Welcome to this week’s edition of WWE/wrestling rumors we hope are true and those we hope aren’t. We’re weeks away from WrestleMania 38, and a lot has been happening in the world of wrestling.
This week’s rumors include plans to push a young superstar, backstage details on a bizarre change on SmackDown, how AJ Styles was convinced to sign a new contract, potentially tragic news on Big E, plans for title reigns, and more.
Here are the biggest rumors of the past week:
#4. Hope is true: A debuting WWE superstar to be pushed as the next Brock Lesnar?
Brock Lesnar in the opening segment of SmackDown this past week
Brock Lesnar has been one of the biggest WWE Superstars since 2000 and is undoubtedly one of the two biggest names active in this generation. He is all set for his fourth WrestleMania main event as he faces Roman Reigns in a “Champion vs Champion”, “Title for Title”, winner take all match.
There aren’t many superstars in WWE who have the legitimate athletic credentials of Brock Lesnar. One superstar who has had incredible accomplishments in the world of amateur wrestling is Gable Steveson. The soon-to-debut Olympic Gold Medalist is all set to get fast-tracked to the main roster.
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that there are plans to make Steveson “another Brock Lesnar”:
“Gable Steveson will also be fast-tracked to the main roster. Meltzer said “the idea is for him to be another Brock Lesnar.” said Meltzer
We hope this is true, but it’s going to take a lot to reach Lesnar’s level. Brock Lesnar has proven to be a generational talent who excels in every single aspect as a performer – something that few superstars in wrestling can claim.
It will be interesting to see how Steveson is handled, and how he manages his character work. The comparisons to Kurt Angle and Brock Lesnar will only add more pressure to him.
#3. Hope isn’t true: Backstage details on Pete Dunne’s bizarre name change
“Butch” being held back by Sheamus and Ridge Holland
A single feud on SmackDown this past week produced a tragic moment as well as a bizarre one. Big E’s injury turned out to be a legitimate freak accident and his future seems uncertain, but more on that later.
The bizarre incident took place when veteran Pete Dunne debuted with a new name “Butch”, aligning himself with Sheamus and Ridge Holland. Fans who followed Dunne knew that it was a bad idea, and that seems to be the consensus among people in the wrestling world.
According to Fightful, something very dumb was planned on SmackDown and more details were provided.
Sportskeeda’s Matthew Serocki wrote:
“Fightful reported that ‘something very dumb’ was happening on tonight’s episode of Smackdown. They also claimed that many people knew that the humorous segment would involve a name change, involving a prominent star known by another name.”
We hope this isn’t true, but given how things played out, it most definitely is.
#3. Hope is true: More details on WWE securing AJ Styles’ contract renewal
AJ Styles has signed another contract in 2022
When AJ Styles re-signed with WWE in 2019, he stated that it would be his last. Interest from AEW meant that he was instantly handed a better deal, one that he couldn’t refuse.
However, AJ Styles has always stated that he wants WWE to be his final destination, and if his contract expires in 2025, he will spend nine years with the company – far longer than anybody would have expected.
His accomplishments speak for themselves, and every WrestleMania has been a prominent one for him. Last year, he became a Grand Slam Champion, and this year, he will face Edge in a dream match.
Fightful provided more details about WWE wanting to re-sign AJ Styles and how they managed to do it this time around:
“WWE expected Styles to have plenty of suitors, and we’re told that as in the case with some other big names in the company, wanted to get Styles’ deal extended before he could even hit free agency to talk to anyone else. Styles is said to be very happy in the company, and has mentioned numerous times that he’d like to work for WWE after his wrestling career,” stated the report.
We hope this is true because AJ Styles is in the right place, and there is a mutual agreement between him and the company. All in all, his run has worked out far better than anybody would have expected.
#2. Hope isn’t true: A possibly tragic update on Big E’s injury
Big E suffered a horrific injury on SmackDown
What happened to Big E was nothing short of tragic. Putting aside the bad booking that he had to deal with during his world title run, there is now genuine concern over what could happen to him.
On the latest episode of SmackDown, Ridge Holland gave a belly-to-belly suplex that led to Big E breaking his neck. While missing WrestleMania 38 is now all but guaranteed, there could be something more to be concerned about
WWE physician Dr. David Cho revealed that the C1 fracture that Big E suffered doesn’t heal completely and it could signal the end of his wrestling career:
“The C1 fracture is most dangerous as the top cervical vertebrae is a ring and is commonly associated with immediate death or complete paralysis. Thankfully the fracture was not displaced and he will not need surgery. However, this type of fracture often heals incompletely and it may mean the end of his wrestling career.”
We hope that this isn’t true because neck injuries leading to retirement have been a story that we’ve seen many times throughout the years. We hope that Big E gets all the time he needs to recover and that there is no rush for him to return.
#2. Hope is true: Plans for Dolph Ziggler as the NXT Champion
Dolph Ziggler shocked the wrestling world by winning the NXT Championship
Dolph Ziggler winning the NXT Championship came as a surprise. While he wasn’t made to look strong in the build-up to the match, it resulted in him pinning Tommaso Ciampa in a Triple Threat match to become the new NXT Champion.
It was a shock because Bron Breakker has been pushed as the face of NXT 2.0 and it felt like an abrupt end to his reign. However, Ziggler’s win might be tailor-made for another title win for Breakker.
On a recent edition of the Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer revealed that the plan for Dolph Ziggler’s NXT title run is set to culminate with another Bron Breakker title win on a big show:
”Yeah but it’s only temporary, because I’ve seen people go ‘Oh my god they put the Title on a 41-year-old guy in developmental. It’s just to set up Bron Breakker winning the title on a big show,” Meltzer said. (H/T RingsideNews)
We hope this is true because Breakker as the face of NXT is far better than giving Dolph Ziggler a long run. With that said, it’s good to see Ziggler getting a rejuvenation on another brand.
#1. Hope isn’t true: Uncertainty on Cody Rhodes’ situation with WWE
So what do you guys want to talk about?
TOMORROW AT 9/8c on @TBSNetwork is a brand new #GoBigShow on @TBSNetwork
9:55 AM · Feb 23, 2022
It seemed as though Cody Rhodes’ AEW departure would lead to a shocking return to WWE. All rumors signaled that Rhodes was planning to return to the place where his career started.
It has been six years since Cody Rhodes has wrestled in the sports entertainment juggernaut, but his contract situation seems to be confusing a lot of people. While things within WWE have reportedly been laid out for Rhodes’ return, there still remains a level of uncertainty.
Dave Meltzer revealed on the latest episode of WOR that his status is far from secure.
“His status has changed, in theory,” Dave Meltzer said. “He was on the books in WWE. They had creative laid out for him. They still thought on Friday that they had creative laid out for him. Now, it’s very uncertain. They don’t know what’s going on with Cody Rhodes. They’re not sure. They (WWE) thought they had him. It’s not like it’s dead, it’s not like they think they don’t have him, but they’re not sure.”
We hope this isn’t true because it’s a lot of uncertainty around a crucial time. This could, of course, be a negotiation tactic by Cody Rhodes to get a better deal.
#1. Hope is true: WWE’s possible plans for Seth Rollins at WrestleMania 38
Could you IMAGINE #WrestleMania without these two?!
@FightOwensFight @WWERollins #WWERaw
6:38 AM · Mar 8, 2022
Seth Rollins is still not on the WrestleMania 38 card. Every year, he is in a crucial match at the grandest stage of them all, but there seems to be nothing in place for him. While Kevin Owens is confirmed to be hosting the KO Show with ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin, nothing is set in stone for 4-time world champion Seth Rollins.
On the latest edition of WON, Dave Meltzer claimed that the creative plan in place is to set up the return of Cody Rhodes for a match against Seth Rollins at WrestleMania:
“WWE had its creative set up for a secret debut of Rhodes imminently, as in the next week or so, regarding how he was debuting and a match that has been confirmed would be with Seth Rollins at WrestleMania,” Meltzer noted.
We hope this is true because he is the perfect superstar to set up Cody Rhodes’ return, even if he’s on the losing end at WrestleMania 38.