WWE Reveals Pitch Black Match; Bray Wyatt's In-Ring Return; Flair Praises Sasha Banks

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVDecember 27, 2022

Photo credit: WWE.com

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

WWE Advertises 'Pitch Black Match' for Royal Rumble

During Monday night's "Best of 2022" edition of Raw, WWE advertised a unique match type for the Royal Rumble premium live event next month.

According to Wrestling Inc.'s Sai Mohan, WWE ran a promo for a "Pitch Black Match," and while no further information was given regarding the match, both Bray Wyatt and Edge were shown in the ad.

While that suggests Wyatt vs. Edge could be the match, that may be something of a stretch since both are babyfaces and Edge hasn't been on television since October, meaning he has been unable to begin a rivalry with Wyatt.

Angel Aramboles of WrestlingNews.co reported in November that WWE was developing the idea of a Pitch Black Match for Royal Rumble, with Wyatt likely being involved.

Wyatt has been embroiled in a feud with LA Knight for the past several weeks, suggesting that the match could end up being Wyatt vs. Knight.

Since returning to WWE in October, Wyatt has not competed in a televised match. Instead, he has cut several promos, had some physical altercations with Knight and had internal battles with Uncle Howdy.

There is still plenty that is unknown about Wyatt, his character and how he will be presented moving forward, but a Pitch Black Match could answer many of those questions.

Assuming the bout features two competitors wrestling in darkness, it could be one of the most unique and memorable matches in WWE history.

Wyatt Makes In-Ring Return at MSG Live Event

Bray Wyatt had his first official match since returning to WWE in October when he stepped inside the ring at the WWE live event at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Monday night.

According to PWInsider.com's Mike Johnson, Wyatt accepted an open challenge laid down by Jinder Mahal, who was upset over being left out of a ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship.

The crowd reportedly chanted, "This is awesome," as Wyatt won a short match punctuated by his Sister Abigail finisher.

While Wyatt still hasn't had a televised match since returning, Monday's live-event bout was his first match of any kind since he lost to Randy Orton at WrestleMania 37 in April 2021.

Wyatt was shockingly released from WWE a couple of months after WrestleMania 37, and while there was plenty of speculation about him signing with another company like AEW or Impact Wrestling, it never happened.

Instead, Wyatt returned to WWE under the new leadership of Triple H, who took over as head of creative after Vince McMahon's retirement during the summer amid an investigation into sexual misconduct allegations.

Triple H has taken a slow-build approach with Wyatt, opting to keep him out of the ring and focus on promos and character development first.

Wyatt is seemingly being presented as an attraction who will only wrestle on special occasions, and an MSG house show the day after Christmas certainly qualified.

Ric Flair Heaps Praise on Sasha Banks

WWE Hall of Famer Ric Flair considers Sasha Banks to be among the top female wrestlers of the past decade.

During a discussion on his To Be The Man podcast (h/t Wrestling Inc.'s Danny Wolstanholme), Flair pointed to Banks and his daughter, Charlotte Flair, as the standard-bearers in women's wrestling:

"The two that have stood out the most in the last ten years or eight years, or whatever it is, have been Sasha and The Queen [Charlotte Flair] far and away. I was just talking to [Banks], and she's just having a good time. She doesn't seem stressed out by it. I'm happy for her. I mean, I told her, Ashley [Charlotte] is me, only better, and she's Ricky Steamboat."

Along with Charlotte, Becky Lynch and Bayley, Banks helped elevate women's wrestling in WWE over the past several years as a member of the Four Horsewomen.

All four members of the group have experienced great success, including The Boss, who is a five-time Raw women's champion, three-time WWE women's tag team champion, one-time SmackDown women's champion and one-time NXT women's champion at the age of 30.

Banks has been out of the spotlight since May, however, when she and tag team partner Naomi walked out prior to an episode of Raw due to creative differences.

Both Banks and Naomi were suspended and stripped of the WWE women's tag team titles, and neither of them has appeared on WWE programming since then.

Johnson reported this month that Banks is expected to appear at New Japan Pro-Wrestling's Wrestle Kingdom 17 event on Jan. 4, and it was later reported by Fightful Select (h/t Wrestling Inc.'s Ross W. Berman IV) that the deal with NJPW was independent of WWE.

Banks reportedly negotiated her WWE release over the summer with the understanding that she would not be able to do anything wrestling-related until the start of 2023.

The door will likely always be open for Banks to return to WWE, especially with Triple H now installed as head of creative, but for now, it looks as though Banks plans to ply her trade elsewhere.

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