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Stone Cold Praises Reigns, Lesnar; Rumors on WWE Locker Room; Bobby Fish Open to WWE

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 13, 2022

Bill Watters/Getty Images

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

Stone Cold Praises Star Power of Lesnar, Reigns

WWE Hall of Famer Stone Cold Steve Austin is arguably the biggest draw in professional wrestling history, so his opinion on the stars of today tends to carry a great deal of weight.

In an interview with veteran wrestling journalist Bill Apter (h/t Subhojeet Mukherjee of Ringside News), Austin gave his take on the biggest stars in the business currently:

"[Brock Lesnar] is still, after almost 20 years, the biggest draw, him and Roman [Reigns], in the business today. Brock Lesnar has had one of the most amazing, different runs in the history of the business, and no one will ever do it like Brock Lesnar has done it. Whether it is Suplex City or in the Octagon."

There is little doubt that WWE agrees with Austin's assessment, as it has gone back to the Lesnar vs. Reigns feud on multiple occasions, including three times at WrestleMania.

At WrestleMania 38 in April, Austin made his in-ring return and had his first match in nearly 20 years, beating Kevin Owens in the main event of Night 1. Naturally, Night 2 was headlined by Reigns defeating Lesnar to unify the WWE and Universal Championships.

Lesnar got a rematch at SummerSlam in a Last Man Standing Match, and The Tribal Chief was victorious again thanks largely to interference from The Usos.

Since making his WWE main roster debut in 2002, Lesnar has been a major attraction. His stock was bolstered even more after a stint in UFC that saw him hold the UFC heavyweight title.

WWE has been trying to push Reigns as a top star from the start of his time on the main roster as well, and while he wasn't well received for quite some time, everything changed two years ago when he turned heel and embarked on the best run of his career.

While WWE has many other performers who are on the brink of top star status, Lesnar and Reigns are the old standbys at this point, and that will likely continue to be true for as long as they are with the company.

WWE Superstars, Employees Reportedly Happy Under New Management

Many within WWE have reportedly seen their morale improve since a change in management occurred in July.

Vince McMahon stepped down from his roles as chairman, CEO and head of creative and entered retirement in July amid a WWE board of directors investigation into allegations that he paid millions of dollars in hush money to multiple women who previously worked for WWE in exchange for them remaining silent about alleged sexual relationships and encounters with McMahon.

In place of McMahon, Triple H was named the new head of creative, and McMahon's daughter, Stephanie McMahon, became chairwoman and co-CEO along with Nick Khan, who previously served as WWE president.

According to PWInsider.com's Mike Johnson, the management change has "energized" people across the company, including wrestlers, production workers and other employees.

Those who work for WWE reportedly have a better work-life balance than they did under Vince McMahon and are under less stress since they don't feel obligated to keep up with Vince's breakneck pace.

It was also suggested by those who spoke to Johnson that there was a fear of repercussions or the possibility of getting fired if a misstep was made under Vince, whereas that isn't the case with Stephanie, Triple H and Khan calling the shots.

There is no question that the WWE product has been received far more favorably by fans since the management change occurred, and it has been far more unpredictable in a positive way as well.

A big part of that has been Triple H bringing back talent that was either released or didn't re-sign when McMahon was at the helm.

Dakota Kai, Karrion Kross, Scarlett, Dexter Lumis, Hit Row, Johnny Gargano and Braun Strowman have all been surprise returns, and it has made it feel like anything can happen in WWE.

The on-screen product has been more fun to watch, and based on Johnson's report, that good feeling has permeated backstage as well.

Bobby Fish Open to WWE Return

Former NXT star Bobby Fish isn't ruling out a WWE return now that his brief run in AEW has come to an end.

In an interview with Steve Fall of NBC Sports Boston (h/t Bill Pritchard of WrestleZone), Fish confirmed last week that he could not come to terms on a new contract with AEW, making him a free agent.

In that same interview (h/t WrestlingInc's Phil Hall), Fish said he was keeping the door open for any and all offers, including WWE: "I'm open to all options and offers at the moment. I do know that there have been quite a few people have gone back through those doors."

Fish was referring to Superstars who have made their return to WWE under Triple H after getting released while Vince McMahon was in charge. Most of those who have returned thus far worked closely with Triple H in NXT.

That was the case for Fish as well, as he was part of the NXT roster from 2017 to 2021, spending most of that time as part of the Undisputed Era stable with Adam Cole, Kyle O'Reilly and Roderick Strong.

Strong is still in NXT, while Cole and O'Reilly are in AEW. Fish teamed with them briefly in AEW, but Cole and O'Reilly got injured, and Fish's contract expired at a time when he wasn't being used.

The Undisputed Era reunion in AEW ultimately fizzled, and Fish will now have the opportunity to go off on his own, which isn't something he has done much of over the past several years.

It is unclear what WWE's level of interest would be in bringing back Fish at 45 years of age, but there could be some interest in pairing him with Strong again in what would be a semi-reunion of Undisputed Era.

Fish was a multi-time tag team champion in NXT and took part in no shortage of memorable matches and rivalries, so a return would likely be well received by the fans.

If nothing else, Fish could be a valuable asset in terms of helping to develop younger Superstars thanks to his extensive experience.

Listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot wrestling topics. Catch the latest episode in the player below (warning: some language NSFW).

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