WWE Rumors on Sasha Banks, Naomi and Backstage Morale; Kurt Angle Talks 1 More Match

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVAugust 29, 2022

Photo By Winslow Townson/Getty Images

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from WWE and All Elite Wrestling.

Sasha Banks, Naomi Nearing Return

WWE's prodigal daughters are getting close to making their comebacks.

While it's long been believed that Sasha Banks and Naomi agreed to new WWE deals in the aftermath of Vince McMahon's WWE departure, the pair still have not made a television appearance.

Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer Radio reported that's set to change.

"Naomi and Sasha Banks should be back any week now. They are back being listed on the roster, so should be back at any time," Alvarez said.

The return could come as soon as Monday's episode of Raw. IYO SKY and Dakota Kai are set to take on Raquel Rodriguez and Aliyah in the women's tag team tournament final, which presents a natural opportunity for Banks and Naomi to get involved.

SKY, Kai and Bayley are already in a feud with Bianca Belair, Alexa Bliss and Asuka ahead of Saturday's Clash at the Castle, so it's possible Triple H continues his patient approach to the return.

That said, there's something potentially special about the former champs arriving right at the moment the new champs are crowned.

Morale High in WWE amid McMahon Departure

For as much as he gave, Vince McMahon was a clear liability in WWE for much of the last decade (if not longer).

His pet peeves controlled the product, with the elimination of words like "hospital" and "wrestler" forcing his WWE Superstars™ to use completely unrelatable corporate speak and his whims leading to massive last-minute changes to the script—often on the day of the show.

It was a chaotic work environment with creative being stifled, and that's without mentioning the near-constant firings that have taken place over the last few years.

Suffice it to say the last month without McMahon has been a much-needed reprieve.

Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio called McMahon a "hindrance" and noted the improved morale of the WWE locker room since Triple H took over.

"People sort of speculated and everything but when you see the difference in the mood over there, I think it's a better product. ... A lot of the weird Vince-isms are gone that didn't need to be there. A lot of the weird stupidity is out the window," Meltzer said.

The product itself has also seen a massive improvement, with WWE arguably having momentum over AEW for the first time since the latter's launch in 2019. As both companies prepare for pay-per-view events over the weekend, it'll be interesting to see which wins in the eyes of Wrestling Twitter.

Kurt Angle Not Ruling Out One Last Match

If Conrad Thompson wants to turn the concept of wrestlers having one "last match" into a long-term business model, he may have his next participant.

Kurt Angle, who hosts a podcast on Thompson's Ad-Free Shows network, said he has not ruled out having his own final return to the ring.

"It's been two-and-a-half months since I had my knees replaced. Both at the same time. It's a little rough doing both of them at the same time. But you know what: I'm not gonna count out anything," Angle said on the latest episode of his podcast.

"I've told so many reporters and people from the news that I was done, but there is a chance that I might end up coming back. I don't know when, but it'll probably be for one last match. ... I didn't wanna do that until my knees got better, but I'm not gonna lie to you. I think about it all the time. I possibly could [return] ... yes."

Thompson was at the forefront of promoting Ric Flair's last match during SummerSlam weekend in Nashville, Tennessee. The podcast host has since teased future iterations of the event. Diamond Dallas Page recently said Thompson approached him about doing a final match event, though the former WCW star declined the offer.

Angle last wrestled Baron Corbin at WrestleMania 35. The matchup and match itself was seen as a lackluster send-off for one of the all-time greats, with Corbin going over in just over six minutes of action.

Provided his body can hold up, a potential "last match" on his own terms could be a far better sendoff for the 53-year-old.

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