Buying or Selling John Cena vs. Roman Reigns, Ricky Starks to WWE and Latest Rumors
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With names like CM Punk, Roman Reigns and John Cena making waves for one reason or another, the pro wrestling rumor mill has arguably never been hotter.
On the AEW side, buzz continues to swell about potential free-agent signings and what might happen when certain contracts expire in the future.
The WWE side is more robust thanks to endless Punk speculation. Plus, certain developments would seem to point to Reigns and Cena getting involved at a major event before the latter’s return comes to a close.
Sprinkle in possible creative plans for other big names and it’s a lot to keep up with, so here’s a look at the must-know rumors and whether to bull or sell on those.
Ricky Starks to WWE?
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Fans might just see some free-agent fireworks before the end of the year.
Fresh on the heels of Edge joining AEW, it sounds like Ricky Starks could go the other direction.
According to Wrestling Observer Radio’s Dave Meltzer (h/t Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats), some big names have their contracts with AEW expire by the end of the year and that WWE will have interest signing “key ones” such as Starks.
That’s a no-brainer. Fresh off beating Wheeler Yuta at WrestleDream, Starks remains one of those guys who feels headed to the moon—something that might get amplified if he’s in an even bigger promotion.
Tack on his well-known friendship with Cody Rhodes too and it feels like we know the when, with if never really part of the debate.
WWE Building Cena vs. Reigns Again?
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Are fans about to get another butting of heads between Cena and Reigns, this time at stage like Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia?
That’s the vibe given off by Meltzer (h/t Wrestling Headlines’ Andrew Ravens) recently when discussing the run-up to the Fastlane PPV.
There, Cena will team with LA Knight against Solo Sikoa and Jimmy Uso in a mini-Bloodline feud. Then, he’ll pop up on NXT to support Carmelo Hayes against Bronn Breakker, with some Bloodline involvement there for good measure, too.
Still, this one feels like a sell. It wasn’t all that long ago fans got a Reigns-Cena matchup and WWE might be more wanting to throw a bone to Knight fans by giving him a title shot. Plus, will we really see a rehash instead of everyone using Cena’s brief legend rub during this return to put over someone like Sikoa in solo action?
Getting Cena vs. Reigns again isn’t a terrible idea, but it might be served at a bigger event on the schedule, too.
CM Punk and WWE in Talks About Reunion?
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The clock keeps ticking on CM Punk going back to WWE.
An inevitable-feeling reunion has yet to happen, yet pro wrestling fans know all too well that these things are a matter of time.
But it’s in the works, according to Meltzer (h/t Wrestle Talk’s Dave Adamson), who says that talks are underway. Meltzer also said the WWE side won’t comment and that the Punk side has said he has plans to return.
Maybe this means something gets done before Survivor Series (November 25) in Chicago. Maybe not. But it’s cliche to say time heals all wounds for a reason, so the messiness of Punk’s departure with WWE years ago and how he left AEW more recently is irrelevant—there is money to be made and new decision-makers in the mix after WWE’s sale to Endeavor.
More importantly, there is pro-wrestling history to be made for fans, a full-circle moment once thought impossible. This latest update just moves the needle closer for fans who can feel free to start getting giddy about the idea again.
Drew McIntyre-Matt Riddle Scrapped Plans
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Before Matt Riddle was fired from WWE, it appeared fans were going to get his teaming with Drew McIntyre to interesting results.
And according to WrestleVotes (h/t Ortman), those results were going to be super wacky—to the point WWE had merchandise featuring the name “McRiddle,” of all things.
It has to be a sell, right? Things were goofy with Riddle often, including the stint with Randy Orton. But McIntyre just feels different as this super-serious character who didn’t need that sort of change of pace. Given contract speculation around McIntyre that pointed to creative differences in the first place, it’s hard to imagine what he sought out was a comedy-based role.
Besides that, speculation seemed to point to Orton returning soon anyway before Riddle left the company, so it seems more logical WWE would have went back to the fan-favorite pairing while McIntyre deals with the reality of this sudden Jey Uso babyface run.
Undertaker on NXT?
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One could say WWE is going all in on counterprogramming AEW next week, with advertised appearances for John Cena, Cody Rhodes and Asuka.
So why not add The Undertaker to the mix?
Only in pro wrestling, right? According to PWInsider.com’s Mike Johnson, Undertaker will be at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida for next Tuesday’s show, though it’s unknown if he will actually appear on the broadcast.
Let’s just buy it. WWE has been throwing more main-event stars like Becky Lynch into the NXT mix lately, anyway. It just so happens that AEW Dynamite airs next Tuesday as opposed to the normal Wednesday slot due to the MLB playoffs, so stacking the card only makes sense—especially while AEW trots out WWE Hall of Famer Adam “Edge” Copeland for the second time.
At this point, the rumor making the rounds will boom the ratings anyway. So if the Deadman’s in the building, the Deadman will get on television, even if it’s a simple backstage segment. Mission accomplished either way.