Batista and AJ Lee are the subjects of the two biggest questions currently ricocheting around the WWE rumor mill.
What are WWE's plans with Batista once he comes back to the ring? Will the Divas champ be punished for her reported incident with Michelle Beadle at the Tribute to the Troops taping?
Several backstage reports provide insight into those situations as well as WWE's plans for The Wyatt Family and CM Punk's possible heat with officials. Hockey tweets, championships on the horizon and a big potential WrestleMania match inspire the most intriguing current WWE rumors.
The Animal Returns
On Monday's Raw, Batista fans got an early Christmas present. Rumors of the former member of Evolution coming back to WWE were proved true when the company made the return official.
Where is The Animal headed once he gets back in the ring? Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer believes WWE has huge plans for him right away.
Meltzer, via WrestlingInc.com, speculates that "Batista is returning to win the 2014 Royal Rumble match and face Randy Orton for the WWE World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania XXX." Batista is not as big a name as Brock Lesnar or The Rock, but he does have sufficient star power to generate interest in a high-profile match with Orton.
With Lesnar vs. The Undertaker rumored for the event, per Wrestling Observer, via WrestlingInc.com, and Daniel Bryan and Shawn Michaels possibly colliding, as reported by PWInsider.com, via WrestleZone.com, WWE would still have to find a spot for both John Cena and Punk.
The Next Tag Team Champions?
Luke Harper and Erick Rowan have spent the early part of their WWE run clobbering foes and unsettling fans. Their next step could be dragging championship belts to and from the ring.
Per PWInsider, via WrestleZone.com, "There's talk of putting the tag straps on Rowan and Harper before the Royal Rumble event."
The report goes on to say that the two bearded brutes were "the favorites to head into WrestleMania as the tag champions." With Cody Rhodes and Goldust likely to be battling each other at The Showcase of The Immortals, it only makes sense to dethrone them soon so that they can begin and escalate their feud.
The Wyatt Family already has a win over the champs on their resume. Harper and Rowan looked mighty impressive in knocking off the Rhodes brothers on the Dec. 20 SmackDown.
The Usos and The Real Americans have had their recent chances, none of which ended in a title change. It now appears that Harper and Rowan are set to accomplish what those teams couldn't.
AJ Lee, CM Punk, Michelle Beadle and Hockey
After AJ and TV personality Beadle reportedly clashed backstage at a WWE taping, it appears that the company is handling the fallout in-house.
F4WOnline, via WrestlingInc.com, first reported that AJ was "in hot water with WWE management" after the women had a confrontation at the Tribute to the Troops event. Fans speculated that AJ would lose the Divas Championship at TLC as punishment.
AJ retained against Natalya that night.
Some may have wondered if retribution was coming in another form. Per F4WOnline, via WrestlingInc.com, "It appears now that WWE Divas Champion AJ Lee will not be punished for her obscenity-laced tirade. The report says that the company spoke with her and that the situation is now 'over and done with.'"
Punk was reportedly the center of the initial incident. Beadle claims the blowup occurred after she used a non-PG word as a term of endearment. Punk ended up catching heat for another situation altogether.
During the TLC pay-per-view, Punk was not tweeting about his match with The Shield or any of the matches on the card but instead talking hockey.
Wrestling Observer, via WrestlingInc.com, reports that "there were reportedly people within WWE upset at him for tweeting about hockey on the day of a pay-per-view." Of course, WWE would prefer if Punk was hyping the show on Twitter, but Punk rarely uses the medium in that way.
There was likely just some grumbling from officials that will go nowhere. If whatever went down with AJ and Beadle was handled quietly and behind the proverbial set of closed doors, not tweeting about TLC can't be met with much more than a tsk-tsk.
WWE should be too focused on building toward WrestleMania right now to micromanage Superstars' Twitter usage. Who Punk will be facing at the big event should be the topic of conversations between officials, not his musings on hockey.