Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe and All Elite Wrestling.
JR Discusses Why Austin vs. Hogan Never Happened
Stone Cold Steve Austin vs. Hulk Hogan is perhaps the biggest dream match in wrestling history that never happened, leaving many fans to wonder why it was never booked when Hogan returned to WWE in 2002.
On the latest episode of Grilling JR (h/t WrestlingInc's Marco Rovere), current AEW announcer and WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross noted that while the subject of Austin vs. Hogan was brought up at the time, Austin didn't want the match out of fear that it wouldn't have lived up to the hype: "Austin didn't have the match with Hogan because he didn't want to have the match The Undertaker did. Hogan was battered, beat up, multiple back surgeries."
Ross noted that Hogan was so worn down physically that even taking a flat-back bump was difficult for him, which severely limited the potential of his matches.
Many assumed Austin vs. Hogan was a certainty for WrestleMania X-8, but WWE went in a different direction with Austin facing Scott Hall and Hogan taking on The Rock.
While Austin vs. Hall was largely forgettable, Hogan vs. The Rock is considered an all-time classic, not because of the in-ring work but largely due to the fan reaction.
The crowd essentially forced Hogan to turn babyface, and he went on to beat Triple H for the Undisputed WWE Championship at the next pay-per-view, which was Backlash.
Hogan dropped the title about a month later to The Undertaker at Judgment Day in a match that was widely panned.
Ross explained what went wrong in the bout between Hogan and Taker, saying:
"The match was not an artistic success. But it wasn't because those guys didn't work their asses off. You've got a guy that's got a bad back and he's not a spring chicken. … Taker tried to do all he could to make the match a success, but it just didn't get the job done. And that's sad to say when you're talking about two legit legends like Taker and Hulk."
Austin's fears and suspicions were apparently realized at Judgment Day, as Hogan wasn't able to do much in the match, and The Undertaker was unable to carry it on his own.
Stone Cold may have encountered a similar scenario if he had faced Hogan, so perhaps it was for the best that a match between the legends was left to the imagination.
Banks, Naomi Situation Reportedly Has No End in Sight
The standoff between WWE and the team of Sasha Banks and Naomi reportedly isn't expected to end any time soon.
Last week on Raw, Banks and Naomi were scheduled to be part of a six-pack challenge against Asuka, Becky Lynch, Doudrop and Nikki A.S.H. with the winner going on to challenge Bianca Belair for the Raw Women's Championship at Hell in a Cell.
Banks and Naomi walked out either before or during the show, however, forcing WWE to change the match to Asuka vs. Lynch.
WWE later released a statement condemning the actions of Banks and Naomi, and the company has since referred to their walkout as "unprofessional" on numerous occasions:
B/R Wrestling @BRWrestling
Sasha Banks and Naomi walked out on tonight’s Raw after Banks had issues with “creative ideas pitched,” per <a href="https://twitter.com/PWInsidercom?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@PWInsidercom</a><br><br>WWE issued a statement afterwards <a href="https://t.co/c7PZc3K4KL">pic.twitter.com/c7PZc3K4KL</a>
On last week's episode of SmackDown, announcer Michael Cole read a statement, noting that Banks and Naomi had been suspended indefinitely and stripped of the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships.
WWE has also removed Sasha and Naomi from the pre-show intro, deleted their Facebook pages and taken all of their merchandise off WWE Shop.
Fightful noted that while Banks and Naomi were not in Evansville, Indiana, for Raw on Monday and seemingly aren't figured into any immediate plans, WWE does not intend on releasing them from their contracts either.
With Banks and Naomi out of the picture for now, WWE booked Belair to defend her title against both Lynch and Asuka at Hell in a Cell in a Triple Threat.
Meanwhile, the WWE Women's Tag Team Championships are vacant, and WWE has announced that a tournament will be held to determine new champs.
Cole Reveals Biggest Reasons for Going to AEW
Adam Cole has been one of AEW's top stars since leaving WWE and joining the company in September, and he discussed some of his motivations for making the move to AEW recently.
During an appearance at Motor City Comic Con (h/t WrestlingInc's Matthew Carlins), Cole divulged that spending more time with his girlfriend, former AEW women's world champion Britt Baker, played a role in his decision:
"One of the biggest things was getting to be around and see Britt a lot more. At the time, our schedules were so different that there'd be some times that I'd see her for maybe half a day, one day a week. Sometimes I wouldn't see her for weeks at a time. So getting to travel with her and just being behind the curtain when she walks through after she's done a match or a promo is really nice."
Cole had been with WWE since 2017, working almost exclusively as part of the NXT brand, and he was at or near the top for the duration of his time there.
In addition to being the leader of Undisputed Era, Cole held the NXT Championship, North American Championship and NXT Tag Team Championship, making him only the second Triple Crown champion in NXT history.
Cole also still boasts the longest NXT Championship reign of all time at 396 days, but there wasn't much left for him to do after dropping the title.
He had accomplished everything possible in NXT, meaning his decision when his WWE contract expired came down to going to the WWE main roster or making the leap to AEW.
Cole admitted that watching AEW made him want to go to the promotion, saying: "It just looked like so much fun. You know, I had known tons of people on the roster, but to see these crazy, wild crowds every single week, I was like, 'God, I'd love to wrestle in front of these fans.'"
Cole's dream became a reality at All Out in September when he and Bryan Danielson both made their AEW debuts following the main event.
Since then, Cole has competed for the AEW World Championship on multiple occasions, and at Double or Nothing on Sunday, he will compete in the finals of the Owen Hart Foundation tournament against either Samoa Joe or Kyle O'Reilly.
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