WWE Rumors on Rollins, Big E, WrestleMania, Drew McIntyre Injury; Nakamura UpdateJanuary 11, 2022
Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
Original Plans Reportedly Called for Rollins vs. Big E at WrestleMania
Before the Day 1 card got altered, WWE was reportedly working toward a WWE Championship feud and match between Seth Rollins and Big E.
According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Matthew Wilkinson), Rollins was originally supposed to win the WWE title at Day 1 in a Fatal 4-Way against Big E, Kevin Owens and Bobby Lashley before going on to defend it against Big E at WrestleMania 38.
Instead, Brock Lesnar got added to that match to make it a Fatal 5-Way when Roman Reigns could not defend the Universal Championship against Lesnar because of a positive COVID-19 test.
Lesnar went on to win the match and become WWE champion, and he will put it on the line at Royal Rumble against Lashley. Meanwhile, Rollins will challenge Reigns for the Universal title.
Meltzer did not indicate if Rollins vs. Big E is still in the cards for WrestleMania, but if it is, that means Rollins could beat Reigns for the Universal Championship at Royal Rumble and Big E could win the 30-man Royal Rumble match.
Rollins and Big E had an interaction and match on Monday's Raw, and Big E teased beating Rollins for the Universal title at WrestleMania should he win it from Reigns.
In the subsequent match, Rollins defeated Big E with The Stomp, and the decisive finish could be a sign that WWE plans to go in a different direction.
There is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding what the world title matches will look like at WrestleMania, which should make for a fun, unpredictable build toward Royal Rumble.
McIntyre Reportedly Seen in Neck Brace
Drew McIntyre is reportedly dealing with a neck injury that may result in surgery.
According to PWInsider (h/t H Jenkins of Ringside News), McIntyre has been seen "several times" in Pittsburgh recently, and he has been sporting a neck brace as well.
McIntyre was reportedly seen at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital, which is one of the facilities WWE physician Dr. Joseph Maroon is affiliated with. Several top WWE stars have undergone procedures led by Maroon over the years.
It was noted by PWInsider that McIntyre's injury will "likely" require surgery, although no specifics were reported regarding the severity of the injury, when surgery might occur or how long it would keep him out.
McIntyre was last seen on WWE programming at the Day 1 pay-per-view Jan. 1 when he defeated Madcap Moss in singles action. After the match, WWE ran an injury angle that saw Moss and Happy Corbin attack McIntyre backstage and crush his neck with a steel chair.
That segment was likely WWE's way of writing McIntyre off television for the time being so it could assess his status.
Prior to the latest update, Meltzer (h/t Subhojeet Mukherjee of Ringside News) reported that McIntyre has been dealing with a neck injury "for months."
Meltzer added that WWE was hopeful McIntyre could avoid surgery and be available for WrestleMania since surgery would likely keep him out for an extended period.
McIntyre figured to be one of the top candidates to win the Men's Royal Rumble match later this month, but if he isn't healthy enough to go, it opens up a big opportunity for other Superstars.
Nakamura Nursing Hand Injury
Shinsuke Nakamura's tag team partner, Rick Boogs, divulged this week that Nakamura has recently been on the shelf because of injury.
Appearing on Out of Character with Fox Sports' Ryan Satin (h/t Jenkins), Boogs said a hand ailment has been keeping the Intercontinental champion out of the ring:
"We've only had a couple of tag matches together. And he suffered a hand injury that's kept him out for close to two months now it seems like. So, I'm kind of just looking forward as of right now for him to be healthy and cleared and then us just kick some tail. And then from there, down the road we'll branch off. I'm in no rush with that."
Nakamura has not had a match of any kind since a Dec. 18 house show when he teamed with Boogs against Corbin and Moss. His last televised match was on the Dec. 10 SmackDown when he teamed with Boogs against Los Lotharios.
The King of Strong Style's last singles match stretches back even further to Survivor Series on Nov. 21 when he beat United States champion Damian Priest by disqualification.
Much has been made of the lack of title defenses during Nakamura's reign as IC champion, and it is understandable why, as he has not defended the title on TV since beating Apollo Crews on the Sept. 24 episode of SmackDown.
Nakamura has a No. 1 contender waiting in the wings, as Sami Zayn recently won a 12-man gauntlet match to earn a shot at the Intercontinental Championship.
No announcement has been made regarding when that match will happen, but one can only assume it will occur once Nakamura is healthy.
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