Buying or Selling Brock Lesnar, Roman Reigns Plans and Latest WWE Rumors
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The fallout from WrestleMania 39 has created a near-unmatchable, historic buzz on the rumor mill.
Much of it stems from the stunning results of the two-night event, starting right at the top with Cody Rhodes’ loss to unified champion Roman Reigns and his sudden pivot to a massive feud with Brock Lesnar on the Raw after ‘Mania.
Part of it, though, is the sudden announcement of WWE’s sale to Endeavor, which now hangs in the background of every decision around the company, big and small. Every development will now pass through this filter that wonders who, why and how on a bigger scale than in the past.
As such, now is a perfect time to step back and look at the most noteworthy recent buzz and whether fans should buy or sell.
Lesnar-Rhodes Was Always the Plan
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WWE shocked onlookers quite a bit over a 24-hour span with Rhodes losing to Reigns then getting the stuffing beat out of him by Lesnar to start a new feud.
But according to Fightful Select (h/t Wrestling Headlines’ Marc Middleton), this was always the plan, to the point Lesnar knew about the booking plans at least a month before ‘Mania.
This will smack like damage control by WWE amid speculation that Vince McMahon elbowed his way back into the creative room, bumping aside Triple H in the process.
But truthfully? This is a major buy. Rhodes returning to WWE, entering 30th in the Royal Rumble, winning that and being the late entry to the Bloodline saga to actually dethrone Reigns was way, way too easy.
A Rhodes loss extends the Bloodline story, lets Reigns hit 1,000 days, keeps The Rock on the table as an option and makes Rhodes’ story more engrossing as he overcomes Lesnar and other obstacles.
The careful storytelling leading to ‘Mania for years meant both outcomes were very appealing. WWE chose the better option, and it should show over the long term if that careful approach continues.
LA Knight nixed from ‘Mania
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LA Knight was a notable omission from ‘Mania proceedings during the two-night affair.
Given Knight’s popularity with fans, that led to some speculation that he had a segment outright nixed, potentially because of creative changes. And according to WRKD (h/t Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats), Knight had a quick segment with Bobby Lashley cut out.
But it’s an interesting thing to consider in the context of the show. Lashley still got his segment celebrating his Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal win from the SmackDown before ‘Mania.
As a whole, WrestleMania 39 was methodical in its structure. Events meant to help crowds take a breather between huge and draining matches such as Pat McAfee vs. The Miz and others were blatant. If a Superstar as over as Knight simply wasn’t on the card (and he wasn’t the only one, with Bray Wyatt and Alexa Bliss as notable omissions), then he likely just wasn’t in the plans.
Roman Reigns Not Scheduled for Backlash
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As for Reigns, word is the undisputed universal champion won’t appear on WWE’s next big event, Backlash on May 6.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), as of the Monday after Raw, there are no plans for Reigns at the show.
And while Reigns has both men’s top titles around his waist, why would he turn around and have a match that quickly? From a storyline perspective, there’s no new challenger for Reigns right now, especially as the narrative focus turns to his eventual breakup with The Usos as the Bloodline continues to collapse.
Part of that might just be Paul Heyman’s involvement (or simply Reigns’ mistrust) in Brock Lesnar attacking Cody Rhodes, setting up that feud. That feud could easily headline Backlash, as could the Bad Bunny and Rey Mysterio against Damian Priest and Dominik Mysterio feud WWE seems to be building for the Puerto Rico-based premium live event.
For now, there is more than enough on the slate as headline items, which means WWE does not have to rush the Reigns-centric storylines.
WWE Whiffed on Jay White
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AEW won the latest, greatest alleged bidding war for a high-profile free agent, with Jay White debuting on the April 5 edition of Dynamite.
Fans understandably speculated that White would garner a bunch of interest within WWE, to the point Fightful’s Will Washington (h/t Ortman) had tweeted that multiple people within the company expected him to sign there.
And according to Fightful Select (h/t Ortman), both Triple H and William Regal had interest in making the signing happen before the company “failed to communicate properly along the process.”
It’s hard to imagine WWE would have botched communication with White had there been serious interest on the company’s part. White always felt more like an AEW signing given his multiple appearances on television with the company over the last year and his strong ties with Superstars on the roster.
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