WWE Rumors on Bray Wyatt Backstage, Hit Row Return; Inside CM Punk's Pipe Bomb Promo

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 12, 2022

Set Number: X161332 TK1

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.

Wyatt, McMahon Reportedly Clashed Before WWE Release

Prior to his shocking release last summer, Bray Wyatt reportedly clashed with then-WWE chairman, CEO and head of creative Vince McMahon.

According to Fightful Select (h/t H Jenkins of Ringside News), one WWE talent said Wyatt and McMahon had issues with each other personally, which spilled over into the workplace.

The anonymous talent said Wyatt would criticize the creative direction of his character at times, leading McMahon to retaliate by criticizing his physique.

McMahon and those close to him reportedly felt that Wyatt had a "bad attitude," and rumors about Wyatt were allegedly started to "ease the heat off" WWE for its decision to release him.

A WWE higher-up reportedly told Fightful that McMahon had "reservations" when the possibility of bringing back Wyatt was mentioned following his release.

Things have changed significantly in recent weeks, though, with McMahon retiring and getting replaced by three different people.

His daughter, Stephanie McMahon, is now chairwoman and co-CEO, while WWE president Nick Khan is the other co-CEO. Also, Triple H has been elevated to vice president of talent relations and head of creative.

Since Triple H took the reins, he has brought back several Superstars who were released over the past year, including Dakota Kai, Karrion Kross, Scarlett and Dexter Lumis.

Because of that, the assumption is he would be more willing to bring Wyatt back than McMahon would have, especially since they worked closely together to develop the original Wyatt character in NXT.

Wyatt is the biggest name available on the free-agent market currently, and his return would generate a ton of buzz for WWE at a time when there is growing excitement surrounding the product.

Triple H clearly hasn't had any qualms about signing wrestlers who McMahon wasn't enamored with, so it seems certain that the chances of Wyatt returning to WWE have increased significantly.

Top Dolla, Adonis Reportedly Scheduled to Attend SmackDown

Two members of Hit Row are reportedly expected to be present for Friday night's episode of SmackDown in Raleigh, North Carolina.

According to Fightful Select (h/t Jenkins), Top Dolla and Ashante Thee Adonis are "actively planned" to be at SmackDown, although it isn't clear if they will be on television or how they will be used.

Top Dolla and Adonis were part of the Hit Row stable with Isaiah "Swerve" Scott and B-Fab, and after making waves in NXT for much of 2021, they were called up to the main roster on SmackDown in October 2021.

B-Fab was shockingly released shortly after the group debuted on SmackDown, followed by the rest of the stable getting released two weeks later in November 2021.

Scott eventually signed with AEW, and he is currently one half of the AEW world tag team champions with Keith Lee under the name Swerve Strickland.

While most considered Swerve to be the leader of Hit Row due to the fact that he had enjoyed the most success in wrestling among those in the group, it could potentially still thrive without him.

Top Dolla and Adonis would add some much-needed depth to the tag team division, and although she hasn't been mentioned as potentially appearing on SmackDown, B-Fab would be an ideal manager if she returns as well.

That trio could make some headway on SmackDown, and there could always be the possibility of another wrestler being brought in to replace Swerve's spot in the stable.

Triple H gave Hit Row a huge push during their time in NXT, so it comes as little surprise that he may be trying to bring them back into the fold now that he is the head of WWE creative.

WWE Higher-Ups Approved Punk's Pipe Bomb Promo

On the June 27, 2011, episode of Monday Night Raw, CM Punk cut one of the most famous promos in the history of pro wrestling.

Dubbed the "Pipe Bomb Promo," Punk aired his grievances with WWE, made disparaging remarks regarding Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, and made reference to wrestling outside the WWE Universe, including Ring of Honor.

Punk also divulged that his WWE contract was expiring and vowed to defeat John Cena at Money in the Bank and take the WWE Championship with him. Punk did beat Cena, but he ultimately re-signed with WWE and remained with the promotion for about two and a half more years before leaving in early 2014.

The Pipe Bomb Promo has been lauded by fans for years because it came off as a shoot rather than a scripted promo like most of WWE's other segments, but a prominent former WWE writer confirmed this week that the power players in WWE knew what Punk was going to say before he went through the curtain.

Appearing on the Ariel Helwani Show (h/t Subhojeet Mukherjee of Ringside News), Brian Gewirtz discussed the famous promo:

Gewirtz noted that while there were real elements to the promo and Punk likely expressed legitimate gripes, McMahon knew what was going down.

The former writer said McMahon had a version of the script in front of him and gave clearance for Punk to rant. Gewirtz added that Punk ad libbed to some degree by sitting rather than standing and saying things a bit differently than they may have been scripted, but he mostly stuck to what had been discussed.

Only a small handful of promos are consistently mentioned by fans as the best of all time, and there is no question that the Pipe Bomb Promo belongs in that conversation.

It ultimately didn't change things to Punk's liking, as he was gone from WWE less than three years later, but it reinvigorated part of the fanbase and undoubtedly aided in keeping Punk relevant years after his WWE departure to the point that he is now one of AEW's top stars and the reigning AEW world champion.

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