Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
Lesnar Reportedly Not Negotiating with AEW
While AEW is reportedly set to bring in some huge stars, Brock Lesnar doesn't appear to be among them.
According to Andrew Zarian of the Mat Men Pro Wrestling Podcast (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), AEW and Lesnar spoke "maybe once in passing, like nothing serious whatsoever."
Lesnar has been a free agent since shortly after his last WWE match, which was a loss to Drew McIntyre at WrestleMania 36 in April 2020.
While Lesnar's eventual WWE return has long been assumed, it has yet to happen, which has led to speculation that perhaps AEW could get itself into the conversation.
AEW is rumored to be signing a pair of former top WWE stars in CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, meaning it doesn't necessarily need Lesnar right now, despite how big of a deal his arrival would be.
WWE seemingly has a bigger need for Lesnar, especially since Bobby Lashley is the reigning WWE champion. Fans have been calling for a Lesnar vs. Lashley dream match for years, and WWE would appear to have a better chance than ever to make it happen.
Lashley is scheduled to defend the WWE title against a former Lesnar rival in Goldberg at SummerSlam, which could conceivably leave the door open for The Beast Incarnate to resurface.
Lesnar vs. Universal champion Roman Reigns would also be a money match, especially with former Lesnar advocate Paul Heyman now representing Reigns.
AEW would be wise to reach out to and consider any wrestler who would improve the product, but there is no indication that Lesnar is on the radar right now.
WWE Reaction to Punk, Bryan Possibly Signing with AEW
WWE and its television partners reportedly have different views on Punk and Bryan potentially signing with AEW.
According to Zarian (h/t Middleton), WWE's television partners are "shocked" AEW was able to sign Punk, while WWE is "not very concerned" about the move since it wasn't in negotiations to bring him back anyway.
WWE reportedly does see Bryan leaving for AEW as a "big hit," however, because of his popularity and how deeply he had been entrenched in WWE for the past decade.
Regarding the signings as a whole, a TV network source told Zarian, "WWE is not as concerned about the possible Daniel Bryan and CM Punk signing to AEW as we are."
Punk and Bryan are two of the biggest names in pro wrestling, and AEW signing them would be a huge deal.
The signing of Punk would be especially significant since he has not wrestled in seven years. Punk has been viewed as the biggest free agent in wrestling during that time, and it was unclear if he would ever return.
Bryan, meanwhile, returned from what was thought to be a career-ending injury a few years ago and has resumed being one of WWE's top stars since then.
He even competed in the main event of WrestleMania 37 in April against Reigns and Edge.
While it is possible there is nothing WWE could have done to prevent Bryan and Punk from going to AEW, the signings should provide AEW with even more momentum and put the pressure on WWE to respond with some big moves of their own.
Moxley Possibly Facing NJPW Star at All Out
AEW is reportedly planning a huge cross-promotion match involving Jon Moxley at the All Out pay-per-view on Sept. 5.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Jason Ounpraseuth), Moxley told AEW President Tony Khan he wanted to face a New Japan Pro-Wrestling star at All Out, and Khan agreed to the idea.
While Moxley's opponent hasn't yet been confirmed, it reportedly may be Hiroshi Tanahashi.
Mox dropped the IWGP United States Championship to Lance Archer in a Texas Death Match on Dynamite last week. Archer then successfully retained the title against NJPW's Hikuleo this week.
Prior to Archer vs. Hikuleo, a video of Tanahashi laying down an IWGP United States title challenge was shown on Dynamite:
NJPW Global @njpwglobal
BREAKING:<br><br>During <a href="https://twitter.com/AEW?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@AEW</a> Dynamite, <a href="https://twitter.com/tanahashi1_100?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@tanahashi1_100</a> issued a challenge to the winner of the night's IWGP US Heavyweight Championship bout! <br><br>Now, Tanahashi has revealed a time and place: RESURGENCE: The Torch at L.A. Coliseum!<br><br>TICKETS: <a href="https://t.co/6ukDAMgO4C">https://t.co/6ukDAMgO4C</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/njresurgence?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#njresurgence</a> <a href="https://t.co/DK5yWiSmjB">pic.twitter.com/DK5yWiSmjB</a>
Following Archer's win, it is official that he will defend against Tanahashi at a NJPW show in Los Angeles on Aug. 14.
Should Tanahashi win that match, it could set the stage for Moxley vs. Tanahashi with the IWGP United States title on the line at All Out.
Tanahashi is one of the biggest stars in the history of Japanese wrestling, as the 44-year-old veteran is an eight-time IWGP Heavyweight champion and two-time IWGP Intercontinental champion.
Moxley vs. Tanahashi would be a blockbuster dream match on any card, and it would add even more star power to what figures to be a stacked All Out event.
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