Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
Original Reported Plans for Big E Winning WWE Title
Big E was the talk of the pro wrestling world Monday night, as he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on Bobby Lashley and became the new WWE champion on Raw.
Earlier in the day, Big E took to Twitter and made it clear that he intended to cash in after the WWE Championship match between Lashley and Randy Orton. WWE then made Big E a central focus of Raw throughout the show.
After Big E's successful cash-in and historic title win, Andrew Zarian of the Mat Men Pro Wrestling Podcast provided some insight into WWE's original plans for Big E's cash-in.
Zarian noted that Big E was supposed to cash in "during the original draft date for Raw."
WWE announced Monday that the 2021 WWE draft will commence on the Oct. 1 episode of SmackDown and continue Oct. 4 on Raw. It is unclear if Zarian meant the cash-in was supposed to happen on Oct. 4 or on a different date originally thought to be draft night.
Before WWE made the official announcement regarding when the draft will take place, there was speculation and various reports suggesting it would occur in September.
Whatever the case, WWE decided Big E was ready to take the next step to the top, which is something fans have been anticipating for quite some time.
In addition to being WWE champion for the first time, Big E is back alongside his New Day stablemates Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods on Raw, which should add to the entertainment factor.
The biggest key for WWE now is building on the momentum gained from Big E's win and firmly establishing him as a main event player for a long time to come.
A rematch with Lashley could be on the horizon at Extreme Rules on Sept. 26, and if Big E wins that match without the element of a cash-in, he will be well on his way toward becoming one of the faces of the company.
Reported Plans for Samoa Joe After Relinquishing NXT Title
On the eve of NXT's rebrand into NXT 2.0, Samoa Joe made an announcement that shook NXT to its core.
Joe took to Twitter to reveal that because of injuries, he was stepping away from the ring for a brief amount of time and thus vacating the NXT Championship:
It was later announced by WWE that the Fatal 4-Way between Pete Dunne, Tommaso Ciampa, Kyle O'Reilly and LA Knight originally for the No. 1 contendership on Tuesday's episode of NXT will be for the NXT Championship instead.
Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News) reported that there is some "vagueness" regarding Joe's status and why WWE had him relinquish the title.
Meltzer also noted that Joe was hired back by WWE to be "more of an administrator" or a "front-office person" by WWE, and the plan is to have him primarily fill those roles moving forward.
Joe did suggest in his promo that he would be back in the ring in the near future, however, meaning he may now be a part-time wrestler used to advance storylines in NXT when needed.
Based on speculation that NXT is going to start getting away from older and independent wrestlers in favor of younger Superstars with backgrounds in other athletic endeavors, it makes sense to change things up now.
Any of the four performers in Wednesday's Fatal 4-Way could make great NXT champions moving forward.
Ciampa has been there before, Dunne is the youngest among them, O'Reilly is on an upward trajectory, and Knight has the most charisma and perhaps fits the WWE model best.
Regardless of who wins, there is no question that Joe vacating the title added even more excitement and intrigue to the launch of NXT 2.0.
Gargano's WWE Contract Reportedly Expiring Soon
On the heels of Adam Cole leaving WWE for All Elite Wrestling at the conclusion of his contract, another top NXT star's deal is reportedly set to expire.
According to Fightful Select (h/t Upton), Johnny Gargano's WWE contract is set to end Dec. 3. It was noted that while WWE and Gargano have not entered into extension talks, that is expected to happen during the fall.
Gargano is one of the most successful NXT stars of all time, having held the NXT Championship and NXT Tag Team Championships one time each as well as the NXT North American Championship three times.
Johnny Wrestling has thrived as both a babyface and a heel, and he is currently the leader of The Way, which is comprised of himself, Candice LeRae, Austin Theory and Indi Hartwell.
In addition to being perhaps the best in-ring worker in WWE, Gargano has developed into one of the most entertaining personalities as well because of his comedic chops.
Despite all of that, there may be some concern among WWE fans about Gargano either choosing to leave or WWE simply letting him go.
Based on the speculation that WWE wants to go younger and less indie-centric in NXT, it could be argued that Gargano doesn't fit the mold. He's 34 years of age, has an independent wrestling background and isn't particularly big.
With that said, there is value in having performers like Gargano and Ciampa in NXT since they can be key members of the roster while also helping bring along some of the younger talent.
It remains to be seen if Gargano would be open to that type of role, but given how outspoken he has always been about his love for WWE, it seems like a possibility.
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