Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on Sasha Banks, John Cena and More
The saga of Sasha Banks continued to dominate headlines this week as the "is she or isn't she" nature of her employment with WWE still has industry insiders reporting different details.
Her status is not the only topic of discussion in pro wrestling rumor mill, though, as John Cena's return to WWE television on Monday's Raw sparked positivity within the locker room while Kevin Owens' absence from the same broadcast was cause for concern.
Dive deeper into those topics, as well as the state of NXT now that Triple H is back in charge, with this collection of rumors.
Sasha Banks' WWE Status
The uncertainty surrounding Sasha Banks' status in WWE continued this week, with Raj Giri of WrestlingInc.com seemingly providing more details about her release:
It is a very specific report from Giri, who has stood by his sources since originally reporting The Boss' release back on June 15.
It is also an interesting one in that it appears WWE is attempting to smooth things over, but is that because in hopes of working together again or with the goal of preventing any negative comments from Banks after her release is made public?
Despite the details from Giri, there are some still denying there has been any movement on the Banks situation.
Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com said both the 30-year-old and her tag team partner Naomi remain on the internal roster for the company and the status of neither has changed.
The enormity of Banks' star is surely at the center of the continued interest in this story. The Boss is a bona fide mainstream star in waiting. She is going to do big things beyond the ring, and the idea that WWE would release her is astonishing to some.
If Giri's report is accurate, the idea that legal for talent relations was involved in the decision suggests things are far trickier than an outright release and that the performer likely pushed it to that degree.
If Banks is that unhappy with her position in WWE and its creative plans for her on-screen persona, perhaps it's for the best that the two sides go their separate ways. Maybe absence will make the heart grow fonder and they will find their way back to each other.
Perhaps Banks finds creative and professional happiness elsewhere, such as All Elite Wrestling, which would likely be thrilled to have her on its roster.
Whatever the case may be, it appears we are nearing a situation in which one of the top homegrown stars of the last decade is about to be gone from the company in which she created so many memorable moments while helping to lead the women's revolution.
Reaction to John Cena's Return
John Cena's return for WWE had an effect beyond business, according to WrestleVotes, which claimed the 16-time world champion appeared to boost locker room morale, too:
It's no surprise Cena is a locker room leader. Everything about the 45-year-old suggests he would be a positive influence on those around him, including a roster of stars recently snakebitten by injuries and new part-time schedules.
The Cenation Leader will not be around consistently, but one can be hopeful that he participates in some sort of storyline at SummerSlam, which could desperately use a star of his magnitude on the show.
A backstage confrontation with Theory piqued some interest, while a verbal showdown with Seth Rollins had some thinking back to SummerSlam 2015 and the excellent match they had that night.
Whether he does or doesn't appear again this summer, it is good to know that a star of Cena's magnitude does generate good feelings rather than the negative ones that some part-time performers stepping back on television do.
Kevin Owens Injured?
Kevin Owens was originally slated to square off against Elias, Ezekiel or third brother Elrod Monday night on Raw with a chance to qualify for the men's Money in the Bank ladder match at stake. He didn't, though, which created questions about his whereabouts.
Johnson of PWInsider.com reported KO is injured and missed the show for that reason. However, it's believed to be a minor issue and The Prizefighter won't miss considerable time.
That is positive news for a Raw brand that really cannot afford to lose another star for a lengthy period. Cody Rhodes recently headed to the sidelines for up to nine months with a torn pectoral muscle, leaving the flagship without its top babyface and we have seen what that has done to the quality of the show.
Losing an adaptable performer like Owens would be another devastating blow. Luckily, though, it does not appear WWE has to worry about that for the time being.
Has NXT Changed Since Triple H's Return?
Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer Live reported that, although Triple H made his "I'm back" speech to the NXT talent recently, not much has changed with the brand, its creative direction or the stars themselves.
Considering that speech took place just over a week earlier, it was unlikely things would suddenly change. Too much time and energy had been placed on rebooting the brand last October and to undo all of that in a matter of days would not make sense or be plausible.
There are some young names around whom Triple H can build a brand in his vision. Bron Breakker, Toxic Attraction, Carmelo Hayes and Tony D'Angelo are examples of breakout stars who have made the most of the opportunities presented to them over the last nine months.
The brand has a promising women's division and a crop of male talent that can more than carry their own, such as Legado del Fantasma. Some may not be taken with the creative efforts of those in power, but that is something that can, and probably will, take time to change.
As we witnessed with WCW in late 1999 and throughout 2000, suddenly switching directions all the time gives the impression of a company circling the drain. That's not the case with NXT, and management will likely take its time implementing any changes it sees fit.