The possibility of Brock Lesnar showing up to SmackDown and Batista coming back for WrestleMania are the biggest buzz-creators in the WWE rumor mill this week.
The Beast Incarnate is being advertised for a SmackDown appearance, but a backstage report should keep one's hopes of that actually happening to a minimum. As for Batista, his thoughts on WWE Creative and whether he would leave the world of movies for WWE again are big topics of discussion.
In other WWE rumors floating around the Internet, the company is crossing its fingers with Bad News Barrett and may have punished Zack Ryder via a squash match.
Possible Reason for Ryder's Latest Loss
Rusev ran over Ryder on Monday's Raw. It didn't appear to be anything out of the ordinary. After all, losses are commonplace for the former U.S. champ.
There may have been an unseen subplot to the defeat. According to F4WOnline (h/t Wrestle Zone), Ryder's loss to Rusev could have been punishment from WWE officials over some negative tweets he has sent recently.
As frustrating as it must be for Ryder to be used so sparingly and given so few opportunities, he has to know that barking about WWE via social media can only result in bad things.
WWE has long given up on Long Iced Z. He hasn't had meaningful TV time since Kane pushed him off the entrance ramp in 2012. No online complaining is going to help that situation, although one can see how all his inactivity could inspire frustration.
He may be better off seeing if New Japan Pro Wrestling would be interested in him at this point.
WWE Hoping for an Early Return for Barrett
To harness Barrett's popularity there, WWE wants him on the November tour of Europe. He may still be nursing an injured shoulder that he had surgery on in July, per WWE.com.
PWInsider (h/t Wrestling Inc) reports that Barrett was told he will be able to return in December, but WWE is holding out hope that he can get back a month early.
Having a healthy Barrett when WWE makes its way through England would be a great boost to ticket sales with how popular he is in his home country. However, there is no guarantee he'll be ready.
Barrett told IGN's Greg Miller in August that he expected to be back in action "by the end of the year at the latest":
The European tour begins in early November. Even with as superhuman as pro wrestlers can seem at times, that's pushing back his timetable quite a bit.
WWE has already had to pull Daniel Bryan off the tour. PWInsider's Steven Fernandes reports that "Bryan is no longer advertised for the WWE European tour."
Word on a Possible Batista Return
Batista's return to the ring once seemed inevitable. He was just going to take a few months off to promote Guardians of the Galaxy and get back to slamming people to the mat.
The success of that movie and The Animal's displeasure with his latest run make his comeback less of a certainty.
According to PWInsider Elite (h/t Wrestling Inc), people close to Batista are saying that he was unhappy and disappointed with how his last WWE run went. If he does end up returning, it would likely be for a program at WrestleMania 31.
The report also notes that Batista has expressed interest in taking on Triple H in a Retirement match.
That's a no-brainer of a matchup. It may be tough to get Batista on-board with any other ideas, but his reported desire for this bout would make negotiations easier.
Besides, it's a fitting way to end his career. At WrestleMania 21, he defeated Triple H to become world champ and cement himself as a top star. A decade later, he could walk away from the ring with one last collision with his old mentor.
Before Batista goes into the movie-making business full time, a grand sendoff awaits. This is an idea WWE should push for. Adding that match would be a big step toward creating a stacked WrestleMania 31 card.
Brock Lesnar at SmackDown?
Fans in Wichita, Kansas, are either headed for a huge letdown or a chance to see The Beast Incarnate on SmackDown for the first time since 2004.
Lesnar is not on the list of advertised Superstars for the Oct. 21 SmackDown tapings. He is, though, in the following commercial for the event:
Dave Meltzer believes that's simply a case of miscommunication. He reported on F4WOnline (h/t PWMania) that the advertisement is incorrect. He cited issues between those in charge of promotions and talent relations as the reason for the possible mix-up.
The SmackDown is the last one before Hell in a Cell, so it makes sense to a point to get him on that show. Still, WWE didn't book him on any pre-SummerSlam or pre-WrestleMania SmackDowns. It's unlikely that WWE would pull out all the stops for a less significant pay-per-view.
Lesnar is not even listed on WWE's website as being a part of Hell in a Cell itself.
Don't count on him being on SmackDown, Oct. 21 or otherwise. The safer bet is for Ryder to keep losing and for the lure of the ring to bring Batista back.