WWE Rumors on Adam Cole's Contract Status, Sasha Banks' Absence, Keith Lee's FutureAugust 31, 2021
Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
Adam Cole Reportedly a Free Agent
The status of Adam Cole has been a major talking point in the wrestling world for the past few weeks.
According to PW Insider (h/t Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc), an internal memo sent out by WWE on Monday morning has confirmed that Cole is now a free agent after his contract expired.
Cole last appeared on WWE television at NXT TakeOver 36 on Aug. 22. He lost a 2-out-of-3 Falls match to Kyle O'Reilly. The Panama City Playboy has been one of the featured Superstars in NXT since debuting on the brand in 2017.
Earlier this month, Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (h/t Joshua Gagnon of Wrestling Inc) reported Cole met with Vince McMahon and there had been talks about moving him up to the main roster if he re-signed with WWE.
There have been rumors that Cole could end up in All Elite Wrestling if he decides to leave WWE.
AEW does present a number of intriguing options for Cole. The company has tremendous buzz right now, with CM Punk debuting last week and speculation that Daniel Bryan could be showing up soon.
Cole's girlfriend, Britt Baker, is the current AEW women's champion. She has been dropping hints on social media about his future.
Wherever Cole ends up going, he's going to be one of the most popular wrestlers on that company's roster. He's a fantastic worker who has an innate ability to connect with crowds, whether it's as a heel or babyface.
Update on Sasha Banks' Absence
One of the great mysteries in WWE for several weeks has been the absence of Sasha Banks.
It appears there won't be any answers on her status in the near future. According to PW Insider (h/t H Jenkins of Ringside News), Banks is not expected back on the road with WWE this week.
The report did note that WWE would like to have the Legit Boss back by the Sept. 10 show at Madison Square Garden, but it's unclear right now if that will happen.
Banks hasn't been seen on television since the Aug. 13 episode of Friday Night SmackDown. Along with Carmella and Zelina Vega, she attacked Bianca Belair to set up their scheduled match at SummerSlam.
There has been no reason given for Banks' absence from WWE. The ring announcer at an Aug. 14 house show in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Banks and Belair were scheduled to wrestle, told fans neither would be able to appear "due to unforeseen circumstances."
Despite WWE continuing to advertise Banks on the Aug. 22 pay-per-view during the show, including airing a video package before the match, her bout with Belair wound up being changed.
Becky Lynch made her long-awaited return in Banks' place, defeating Belair in 26 seconds to win the SmackDown women's championship.
Banks had just returned to WWE on July 30 after losing the title to Belair in the main event on night one of WrestleMania 37.
WWE Changing Keith Lee's Gimmick
As WWE continues to undergo significant roster changes, Keith Lee's character has been stuck in neutral since returning to television last month.
Things could be changing for the 36-year-old, with Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newletter reporting (h/t Middleton) that WWE is using Lee in dark matches on Raw and SmackDown in an attempt to change his style and work on a new character.
Paul Davis of WrestlingNews.co noted that McMahon has "considered turning (Lee) into a monster heel."
Lee has been a babyface throughout his time on the main roster. He recently returned to television after having a series of health issues earlier this year. The former NXT champion lost to WWE champion Bobby Lashley in his return bout and traded wins with Karrion Kross.
Since defeating Kross on the Aug. 2 episode of Raw, Lee has worked a series of dark matches against jobbers.
On the one hand, Lee's size and presence would seem to make him a natural heel. On the other hand, though, WWE's roster is already loaded with top heels who would likely place Lee low on the totem pole if that's the direction the company takes his character.
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