Drew McIntyre Injury Update, Kairi Sane Contract Rumors; Reaction to WWE Firing RegalJanuary 7, 2022
Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
McIntyre Reportedly Dealing with Neck Injury
WWE ran an injury angle involving Drew McIntyre at the Day 1 pay-per-view, and it was reportedly done since McIntyre is nursing a legitimate injury.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Subhojeet Mukherjee of Ringside News), McIntyre has had a nagging neck injury "for months" and that the plan is for him to get it examined over the next week.
Meltzer added that WWE is hopeful McIntyre will be back at least in time for WrestleMania and that he can avoid surgery since a procedure would keep him on the shelf for months.
At Day 1, McIntyre defeated Madcap Moss in a singles match, but he was later attacked by Moss and Happy Corbin backstage. They trapped his head inside a steel chair and stomped on it before running off.
That angle should allow WWE to keep McIntyre off television for a bit, although one can only assume WWE would love to have him back at the end of the month for Royal Rumble.
Given that McIntyre is the clear top babyface on SmackDown, he would be considered a strong contender to win the men's Royal Rumble match and go on to face Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania.
It was originally thought that Reigns vs. Brock Lesnar would happen at WrestleMania, but with Lesnar winning the WWE Championship at Day 1, they are now on different brands.
Reigns vs. McIntyre would be a big-time match, but if McIntyre's injury precludes him from being in that spot, WWE may have to get creative in the coming months.
Sane's WWE Contract Reportedly Expires in February
Despite speculation that her WWE contract had already expired, Kairi Sane is reportedly still under contract with the company.
According to Meltzer (h/t H Jenkins of Ringside News), Sane's deal expires in February, at which point she would be free to resume her wrestling career with any company she pleases.
Sane removed references to WWE from her social media accounts last month, and while she is still under contract, Meltzer noted that those decisions "gave the impression" she doesn't intend to re-sign.
The 33-year-old Sane wrestled for WWE from 2016-20, winning the inaugural Mae Young Classic tournament as well as the NXT Women's Championship and the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship.
She left the company as an active performer in 2020 because of her desire to live in her native Japan.
Rather than wrestling, Sane has served in an ambassador role for WWE in Japan, although she did reportedly have a desire to wrestle at one point over the past year.
Meltzer reported that WWE denied Sane the opportunity to take part in a Stardom show at Budokan Hall.
Given that Sane wants to live in Japan, it stands to reason that she will continue her wrestling career there when her WWE contract ends, although she could technically work for other promotions such as AEW on occasion.
Reported Talent Reaction to Regal's WWE Firing
Some within WWE are reportedly saddened by the company's decision to part ways with talent scout and former wrestler William Regal.
According to Meltzer (h/t Michael Perry of Ringside News), some WWE talent were said to be "very depressed" over the firing because of Regal's knowledge and the fact that he helped many earn their big break with WWE.
WWE Superstars Kevin Owens, Liv Morgan and Ilja Dragunov are just a few of those who praised Regal after news of his release broke this week:
I truly can’t overstate this:<br><br>There is no chance I would be where I am today without William Regal.<br><br>I’m so grateful for his advice and guidance throughout the years. <br><br>An absolute example of what I aspire to be when my time as an active performer in the ring is done. <a href="https://t.co/HmbltoOwYT">https://t.co/HmbltoOwYT</a>
“He would be in there taking tackles just to show us. You know, how to keep the realism, & just like the intent of why we’re doing these things, & why you know, it makes sense. <br><br>He was just so hands-on & so great”<br><br>- Liv Morgan on William Regal<br>(via My Moms Basement) <a href="https://t.co/HY3Qfg3qLX">pic.twitter.com/HY3Qfg3qLX</a>
For more than a year, WWE has been releasing people at every level of its company, including close to 100 in-ring performers.
This week, WWE largely focused on parting ways with backstage personnel in NXT, including Regal, Samoa Joe and Road Dogg.
Regal was an active wrestler for WWE from 1998-99 and again from 2000-13 before taking on a backstage role in which he became paramount in scouting talent and getting them signed to WWE.
The 53-year-old was also the on-screen general manager of NXT from 2014-21, but he disappeared from television when WWE transitioned to the new NXT 2.0 brand last year.
The Englishman continued to scout and work with talent after getting removed from TV, but WWE opted against keeping him around.
With the release of Regal and several others, many of Triple H's closest NXT confidants are now gone from the company besides Shawn Michaels and Matt Bloom.
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