Wrestling fans love to speculate about where the business that they love is headed, and it’s nothing new for information to leak from wrestling insiders. What used to be a more careful and protected business of talents anonymously leaking news to The Wrestling Observer or management giving a nugget of information to the Apter magazines has blown into a wider spread enterprise. With the Internet buzzing and new wreslting podcasts dropping everyday, there are more people than ever trying to dig up stories and more outlets available to broadcast news.
Not all wrestling leaks wind up true, though. Whether they’re rooted in spurious backstage intelligence, the information offered up intended to mislead, or plans change, fans can’t trust everything they read. Of course, it’s not as though fans want for every rumor to turn out true either. While there are always dream matches and big signing alluded to, there are also those prospects of redundant storylines, misguided pushes, or a fan favorite winding up his or her time in the ring.
Now is a particularly intriguing time to watch the rumor mill. With SummerSlam in the rearview mirror, preliminary plans may well be taking shape for WrestleMania season. Moreover, the success of All In has reportedly put a number of indie talents squarely on WWE’s radar, and there are also a handful of all time legends whose names have shown up, hinting at prospective returns to the squared circle.
This article take a look at ten current backstage wrestling leaks we hope aren’t true, as well as ten that we hope do pan out.
20 Hope Isn’t True: Randy Orton Headed Back To The Main Event Picture
There’s no doubt that Randy Orton is on the short list of WWE’s most recognizable names still active today, and he is a skilled veteran who has taken good care of his body over the years.
Orton, however, is played out several times over a main event heel, and has never quite figured out how to click with fans when working face.
Orton hanging out in the upper mid card this year has seemed like a good fit for the most part, giving him a spot to work relatively fresh matchups and leave the world title scene open to fresh faces. However, Orton just had a high profile Hell in a Cell match against Jeff Hardy. Rumors abound that he’ll put Hardy out of action in kayfabe and that that will springboard him back into the WWE Championship picture.
19 Hope Is True: Shawn Michaels Is Getting Back In The Ring
Since Shawn Michaels interjected himself into the program between The Undertaker and Triple H building to the Super Show-Down, rumors have suggested HBK might get back into the ring himself. In particular, the suggestion is we might see him challenge The Deadman when WWE returns to Saudi Arabia this fall.
At this stage of their careers, Michaels vs. The Undertaker isn’t exactly a dream match. However, the latest leaks suggest that it may be one of up to five return matches for HBK, to also include matches with the likes of AJ Styles and Johnny Gargano. It remains to be seen if Michaels can go at a level to justify this comeback, but it’s hard to not get excited about some of these prospective dream matches.
18 Hope Isn’t True: NXT Vs. Main Roster Feud
NXT has gotten over hugely since the launch of the WWE Network. The booking is sound, the talent involved is great, and the TakeOver specials in particular have earned rave reviews from wrestling critics. In particular, the consensus among hardcore fans has been that TakeOvers are consistently better than the main roster PPVs they share weekends with.
There’s a natural story to be told about NXT’s hungry young lions wanting to prove their supremacy, and the main roster wanting to put them in their place. A feud between the two rosters, however, risks spoiling the magic of NXT being its own world, unspoiled by politics and having to appeal to a mainstream audience. Moreover the spirit of NXT is all about letting talents grow before they’re under the main roster microscope—rushing them into a main roster storyline could be entirely counterproductive.
17 Hope Is True: The Rock Is Coming Back
A variety of sources are reporting that The Rock has the itch to get back into a WWE ring. The Brahma Bull is not only an all time great WWE star, but has proven himself to take wrestling seriously when he does get back in the mix, and has shrewdly kept himself scarce enough that fans are eager to see him again in a WWE ring.
The Rock coming back—presumably in time for WrestleMania 35—sets up a number of prospective dream matches.
While squaring off with someone like Triple H or Kurt Angle could be a draw, the even more electric possibilities could see him in an intergenerational dream match against someone like Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins, or Braun Strowman.
16 Hope Isn’t True: WWE Is Grooming Baron Corbin For The Top
Baron Corbin is a big man with a legitimate athletic pedigree, and a few good looking moves in his arsenal. As such, it’s understandable why WWE management would take an interest in him. However, he has yet to prove himself as a complete performer in the ring, and his mic skills, while not terrible, are a far cry from the best of his generation.
Corbin makes sense as someone to keep on the payroll. Rumor has it, however, that his appointment to the role of Constable is intended to keep him in the limelight, and may be used to set him up for a match with fellow authority figure Kurt Angle, and perhaps a main event push from there. There are plenty of guys more deserving of that kind of road to the top.
15 Hope Is True: Daniel Bryan Has Re-Signed
One of the simmering real life sources of intrigue these past few months has been Daniel Bryan’s contract status, and him reportedly having reservations about signing with the company again. Rumors ranged from him wanting more time with his family, to him wanting to work with fewer restrictions he might with New Japan, Ring of Honor or other promotions.
While it would be intriguing to see Bryan mix it up with the young studs from other companies, he still has an unfinished rivalry with The Miz. Moreover, one off matches with AJ Styles, Andrade Almas, Shelton Benjamin, Jeff Hardy and more have suggested he’s still one of the very best workers in the world, and still has all manner of dream matches left in him in on wrestling’s biggest stage. Hopefully he'll remain on WWE television for years to come.
14 Hope Isn’t True: Rusev Is Leaving Aiden English Behind
Rusev has been the subject of a number of rumors over the summer, including that he might turn face, that he might win the WWE Championship, or that he might get a gimmick overhaul. One relatively consistent thread throughout these rumors is that he’s going to leave Aiden English in the dust.
The partnership between English and Rusev is that oddball one that, while not essential, is by and large productive for everyone involved.
English helped promote Rusev’s personality and was important to the Rusev Day gimmick. Meanwhile, without the association to Rusev, English would probably have no direction at all and be quick to get lost in the shuffle.
13 Hope Is True: Samoa Joe Is In Line For A WWE Championship Reign
When Samoa Joe debuted with NXT it was, in and of itself a surprise, and many fans thought he’d be relegated to a player-coach role in developmental. Joe has exceeded expectations at every level—an NXT Champion, a threat to Brock Lesnar’s Universal Championship reign, and most recently as a challenger to AJ Styles for the WWE Championship.
Joe has impressed on the mic and in the ring. Particularly given how long Styles’s reign has gone at this point, there’s reason to believe Joe may get the nod to unseat The Phenomenal One, reaching the peak accomplishment no one expected from his distinguished wrestling career.
12 Hope Isn’t True: Kane Is Retired From The Ring
Kane has appeared less and less on WWE television in recent years. When he feuded with Braun Strowman and competed for the WWE Championship last winter, many looked at it as a last hurrah, and the brief Team Hell No reunion with Daniel Bryan seemed wedged in in case Bryan didn’t sign a new contract, and to get one last feel-good storyline out of The Big Red Machine.
To be fair, Kane isn’t getting any younger and he's now running Knox County, each of which could justifiably signal the end of his wrestling career.
He’s still an iconic character and a unique physical presence. While he doesn’t really have a place in WWE main events at this point, we hopefully haven’t seen the very last of him on WWE TV altogether.
11 Hope Is True: A Big Push For Big E
Particularly after The New Day won a spot in this summer’s men’s Money in the Bank Ladder Match, the word was that Big E was in line for a big singles push, potentially even winning that match and parlaying the briefcase into a WWE Championship reign.
The potential for that particular push has passed, and New Day has the tag titles again after Erick Rowan’s injury forced the belts off The Bludgeon Brothers. Still, Big E’s size, strength, athleticism, and personality make him feel like an under-utilized. Hopefully we haven’t seen the last of him being considered as a singles force.
10 Hope Isn’t True: Bray Wyatt Gets A New Stable
Bray Wyatt has been floundering for over a year. His program with Finn Balor in the summer of 2017 felt aimless and Wyatt lost it decisively, after which he moved on to a decidedly lower card issue with Matt Hardy. His subsequent partnership with Hardy felt like less of a bright new direction than WWE having absolutely no idea what to do with him.
Rumors have swirled about a Wyatt Family reunion, Wyatt taking the reins of Sanity, or heading up a new faction. While Wyatt’s original work as a cult leader had buzz around it, the idea feels played out at this point. One has to ask if his gimmick has run its course, and if he’s only going to drag down anyone WWE would put under him at this point.
9 Hope Is True: A Horswewomen Vs. Horsewomen Program
Since the original Mae Young Classic, when Ronda Rousey and the Four Horsewomen of MMA had a confrontation with Charlotte Flair and the Four Horsewomen of NXT, there has been speculation about WWE booking a feud between the two sides. Now that not only Rousey and Shayna Baszler are signed, but also Jessamyn Duke and Marina Shafir, it looks like it could be more of a reality than ever.
The latest reports suggest a Horsewomen vs. Horsewomen feud for Survivor Series, which might lead to Rousey-Charlotte one on one at WrestleMania.
Given the talent and big personalities involved, it could be a major success for WWE, and particularly the women’s division.
8 Hope Isn’t True: The Bellas Are Back Full Time
The Bella Twins are important to WWE history. Not only were they among the top pushed women’s stars in their day and champions, but they were also key figures in contributing to the company’s blossoming reality television empire. Particularly via their marriages to John Cena and Daniel Bryan, they’ve been key to capturing the interest of more typical reality TV fans and wrestling enthusiasts alike.
However, by today’s standards and in their current ring shape, the Bellas simply cannot hang in WWE. It was harmless enough nostalgic fun to see them in the women’s Royal Rumble. Their surprise tag match on Raw recently flat out bad, though, and WWE simply doesn’t need them in a full time wrestling role.
7 Hope Is True: Big Show Will Be Back For An International Show
The Big Show has had a longer career than anyone would have anticipated, particularly for a man his size, and he’s a bona fide WWE legend. At this point, he’s played out enough as a featured star that no one is all that sad to not see him every week on Raw or SmackDown. He does, however, still have a place in WWE.
Show’s ideal place is being used selectively for key shows. The international stadium shows, like those set up for Saudi Arabia and Australia this year, are ideal for him as a recognizable face, a physical spectacle, and a guy who is still fit enough to legitimately go in the ring for isolated, big time matches.
6 Hope Isn’t True: Brock Lesnar Has More Matches Left Than We Think
When Brock Lesnar dropped the Universal Championship to Roman Reigns at SummerSlam, fans heaved a collective sigh of relief. Sure, some fans were happy to see the face prevail over the heel for a world title.
More so, though, fans were by and large tired of Lesnar as a part time champion, and not producing particularly great matches when he was around.
Lesnar will always remain an attraction based on his size, skills, and unique credibility. However, it seems best for all parties involved for him to remain scarce. Some rumors suggest Lesnar may not only be getting in the ring at Crown Jewel, but for more matches before WrestleMania, particularly if his MMA training doesn’t go well. If Lesnar doesn’t ultimately opt to fight Daniel Cormier, we may well see him back in a WWE ring again before the end of the year.
5 Hope Is True: Dean Ambrose Will Betray The Shield
The leak came out the better part of a year ago that WWE had intended for the 2017 Shield reunion to end with Dean Ambrose turning heel to seek revenge on Seth Rollins for having betrayed him before. The storyline made reasonable sense, Rollins and Ambrose have had good matches together, and the dynamic of Ambrose playing the heel would freshen things up between them.
Those plans got derailed when Ambrose went down to injury. Upon his return, though, WWE largely seemed to pick up where they left off with The Shield reuniting a week after he came back, and the threat still lingering of him eventually turning on his friends. From his crazed mannerisms to his work prior to WWE, all signs are he’s most natural as a heel, and it should be something special if he makes good on this turn.
4 Hope Isn’t True: Bayley Is Turning Heel
We expected Banks to return to the heel persona she had played so masterfully in NXT, while Bayley would be her perfect foil as the white meat babyface.
Two years have passed, and though Bayley and Banks heavily teased a feud throughout the first half of this year, it still hasn’t happened as of press time. Bayley appealed to turn heel on Banks at one point, in what was at least some movement for their storyline, but after a therapy session they came back together.
Hopefully WWE will give these two performers with amazing chemistry the chance at a proper feud. Hopefully, too, they’ll recognize the face-heel dynamics that worked in developmental have every reason to work on the main roster as well.
3 Hope Is True: Rey Mysterio To Return To WWE
Rey Mysterio has looked better than he has in years and his two appearances on WWE events this year, both at the Royal Rumble and the Greatest Royal Rumble proved Mysterio still has the pace to keep up with the young WWE roster. Reports have been swirling of an eventual full-time return for Mysterio and recently on Jim Ross's podcast, the Ross Report, Mysterio admitted he'd be open to a full-time return:
"I'm just waiting on them to say, 'Now,' " Mysterio told Ross. "If they say now, and the time is right, let's go."
It's very likely WWE will save a Mysterio return for Royal Rumble season, perhaps for Mysterio to build to a WrestleMania program.
2 Hope Isn’t True: Matt Hardy Is Done
Matt Hardy is a truly unique figure in wrestling to have not only survived for two decades in the business, but to have wholly reinvented himself over time and come back from not only career setbacks but personal demons.
No one wrestles forever. However, with rumors persisting that Hardy’s injuries are mounting and he wants more time with his family, it’s looking increasingly credible that might be done with WWE, if not wrestling on the whole.
There’s a certain poeticism to Hardy wrapping up his career back with WWE after years apart. However, given his creativity, unique connection to fans, and sound abilities, we hope that we haven’t seen the last of him just yet.
1 Hope It’s True: Paul Heyman Joins The Writing Team
Leaks from backstage indicate that Paul Heyman started working with the WWE writing team, at least on a temporary basis this summer, including crafting the brawl between Roman Reigns and Bobby Lashley on the go home episode of Raw before Extreme Rules. Furthermore, rumors suggest he contributed to at least some episodes over the weeks to follow.
At least as far as hardcore fans are concerned, Raw has been mostly awful since early summer. Heyman has one of the most proven track records as a creative mind in wrestling. Though he has a history of a rough working relationship with WWE’s creative team, here’s hoping that at this stage of his life and the company’s evolution, he could be allowed back in, and given the opportunity improve the product’s storytelling.