Alberto Del Rio and Ric Flair made their headlines long before SummerSlam kicked off.
Highlights of WWE rumor mill this week include the company's change in preference in heel stable and muttering surrounding last Sunday's main event, but it's the World Heavyweight Champion and the 16-time world champ that dominated the backstage buzz.
Del Rio's black eye and Flair's tension with WWE have various outlets and fans talking. Let's begin the breakdown of the latest WWE rumors with the two-time Hall of Famer and reports that higher-ups didn't enjoy his latest performance.
Ric Flair's Excessive Styling and Profiling?
The Nature Boy's antics were the talk of the WWE 2K14 event over the weekend.
As confirmed by F4WOnline.com via WrestlingInc.com, Flair earned backstage heat for his behavior and "hijacking the event." Marc Middleton wrote "word is that the video game people weren't bothered at all but WWE officials were pretty upset."
Middleton also reported that Flair was "scheduled to make a surprise SummerSlam appearance but that was nixed."
Flair rambled and told stories, talked wrestling John Cena and had his fellow panel members laughing. WWE officials were apparently not as amused.
Arda Ocal shared some of Flair's jokes via Twitter.
"Nobody out there get married, please! It's overrated." - Ric Flair. "Thank you Dr. Phil" - JR #WWE2K14— Arda Ocal (@arda_ocal) August 18, 2013
"Only guy to drink more than me was Gene Okerlund, he's had 3 kidney transplants! It was WCW how could you not drink?" - Ric Flair #WWE2K14— Arda Ocal (@arda_ocal) August 18, 2013
Flair's chances of coming back to WWE as a manager, authority figure or as previously reported, per Wrestling Observer via WrestleZone.com, in a public relations role will likely be on hold. This incident isn't exactly something that gives him leverage heading to the negotiating table.
His actions weren't bad enough to get him blacklisted though, so perhaps WWE officials will cool down and talks will continue in the near future.
Alberto Del Rio's Fight Before His Match
The only thing certain right now about the altercation involving the world champ over SummerSlam weekend is that it resulted in Del Rio sporting a nasty shiner.
Reports have Del Rio both fighting alongside Drew McIntyre and fighting against him.
WWE fan Jon Napier told PWMania.com that he saw the fight firsthand.
A group of friends and I were hanging around near the WWE hotel and saw Alberto Del Rio being talked trash to by two black guys. The men attacked Del Rio, which brought over Drew McIntyre. Drew hit both of them back until security broke things up. The two men were escorted out of the place. Everyone heard that Del Rio refused to press charges.
Dave Meltzer reported a far different version of what happened.
He writes, via WrestlingInc.com, "Del Rio and McIntyre went to a bar together and someone said something to a girl that McIntyre was with. Del Rio stepped in and was nailed by a bottle, which started the brawl." This sounds more feasible than the story from Napier which includes Del Rio inexplicably dropping charges against men who attacked him.
Either way, McIntyre appeared to come out of the fight a lot less bruised. He posted the following photo on Twitter.
Believe in The Wyatt Family
One trio of rule-breaking heels is rumored to be trading spots with another.
Backstage heat on The Shield may have come at the wrong time as reports suggest that WWE, and Triple H in particular, want to push The Wyatt Family at their expense. Bryan Alvarez on F4WOnline.com via CagesideSeats.com, reports, "The Wyatt Family should be getting a big push soon, likely taking the spot that The Shield has had for a long time."
The report also says that Wyatt’s crew is benefiting from being Triple H's pet project.
The SummerSlam card bears out this rumor as Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins weren't scheduled for a match on the card and Dean Ambrose was relegated to the pre-show while Bray Wyatt and his brothers were on the pay-per-view proper.
Fans will have to watch to see if that remains true or if The Shield's talent can outweigh the power of backstage politics.
Sunday's WWE Championship match and its aftermath involving Triple H and the Money in the Bank winner apparently not only divided fans, but folks in the industry as well.
Daniel Bryan's reign as champion lasted only a few moments before Orton pinned him after cashing in his Money in the Bank contract.
According to a report from PWInsider.com, via WrestleZone.com, some Superstars were against the way that pay-per-view ended. Some regarded the story as "fantastic" while "others felt WWE should have let Bryan have his WWE title win moment."
The report goes on to say, "there were several people who thought it was pretty ridiculous that Bryan couldn't kick out of the Orton pin since so much time had elapsed between the pin and Triple H's pedigree."
It’s not surprising that WWE's choice was not without opposing voices.
It was a bold move that may turn out to be the best path in the end, even if it was hard to stomach for Bryan fans. There's an argument to be made for both sides of this debate, but the fact that the moment has created such emotion in both fans and performers is a sign of its dramatic power.