Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on MJF, Ronda Rousey and More
Where is MJF?
It is a question that has been on the minds of All Elite Wrestling fans since he cut the industry-shaking shoot promo on June 1 that most figured was the start of some red-hot summertime program but instead just led to his disappearance from television.
However, a new report has shed some light on his whereabouts and his future with the promotion.
Joining it in our roundup of the latest wrestling rumors is a look at Ronda Rousey's suspension, as well the latest on changes within WWE's creative process and a potential new show for AEW.
What Is Going On With MJF?
"MJF has effectively vanished from the wrestling scene," Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select said at the top of his most recent report on the scarf-wearing villain, who was the hottest name in the business two months ago after cutting a scathing promo on Tony Khan and AEW.
Since then, the 26-year-old has been nowhere near a wrestling ring and has disappeared seemingly without a trace.
"Everyone that we've spoken to says that they've not overheard Tony Khan speak about MJF whatsoever since the June 1 promo. So far we haven't heard of anyone in wrestling that has said that they've even spoken to MJF since he left, either," Sapp wrote.
MJF did stay in Los Angeles for several days following his June 1 promo, conducting business in Hollywood. As for wrestling, Sapp noted there are some in AEW who believe he is on his way out and actively wants to go to WWE.
It is not a surprise that MJF would want to go elsewhere. Assuming the shoot promo was legitimate and contained his real feelings about his situation in AEW, he is clearly unhappy and wants to go somewhere where he is more appreciated.
He has repeatedly referenced a bidding war for his services when his contract ends in 2024 but it's likely he will be gone from AEW long before then.
His friendship with Cody Rhodes is well-documented and seeing what he has accomplished thus far in WWE has to make his desire to leave that much easier.
Ronda Rousey Suspension Update
Ronda Rousey has been suspended by WWE after assaulting an official in the wake of her loss to Liv Morgan at SummerSlam, but how long should fans expect her to be gone from our screens?
Not too long, according to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio, who reported that The Baddest Woman on the Planet is booked for Clash at the Castle on September 3.
Anyone expecting her to be a heel when she returns to SmackDown should not get their hopes up, though.
Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com noted Rousey is still listed internally as the No. 1 babyface on the blue brand's women's roster, suggesting all her actions at SummerSlam came about because she was angered by the official's decision.
Is anyone really surprised by this?
WWE has consistently shown a reluctance to turn Rousey heel. It resisted doing so in 2019, when fans were clearly more pro-Becky Lynch and the result was deteriorating reactions for the former UFC star.
Now, she is being even more heavily booed and comes across as a more natural heel than babyface.
Unless she is insistent upon being a hero, now is the time for the new regime to make the change and reap the rewards because a badass Rousey heel character is much more interesting than anything else she has done in this most recent run.
Is WWE Still Heavily Scripting Promos?
Johnson also reported that one of the many changes implemented behind the scenes with Triple H as head of WWE Creative has been more freedom in promos (h/t Cageside Seats).
It's a change fans have waited too long for. The last decade or so has seen a WWE product bogged down by heavily scripted promos that sound nothing like two individuals would say to each other in a real situation.
That overbearing creative has made it difficult to invest in anyone outside of the very top names, but this latest report suggests that will be coming to an end soon.
Giving wrestlers the opportunity to be themselves and connect with an audience is what helped make "Stone Cold" Steve Austin a star. It is what allowed The Rock to shake off his initial failure and become The Most Electrifying Man in Sports Entertainment. That freedom lets fans get a sense of who the character is or what the motivation might be, then form their own opinions about him or her.
We have seen Ciampa deliver a few promos in recent weeks that have been extraordinary. That is his path to getting over on the main roster and making the most of this recent push from Triple H and the creative team.
It will ultimately benefit everyone else who has the opportunity to express themselves without reciting lines written for them by people who have no real of understanding the characters WWE Superstars have crafted for themselves.
AEW: All Elite Women?
Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats noted that a recent trademark for "All Elite Women" has led to speculation the company may be poised to introduce a women's wrestling show in the future.
It would be an interesting move for a promotion whose use of its women's talent has been suspect to say the least.
Sure, there have been instances of some great matches, and AEW has created a star out of Britt Baker, but time, actual storylines and the position of the weekly women's match on Dynamite have always been at the heart of criticisms of the roster's utilization.
A show centered around the women's division would seemingly help fix that, with more focus on developing characters and storylines that could then move into Dynamite and Rampage.
The roster features too many stars of the future to be so inconsistently booked. Giving competitors like The Bunny, Julia Hart, Skye Blue, Penelope Ford, Kiera Hogan, AQA, Abadon, Athena, Mercedes Martinez, Serena Deeb, Hikaru Shida, Riho and Emi Sakura a stage on which to prove themselves would enhance their presentation while also potentially addressing criticisms of the division's booking.
More importantly, though, these women have earned the opportunity to showcase their skills in a meaningful manner.
And if AEW does not provide them the chance to do so, there is another company out there that greatly values women's wrestling with a new head of creative who will happily help them.