Controversy ran wild this past week. Usually, summer storylines in pro wrestling are only wild on camera, but this week offered plenty of drama outside the ring.
Alberto Del Rio and Paige Continue Hall of Fame Careers in Controversy
While their wrestling careers are destined to be studies in underachievement, Alberto El Patron and Paige continue to kill it in scandals outside of the ring. In the latest bit of drama from the radioactive couple, El Patron was detained at Orlando International Airport after an alleged domestic dispute stemming from an argument with Paige, who is still under contract with WWE.
In light of yet another scandal featuring El Patron, it's unfathomable how this man continues to receive elusive opportunities with pro wrestling companies. At 40 years of age, El Patron has proven to be fool's gold during two different stints with WWE where he quickly flamed out. Each WWE stint ended with an ugly divorce—he still rips his former employer every chance he gets as reported by Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc—and he was a proven public relations disaster well before his latest incident.
GFW recently rebranded in order to distance itself from the negative image associated with TNA/Impact Wrestling, and this is the guy they made world champion. This is where I'm supposed to say "new ownership, same ineptitude," but Jeff Jarrett and Dutch Mantel were part of a previous regime with this company, so it's just same ownership, new ineptitude.
However, they may have turned over a new leaf after suspending El Patron following the airport dispute, per TMZ.
Mae Young Classic Kicks Off
The Mae Young Classic is underway as WWE looks to knock it out of the park with a summer tournament for the second-straight year after the Cruiserweight Classic. As was revealed on The Ross Report (h/t Wrestling Inc), WWE Hall of Famer Madusa (aka Alundra Blayze) is set to join Jim Ross and Lita at the announce desk.
Also of note: The debut of Candice LeRae, wife of NXT Superstar Johnny Gargano, per PWInsider (h/t Wrestling Inc).
Expectations are decidedly high for this showcase given the success of the women's division in NXT, in addition to the quality of previous tournaments like the CWC and the hotly contested bracket for the UK Championship earlier this year.
Roman Reigns Turns Heel...Then Babyface, Again
WWE fans and media quickly shifted into "pro wrestling is real and I'm a lawyer" mode as they threw around terms like "vehicular manslaughter" to decide Roman Reigns' actions at Great Balls of Fire.
To be honest, it was quite puzzling for Reigns, who is typically booked as a babyface, to go as far as to commandeer an ambulance with Strowman inside of it, crash the vehicle and flee the scene of a crime. Many felt this was the beginning of a rare double-turn as Strowman walked off on his own power.
Reigns returned the following night and all but brushed off his actions as a tribute to the Attitude Era. He wasn't even punished by Kurt Angle, who likely has enough on his mind (see below). This incident was further proof of something Tripe H has said from the start: Roman Reigns doesn't need to turn heel because he is the biggest heel and babyface in the promotion in his current incarnation.
Austin Aries: The Greatest Man Ever Released?
Austin Aries was released from his WWE contract last week per WWE.com, shaking up the entire WWE Universe. Aries was a top star in the floundering cruiserweight division but was reportedly unhappy with his spot and his bad attitude backstage allegedly led to some tension per the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Wrestling Inc).
Aries spent his final months with the promotion losing multiple matches to Neville, failing to capture the Cruiserweight Championship.
Aries now stands to return to the indies where he will figure to be a hot commodity after benefiting from national exposure on the WWE stage. Being outspoken backstage in WWE seems to be a matter of size and hierarchy. Sometimes speaking up is seen as a sign of strength and passion. Other times, it results in a trip to the WWE dog house and being released.
Kurt's Angle to be Solved on Raw
This coming Monday, Kurt Angle is set to reveal a scandal that threatens to split up his family, so let's all hope this is the one controversy that doesn't involve Paige or Alberto El Patron.
After telling a mystery person "I love you" as Raw went off the air, wrestling fans immediately began to speculate who this individual was. Former TNA President Dixie Carter and Stephanie McMahon quickly rose to the top of the list as potential suitors.
Corey Graves is a key part of this mystery storyline involving a series of texts, so I'm going to go out on a limb to guess that Angle's secret lover very well may be Graves himself.
AJ Styles Shocks Madison Square Garden, Wins United States Championship
AJ Styles won the United States Championship last week in a rare title change at a house show. This event occurred in Madison Square Garden, which is no stranger to iconic WWE moments and even major house show title changes, as was the case when Diesel defeated Bob Backlund in 1995.
WWE should look into doing more title switches at live events, as it would add incentive to attend when there is an "anything can happen" feel to them. Next time WWE wants to do a big angle or title switch, doing so anywhere other than one of the most famous arenas in the country would be even more spontaneous.
Why can't Brock Lesnar drop the Universal Championship to Samoa Joe one night in Topeka, Kansas?