John Cena's chances at Money in the Bank and booking plans for Stardust are the biggest stories born from the latest WWE rumors.
Cena fans will be thrilled to hear how the company plans to have him end the WWE title ladder match on June 29. Officials are reportedly leaving the fans in charge to a point on what happens with Cody Rhodes' new persona.
Other rumors suggest that WWE is ignoring a problem concerning the WWE Network and that Scott Hall reportedly didn't make a great impression at a recent event.
Digging through recent backstage reports provides a look behind the curtain. Some of the glimpses are easier to trust than others. We begin with a story that is built on the absence of new information and what that means.
Pay-Per-View Payouts Update
WWE Superstars once saw extra cash come in when they competed on pay-per-view events. The launch of the WWE Network not only changed the way fans watched the product, but the finances of the performers.
No one was sure just how the Network would affect wrestlers' income, though. Would they still get bonuses come pay-per-view time? It's a question former WWE wrestler Lance Storm asked back in January.
So does the WWE Network deal including PPVs mean no more PPV Bonus cheques for the boys? :-(— Lance Storm (@LanceStorm) January 9, 2014
Now, over four months after the WWE Network launched, a lack of answers remain.
PWInsider, via PWMania, reports that the latest word is that "nothing has been said to talents yet about the Network and their pay."
It's hard to imagine that WWE officials didn't address this issue pre-launch, but for nothing to be confirmed this far afterward is incomprehensible.
Unless Superstars are still getting the same payouts they were before the departure from the pay-per-view system, one would imagine that there would be word of more rumbling backstage. Of course, talents on the bottom of the food chain are likely to stay mum, but guys like Cena have enough clout to speak their mind.
If WWE is indeed just delaying dealing with this issue, it's unacceptable.
There is no Network, no WWE, without the hard work of the men and women in the ring. Not at least discussing what changes they will see money-wise as the company undergoes its changes is a complete lack of respect.
Scott Hall Report
Recent Hall-of-Fame inductee Hall caused a stir at a recent signing event in Rhode Island.
F4WOnline, via PWMania, "Hall was reportedly in very rough shape and was 90 minutes late for an autograph signing this weekend." Hall's issues with drugs and alcohol, as seen in E:60's profile of the former nWo member, are well-documented. His reputation appears to have had people overreacting in this case, though.
The "rough shape" comment is being interpreted by many as him being intoxicated, but it could just as easily refer to his health.
The evidence beyond this report is lacking. Hall posted a photo of himself and some WWE stars in Providence, R.I., from the weekend on Twitter.
WrestleZone.com shared a shot of Hall at the event. He looks perfectly fine in both of these.
Clutch City Productions, which ran the event, was only positive when tweeting about Hall.
This story grew legs in a hurry, but signs point to it being blown out of proportion. The Internet and social media increases the speed at which a wildfire of a new story spreads, whether it is accurate or not.
The Champ is Here Again?
Of the eight men entered in the ladder match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Money in the Bank, it appears that the safest money is on Cena. He is currently rumored to be WWE's choice to take home the gold.
According to F4WOnline, via Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc, "John Cena is apparently in line to win the WWE World Heavyweight Title at next Sunday's Money in the Bank pay-per-view."
WWE has three emerging stars which it can anoint, giving fans a look at a new champ. Crowning Bray Wyatt, Cesaro or Roman Reigns, though, all require a leap of faith from the company. As many times as WWE has turned to Cena to be its top guy in the last 10 years, it's far from surprising to hear it plans to rely on what's worked before and not take a chance with someone else.
It's disappointing but expected.
Cena has been WWE champ 11 times already. He's going to have a 12th and 13th reign at some point. He's just too high on the company's hierarchy to not win it again.
Plans can change of course, but fans pulling for Reigns, Wyatt or Cesaro to make the jump into world-champ status should do so knowing that those men are the dark horses.
Cena, like so often, is the clear favorite.
Backstage News on Stardust Booking Plans
Rhodes has appeared on two consecutive episodes of Raw as Stardust. That transformation can lead to one of two scenarios, apparently.
Wrestling Inc's Middleton passed along a report from F4WOnline that notes the following:
Regarding Cody Rhodes performing as Stardust, the plan is that if the angle gets over, they will get a WWE Tag Team Title shot at SummerSlam. If it doesn't get over, WWE changes course and we finally get the Goldust vs. Cody Rhodes singles match at SummerSlam.
It appears that WWE is leaving its options open. This rumored plan allows the fans to write the story in a way.
Should they root for Stardust, he continues. Should they sour on him, he reverts back to Rhodes and the long-awaited brother-versus-brother feud begins. That's smart of WWE as forcing one of those angles on fans when they want the opposite would be ineffective.
Fans were not into the idea of Daniel Bryan as a part of The Wyatt Family. The company soon pulled him out of that group as a result.
A crossroads now awaits the former tag team champion. The audience will tell him which direction he takes.