Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
Cody Rhodes Wasn't in WWE Title Plans
Despite being positioned as the top babyface following his return to the company at WrestleMania, Cody Rhodes wasn't in line to win one of WWE's top titles when Vince McMahon was running the creative team.
Per Fightful Select (h/t Subhojeet Mukherjee of RingsideNews.com), McMahon "had not solidified plans" to make Rhodes either WWE or Universal champion before he suffered a torn pectoral muscle.
Rhodes came back to WWE after six years at WrestleMania 38. He had a feud with Seth Rollins that resulted in three matches between the two, culminating with a memorable Hell in a Cell battle.
The American Nightmare beat Rollins in each bout. He won the Cell match despite having a massive bruise on his right pec and arm where the injury occurred.
It's unclear if McMahon may have been willing to change his plans based on the reaction to Rhodes' performance at Hell in a Cell and how big his return from the injury figures to be, whenever it happens.
But Rhodes winning either or both titles would require him to beat Roman Reigns, which is something WWE doesn't seem to have any interest in doing right now. It could have been argued the Tribal Chief should have lost to Drew McIntyre at Clash at the Castle based on the crowd reaction, but that's not the direction they went.
With Triple H now in charge of creative, it's possible Rhodes could be in line to at least get a title shot against Reigns. There has been speculation for months that he could return at the Royal Rumble.
Any plans for the Rumble and WrestleMania involving Reigns will likely depend on the availability of The Rock. WWE is certainly hoping to bring The Great One in to work a match with Reigns at WrestleMania 39 in Los Angeles.
Assuming the Reigns-Rock match does take place, it shouldn't be too much longer after that bout that someone beats Reigns to win the undisputed championship. He's been champion for more than two years. It's been a fantastic run, but you have to build up a challenger to beat him at some point.
Since McIntyre wasn't the one to do it at the show in Wales, Rhodes seems like the next logical candidate to beat Reigns at some point next year.
Another WWE Main Roster Name Change
As Triple H continues to put his stamp on the creative team and undo some of the strange decisions McMahon made when bringing up talent to the main roster from NXT, Max Dupri is going back to his original gimmick.
Per Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com, WWE's internal company roster has him listed as L.A. Knight after he split from Maximum Male Models on Friday Night SmackDown.
McMahon was on a kick where he felt compelled to either change or tweak the names of superstars for no real reason. Among the decisions he made was to drop the first name for Tommaso Ciampa, Austin Theory and Matt Riddle. Pete Dunne randomly became Butch.
Ciampa, Theory and Riddle have gotten their first names back on television in recent months. WWE hasn't changed Butch's name back, but he's incorporating elements of the Pete Dunne gimmick into his character recently.
Knight was one of the best characters on NXT when he debuted in February 2021. He got called up to the main roster earlier this year, but he was mostly relegated to comedy skits as the CEO of Maximum Male Models.
Shifting back to the Knight gimmick that worked so well in NXT should help him as he looks to establish himself on the main roster.
Royal Rumble Ticket Sales
Early returns on ticket sales for the 2023 Royal Rumble appear to be good news for WWE.
Per Fightful Select (h/t Fernando Quiles Jr. of Wrestling, Inc.), the show is on pace to break the Royal Rumble record for ticket sales and gross revenue currently held by the 2017 event.
Both shows are being held at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas. WWE claimed an attendance of 52,020 fans at the 2017 show.
Tickets for the 2023 event were made available over the weekend and have already topped 25,000 sold. Fightful Select noted the entire arena hasn't been opened up for the show at this point, but that could change in the coming months.
WWE has had tremendous success with stadium shows for its biggest premium live events. This year has seen more than 40,000 fans in attendance for the Royal Rumble (44,390), WrestleMania Night 1 (65,719) and Night 2 (65,653) and SummerSlam (40,117).
Given how important the Royal Rumble is to setting up where things will be leading in to WrestleMania, it's not a surprise to see WWE having success with ticket sales for the Jan. 28 show.
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