3 Wrestling rumors we hope are true and 3 we hope aren’t: 2 Young stars dubbed as “Future WWE Champions”, Disappointing long-term feud for Roman Reigns revealed?
The WWE Draft is officially over, and the landscape and direction of RAW and SmackDown will change from October 22nd until the next draft. Welcome to this week’s edition of WWE/wrestling rumors we hope are true and those we hope aren’t.
This week’s edition features big backstage news, a return to wrestling after 16 months, a legend changing characters, a canceled break-up in the Draft, other plans that changed at the last minute, and much more.
#3. Hope is true: 2 young stars viewed as future WWE Champions backstage?
With WWE’s apparent change in policy over the kind of talent, they plan to sign and push in the future, the days of the old guard getting top spots are quickly going away. NXT 2.0 marked a big shift in the presentation of the brand, which has also reportedly gone back to developmental status.
Two young and promising stars have been called up to the main roster as a part of the Draft 2021. On RAW, there’s 24-year-old Austin Theory, who made his return to the Red brand after over a year away.
ALL DAY🚀 pic.twitter.com/vOCdnvlJk4
— Austin White (@austintheory1) October 2, 2021
On SmackDown, the promising 33-year-old Ridge Holland will soon make his debut. According to Dave Meltzer on the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (WON), the company has high hopes for Holland, as well as Theory, and they’re reportedly viewed as future World Champions:
“The company does have high hopes for Holland, who some in the company have tabbed as a future WWE champion, as well as Theory, who is young and has a good look. I don’t see it in Holland at this point, as he came across as a generic looking guy with generic moves who has a powerful looking body and is a legit athlete,” revealed Meltzer.
We hope this is true because both men have a lot of potential, and it’ll be interesting to see how WWE handles them. We imagine that the 6’1 former rugby player Ridge Holland will have a much faster rise than Austin Theory.
It’s going to be a long time before anybody can truly determine that Theory is going to be primed for the main event scene. However, he’s young, years away from his prime, has a good look, and great overall ability.
#3. Hope isn’t true: WWE’s plans for Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar
— 𝑴𝒖𝒔𝒌𝒂𝒏 (@Muskan_Reigns) October 8, 2021
WWE has big plans for the Roman Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar feud. Reigns and Lesnar are entering their third feud against each other in the last six years, but this time, the dynamic is different.
All of their feuds have either involved the WWE title or the Universal title, and in 2021, it’s The Beast Incarnate who is the babyface chasing the title. With Paul Heyman by The Tribal Chief’s side, the feud has become more complicated.
Since Brock Lesnar’s return to the company was reportedly booked as a response to CM Punk’s AEW debut, his first match back may be happening sooner than what WWE would have hoped. The two are set to face off for the Universal Championship in the main event of Crown Jewel 2021, but that’s not going to be the end of it.
According to Dave Meltzer of WON, the plan is to extend the Reigns vs. Lesnar feud:
“Right now the plan is to get a lot more time out of Lesnar vs. Reigns than just the Saudi Arabia show, and from the rosters, they need to do that. McIntyre is there, but they also have to elevate other people.” stated Meltzer.
— Horeyah Ahmed (@Horeya_Ahmed_88) October 8, 2021
We hope this isn’t true because the feud has been dragged on long enough before. While the reversed heel-face dynamic might make it work, it’s a waste of a few months for Roman Reigns during the best run
#2. Hope is true: Jeff Hard to finally have a character change in WWE?
— #BrotherNero DELETED (@JEFFHARDYBRAND) July 19, 2021
Jeff Hardy is going back to SmackDown following the 2021 WWE Draft. While Hardy is well past his prime, he has still been utilized far more by the company than his brother Matt Hardy, who eventually jumped ship to AEW.
For The Charismatic Enigma, things are about to change. Following another failed attempt at Damian Priest and the United States Championship, Jeff Hardy admitted that a change is needed.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) April 25, 2014
He teased a character change on SmackDown, and according to Cageside Seats, the WWE legend could be debuting his Willow gimmick in Vince McMahon’s promotion for the first time.
“Based on Jeff Hardy’s promo on Monday’s Raw and an interview with the NC Culture State podcast where he talked about the character, there’s a lot of speculation Hardy could use his Willow gimmick on SmackDown,” stated the report.
We hope this is true because it would be good to see Hardy bring his former IMPACT Wrestling gimmick over to WWE. Using “No More Words” for the first time in over a decade was a welcome first step. This is a good second one.
#2. Hope isn’t true: WWE’s “cliffhanger” plan for the Draft canceled
How it started How it’s going pic.twitter.com/fjKGbbO0q3
— Austin #HailKingWoods – Future King of The Ring (@AustinCreedWins) September 14, 2021
The WWE Draft is officially over, and it’s no surprise that Roman Reigns stayed on SmackDown, while Big E was the second overall pick – moving to RAW. The New Day member concluded his feud with Bobby Lashley on the Red brand, and Drew McIntyre was presented as his next opponent.
Although McIntyre was drafted to SmackDown, the Draft only takes effect post-Crown Jewel later this month, meaning that the company still had time to book a match between Big E and Drew McIntyre for Crown Jewel.
According to PWInsider, WWE reportedly had a “cliffhanger” plan to put Lashley in the first round of the Draft to fuel the anticipation of where Big E would be placed. However, that was canceled:
“The original plan for this past Friday’s Draft was that the #1 Draft Pick for Raw was to have been Bobby Lashley with the idea that viewers would have to see where Big E, the WWE Champion, would land on Monday, especially after the remainder of New Day was drafted to Smackdown. That cliffhanger idea was dropped over the course of the day this past Friday with Big E replacing Lashley as Raw’s top draft pick. Lashley was instead drafted on Raw,” stated the report.
Here are the Round 1 picks from today’s #WWEDraft:
— WWE India (@WWEIndia) October 2, 2021
We hope this isn’t true because it would have been a unique way to handle the Draft. With that said, we can understand the logic behind wanting to put Big E immediately after Roman Reigns, especially since he’s the reigning WWE Champion. But, this would have been a bolder move to make.
#1. Hope is true: WWE canceled a major break-up in the Draft
— 𝕂𝕚𝕟𝕘 𝕋𝕖𝕫 (@MontezFordWWE) October 5, 2021
It seems as though tag teams being split/broken up in the WWE Draft could become an annual tradition. It’s not a new concept. Nearly two decades ago, The Dudley Boyz were split via the Draft, but the decision turned out to be a bad one.
What wasn’t a bad decision, however, was the company’s call to split The New Day in the Draft. It essentially happened the second year in a row, but it also means that the faction has never had a heel turn happen within themselves, and no chair shots to the back took place.
— WWE on BT Sport (@btsportwwe) October 2, 2021
This year in the Draft, Mace and T-BAR, formerly of RETRIBUTION, were split up. According to PWInsider, the original plan was to split up Angelo Dawkins and Montez Ford of The Street Profits:
“There was also serious consideration put into breaking up The Street Profits with the idea of Montez Ford moving to RAW with Bianca Belair and Angelo Dawkins remaining on Smackdown. That talk lessened over the course of last week and instead, T-Bar and Mace ended up split as a team as of last Friday’s Smackdown,” stated the report.
We hope this is true because Dawkins and Ford have a lot of mileage as a top tag team. They’re one of the centerpieces of the division, and it would be far too early to make them go their own way.
#1. Hope isn’t true: Roman Reigns’ immediate opponent post-Brock Lesnar
— Roman Reigns (@WWERomanReigns) September 27, 2021
Roman Reigns looks to be in a position to continue dominating WWE for a while to come. As long as he is the reigning Universal Champion, there has been no denying him main events, minus a few rare occasions.
Brock Lesnar is the next opponent for Reigns, and following that, he will likely face the WWE Champion at Survivor Series. With a Roman Reigns vs. Big E clash seemingly inevitable, Drew McIntyre could be next in line for the Universal Championship, according to a report from WON:
“McIntyre was moved over since Roman Reigns desperately needs a new opponent, and on paper right now there is essentially nobody else for him. Plus, McIntyre goes over with multiple losses at the end of his Raw run and presumably another to Big E, and then will become Reigns’ big contender probably around December,” said Meltzer.
— Sportskeeda Wrestling (@SKWrestling_) October 2, 2021
We hope this isn’t true because there are two big problems with this. McIntyre seems to be in a position where he will inevitably lose to Big E in their WWE title clash at Crown Jewel, and forcing him back in the Universal title picture won’t help his popularity.
Secondly, it’s better to have Drew McIntyre as one of Roman Reigns’ opponents at the tail end of his Universal Championship reign rather than a one-off pay-per-view challenger.