Maybe the Rock isn’t the mastermind that we thought (2024)

Maybe the Rock isn’t the mastermind that we thought (1) WWE

Welcome to the weekly Rumor Look Back, where we look at the rumors from six months ago and see which played out as originally stated. Let’s jump right to it.

December 30, 2023

  • Regarding the end of talks for Mercedes Moné to return to WWE, a WWE source told Fightful Select that their side “walked” after progress was no longer being made in the negotiations.
  • I bet Mercedes ended up getting more money with AEW.
  • The Wrestling Observer Newsletter says “those in WWE expect” Andrade will return to the promotion in 2024 after his AEW contract expires. However, people close to Andrade say he is willing to stay with AEW if Tony Khan makes a better offer than WWE.
  • That’s the case. Though he may not be as happy there as he was hoping he would be. (1/1)
  • The Observer also notes that Giulia’s contract with Stardom expires in March 2024, and she is “seen as likely to be coming” to WWE at some point after that. Right now, that’s the direction “she’s leaning toward.”
  • She did sign with WWE, but is also working with Rossy Ogawa’s Marigold promotion first. (1/1)
  • AEW President Tony Khan told the media this week that Britt Baker and PAC are on the injured list. Fightful heard that Baker was visiting backstage at this week’s Dynamite taping in Orlando.
  • Baker only just returned to AEW and we learned that her medical issue was rather scary. PAC has been back for a little bit longer.
  • Following up on the story of Hiroshi Tanahashi replacing Takami Ohbari as NJPW President, F4WOnline’s Dave Meltzer states that “Ohbari had heat with a number of people,” and top star Kazuchika Okada “was said to have wanted him out.”
  • That’s one drama I don’t follow as closely. But every company has their political issues.

January 1, 2024

  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer said he was told Mercedes Moné and WWE were “far apart on money” in their negotiations for a return. He also said there are still a lot of talks of her going to AEW.
  • She did go to AEW. I wonder what that contract was.
  • According to the Observer, Samoa Joe was always planned to win the AEW world championship at Worlds End, and the title change wasn’t a result of MJF’s injuries.
  • Samoa Joe had a good little run before putting over the current champion.
  • Speaking of that match, they also say Adam Cole isn’t expected to be ready to wrestle again by March’s Revolution PPV. He could be, but it’s not the expectation.
  • Adam Cole doesn’t seem close to being ready. (If he were, they probably wouldn’t have turned MJF heel, though either way, moving on from that story made sense.) (1/1)
  • The Wrestling Observer Newsletter indicates WWE has “expressed interest in working with Stardom.” They make clear, however, that “nothing is finalized.”
  • I think their partnership with Marigold has nixed anything with that.
  • Even though AEW expanded its pay-per-view schedule in the second half of 2023, The Observer indicates that Tony Khan is not planning to add a new PPV to the schedule before Revolution on March 3.
  • That’s the case. (1/1)
  • The WON says Dana Massie was offered a new deal by AEW, but she “informed the company in October that she was leaving.”
  • There seem to be some competing accounts to why/how Dana Massie left.
  • Former ECW star Chris Chetti was spotted backstage at AEW Worlds End, according to PW Insider.
  • Just visiting I assume.

January 2, 2024

  • No one PW Insider spoke to AEW believes MJF is “actually gone”. Instead, their sources think his removal from the company’s roster page is “just storyline playing off his ‘war of ’24’ stuff that he’s referenced forever.”
  • Yeah, he returned and finally put that angle to bed. (1/1)
  • Following Worlds End, Fightful Select reported that the expectation internally at AEW was that MJF would be taking time off after dropping the World title.
  • He took almost six months. (1/1)
  • Mercedes Moné and AEW are “close to agreeing on terms”, per Fightful Select. The site’s industry sources expect Moné to end up in AEW, but say she hasn’t signed yet.
  • They announced it in March.
  • That doesn’t mean she couldn’t show up before the paperwork is finalized, like some others have recently. And while he specified he wasn’t reporting it as he didn’t “know”, Bryan Alvarez said on the Bryan & Vinny & Lisa Show that he’ll be “very surprised” If Mercedes Moné doesn’t debut for AEW this Wednesday on Dynamite.
  • She did not debut that Wednesday on Dynamite. (0/1)
  • Regarding who might replace Kevin Dunn as the executive producer of WWE television, the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer was told not to presume anything. Some in the company think Triple H will want Mike Mansury back, but Meltzer believes Mansury is signed to a long-term deal with AEW.
  • They signed Lee Fitting, which was a fantastic hire.
  • According to David Bixenspan, it was expected that once Triple H was in charge pf WWE Michael Cole would “replace Dunn as head of television/executive producer” with someone else taking on Dunn’s role as “the line producer of the shows.” At one point Mansury was tapped for the latter job, but Bixenspan doesn’t know who’s in line for it now.
  • Fitting has more innovative camera work/angles than we’ve seen in WWE in many ages.
  • As Nick Khan mentioned in his leaked internal email about Dunn’s departure, he & Triple H held a talent meeting before last night’s Raw. PW Insider heard it was a “short, positive” one.
  • I wonder if any of the talent was actually broken up that Dunn left.
  • TNT has AEW Battle of the Belts IX on its schedule for Sat., Jan. 13 at 10pm Eastern, immediately following Collision.
  • Of all the AEW programming, Battle of the Belts has solidified itself as the most skippable. I suppose they just don’t care enough to make it seem more important. Maybe TNT is just happy for something to put in that spot.

January 3, 2024

  • According to Fightful Select, Naomi is expected to return to WWE, and possibly “sooner rather than later.”
  • She returned at the Royal Rumble. (1/1)
  • PW Insider notes that Charlotte Flair will be getting knee surgery later this week and is expected to be out until around October.
  • We’ll see when she returns.
  • Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio said WWE may have changed their policy on blood in matches considering how Becky Lynch bleeding was handled on Raw this week.
  • I’m not sure if we heard officially across the board, but it was certainly part of that . And Punk had some blood (though that one probably fake) after the Drew McIntyre attack.
  • Sticking with Meltzer, he mentioned MJF is still debating what is the best route to take in regards to his shoulder injury but surgery may be necessary.
  • He did not end up having surgery.
  • According to PW Insider, there are no issues with Dragon Lee’s visa, it’s just that he didn’t get it in time due to the holidays and that’s why he missed “New Year’s Evil.” He’s expected back soon, possibly as soon as SmackDown this week.
  • He wasn’t on that SmackDown. But he was on the Jan. 9 NXT. (1/2)
  • They also say X-Pac will be at the WWE Performance Center this week, though it’s unclear what he’ll be there for.
  • Maybe to do some guest coaching.

January 4, 2024

  • WWE sources told PW Insider that there’s “absolutely nothing” to internet rumors that Triple H’s big announcement on Peaco*ck later today will be a working agreement between WWE & TNA.
  • The announcement was a letdown, rehashing their earlier announcement of the Money in the Bank locale (which just went down last night). But there is a working agreement between those companies (1/1)
  • While discussing the Roman Reigns program The Rock teased on Raw, Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer said the reason Reigns started calling himself “The Head of the Table” and “The Tribal Chief” in the first place was to build to a planned WrestleMania 38 match with Rock.
  • I assume we’ll get that Rock program eventually. There were early theories that Rocky was the leading force behind Solo’s version of the Bloodline and that’s how we’d get to that match. However, he further we go, the more it feels like this is Solo making a power play on his own - that the Rock isn’t pulling the strings to take over the Bloodline. Of course, it could still go that way after the Solo aspect of this runs its course. Either way, the post Roman’s reign era of the Bloodline has been more interesting than it has any business being.
  • Per Meltzer, Rock turned down doing it at that show in Dallas to face Reigns at last year’s ‘Mania in Los Angeles, then had to cancel those plans in December of 2022. Meltzer now thinks the match will happen at WrestleMania 40, but hasn’t confirmed that.
  • I did not happen at 40, though it certainly was the plan at one point. (0/1)
  • That Rock segment on Raw “went about seven minutes over”, according to Fightful Select.
  • That’s a theme with the Rock. Doesn’t sound like considering the time of others is really his thing.
  • WWE is releasing new merchandise and collectibles this month to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Hulkamania (recognized as starting when Hulk Hogan beat The Iron Sheik to win his first WWF title at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 23, 1984). That from WrestleVotes, which adds that “an appearance by Hogan is not out of the question but also not planned as of now.”
  • There was no Hogan appearance.
  • Kamille is someone Haus of Wrestling’s sources say WWE is “super high” on. PW Insider was also told the long-reigning NWA Women’s champ is “is 100% on their radar”, with talk last month indicating she’d be assigned to NXT if signed.
  • She apparently signed with AEW, though we haven’t seen her or gotten official word.
  • Regarding Patrick Clark’s apology video from earlier this week, Insider heard the former Velveteen Dream has been addressing “his personal issues” since his 2022 arrest and is “working towards making amends to a lot of people in his life”. Sean Ross Sapp tweeted that Clark is looking to do interviews about the video, and is said to be “willing to answer any questions and isn’t expecting softball questions.”
  • He did a handful of interviews but it didn’t seem to open any doors to return in any major way.

January 5, 2024

  • Even though it looks like The Rock is coming back to WWE to work a match against Roman Reigns, BWE says WWE’s plan for Cody Rhodes is “still going.”
  • It was all rather muddled.
  • This has played into speculation that The Rock vs. Roman Reigns might actually be planned for February’s Elimination Chamber event in Australia, with Cody then challenging Roman at WrestleMania 40.
  • Rock in Australia was never the plan. (0/1)
  • Wrestling Observer Live’s Bryan Alvarez strongly pushed back on that rumor by saying The Rock “ain’t doing Australia. He’s doing ‘Mania.”
  • Thta’s accurate. (1/1)
  • Alvarez also mentioned that “a lot of people” in WWE are happy that Kevin Dunn is gone from the company, just like a lot of people were happy when Vince McMahon lost power.
  • They were a cohort so it would make sense.
  • Sean Ross Sapp reiterated that Mercedes Moné “is expected to go to AEW unless something drastic changes.”
  • That’s the case. (1/1)
  • PW Insider notes that Chris Jericho was backstage at AEW Dynamite this week even though he did not appear on TV.
  • I would think he’s there weekly. I know it’s part of his gimmick and all that, but I definitely think Jericho sees himself as a vital part of the show. And that’s not just his own segments.

January 6, 2024

  • WWE made it clear to Mercedes Moné in early discussions that they’d love to have her back, per PW Insider. A WWE source told Insider they’re confident Mercedes Moné will return to the company, with the caveat that nothing’s official until a deal is signed.
  • She did not return to the company. (0/1)
  • In response to that report, one of PW Insider’s AEW sources reached out to say they’re negotiating with Moné and told the site, “If you don’t think we are in the hunt, you are crazy.”
  • A true bidding war.
  • Insider also heard that Trinity is headed back to WWE, with a source telling them she’ll finish up with Impact/TNA at their Jan. 19-20 tapings in Orlando.
  • She did return to WWE. (1/1)
  • The Wrestling Observer Newsletter notes that MJF was told he could be out for “close to a year” if he has shoulder surgery. MJF wants to avoid that, so he is “hoping to have it heal through rehab rather than surgery.”
  • He wasn’t out a year, given he didn’t have the surgery.
  • The Observer says the real reason why WWE canceled the NXT championship match at New Year’s Evil is because Ilja Dragunov “was worn down and the feeling was [he] needed a little bit of a break so they held the match off.”
  • It’s uncommon to hear about things like this but overall, that’s a good thing.
  • Per WON, WWE is “looking at Japanese allies going forward” and “looking for a women’s group ally as well.” There has also “been talk internally of them trying to make another go with New Japan, now that Hiroshi Tanahashi is president.”
  • They ended up with Rossy’s Marigold. There hasn’t been much, but they let Giulia work there before starting with them, and Iyo Sky will work a match there.

This week: 12/17 - 71%

December 2023: 30/50 - 60%

2023: 517/838 - 62%

Overall: 5,143/8,936 - 57.6%

Have a great week, everyone!

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