WWE Rumors: Big E's Title Run; Jeff Hardy's Release; Roman Reigns vs. Drew McIntyre

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 3, 2022

Roman Reigns (R) competes with Brock Lesnar during the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Crown Jewel pay-per-view in the Saudi capital Riyadh on October 21, 2021. (Photo by Fayez Nureldine / AFP) (Photo by FAYEZ NURELDINE/AFP via Getty Images)

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from WWE and All Elite Wrestling. 

People Backstage Frustrated with Big E Title Reign Booking

Big E's run as WWE champion ended with a proverbial dud Saturday night at Day 1 when he was pinned by Brock Lesnar in the Fatal 5-Way match.

The result was surprising not only because Lesnar was inserted in the match only earlier that day, but also because Big E was not at all protected despite three others being there who could have taken the pin.

Fightful Select reported the Big E storyline was the source of internal frustration at WWE, with people backstage trying to go "above and beyond" to make inconsistent and poorly booked storylines work.

Big E was never booked as a particularly strong champion after cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase to beat Bobby Lashley. He lost seven matches during his reign as champion, a high number over less than four months, and he never seemed like he had the full backing as the face of WWE. 

The final storyline of his reign as champion made almost zero logical sense. Seth Rollins fairly won a one-on-one match for the WWE Championship that was supposed to take place at Day 1. Over the course of several weeks, WWE added Kevin Owens, then Bobby Lashley and finally Lesnar to the mix without any rhyme or reason.

It seemed to indicate a lack of faith that Big E could carry a one-on-one feud with Rollins, and WWE's decision to have Lesnar pin the champion pegs him as the least-important person in a five-man match.

It was a total and complete whiff from a storyline perspective, and it's hard to not feel for Big E. 

Jeff Hardy's Release Caused Creative Plans to Change

When Jeff Hardy was released by WWE, it seemed like the company had major plans with him and Drew McIntyre.

Hardy and McIntyre teamed together on several house shows against Happy Corbin and Madcap Moss, and Hardy's final match with WWE was a six-man tag when he teamed with McIntyre and King Woods against The Usos and Roman Reigns.

It's unclear if Hardy and McIntyre were going to form a long-term tag team, but Fightful Select reported Hardy's release "threw a wrench into the creative plans" for McIntyre. The Scottish Warrior is currently set to miss time with a neck injury after being written off television following an attack by Corbin and Moss at Day 1.

McIntyre vs. Roman Still on the Radar

It's anyone's guess where WWE programming is heading as we prepare for WrestleMania season. Lesnar appears destined for a matchup with Bobby Lashley at the Royal Rumble, strangely putting his feud with Roman Reigns on the back burner.

Reigns tested positive for COVID-19 on Saturday, so it's unclear when he can return to WWE programming. He is immunocompromised because of his bout with leukemia, so Reigns' absence could be longer than most out of precaution for his health.

Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer said there were plans in place for Reigns to eventually battle McIntyre, though those are on hold. 

“I don’t think anyone believed for a second he (Madcap Moss) was going to beat Drew McIntyre," Meltzer said. "It’s funny because with Drew McIntyre being hurt, you know, they could have done it, but they didn’t even dare do it. I wouldn’t have either because, at the end of the day, the plan is still supposed to be Drew McIntyre vs. Roman Reigns at some point. So he shouldn’t be losing to Madcap Moss even if he is going to be hurt. Hopefully, the injury is not too bad.”

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