WWE is in an interesting place following WrestleMania 33. We have already witnessed numerous changes. The Undertaker and Goldberg have unofficially retired. Brock Lesnar is the Universal Champion despite not appearing since the Raw after WrestleMania. Randy Orton is the WWE Champion with little momentum. Many stars have changed brands with the Superstar Shakeup. Charlotte Flair and Alexa Bliss switching brands have truly changed the landscape of both Women’s Divisions. New Day is getting ready to join the SmackDown roster. Kurt Angle has returned as the General Manager of Raw. Basically, things are changing quickly with WWE trying to keep a relevant product following WrestleMania season.
The recent months have provided even more news about the backstage aspect of the state of WWE. Plans for the future, character changes, new talent coming in, other talent leaving and the company changing their opinions on wrestlers all provide backstage scoops that have been leaked. We'll take a look at many of the most important and relevant stories that are going on in the backstage aspect of the company. The rest of the year should be interesting given the big names involved here. These are fifteen recent backstage news stories to have recently leaked.
15 WWE Turned Down Batista's Return Idea
Batista is achieving great fame in Hollywood as a movie star. Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Vol. 2 is a smash hit making him even more relevant than usual. Batista recently revealed on Chris Jericho’s Talk is Jericho podcast that he has been pitching an idea to return to WWE. The suggestion of Batista would see him have a feud with Triple H to serve as his retirement match.
14 The Undertaker Wanted To Lose To Roman Reigns
Many wrestling fans are still livid that The Undertaker’s alleged final match in WWE was a loss at the hands of Roman Reigns. It was only the second ever WrestleMania loss for The Undertaker and the most hated wrestler managed to defeat him. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter’s Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez discussed the likelihood of this being an Undertaker decision.
13 Alexa Bliss Passes Sasha Banks & Bayley In Pecking Order
A lot can change in a year. Sasha Banks was right there with Charlotte Flair as the top women’s wrestlers in WWE with Bayley viewed as the next breakout star in NXT. No one thought Alexa Bliss was near the level of the “Four Horsewomen” and she never even had her own singles match on one of the NXT:TakeOver specials.
12 Dean Ambrose Viewed As Lazy
One of the harshest news stories to break revolves around WWE viewing Dean Ambrose as growing “lazy” and “complacent” as a wrestler. Ambrose certainly has taken a dramatic fall from being the WWE World Champion last summer to not even making the main card of WrestleMania 33. Part of the reason for Ambrose’s stock falling is WWE viewing him as no longer caring as much at getting better.
11 Chris Jericho Returning Sooner Than Expected
Chris Jericho had one of the best years of his legendary career in 2016. The heel work of Jericho as Kevin Owens’ best friend carried Raw for many months. Many expected the show to fall apart following the injury to Finn Balor ruining short term plans. Jericho stepped up and was once again a main event act working with Owens, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns to carry the brand.
10 More ROH & TNA Stars Coming To WWE
WWE is still aggressively looking to sign all of the top stars on the free agent market. There are a few names that are considered locks to be joining the company following the end of their time in ROH and TNA. On the TNA side, Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis are both expected to appear in the near future. The news reports state Maria finishing her college semester is the reason for the wait. Crazzy Steve is another former TNA star likely coming to NXT.
9 Roman Reigns To Become IC Champion
The recent injury to Braun Strowman has left Roman Reigns without a feud going into the summer. Reports have suggested that Reigns was to end his story with Strowman this month and move into a new angle with The Miz heading into Summerslam. The plan of WWE is to have Miz defeat Dean Ambrose for the Intercontinental Championship before dropping it to Reigns.
8 Kevin Owens Versus Shinsuke Nakamura Planned For Summer
Another title program being planned by WWE for the next few months is apparently Shinsuke Nakamura against Kevin Owens. Nakamura’s introduction on the main roster is a short feud with Dolph Ziggler. WWE has accidentally showed their hand for the summer by having Nakamura and Owens advertised to face each other on all summer live events.
7 WWE Brings Back Jim Ross
A shocking surprise to come in recent months was WWE signing legendary announcer Jim Ross to a contract. Ross is still doing his Ross Report podcast and currently calling New Japan’s United States TV show, but WWE will have him do light work on some of their side projects. The team of JR and Nigel McGuinness are expected to call the WWE United Kingdom shows for the WWE Network.
6 WWE Paying Mauro Ranallo To Stay Quiet About JBL
One commentator that is departing from WWE is Mauro Ranallo. The highly accomplished broadcaster was signed to call SmackDown Live until drama unfolded with fellow announcer JBL. Ranallo disappeared from television with the news being reported that his mental illness issues got worse thanks to bullying of JBL. The story caught on with major networks and online outlets reporting the history of JBL bullying other co-workers with no punishment.
5 Baron Corbin Being Groomed For WWE Championship
Many fans were surprised when it was revealed that Jinder Mahal was the new top contender to challenge Randy Orton for the WWE Championship instead of Baron Corbin. WWE didn’t want to waste a Corbin title shot on a smaller show like Backlash and apparently have something bigger planned down the line. Wrestling insider Dave Meltzer stated that WWE actually views Corbin as a bigger future star than Braun Strowman and we all see how hard the latter is being pushed.
4 John Cena Returning In July
A holiday falling on a Tuesday may lead to John Cena having an elaborate return on SmackDown Live. Independence Day will be on a Tuesday and Cena returning to show his patriotism could be the draw they use to try to bring in extra viewers. Ratings have gone down following WrestleMania 33 with the loss of Cena taking off with his part-time schedule still giving him months at a time off.
3 WWE Won't Bring Back Paige
Paige is still rehabbing her neck injury following surgery and is expecting to return to WWE when cleared. WWE however doesn’t see the situation the same. The recent news reports following the leak of Paige’s intercourse tape and pictures stated that WWE has no plans to bring her back on television any time soon. They're currently looking to let her contract expire without negotiating a new deal.
2 Brock Lesnar Against Roman Reigns At WrestleMania 34
The long term plan for WrestleMania 34 has already been set backstage by Vince McMahon. Brock Lesnar winning the Universal Championship despite being a part-time wrestler was done all to benefit Roman Reigns in a year. McMahon wants Reigns to be the one to end a year-long reign by Reigns on the biggest stage in New Orleans.
1 The Undertaker: 2018 Hall of Fame
Another plan already being finalized for WrestleMania 34 weekend is The Undertaker being inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Undertaker likely retiring after losing to Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 33 means WWE wants to honor him as soon as possible. Most of the wrestling legends of the 90s have been honored at the Hall of Fame but Undertaker was one of the final names still active.
The fact that New Orleans is home of Undertaker’s streak ending may make it more fitting that he breaks character for the first time to give his speech. Vince McMahon being the man to induct Undertaker is a safe bet given how close they are. There is no bigger name left to induct into the WWE Hall of Fame than Undertaker and all reports suggest it will happen next year.
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