon was initially rejected by WWE way back when because she “doesn’t have the look like of Diva”. This was back before ECW was turned into the development brand NXT. Booker T took her in and traned her in his promotion, ultimately giving The Shenom another route to her dream of becoming a WWE Superstar.

She’s likely recovered from the emergency shoulder surgery she had to have several months back but her reintroduction is likely being pushed back until after Wrestlemania because of everything going on right now.

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…It’s been confirmed after Fastlane that The Divas of Doom–Beth Phoenix and Natalya–may be getting back together one more time. Nia Jax and Tamina attacked Beth Phoenix, who was a guest commentator during the former team’s match vs. Sasha Banks and Bayley for the Women’s Tag Team Championship which they failed to win. Natalya rushed down to the ring to help the Glamazon.

Most folks tend to forget Natalya came into WWE during the height of Beth Phoenix’s WWE career. Her first few years in the company were overshadowed by the more known Beth Phoenix, Trish Stratus, Mickie James and many others. Natalya has the same problem now where she is being overshadowed by the current top women in WWE.

Most agree if the Women’s Tag Team titles were around 10 years ago, The Divas of Doom would have won it more than a few times. Why they’re being booked to face Nia Jax and Tamina at Wrestlemania and not the Women’s Tag Champs makes no sense to me. I forgot to mention this but the Women’s Tag Titles are cross brand meaning they can be defended on RAW, Smackdown or NXT.

I think the right thing to do would be to would be to have a Fatal Four Way Tag Team Ladder Match at Wrestlemania for the titles involving The Boss and Hug Connection, Nia + Tamina, The Divas of Doom and The Iconics. The Iconics expressed an interest in the Titles during the Fastlane Kickoff show. They could insert themselves as the contenders for the title but then Natalya + Beth and Nia + Tamina are added to make it a Fatal Four Way Tag  Ladder match. It would be pretty epic to watch.

 

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The Shield’s “One Last Ride”, Becky Lynch’s standing with Vince McMahon and other pre-Fastlane stuff

It’s Official: Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan to main event Fastlane next month!

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In just a matter of hours today, WWE reversed their initial announcement that the plan was for “another established superstar and not Kofi Kingston” would challenge Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship at Fastlane on Sunday, March 10. That was before the Veteran New Day Member’s outstanding performance in last week’s gauntlet match and taking D-Bry to the limit at the Elimination Chamber PPV. As the saying goes, plans change. More so given the current trend of giving fans what they want to see.

Hours before Smackdown Live was scheduled to start, reports surfaced WWE would change Daniel Bryan’s Fastlane opponent in response to overwhelming fan requests. We found out at the close of Smackdown that it will indeed be Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan for the title at Fastlane. Clearly it will be the main event on the card.

WWE has clearly learned from Daniel Bryan’s Mega Push 5 years ago and more recently Becky Lynch–the most Over Wrestler in not just WWE but the industry right now–to recognize when it’s trapped lightning in a bottle. Kofi is clearly being set up to win the title from D-Bry at Fastlane. He would then go on to headline Wrestlemania 35. Possible opponents include Randy Orton or Samoa Joe.  AJ Styles could also turn Heel for the feud and clearly WWE wants the The Phenominal One to be on the card at Wrestlemania 35. As a reminder, AJ Styles temporarily turned Heel to fight Shane McMahon at Wrestlemania two years ago so there is a precident.

Automatic Title Rematches are no longer guaranteed but WWE would still want Daniel Bryan on the card. He could be set up to challenge R-Truth for the US Title. R-Truth won the US Title from Shinsuke Nakamura on the Smackdown after the Royal Rumble but hasn’t appeared since. He wasn’t on the card for Elimination Chamber and the US Title needs to be defended at Wrestlemania. D-Bry could help put him over win or lose.

 

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Smackdown superstar Tye Dillinger–real name Ronnie Arneill–broke the news via Twitter Wednesday morning he has requested his release from WWE. Dillinger is one of many underutilized Superstars on WWE’s clearly overcrowded roster.

Male NXT Call Ups haven’t been doing anywhere near as good as their Female counterparts and it’s mainly because they’re competing with established superstars who aren’t just gonna step aside obviously. See Drew McIntyre (former NXT Champion), The Brian Kendrick (First Cruiserweight Champion) and Jinder Mahal (former WWE Champion), all of whom were released in the past. All three men found success when WWE gave them a second chance a few years later. Look at sAnity (underused). Look at No Way Jose (Gag Character). Look at Apollo Crews (underused). Look at Sami Zayn (Hasn’t won a title yet). I could go on.

Of course, it’s not all bad. Xavier Woods and Big E teamed with Kofi Kingston to from The New Day. Kevin Owens became the second-ever Universal Champion. Chad Gable has been on a roll since pairing with Bobby Roode. Same with Caesaro–yes, he’s an NXT alumni–who has had singles and tag team success. Everyone knows about Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns–both separate and as The Shield–who’ve held every title there is at least twice each so…yeah.

All that said, Tye Dillinger–and to a lesser extent Dana Brooke–is a textbook example of why Triple H has delayed or refused to allow some NXT Superstars to be moved to the main roster by now. Of the six Callups announced in November–Lars Sullivan, Lacey Evans, EC3, Nikki Cross and Heavy Machinery (Tucker and Otis)–all but Sullivan have at least appeared on both RAW and Smackdown. Sullivan is nursing an injury so his debut has been pushed back. It’s also why the pre-recorded promos for him stopped after TLC.

As of right now, they all have Free Agent status meaning they can appear on both RAW and Smackdown until they are officially assigned to one or the other. Evans and EC3 have both competed once so far but have made sporadic appearances. Evans’ current silent catwalk makes it clear WWE doesn’t want the audience to forget about the callups announced so far despite any clear indication of where they will permanently land.

It is a forgone conclusion Nikki Cross will join sAnity on Smackdown Live. There is talk EC3 is going to join her on Smackdown Live. Lars Sullivan and Lacey Evans are both expected to go RAW as well. As for Heavy Machinery, the latest word is they will likely go to RAW since Smackdown is pretty stacked already (The Usos, The New Day, The Bar, Gallows + Anderson and sAnity). Shane-o-Miz and Rusev + Nakamura are clearly temporary teams so…yeah.

 

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NXT’s four top stars appearing on RAW and Smackdown relit speculation there will be more more than the six previously announced callups coming to the main roster.

Here’s a hint: There WILL be. I’ve been saying it for months myself.

Aleister Black was actually supposed to have been moved to the main roster last year but then he got hurt and those plans were put on hold. Black, Ricochet, Ciampa and Gargano proved what everyone this week what we already know and that is that they are more than ready for the main roster.

…The problem is there’s no room for them on the main roster right now. NXT has PLENTY OF superstars ready and able to replace the four as the main draws for the Yellow and Black. The problem is RAW and Smackdown are too crowded right now. This week was about giving the fans a taste of what they’re missing on NXT. We haven’t seen cross-promotion like this since Sasha Banks, Kevin Owens, Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Rusev + Lana came up several years back. We’re talking main event-level talent here.

I do think we could see Ricochet and Black be moved to the main roster sooner than later personally. Soon being in a month or two. Gargano is married to fellow NXT Superstar Candice LaRae so they would be a package deal even if they had separate debuts. Ciampa would be fine anywhere but like KO and Zayn, he and Gargano seem to be tied together.

 

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It’s Official: Kofi Kingston vs. Daniel Bryan to main event Fastlane next month!

WWE announces Degeneration X will be inducted into the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame

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…Are you ready?

Shawn Michaels gets his second ring while Triple H, X-Pac and the New Age Outlaws get their first and Chyna will get one posthumously. WWE dropped huge hints they were finally gonna do something for the late Joanie Laurer (Chyna), who suddenly passed away in 2016 at the age of 46. Some video footage from her early appearances started making the rounds on social media. I do suspect Chyna will also get an individual induction in the same night personally and I plan to watch!

ESPN broke the news this morning of DX getting inducted and WWE confirmed it shortly afterward. It is worth noting there were actually seven founding members of DX: The 7th being their attorney, Rick Rude (Also a Hall of Famer).

Who can forget The Birth of DX:

…Back when HBK and The Game had hair!

In case you’re wondering, Triple H was the European Champion (now a defunct title) at the time. Chyna was introduced as his bodyguard when he feuded with Goldust the year before.

None can forget this epic moment:

 

The story goes, WCW Superstars got wind of it before WCW officials did. Kevin Nash was told directly from Triple H in advance and he thought it would be funny as hell to not pass word up the chain and see what happens. When word quickly spread DX was outside recording their promo, WCW Superstars were amped and thought this was a cross-promotion work between WWE and WCW.

…The problem was WCW officials had no idea and when he heard, Eric Bishoff gave the order for the doors to be closed for now. He, too thought this was a cross-promo but wanted to get confirmation first.

On the WWE side Triple H proposed it to Vince, who was “intrigued” and greenlit it. It’s not clear if he planned to “warn” WCW in advance but if he did, clearly he changed his mind along the way. The fans loved it of course. Then, a dreamed-of clash involving DX and NWO didn’t happen. BOO!

After WWE won the Monday Night Wars, DX broke up: Shawn Michaels left after suffering what was believed to have been a career-ending back injury at Wrestlemania 14. Chyna was released in 2001. Road Dogg and Billy Gunn split before they both left the company not long afteward. Rodd Dogg returned to work behind the scenes a few years later and most recently reprised his first on-screen gig in WWE as Jeff Jarrett’s swingman last month.

…As for The Game, he is co-heir to WWE along with his wife Stephanie McMahon. He is also a 13-time WWE Champion and 4th behind Randy Orton (14), Ric Flair and John Cena (both tied at 16). He’s done everything there is to do since he returned to being a solo competator so…yeah.

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Before she left the company, Chyna would become the first woman to win the Intercontinental Championship and she did it twice. WWE Hall of Famer Beth Phoenix would become the second woman to win the IC Title several years later. She laid the groundwork for Beth Phoenix, Kharma and as of this year Nia Jax entering the Men’s Royal Rumble Match. Speaking of, The Irresistable Force became the first Superstar to compete in both the Men’s and Women’s Royal Rumble Matches and eliminate a superstar in both (she eliminated Mustafa Ali in the Men’s Royal Rumble Match). Nia also did both in the same night (and definitely won’t be the last). I won’t digress further.

Shawn Michaels joins Ric Flair and Hulk Hogan as the third Hall of Fame Inductee to be inducted more than once.  Ric Flair was inducted individually and as well as a member of The Four Hoursemen. Hulk Hogan was inducted individually and again as a member of NWO. Triple H stands to be inducted three times: As part of DX, individually and as a part of Evolution (along with Batitisa, Randy Orton and Ric Flair). Of course, Ric Flair would also be inducted for the third time with Evolution too.

 

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WWE announces Degeneration X will be inducted into the 2019 WWE Hall of Fame

Wrestlemania’s main event match appears to be a Triple Threat; Batista is talking to both WWE and AEW

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…Emphasis on “APPEARS TO BE”.

It would be the safe route given Rousey is stepping away from WWE after Wrestlemania to start a family. Becky Lynch keeps destroying her in promos and on Twitter so it makes sense to take her out of the picture for a while, then have Charlotte and Rousey build the match before reintroducing Lynch.

They could certainly go the Daniel Bryan route. For Wrestlemania 30, D-Bry had to fight Triple H with the stipulation the winner would be added to the main event vs. Batista (Royal Rumble winner) and Randy Orton (Champion at the time). D-Bry beat Triple H and then went on to beat Batista via Submission in the second match to win the title.

In this case, Lynch could be booked to face two opponents of Vince McMahon’s choosing in a triple threat match but the other two are a tag team with the stipulation they can’t pin or submit each other but must pin or submit Lynch to be added to the main event. Assuming they don’t become the Women’s Tag Team Champions, Nia Jax and Tamina or Sasha Banks and Bayley sounds the most likely.

…Or WWE could pull the double swerve they appear to be setting up and keep it a one on one match. There’s two routes I see in that case:

  1. Lynch has to fight Charlotte Flair with the stipulation the winner faces Rousey at Wrestlemania 35. The first match can be at the March PPV or earlier on the Wrestlemania 35 card.
  2. Rousey offers to fight both Lynch and Charlotte but Vince refuses to allow the main event to be a Triple Threat match so instead, Rousey is booked to fight in two matches with her title on the line in the first. The winner of first match will enter the main event as champion with the title on the line. Charotte and Lynch have a match to decide who will face Rousey first with the stipulation the winner will go to the Main Event and the loser will be Rousey’s first opponent at Wrestlemania. Charlotte loses the match and faces Rousey first with the title and the main event on the line. Rousey beats Charlotte and faces Lynch in the main event.

 

…I know that second one is pretty convoluted but it would be an awesome build up and more so when you consider the reason the main event is being presented as a Triple Threat Match: Charlotte’s a Heel while both Lynch and Rousey are a Face. Plus, no one wants to see Charlotte vs. Lynch again even with a title on the line main event Wrestlemania.

Something out of the box we might see is an angle where Rousey refuses to fight unless Lynch is her opponent and destroys the rest of the Women’s Division in the weeks to come until Steph is targeted and Vince finally agrees to reinstate Lynch.

Regardless, we will find out in the weeks to come for sure if it will be a Triple Threat Match or the double swerve I am expecting with Lynch vs. Rousey being back on. It’s more than fair to say Lynch’s knee injury is Kayfabe as is the suspension. Things should become more clear by the end of next month.

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This bit of news broke early Monday afternoon and is clearly meant to put pressure on WWE to give him what he wants: A match on the card at Wrestlemania 35.

According to various reports, Dave Bautista has reached out to WWE about being in a match at Wrestlemania 35. The Animal last appeared on Smackdown’s 1000th episode where he laid the groundwork for a match involving himself and Triple H. Batista’s made it no secret he’s very interested in getting back in the ring and given Avengers: Infinity War may have been his last appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, clearly he’s got sme time to kill before his next film.

What makes things real interesting: AEW heard he’s talking to WWE, got in touch with him and he confirmed he’s listening. AEW has a big event called Double or Nothing booked around the same time as Wrestlemania 35–on purpose–to force signees who may be looking at them and WWE to pick one.

I don’t think Batista would seriously cut a deal with AEW but he’s probably trying to get WWE’s attention.

 

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Roman Reigns has been away from WWE since October but his cousin The Rock recently revealed The Big Dog will appear alongside him in an upcoming Fast & Furious spinoff movie due to hit theaters this summer.

Roman Reigns stepped away from WWE just before the Crown Jewel PPV to focus on his Lieukemia diagnosis. As we recently revealed by Vince McMahon in a recent interview, it changed the outcome of the Men’s Royal Rumble. The original plan was for Dean Ambrose to win the Royal Rumble, then challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at Wrestlemania. Ambrose and D-Bry’s Heel turns were planned but Ambrose’s Turn was moved up because of Reigns’ departure. This was BEFORE Abrose made it known to Vince he wasn’t going to sign a new contract with WWE.

Obviously Roman Reigns was booked to retain at Crown Jewel. Reigns would have then gone on to face D-Bry at Survivor Series and retain vs. Braun Strowman at TLC. Lesnar would have been set up to take a clean loss to Braun Strowman at Survivor Series, then have Reigns cleanly retain vs. Strowman at TLC. Lesnar would clash with Strowman and cleanly lose in a singles match at the Royal Rumble. Ambrose would win the Men’s Royal Rumble Match. Ambrose and Rollins would clash for the title at Wrestlemania while Bobby Lashley would be set up to clash with Brock Lesnar and cleanly win.

Before Reigns was forced to take a leave of absence, there were reports his cousin The Rock wanted to have a match with him ar Wrestlemania and the idea was being explored. Even after the diagnosis, apparently the possability still exists. The Rock could make a surprise appearance at Wrestlemania 35, then call out someone in the back. Only for Roman Reigns to make his surprise return. The Rock puts Reigns Over win or lose.

 

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The Usos knocked off The Miz and Shane McMahon at the Elimination Chamber PPV to recapture the Smackdown Tag Team titles for the 4th time (6-time Tag Champions overall).

On Thursday, news broke Jimmy Uso (real name Johnathan Fatu) was arrested late Tuesday night–presumably after Smackdown–after he and his wife Naomi (real name Trinity Fatu) were involved in a traffic stop. Jimmy was taken into custody after he tried to “Square Up” with officers who in this case were right to fear for their personal safety.

Officers noticed the strong smell of alcohol coming from the inside the rental they were using and unfortunately, both of the Usos have a history of alcohol-related arrests. Jimmy Uso posted bail (Naomi was not arrested obviously) shortly after his arrest and will have a hearing sometime next month.

WWE is clearly aware of the arrest but they are willing to let it slide for now and more so since the Uso won the Smackdown Tag titles at the Elimination Chamber PPV. Well, that and WWE is clearly trying to get the Usos to sign a new contract. We’ll see how things go between now and Wrestlemania 35.

 

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At the beginning of the month, The Undertaker removed all mentions of WWE from his Twitter and Instagram accounts. He replaced them with contact info for bookings. This raised a lot of eyebrows when it was first discovered,

Then, the above: ‘Taker is booked to make an appearance at Starrcast, which is a non-WWE event in May. It is NOT an AEW event–Starrcast organizers has to clarify that amid assumptions it’s connected to AEW’s Double or Nothing event, which is happening around the same tiime.

Now, The Phenom is not currently booked for Wrestlemania. Given he put out a cryptic message on Instagram over the weekend indicating his next move will be announced soon, that could change. Now, ‘Taker is considered retired but still is under contract with WWE as far as I’m aware. After 30 years with WWE (he debuted in 1989), he’s certainly earned the right to do whatever he wants at this point.

The story goes, Vince legit thought he retired for real two years ago after his match with Roman Reigns at Wrestlemania. Then he pulled a Mark Henry and basically said he’s still got gas left in the tank. I do think he will officially close the book on his career with WWE and when he does, it will be pretty obvious. I also think that time will come sooner than later.

 

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Wrestlemania’s main event match appears to be a Triple Threat; Batista is talking to both WWE and AEW

Report: Randy Orton reveals he might seriously consider offers from AEW

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…Whew.

I didn’t realize this last month ago but apparently, the contracts of several veteran WWE superstars are set to expire after Wrestlemania 35. WWE has been rushing to lock down talent ever since AEW had their launch party early last month. They have wasted no time reaching out to talent in indie promotions offering money and opportunity. Hideo Otani from 205 Live was released over the weekend per his request (expected to work indie promotions in Japan). We also know for sure Dean Ambrose is leaving after Wrestlemania.

Randy Orton revealed in a recent interview he would go to AEW if the offer was good enough. The former 14-time champion’s contract is set to expire after Wrestlemania but he has not made up his mind about weather he will sign a new contract yet or not. He has worked his entire career in WWE and came in at the same time as John Cena and Batista but is the only one of the three still around full time.

My guess is Orton dropped the threat of signing with AEW on purpose to put pressure on WWE to make a generous offer. More so since everyone knows AEW would love to sign him and more so since they just signed Kenny Omega, who many believed would be making his way to WWE.

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…The Usos are in a similar situation. WWE is reportedly very worried about losing the Usos and it’s not clear if their contracts have already expired or will expire after Wrestlemania like Orton and Ambrose’s. The Usos will challenge The Miz and Shane McMahon for the Smackdown Tag Team titles at the Elimination Chamber PPV next Sunday.

WWE could set the Usos up to win the titles at the Elimination Chamber and then keep it either until or through Wrestlemania 35. If that happens, we can probably assume WWE is trying to pressure one of their two best tag teams–the other being The New Day, which is also on Smackdown–to sign a new contract with WWE before their current deal expires soon. Naomi is the wife of Jimmy Uso. WWE has been good about keeping couples together on the same brand (Rusev and Lana, who are also married are also on Smackdown) so they can travel together. Presumably the same will be done for NXT’s Johnny Gargano and Candice LeRae of NXT when they’re called up.

If Jimmy leaves with his brother, WWE would have to be concerned about Naomi asking to be released as well. Naomi has given no indication she is even paying AEW any mind but if her husband leaves, that would have to be a legitimate concern for WWE. When Cody Rhodes left WWE his wife left, too. Same with CM Punk and AJ Lee, who were dating at the time they left. Dean Ambrose and Renee Young are a special exception since Ambrose is leaving for personal reasons (hint: It’s not Kayfabe, Ambrose is leaving for real).

All that said, this is important: AEW is not Ted Turner’s WCW. We will not see The Second Coming of the Monday Night Wars.

Times have changed since then and WWE’s biggest competition is itself. AEW is also clearly not interested in challenging WWE head on in a ratings war. Sure, AEW will poach some Superstars but WWE will adapt like they did during the Monday Night Wars. In other words, “Next man or woman up.”

 

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Report: Randy Orton reveals he might seriously consider offers from AEW

WWE confirms reports of Dean Ambrose leaving in April are true

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Read the statement on WWE.com here.

WWE rarely comments on the contract status of talent but this is the second one they’ve commented on this week (The other being Ronda Rousey). Must be a full moon!

As had first been reported by PWInsider, WWE confirmed in the above statement that Johnathan Good–Dean Ambrose in WWE–opted not to renew his contract with WWE a few months back and he will leave when it expires in late April. The statement also confirmed what I assumed in my earlier post: WWE will welcome him back should he decide to return down the road. Clearly the company holds no ill will toward him personally or professionally so…yeah. WWE also wanted to avoid another Stone Cold or CM Punk situation in which a mega popular superstar walked out on the company (though in Stone Cold’s case, he did return eventually).

WWE doesn’t have a mediator like Jim Ross, who was instrumental in bringing The Texas Rattlesnake back to the fold after his second walkout. Vince admitted as much a few months after CM Punk left. He said if they had one, they might have been able to give him a proper sendoff at least. Same with Cody Rhodes, who left the company due to creative differences two years later.

Now that the news is out, we will have to wait and see if WWE decides to make Dean Ambrose’s contract status a part of his storyline. Now that we know he will be under contract until after Wrestlemania, he could be put on the card as a final sendoff. We’ll have to wait and see.

 

 

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WWE confirms reports of Dean Ambrose leaving in April are true

Rousey vs. Lynch at WM35 set and other updates

Image result for Ronda Rousey vs Becky Lynch Wrestlemania 35

Becky Lynch didn’t wait long to decide who she will challenge at Wrestlemania 35.

Shortly after Ronda Rousey finished her 15-minute title match with Bayley (she won of course), Becky Lynch’s music hit. Obviously. The Man has some unfinished business with Ronnie and more so after she cost Lynch (and Charlotte) the Smackdown Women’s Championship at TLC. Then Ronda Rousey cut her best promo yet. We know Ronda Rousey is stepping away from WWE after Wrestlemania 35 so obviously, Lynch will be booked to win the RAW Women’s Title. All the more reason to see the match when it happens!

Lynch was wearing a knee brace, which she injured in the Women’s Royal Rumble Match and Rousey was taken to the limit by Bayley. Despite that, it was obvious both were half-cocked and ready to fight on the spot. Wrestlemania is 3 months away and that’s plenty of time for both of them to get in good shape for their main event match.

As a reminder: Wrestlemania is April 7!

Image result for WWE The Undertaker and John Cena

John Cena is out for Wrestlemania due to obligations elsewhere. According to a few reports, The Undertaker is not booked for Wrestlemania 35 either. This will be the first time in over 30 years neither The Undertaker OR John Cena will be on the card for Wrestlemania. With AEW getting the attention of several superstars on the roster, WWE is looking to showcase their current talent at the Show of Shows.

 

Speaking of:

Image result for wwe dean ambrose

News broke late Tuesday morning that Dean Ambrose WILL be leaving WWE after Wrestlemania 35 when his contract expires. Sources close to The Lunatic Fringe say he has been unhappy with the direction of his character in recent years and he “hates doing hokey shit”. Even out of character, many have called Ambrose a hard read backstage and no one can really tell what he’s thinking.

The Heel turn in October was clearly an effort to reboot his character. The Chronicle episode that covered his rehab and return was clearly an effort to let him be himself as well. Ambrose opted out negotiating a new contract a few months back and told Vince he’s done with WWE and his reasons are not motivated by money. That sounds pretty clear cut to me.

Ambrose was about to do a Shoot after his match with Seth Rollins last night on RAW but was interrupted by Nia Jax and Tamina. It sounded like the promo wasn’t planned and more importantly, Vince wanted to stop him from possibly breaking kayfabe or saying something that shouldn’t be said so publicly. I do think Vince will let Ambrose do a Shoot but last night wasn’t the time. I also think the news of his departure breaking now could be in reaction to what almost happened last night.

It’s pretty likely Ambrose will be written off TV before Wrestlemania 35. Based on the crowd’s reaction to Nia Jax and Ambrose staring each other down in the ring, they could be booked in a match sometime in the next two months. Lately, WWE’s been pretty good about giving fans what they want to see so…yeah.

…They may be married but I doubt Ambrose leaving the company will have any effect on his wife and RAW commentator Rene Young. Clearly she is aware and looking back, her restrained comments when Ambrose Turned makes a bit more sense. She likely knew by then he was planning to leave and didn’t want to say anything that would give that away on the air.

Ambrose has obviously done almost everything there is to do in WWE and had several title runs with several titles, he will always be known as a member of the Shield stable. I do think Vince has come to terms with his departure and would probably welcome him back if he decides he want to return in a few years.

 

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Rousey vs. Lynch at WM35 set and other updates