1. AJ Styles’ Future
AJ Styles was buried by The Undertaker in the first-ever historic Boneyard Match this past weekend at WrestleMania 36. The Phenom buried The Phenomenal One alive before riding off to the sunset, thus fueling speculations about his own retirement as well as a potential hiatus for the 2-time WWE Champion.
Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio reports that WWE isn’t shelving Styles anytime soon – The OC leader isn’t injured but simply selling his burial for the time being.
“AJ is probably selling it for a little while but AJ is way too valuable and not hurt. Like if AJ was going to get surgery, I could have seen like, ‘Okay, AJ is getting surgery and this was the write-off.’ That was not it. AJ is not injured. That was just the finish that they went with and now he’s got to live through this somehow and be unburied alive.”
Rumors suggest that the burial could lead to Styles returning with a new character or gimmick in the coming weeks – a rebirth of sorts.
2. Plans For Charlotte Flair
Charlotte Flair successfully dethroned Rhea Ripley to become the new NXT Women’s Champion this past Sunday at WrestleMania 36. The Queen applied her iconic Figure 8 submission on The Nightmare to successfully cement herself as a record-11 time Women’s Champion in WWE history.
Dave Meltzer reports that the reason WWE put Flair over at ‘Mania is to add more star power to NXT. The Queen returning to the black-and-gold brand as the new face of the women’s division will give Vince McMahon the edge in the ongoing Wednesday Night Wars with AEW Dynamite.
Moreover, Flair is also reportedly set to be part of both RAW and NXT from here on – the company can afford to have her on both brands for the time being due to the lack of house-shows and other workloads. It is to be noted that since triumphing during Survivor Series last year, NXT has struggled to retain the viewership and has consistently been humiliated by Dynamite in the rating war.
3. WWE Upset With Roman Reigns?
Roman Reigns was scheduled to face Bill Goldberg for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania 36. However, owing to the coronavirus pandemic and his compromised immune system, The Big Dog pulled out of the grand show which led to WWE replacing him with Braun Strownman who successfully dethroned the Myth on the night of April 4th to win his first singles world title in WWE.
According to Dave Meltzer, there’s the possibility that WWE is upset with Reigns. The company didn’t mention The Big Dog at all during WrestleMania weekend and the way Goldberg vs. Strowman was made official on the go-home episode of SmackDown didn’t include any references to the former Shied powerhouse either.
“Maybe they’re mad at [Roman] and they have no right to be. It’s either they’re mad at him or they’re just trying to hide it as much as they can and they don’t want to deal with it.”
WWE’s original plans included Reigns defeating Goldberg to win the Universal Title he never lost – in 2018, The Big Dog had to relinquish the championship in order to take a medical hiatus for battling the returning leukemia.
At this point, there’s no word on when Reigns will return to WWE programming.
4. Michael Cole Promoted
WWE’s long-time announcer Michael Cole’s WrestleMania season got a whole lot better thanks to his huge promotion in the billion-dollar company.
PWInsider reports that Cole has gained a new corporate title within WWE – Vice President of Announcing. The promotion took place “several weeks ago”.
“Michael Cole has received a promotion within World Wrestling Entertainment and has gained a new corporate title, Vice President of Announcing, PWInsider.com has confirmed with multiple sources. The promotion officially took place several weeks ago, we are told.”
In recent years, Cole has been involved behind the scenes which include hiring, mentoring and producing announcing talents.
5. Becky vs Baszler Feud Far From Over
At WrestleMania 36, Becky Lynch defeated arch-rival Shayna Baszler to retain the RAW Women’s Championship, thus officially cementing herself as the second woman (after Trish Stratus) to win a title at a ‘Mania event and defend the same at another ‘Mania PPV.
Several fans were disappointed with the outcome – throughout the build, Baszler was showcased as the rightful competitor to dethrone The Man at the Show Of Shows. Moreover, since losing the NXT Women’s Title to Rhea Ripley last year, The Queen Of Spades was the fan-favorite to win the big red belt from Lynch immediately on getting called up.
Dave Meltzer discussed the current plan for the Lynch vs. Baszler feud. The rivalry is far from over and both women will be meeting again down the line.
“It was done to protect Shayna Baszler. The feud is not over. They may not be wrestling on the next pay-per-view, but the plan is definitely for Shayna Baszler and Becky Lynch is not over.”
However, now that Nia Jax has returned to RAW, WWE may turn the singles feud into a Triple Threat program featuring the three hardest-hitting women of the flagship brand. For those wondering, Lynch and Jax have unfinished business – prior to Survivor Series 2018, The Irresistible Force broke The Man’s face which rendered the latter ineligible for competition.
6. Tampa Bay To Host WrestleMania 38?
WrestleMania 36 delivered in all aspects and some fans even rated it higher than the regular live crowd-packed WrestleMania events WWE has produced to date. Originally scheduled to take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, the show was relocated to the WWE Performance Center except for the Boneyard and Firefly Fun House matches that were filmed at “undisclosed locations”.
WrestleVotes now reports that Tampa Bay will once again be in the running to host WrestleMania 38.
WrestleMania 37 takes place on March 28, 2021, at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. Next year’s Show Of Shows will flaunt a Hollywood theme and is expected to feature A-list celebrities including WWE’s very own Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
7. WWE Plans To Tape a Lot Of Content During Coronavirus Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic has forced WWE to figure out a new filming schedule. In order to overcome the hurdles imposed by the ongoing situation, WWE plans to get permission by whatever means necessary to run live SmackDown this week and a live RAW next week. It is to be noted that Orange County’s stay-at-home order will be lifted on April 9th but the State Of Florida’s 30-day lockdown is to continue well beyond that.
Fightful Select further reports that WWE has already informed Superstars of their plans to tape several shows in a row. The latest marathon taping schedule will be a week-long.
“As far as we’ve heard the tentative plan is to film three episodes of Smackdown, three episodes of WWE Raw, and multiple episodes of NXT starting this Friday and going through the following Thursday. We’ve heard the idea of some episodes being live has been tossed around but isn’t a certainty.”
WWE’s current plan is to film a month’s television content within next week which essentially hints at a possible break once the shoot wraps up next Thursday.
As ever, wrestling fans are reminded that the above are just rumors and should not be taken at face value as facts.