Randy Orton Injury Update, Strowman WWE Return Rumors, AEW Interested in Buddy Murphy

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJuly 23, 2021

World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton poses for photographers during the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Super Showdown event in the Saudi Red Sea port city of Jeddah late on January 7, 2019. (Photo by Amer HILABI / AFP)        (Photo credit should read AMER HILABI/AFP via Getty Images)
Photo credit should read AMER HILABI/AFP via Getty Images

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.

Orton Reportedly on WWE's Disabled List

Randy Orton's recent absence from WWE programming may be injury-related.

According to Fightful Select (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), Orton has internally been listed on the "disabled/inactive list" while off television.

Fightful noted there are no issues between Orton and WWE, and the hope is he will be back for the Aug. 2 episode of Raw.

The Viper's most recent appearance came on the June 21 Raw when he lost a Money in the Bank ladder match qualifying match in part because of an accidental distraction from RK-Bro tag team partner Riddle.

Orton was supposed to compete in a Triple Threat match against Drew McIntyre and AJ Styles for the final MITB ladder match spot the following week, but he was absent from Raw.

Riddle won a battle royal to replace him in the match and then lost the Triple Threat match as McIntyre qualified for the ladder match.

During Orton's absence, Riddle has referenced him regularly and kept him at the forefront, which suggests big plans are in place for when Orton returns.

Based on the direction storylines are heading in, it seems likely WWE's plan is to have Riddle and Orton beat Styles and Omos for the Raw Tag Team Championship next month.

If Orton is back for the Aug. 2 Raw, it will give WWE a few solid weeks to build toward that anticipated bout.

WWE Reportedly Interested in Bringing Back Strowman

After releasing him last month, WWE reportedly already has interest in bringing Braun Strowman back into the fold.

According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Marc Middleton), WWE's interest stems partly from the fact that AEW has been making big roster moves.

AEW has brought in former WWE stars Andrade El Idolo and Malakai Black, and the company is rumored to be signing both CM Punk and Daniel Bryan as well.

Middleton noted there is mutual interest between Strowman and AEW, which could increase WWE's sense of urgency to re-sign him.

Strowman's release came as a huge surprise since he has been among WWE's top stars in recent years. Just over a year ago, the Monster Among Men beat Goldberg for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania 36.

Additionally, Strowman has held the Intercontinental and Raw Tag Team championships since joining the main roster in 2015.

Shortly before his release, Strowman beat Shane McMahon in a steel cage match at WrestleMania 37. He also faced McIntyre and Bobby Lashley in a Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania Backlash in May, which was his final WWE match.

While Strowman's in-ring and promo work leave something to be desired, he has the look, size and strength WWE Chairman Vince McMahon typically covets.

His WWE resume could make him a desirable target for any number of wrestling companies, but WWE may have the advantage after building him from the ground up, especially if it comes through with a large monetary offer.

AEW Reportedly Has Interest in Signing Murphy

AEW may have its eye on another Superstar who was recently released from his WWE contract.

According to Meltzer (h/t Middleton), AEW has interest in Buddy Murphy. He previously reported that Impact Wrestling is interested in Murphy as well.

Since AEW and Impact have a working relationship that has seen AEW world champion Kenny Omega win the Impact World Championship, it is conceivable Murphy could sign with one of the promotions and work for both of them.

WWE released Murphy on June 2 after not using him much in previous months.

He seemed to be on the ascent last year after working with Seth Rollins, turning on him and beating him in a match on SmackDown, which led to his alignment with the Mysterio family.

Instead, WWE dropped the angle, and Murphy received little TV time before his departure.

Murphy held the NXT Tag Team Championship, Raw Tag Team Championship and Cruiserweight Championship during his WWE tenure and referred to himself as the "Best Kept Secret" because of how underrated he was in the company.

Murphy figures to garner plenty of interest from other companies, especially AEW given its penchant for signing former WWE stars like Andrade and Black.

Murphy referred to Omega as his dream opponent in April, which could be a sign that both AEW and Impact have a strong chance to land him.

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