Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe and All Elite Wrestling.
Visa Issues Reportedly Preventing WWE Run for Fury
WWE reportedly had plans to utilize heavyweight boxing champion Tyson Fury at the 2023 Royal Rumble and WrestleMania 39, but external factors may prevent that from happening.
According to Sunni Upal of The U.S. Sun, Fury is currently unable to enter the United States due to his connection to alleged Irish mob boss Daniel Kinahan. Fury's younger brother, Tommy Fury, was reportedly not permitted to enter the country for his scheduled boxing match against Jake Paul in August for the same reason.
A source told Upal that while Fury is "well loved" in WWE and wanted on screen due to the headlines and interest he would create, his immigration status is "tricky" and may cause him to miss out on millions of dollars.
While there aren't many specifics, Upal's report suggests that WWE wanted Fury to make an appearance at the Royal Rumble, which would have set the stage for a possible match at WrestleMania 39.
The Royal Rumble premium live event is scheduled for Jan. 28 in San Antonio, and it will be followed by WrestleMania 39 in Inglewood, California, on April 1 and 2.
Fury has made multiple appearances for WWE, with the most notable occurring at Crown Jewel 2019 in Saudi Arabia when he defeated Braun Strowman by count-out in his first and only match to date.
More recently, Fury was in attendance for September's Clash at the Castle event in Wales. He knocked out Austin Theory during a Money in the Bank cash-in attempt and serenaded the fans with Drew McIntyre after McIntyre lost to Roman Reigns in the main event.
The 34-year-old Fury is the reigning WBC heavyweight champion and owns a career record of 33-0-1, making him one of the biggest names and draws in combat sports.
He defeated Derek Chisora by technical knockout earlier this month, and if he is indeed unable to pursue interests in WWE, it may mean the continuation of his boxing career.
FTR's Harwood Praises CM Punk
AEW star and one half of FTR Dax Harwood spoke glowingly of CM Punk on the first episode of his FTR with Dax Harwood podcast this week.
While speaking about Punk on the podcast (h/t Sunil Joseph of Ringside News), Harwood had nothing but positive things to say about Punk and even divulged some of the generous things he did behind the scenes in AEW:
"Punk was still so joyous and happy to be in the wrestling business. To be honest, he told me, when they were going to put the belt on him, that he didn't want the belt. He said, 'I just want to have fun,' but he understood that [AEW president] Tony [Khan] putting the belt on him would put AEW in a better light. He took it, begrudgingly a little bit, but he took the belt.
"At the time, he was taking me, Cash [Wheeler], Max [MJF], Wardlow, [Powerhouse] Hobbs, I'm missing so many guys, he was taking us out to eat, always paying for it. He bought all the girls in the locker room Starbucks gift cards and had one of the girls hand them out, anonymously, and didn't say who they were from, but it was from him, just because he loved the atmosphere and loved being there. He also loved the work the girls were putting in. He thought they were busting their ass to try and get the attention that WWE's women's division was getting."
After being out of wrestling for more than seven years following his departure from WWE, Punk made his AEW debut in his hometown of Chicago in August 2021.
Punk went on to enjoy a highly successful run in AEW over the next year, winning the AEW World Championship twice, including his win over Jon Moxley at All Out in September.
His future with AEW is now in doubt, however, due to a reported altercation he had with Elite members Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks in the locker room following his All Out post-show press conference.
It is unclear if an eventual return to AEW or even WWE could be in the cards for Punk, but Harwood believes he was enjoying his return to wrestling and clearly views him as an asset to the business.
McIntyre Wants Match vs. Gunther
During an appearance on Monday's "Best of 2022" edition of Raw, Drew McIntyre made it clear that a dominant WWE Superstar is in his crosshairs.
According to WrestlingInc's Matthew Wilkinson, McIntyre discussed his goal of wrestling Gunther and challenging him for the Intercontinental Championship:
"I've got my eyes on Gunther with the Intercontinental Championship. I see the chatter on social media, I see what happened with himself and Sheamus, I saw the battles. I love competition, I'm a former intercontinental champion and I would love to tangle with that man."
Since getting called up to the main roster in April, Gunther has been a dominant force. He beat Ricochet for the IC title in June and has now held it for over 200 days.
McIntyre is a former IC champ in his own right, and he ultimately graduated into the main event scene, winning the 2020 men's Royal Rumble match and going on to hold the WWE Championship twice.
It seems likely that McIntyre will be world champion again one day, but until that time comes, a feud with Gunther over the Intercontinental Championship would be massive for WWE's midcard scene.
Gunther's in-ring work and presentation are making the IC title feel more important than it has in years, and putting a top star like McIntyre in the mix would help elevate it even more.
McIntyre's close friend Sheamus recently had a physical and heated rivalry with Gunther and Imperium, and McIntyre could pick up where The Celtic Warrior left off by trying to end the big Austrian's run of dominance.
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