Posts Tagged ‘WWE Return’

Candice LeRae made her WWE main roster debut on Raw Monday night, defeating Nikki ASH in a short match that marked her first in-ring action since July 2021.

The wife of Johnny Gargano, LeRae has been out of action since becoming pregnant. She gave birth in February and was out on maternity leave when her contract expired in May. Gargano re-signed with WWE and showed up on Raw a few weeks ago, perhaps increasing the odds of Candice doing the same.

It’s impressive to see LeRae back in the ring just seven months after giving birth. Though there was no indication of whether she will be back in the ring full-time (her match with Nikki ASH lasted less than two minutes), she later confronted Damage CTRL backstage and challenged Dakota Kai before the faction left the arena for the evening.

A 20-year veteran, LeRae adds stability and depth to a women’s roster that was woefully thin just two months ago. She could end up in a tag team or purely a singles wrestler. It’s long overdue for Candice Wrestling to wind up on the main roster, so that in itself is a victory.

Malakai Black would like to return to WWE following his exit from All Elite Wrestling.

This is per Dave Meltzer, who offered a report on the most recent Wrestling Observer Radio that sad;

“He wanted out from AEW, and I guess we’ll see what happens. Obviously, he wanted to go back to WWE, and he had a lot of time left on his deal. I think 4 1/2 years are left on his deal. It’s really difficult to keep someone who’s unhappy under contract for that length of time.”

Black wrestled his last match for AEW at All Out 2022, losing a trios match to Miro, Sting and Darby Allin alongside now-former House Of Black stablemates Brody King and Buddy Matthews, and worked a date under the Malakai Black name for Prestige Wrestling over the weekend as a newly minted free agent.

He last wrestled for WWE in October 2020, losing a Monday Night Raw No Disqualification match to Kevin Owens. Released in June 2021, Black was considered a huge missed opportunity on the main roster following a celebrated NXT run before a 2019 call-up.

Braun Strowman returned to WWE on Monday night, 15 months after he was released. The Monster Among Men walked out during a four-way tag team #1 contender’s match and proceeded to attack everyone involved. He laid out Chad Gable and Los Lotharios quickly, put Otis through a barricade, and power-slammed Angelo Dawkins through the announce desk before they cut to a commercial.

Later, Braun told a cameraman that no one was safe from him and that he was headed to SmackDown, presumably to interrupt another match and beat up more of their roster.

Strowman was released by WWE in June 2021, which was less than a year after he reigned as WWE Universal Champion, and just two months after facing Shane McMahon at WrestleMania 37. Since then, Strowman had only wrestled a handful of times, most often for startup Control Your Narrative.

During his initial run with WWE, Braun built a following for his ridiculous feats of strength and initial rivalry with Roman Reigns. But WWE refused to pull the trigger on him numerous times in facing Reigns and Brock Lesnar, resulting in the character losing a lot of steam. By the time he won the Universal title at WrestleMania 36 against Goldberg, he had cooled off considerably.

It’ll be interesting to see if WWE is going to try to reheat him entirely, or if they’re positioning him to be a fall challenger for Reigns.

Triple H isn’t ruling out the chances of Bray Wyatt returning to WWE.

‘The Game’ sat down for an eye-opening interview with BT Sports’ Ariel Helwani ahead of Clash At The Castle in Cardiff, Wales. During their chat, Trips seemed relaxed and open to talking about everything from AEW to possible comebacks for Wyatt, Braun Strowman and more.

His comments on Bray were particularly fun.

Hunter called Wyatt “one of the most crazy creative people [he’s] ever been around” – Trips then added that he meant that “in the best way possible”. From there, WWE’s new head of creative went on to say that Bray is “a victim of his own mind and creative but I love working with him”.

Interesting.

Bray’s departure from the company shocked everyone when it happened in July 2021. He hasn’t popped up anywhere else since, and it seems the door is definitely open as far as Triple H is concerned. The WWE boss even told Helwani that Wyatt needs “someone to point the tornado” in the right direction.

Was Hunter sowing seeds for a ‘Fiendish’ comeback soon?

Braun Strowman will be returning to WWE imminently, reports PWInsider’s Mike Johnson.

The former Universal Champion will be in Kansas City, Missouri for next week’s episode of Raw. When he comes back, he will be doing so for the first time since June 2021, when he was released as one of WWE’s many pandemic-related “budget cuts.”

Fightful Select reported recently that Strowman was amongst the names WWE had discussed for a potential comeback. “People of influence” within the promotion refused to confirm or deny the speculation at the time, leaving a question mark hanging over Braun’s future. Now, the 38-year-old’s WWE return is all but confirmed.

Strowman has worked only a handful of matches under his real name, Adam Scherr, since leaving WWE last year. He has been best known for his affiliation with the EC3-helmed Control Your Narrative project over the past year, though this appeared to have ground to a halt before re-emerging in the NWA last week.

Braun was Universal Champion between March and August 2020, eventually dropping the strap to Bray Wyatt’s Fiend character. His last ever bout for the promotion was a WWE Championship shot against Drew McIntyre and champion Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania Backlash 2021.

Drew McIntyre can’t wait to see what Johnny Gargano is capable of on WWE’s main roster.

McIntyre appeared on the latest edition of ‘The Bump‘ and said he fancies some rematches against Gargano on Raw, SmackDown and pay-per-view; Drew and Johnny once reigned supreme as EVOLVE Tag-Team Champions. The pair were actually the first men to hold those belts after winning a tournament back in 2016.

They’d hold the straps for 69 days before dropping them to Drew Gulak and Tracy Williams.

McIntyre remembers those days fondly, and credits Gargano for bringing the best out in him on the independent scene during subsequent one-on-one clashes. Now, in 2022, he’s relishing the chance to feud with ‘Johnny Wrestling’ on WWE’s flagship programming.

Of course, both guys are currently on different brands (Gargano on Raw and Drew on SmackDown), but that won’t be the case forever. McIntyre didn’t seem too bothered about WWE’s erratic Draft rules during his interview. He likely knows that the company rarely follows them anyway!

Look out for Drew vs. Gargano in WWE soon. It’d be fun to see their big man/little man dynamic in a featured spot.

“It’s really hard to find the words, to want something so bad and then to have to accept that that’s maybe not a reality anymore,” Karrion Kross said on the latest edition of “After The Bell.” 

Kross and his wife, Scarlett, spoke to Corey Graves about their release from and surprise return to WWE and how it came together. “One day to get a call out of the blue and to be offered everything you were striving for,” Kross said, “it’s pretty incredible.” 

“It was the easiest decision,” Scarlett chimed in. “When Hunter called us, he was the best boss we’ve ever had, so it was a complete no-brainer. No other company has ever compared to it, so we definitely trust him.”

According to Kross, Scarlett felt “respected and heard” by Triple H, with Scarlett herself adding that she always “felt respected and heard by Hunter, bit more so now.”

“Sometimes as a woman you feel very shut down talking to the boss about certain ideas,” Scarlett continued. “Hunter is always there, a text away. We just messaged him yesterday with certain ideas.” 

Kross and Scarlett returned to WWE on August 5th, attacking Drew McIntyre and taunting Undisputed WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. Kross said that the couple had stayed in contact with Triple H since their November 2021 release.

“It feels great to have that kind of relationship with the boss,” Scarlett confirmed. “Who is accessible that way, and who you actually feel [loves wrestling.]” She referred to the new vibe backstage as “refreshing and easy.”

“Ideas are accepted,” Kross agreed, following up with some advice for other talent. “This is the place. You’re gonna want to be here.”

It’s safe to assume that Tony Khan and Eric Bischoff won’t be exchanging Christmas presents this year.

They’ve been trading barbs for the better part of the year — some of the highlights include Khan implying that Bischoff failed as a wrestling promoter with WCW, Bischoff outright declaring CM Punk’s AEW return a financial bust, and Bischoff giving Khan his old “ATM Eric” nickname for splurging money on wrestlers.

In a recent interview with the “SHAK Wrestling” podcast, Bischoff was it at again, this time suggesting that Khan doesn’t have “a creative instinct in his body” and doesn’t understand the importance of story structure in pro wrestling.

“AEW is a super meaningful alternative [to WWE],” Bischoff admitted. “But the point is, Tony Khan refers to WWE as competition. Tony, wake the F up — you are not competition. You have not taken any market share, your audience is not growing on television, and there is not even a comparison in terms of a financial perspective — in terms of revenue generation. So, exactly how are you competitive? If you’re not taking market share, and you’re not even in the same conversation from a revenue standpoint — that’s the beginning and end of the competition conversation. You’re either taking market share or you’re not, or you’re either equal to or close in on the competitor’s revenue, and they’re not. They’re not even close.”

Bischoff continued, “If Tony Khan is smart, and I know he’s very, very smart, a lot smarter than me in a lot of ways. I don’t exactly think he’s got a creative instinct in his body. I think what he’s doing is reliving a childhood memory, you know of ECW and the indie scene, and super matches. He’s booking, in my opinion, like a 14-year-old would – who would have a lot of toys and things he can play with. But I’m not seeing story – we’ve seen the wrestling audience or AEW audience call it a story but it’s not. It’s an excuse for having a super match or dream match.”

Bischoff then implored Khan to stop catering to the niche, internet fans, and instead focus on attracting casual audiences.

“If Tony Khan is really smart, and if his goal is to really compete [with WWE], he needs to look at what’s working in WWE in terms of the storytelling and format perspective,” Bischoff stressed. “He’s going to wake up one day and realize that being a dirt sheet booker and catering to the internet wrestling community is a wonderful thing, because your name is on the internet all the time, but it’s [AEW] not going to grow beyond the point that it currently exists. Because you’re only serving a small portion of the audience, you’re not reaching out to the broader audience. Not everyone breathes, sleeps, and eats wrestling, you know? The internet audience does, but there’s a more, I don’t want to say passive, but a less-committed viewing audience out there that’s really important.”

Bischoff, who briefly served as Executive Director of “SmackDown” from June to October 2019, was asked if there’s a possibility of his return to WWE under the new regime of Triple H.

“No — because there’s no need for me,” Bischoff responded. “What I have to contribute at this point is stuff we’re beginning to see on [WWE] television. Maybe this is just me being hyper-optimistic, but the last 10 years of wrestling has bored the F out of me. I want to be excited about it, I want to be interested, but it’s just bored me to death for such a long time. I had a bit of hope with AEW up until 6 or 8 months ago when I threw in the towel, as I started seeing the same pattern of [booking]. I’ve been pretty critical of WWE as well, but now I’m seeing that [changes are coming], maybe I’m just getting an indication that something big is coming.

“And if I’m proven right, then what the hell would I have to contribute? They don’t need me. They already have the discipline, story structure, commitment to format, and episodic television — which is what I was known for more than anyone else in the business. And if they’ve figured that out in WWE, why do they need to spend a plane ticket on me?”

Matt Cardona is refusing to rule out a return to WWE under Triple H.

The one-time Zack Ryder did say, however, that he’s currently having the most fun of his entire career. Cardona also told The Sports Hub’s ‘Wrestling Inside The Ropes’ podcast that it’d be “hard to trade that in just to be a name on the roster”.

Former ‘Long Island Iced-Z’ Matt has been there before, and he doesn’t fancy being lost in the mix on a packed WWE undercard. He’s quite enjoying the chance to make cracking money on the independent scene and in companies like IMPACT and the NWA.

Cardona admitted that he would “have a conversation” if Triple H picked up the phone and gave him a call. He’d be interested to hear what ‘The Game’ had to say, but isn’t about to put all of his eggs in one basket and bank on a WWE comeback.

One dealbreaker would be Matt’s podcast – he said that’d have to be “untouchable” and written into his contract before he’d even consider going back. “Never say never” was the phrase he used though.

Rob Van Dam has issued a ‘come get me’ offer to WWE.

The former WWE World Champ told NBC Sports Boston that he’s being realistic about a comeback though. Van Dam wouldn’t expect to come in and be on top of cards, or anything, but he isn’t ruling out working some more matches for the company in the near future.

Of course, as RVD pointed out, “I kinda feel like if they wanted me there, then I would be there”. He does have a ‘Legends’ deal with WWE, but that’s only for merchandise – Rob doesn’t make many public appearances at autographs signings or meet-and-greets, which he’s slightly puzzled by because he’d enjoy doing them.

Van Dam’s last WWE match was a count out win over Seth Rollins on the 26 August 2014 episode of ‘C’ show Main Event. That’ll be the answer to a trivia question someday, surely. Since then, Rob has worked everywhere from IMPACT Wrestling to UK independent promotions like PROGRESS and ICW.

He’d love a WWE comeback at some point. The question is, do the company (and, more specifically, Triple H) see value in that?