WWE Rumor Review: Backstage details on major Roman Reigns feud, Hall of Famer released, plans for Randy Orton

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Welcome to the latest edition of Sportskeeda Wrestling’s WWE Rumor Review, where we look at a few big rumors from months back with the view of how things played out. This week, the likes of Roman Reigns and Randy Orton are featured.

The Tribal Chief was deep in his rivalry with John Cena in mid-August while Randy Orton was on his way back from an absence. We also have notes on a couple of former WWE stars, including Karrion Kross, who had a difficult time on RAW.

Speaking of issues regarding NXT and its stars, the brand made some massive changes over the summer. There were a few reports about what Vince McMahon wants from it.

So, without further ado, let’s get to this week’s Rumor Review.

#5. WWE’s plan for Randy Orton at SummerSlam

 

Randy Orton was absent from RAW for nearly two months in 2021, and it seemed like he would miss SummerSlam. WWE reportedly maintained its plans for The Viper at the event before his eventual return on the August 9th episode of the red brand.

Per the Wrestling Observer, Orton and Riddle were always set to challenge AJ Styles and Omos for the RAW Tag Team Championships at SummerSlam. The match was put in doubt when the 14-time world champion’s return was seemingly delayed.

Of course, Randy Orton was back in time and won the RAW Tag Team titles with Riddle at the August event. RK-Bro is still going to this day and are the current Tag Team Champions, having lost the belts once in between.

#4. Rumor on the weird booking of Karrion Kross

Karrion Kross did not have a good run on WWE’s main roster, losing a few matches immediately upon his NXT call-up. Defeats to Jeff Hardy and Keith Lee were rumored to be followed up with Scarlett’s debut.

Andrew Zarian reported on the Mat Men Pro Wrestling Podcast that Kross was supposed to endure a losing streak before his now-wife would appear and unleash the “gladiator” in him. Unfortunately, the former NXT Champion went in a different direction.

He changed his look, sporting crossed suspenders and a helmet. Karrion Kross won a few quick matches before he and Scarlett were released in November. The latter did not even show up on RAW once.

#3. Ric Flair’s WWE release

The start of August saw Ric Flair request his release from WWE, with Wrestling Inc. and Fightful jointly reporting that The Nature Boy was no longer under contract with the company.

Flair confirmed this shortly after the rumor, stating that he wasn’t upset with the company. The two-time WWE Hall of Famer’s last appearance came opposite his daughter, Charlotte, in a budding angle between her and Lacey Evans before the latter’s real-life pregnancy ended it.

Ric Flair has since appeared on Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide and the NWA but is yet to return to WWE.

#2. Vince McMahon’s vision for NXT

WWE released a few NXT stars at the start of August last year, with rumors stating that Vince McMahon, Bruce Prichard, and John Laurinaitis picked the names. Dave Meltzer further reported potential changes to the brand on Wrestling Observer Radio.

Meltzer claimed the general feeling was that many wrestlers in NXT were “too small and too old,” forming the basis of what McMahon wanted out of the developmental brand. A month later, NXT 2.0 was born.

Since then, younger stars have shone in the spotlight, with the likes of Bron Breakker, Carmelo Hayes, and Cora Jade around the top of the card. So, it seems like this rumor did ring true, at least to a certain extent.

#1. Note on the Roman Reigns-John Cena SummerSlam feud

John Cena’s surprise return at the end of Money in the Bank 2021 sparked a summer rivalry between he and Roman Reigns. The two headlined SummerSlam in a blockbuster Universal Championship match, but there were some rumored issues.

According to WrestleVotes, some within WWE felt the initial build to the match was lackluster. It became a key objective to amp up the story between Reigns and Cena with two weeks to go. That is exactly what happened.

The two megastars engaged in promo battles on the final two SmackDowns before SummerSlam, spicing things up. Roman Reigns and John Cena traded insults about Nikki Bella and Dean Ambrose (AKA Jon Moxley), among other things.

As a result, this rumor can be classed as accurate.


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