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Bray Wyatt's Return Set in Motion After Vince McMahon's Retirement
The wrestling world is still buzzing after Bray Wyatt's return to WWE at the Extreme Rules premium live event on Saturday, and a new report revealed just how long Wyatt's heavily anticipated comeback had been in the works.
According to Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful, plans for Wyatt's return were set in motion shortly after the retirement of longtime WWE chairman Vince McMahon, who parted ways from the company in July.
"As early as one week after Vince McMahon's retirement, members of the new WWE regime told Fightful they felt optimistic about Wyatt's return," Sapp wrote (h/t Sunil Joseph of Ringside News). "A full month before Wyatt returned to WWE, one WWE source was completely convinced that Wyatt was back with WWE and heading back."
Following McMahon's retirement, Paul "Triple H" Levesque took over as WWE's head of creative. Since then, several wrestlers have made surprise returns to the company, much to the delight of fans. Wyatt's return was unique because of its long-term build.
For the past few weeks, WWE teased Wyatt's comeback with QR codes and a series of "White Rabbit" videos. According to Sapp, "Several that are usually in the know were kept out of the loop about the context of the White Rabbit videos until this past week." The creative team at WWE was "very happy" with the buzz created leading up to Extreme Rules.
Triple H to Have On-Screen Role
Speaking of returns, Triple H also returned to WWE television this past weekend to kick off the season premiere of Friday Night SmackDown. It appears that it won't be the last time we see the executive on WWE programming going forward.
Sapp reports that in addition to his duties off the screen, Triple H will also have an on-screen authority role within the company.
"Triple H was set to have an on-screen office setup, as they had a placard made for it," Sapp wrote (h/t H. Jenkins of Ringside News).
During a backstage segment on Saturday, The Miz was seen approaching a door with Triple H's placard on it before he was attacked by Dexter Lumis.
Triple H notably played a heel executive on screen in the past as the lead member of the stable The Authority. The group had a lengthy rivalry with former WWE superstar Daniel Bryan (now AEW's Bryan Danielson). It remains uncertain if Triple H will return to his heel persona or maintain his status as a babyface.
Match Producers Revealed for WWE Extreme Rules
Saturday's Extreme Rules premium live event was a memorable show and created substantial intrigue for multiple storylines, and a new report gave insight into who was running things behind the scenes for each segment during the show.
According to Sapp (h/t Matthew Wilkinson of Wrestling Inc.), each match at Extreme Rules had a different producer, which is a shift from previous weeks in which producers were pulling double duty.
Former TNA superstar Abyss produced the night's opening match between Imperium and The Brawling Brutes, which was a hard-hitting and chaotic affair that saw the Brutes emerge victorious after Sheamus scored the pin.
Former WWE Superstar Tyson Kidd is known for his work with the women's division, and he produced the SmackDown women's title extreme rules match between Liv Morgan and Ronda Rousey, which Rousey won to claim the championship for a second time. The Raw women's title ladder match between Bianca Belair and Bayley was handled by former TNA wrestler Petey Williams, and Belair retained her title.
Veteran WWE producer Michael P.S. Hayes was the person behind the strap match between Drew McIntyre and Karrion Kross, which Kross won after his wife Scarlett used pepper spray on McIntyre. Longtime producer Jamie Noble was in charge of the "I Quit" match between Finn Balor and Edge, which Balor won after his group The Judgment Day attacked Edge's wife Beth Phoenix.
Finally, the show's main event was a Fight Pit match between Seth Rollins and Matt Riddle. Adam Pearce was the producer for the closing bout, which Riddle won by submission and also featured UFC Hall of Famer Daniel Cormier as guest referee.
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