From a storyline and backstage sense, this past week has been an extremely busy one for the WWE. No Way Out took place on Sunday and while there weren't any title changes to note, there were two big happenings that could potentially change the course of the company over the next couple weeks.
Triple H made his return at the pay-per-view to address the lawsuits filed by Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. Rather than stopping there, however, the COO did something that may expected would be coming sooner or later, as he challenged Lesnar to a match at SummerSlam.
Also, John Cena defeated Big Show in a steel cage match, prompting Vince McMahon to fire John Laurinaitis from his position as general manager. It remains to be seen how long Laurinaitis will be out of the picture, but WWE programming will be quite different in the meantime.
In addition to all of the storyline development, a WWE legend returned to television this week and another will be doing so next week. Rumors have been running rampant lately as well, particularly talk that a major WWE superstar has major heat with the company's brass and could be on the verge of quitting.
Read about all of that and more as I break down all of the latest news and rumors emanating from the WWE for the week starting on June 17.
As advertised, Triple H appeared at No Way Out and cut a promo on Brock Lesnar. He and his partner, Paul Heyman, had filed suits against Triple H for breach of contract as well as assault and battery after Triple H struck Heyman. Rather than talking much about the lawsuits, however, Triple H decided to call Lesnar out and challenge him to a match.
Triple H suggested that he and Lesnar wrestle at SummerSlam, which is what many fans have been expecting and hoping for. Neither Lesnar nor Heyman came to the ring, but Heyman declined Triple H's challenge the next night on RAW. This resulted in Triple H punching out Heyman and leaving the ring.
I'll be the first to admit that I'm not much of a Lesnar fan, but there is no question that a match between he and Triple H at WWE's second- or third-biggest pay-per-view would be huge. The fan interest promises to be massive, and the bout itself should be intense and immensely entertaining. What I am even more interested in, though, is the buildup, including how Lesnar will be brought back into the fold and how he will accept the challenge.
As much as I don't like Lesnar's character, I really enjoy Heyman, and he proved on Monday that he is still one of the best in the business on the mic. I hope that he and Triple H continue to have some back-and-forth for the next couple weeks until Lesnar returns.
Also, I'll be interested to see if any stipulations are added to the match. I could see something involving Lesnar getting his big contract and Heyman becoming general manager if they win, and Triple H having to step down if he loses. There are a lot of possibilities and this should be a great storyline throughout the summer.
Entering No Way Out, there seemed to be a good chance that Big Show would defeat John Cena in a steel cage match. That was especially true after it was announced that Vince McMahon would fire John Laurinaitis if Big Show lost. Things changed on SmackDown, however, after Laurinaitis said he would fire Cena if he lost.
Ultimately, Cena won with help from several superstars who Big Show had beaten down in the weeks prior. Vince delivered his famous "you're fired" line to Laurinaitis before Big Johnny was sent through the announce table with an Attitude Adjustment. Laurinaitis made his final appearance the next night on RAW, as he was abandoned by his partners, Big Show and David Otunga, leaving Cena to embarrass him one last time.
Just when you think the WWE is starting to get it, the viewing audience is punished with another vintage Cena victory. When Cena lost to The Rock at WrestleMania, it was billed as a damaging blow to his career. Since then, though, he has vanquished Brock Lesnar and Big Show, and things are the same as they ever were.
As lame as it may be, this is a feud that could have lasted for a while, but now, for all intents and purposes, it's dead.
It's extremely difficult to see where Cena goes from here now that he has feuded with essentially everyone on the roster. If nothing else, it will be interesting to monitor how things play out with Laurinaitis. It is clear to me that he isn't fired because he was placed in the main event on RAW and given a farewell address after he was already fired. Laurinaitis is going to be back at some point, but it's a matter of when and how it happens.
Since losing the WWE Championship to CM Punk at Survivor Series, it is no secret that Alberto Del Rio has had a rough go of things. Not only did he have to come back from a severe groin injury, but Del Rio has struggled to get back into the main-event scene. According to F4Wonline.com, Del Rio is unhappy with his current status in the company and threatened to quit.
The spat may also be over monetary terms, but it is unclear how serious things actually are between Del Rio and the company. Del Rio was set to face Sheamus for the World Heavyweight Championship at No Way Out, but he was replaced by Dolph Ziggler due to a concussion.
This seems like typical dirt sheet hearsay to me. Considering how Del Rio has seemingly fallen out of favor, it would be really easy to craft this type of story and make people believe that it's true. Many have questioned why Del Rio was pulled from No Way Out due to a concussion, only to wrestle Santino the next night on RAW. Rather than it being a punishment, though, it could have easily been a case of the WWE being cautious.
The company announced that Del Rio wouldn't compete a week ahead of time and was likely trying to make sure that he didn't seriously injure himself. Del Rio was probably cleared later in the week after the WWE had already made the switch to Ziggler, and that may have been why Del Rio wrestled on Monday.
Perhaps Del Rio truly is unhappy with how things have been going lately, but there have been so many reports of certain wrestlers having heat backstage over the years that I tend not to believe them until there is some concrete proof.
After being suspended a month ago for kicking a Brazilian flag during a WWE live event in Brazil, Chris Jericho is set to return to television on Monday. A promo aired on RAW hailing his return after serving his 30-day suspension. The promos show Jericho singing for his band, Fozzy, so there has been some speculation that he will return as a face since he is being portrayed in a positive light.
Marc Middleton of WrestlingInc.com is reporting as much, and it could certainly put an interesting twist on things. Jericho had been putting people over as a heel, but perhaps things will change in that regard if he comes back as a face.
I'm a huge fan of Jericho regardless of whether he is a heel or face, but based on the WWE's needs right now, I believe that turning him face would be a big mistake. In one respect, it could be a positive since Jericho would likely be given some wins and a proper push, but at the same time, there wouldn't be much room for him as a face. John Cena, CM Punk and Sheamus dominate the main-event scene currently, meaning that Jericho would be nothing more than a mid-carder, and that would be a waste of his talent.
With Alberto Del Rio seemingly relegated to the midcard and Dolph Ziggler continually losing to Sheamus, it appears as though Sheamus needs somebody to feud with. Jericho would be a logical choice because Sheamus eliminated him to win the Royal Rumble. My hope is that Jericho returns on RAW and pretends to be a face, but later in the night, he attacks Sheamus. Jericho loves to pull ribs on the fans, so something like that would be right up his alley.
When Mick Foley returned to the WWE several months ago, he did so to much fanfare. He was used a few times and even participated in the Royal Rumble, but he has been seen very infrequently since then. With John Laurinaitis getting fired, however, Foley returned to RAW on Monday to announce that he would be serving as the general manager for the night as well as on SmackDown.
Foley didn't have a particularly big role, but the fans were very happy to see him back. Foley also announced that former general managers would be appearing for the next several weeks as interim GMs until a full-time general manager is determined.
As somebody who is always up for some nostalgia, I love when Foley makes an appearance. He may not do much anymore, but he is still good on the mic and highly entertaining, so hopefully the WWE continues to use him and this isn't simply a one-off thing. More importantly, though, I am very intrigued by the interim GM angle. This opens the door for guys like William Regal, Shawn Michaels and perhaps even Paul Heyman to run things in the coming weeks.
It's tough to say where this is leading, but I'm hoping that it results in Heyman being the full-time general manager. I fear that all that will happen is Laurinaitis ultimately returning, but if the WWE wants a heel GM who can get heat from the crowd, then Heyman should be the guy. Laurinaitis got heat, but it was because he was so awful. If Heyman gets the gig, he will get plenty of heat, but it will be because of how effective he is on the mic.