Zack Ryder may soon ride frustration to the spotlight, while CM Punk can't seem to ride far enough away to escape the WWE rumor mill.
Backstage reports mention a possible new group for Ryder to join, a move that would allow him to step from behind the curtains more often. Even when WWE's main story highlights Daniel Bryan, it's Punk who is garnering buzz on the Internet.
Punk dominates the week's set of rumors. Word surrounding Layla's quiet return got drowned out by some reported jabs at "The Best in the World." Even the potential formation of a new stable couldn't compete with the noise Punk is making in absentia.
The Disgruntled Ones
Last month, F4WOnline, via WrestlingInc.com, reported of a possible alliance between Dolph Ziggler and The Miz. They would be a pair of "disgruntled angry men." It looks as if that proposed duo may expand before debuting.
As reported by F4WOnline, via WrestlingInc.com, "Now there's an idea to throw Zack Ryder into the mix."
Ziggler delivered a number of emotional interviews via the WWE App earlier this year. Miz, for a while, would interrupt other Superstar's matches. Both of those things seemed to point to the Ziggler-pairing-with-Miz rumor coming true.
Ryder's new YouTube show has showcased an angrier, more serious version of himself. That too appears to be a hint of something to come.
There would certainly be some real-life grievances to power Ryder's promos should this opportunity come to pass. It would be a good way to use three Superstars who aren't often in action.
While there's a danger of the group slipping into comic-relief territory a la 3MB, a lack of support from WWE officials is a smart motivation to give a group of characters. They would use every match and every interview as a chance to prove their doubters wrong.
All Ryder, Miz and Ziggler would need is a team name. Any ideas?
Backstage Word on Layla's Absence
Layla is back; however, there is still an air of mystery surrounding her absence.
The former Divas champ returned to action at house shows on March 14 and 15. Those bouts marked her first taste of in-ring action in six months.
She didn't appear on Raw this Monday, though.
There has been a wealth of confusion as to why she was away from the ring. According to Wrestling Observer Radio, via WrestlingInc.com, Layla was dealing with personal, not medical issues.
With as much insider information as outlets like the Wrestling Observer Newsletter obtain, it's surprising that there isn't a clear answer to explain Layla's absence.
The Internet age has often made the secret an endangered species. Not in Layla's case, though.
Her personal issues have remained concealed. The nosy among us will be bugged by not knowing what Layla has been up to for half a year.
Most fans, though, will just be happy to have her back competing between the ropes.
Punk Taking Jabs While Not in the Ring
While Bryan has been busy waging a war with Triple H, Punk has adopted a less taxing life and appeared on a TV program that didn't require him to get kicked in the ribs.
He recently joined Yvette Nicole Brown and Melissa McBride on AMC's Talking Dead.
According to PWMania.com, how healthy he looked "was the subject of a lot of backstage discussion among the talents at RAW on Monday." The bags under his eyes appeared to be far less noticeable, which is not surprising considering that he has been away from WWE's grueling schedule since the Royal Rumble.
Comments about his healthy look weren't the only points of discussion, though. WWE reportedly took a number of shots at Punk during the "Occupy Raw" segment from last Monday.
PWInsider, via WrestlingInc.com, noted the following:
It's insinuated within WWE that the "Yes Movement" angle with Daniel Bryan on Monday's RAW and some of the verbiage used was meant to be a "middle finger" to Punk and an underlying message that "this could have been you but now it won't be."
In addition, F4WOnline, via WrestlingInc.com, reports that "Some of Stephanie McMahon's lines in the segment about disrespecting her family and how she owns Bryan were said to be more or less how she feels about CM Punk right now."
As petty as that seems, those segments could have partially meant to have been directed at Punk. WWE showed it still has Punk on its mind on Monday's Raw when Triple H seemed to be referring to Punk while talking to Bryan.
"Anybody else would have folded, taken their ball, and go home"- HHH followed by "CM Punk" chants #RAW— WrestleEnigma.com (@WrestleEnigma) March 18, 2014
Punk left abruptly, and the frustrations that followed are understandable. WWE, though, has a show to put on, and trying to irk someone who doesn't compete for the company anymore is a waste of energy.
Hopefully, the longer Punk is away, the less these kinds of reports will continue to pop up. Now that WWE officials have reportedly vented on-air, it's time to move on.
Focus should be shifted toward those still competing, Ryder and his potential disgruntled crew included.