Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on Bray Wyatt, The Rock and More

Erik BeastonJanuary 19, 2023

Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on Bray Wyatt, The Rock and More

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    Is Bray Wyatt a man on an island in more than just storyline?
    Is Bray Wyatt a man on an island in more than just storyline? Credit:

    Has Bray Wyatt's creativity proved costly when it comes to finding Superstars to work with?

    As it turns out, it may well have.

    The former WWE and universal champion, and a potential hesitancy to work with him, headlines this collection of rumors.

    Also on tap is the latest on The Rock's involvement in WrestleMania 39 and the Vince McMahon effect on it, as well as the potential appearance of one of The Great One's biggest foes at the upcoming Raw XXX celebration.

    Dive into each of those reports and more with roundup of insider talk.

Top Guys Hesitant to Work With Bray Wyatt?

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    "Top guys" do not want to work with Bray Wyatt, Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer reported while speculating on his plans for WrestleMania 39.

    He believes Wyatt will battle Uncle Howdy on The Grandest Stage of Them All.

    It is a fairly big throwaway line by Meltzer, especially considering the buzz and interest in Wyatt since his return at Extreme Rules last October. Upon further review, though, it is not necessarily surprising that there would be a hesitancy to work with Wyatt.

    It is not necessarily because of the 35-year-old himself but, rather, his character and the creative elements of it.

    In 2019, Seth Rollins saw his run as the top babyface in WWE come to a screeching halt following underwhelming matches with The Fiend, something he was open in discussing with Ariel Helwani in a recent BT Sport interview.

    Braun Strowman's run as universal champion in 2020 was also overshadowed by that particular character, and the supernatural elements of Wyatt's other personas have led to diminishing returns, too.

    Look no further than WrestleMania 33, where he and Randy Orton had a notoriously rough outing for the WWE Championship that included bugs projected onto the ring canvas.

    Since returning, Wyatt's character has been engaging and compelling as he endures what is essentially an inner battle with himself. Despite the Uncle Howdy character, which has included some of the bells and whistles that have always been part of his work, it has been more coherent than others.

    That, as well as a clear direction for a character that does not sacrifice in-ring work for over-the-top theatrics, will be key in earning back the trust of those unnamed "top guys" who may not want to sacrifice their popularity in the name of evolving Wyatt's latest creation.

How Do the Vince McMahon Moves Affect The Rock's WrestleMania Plans

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    Will Vince McMahon forcing his way back into WWE adversely affect the company's chances of convincing The Rock to appear at WrestleMania 39 for a match with Roman Reigns?

    Meltzer reported that it won't. A Saudi sale may have but, at this point, it will likely come down to whether The Great One has the time to make an appearance on April 1-2.

    It is interesting that we should be this far into the build toward WrestleMania, with Royal Rumble just over a week away, and having no clearer picture surrounding The Rock's involvement in the biggest show of the year.

    Assuming there has not been a deal struck behind the scenes that even the top insiders in the industry are not aware of, at what point do WWE officials move on from the idea of Rock-Reigns for Los Angeles?

    And if Rock does not appear, what direction does the company take with Reigns?

    Seth Rollins continues to remind everyone of his win over The Tribal Chief a year ago at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view, while Cody Rhodes' return at this year's event and pursuit of the WWE Championship seems to suggest a date with The Head of the Table is inevitable.

    There are likely backup plans in place, but if The Rock is not making an appearance in Hollywood, it would behoove the company to get out in front of it sooner rather than later and make that apparent. The Royal Rumble on January 28 will be the turning point.

Who is Responsible for Cody Rhodes Video Packages?

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    Cody Rhodes' return to action has been preceded by some extraordinary video packages that have allowed fans to invest in his comeback before he sets foot back inside the squared circle.

    Meltzer reported that Jeremy Borash has been behind the clips.

    It is no surprise that he would be responsible for an acclaimed production. He was instrumental in the execution of the Boneyard match at WrestleMania 36 between The Undertaker and AJ Styles, which earned rave reviews and Match of the Year consideration.

    The WWE producer has been influential for work in NXT, bringing decades of experience from his time in WCW and Impact Wrestling to the table.

    Borash's work with the Rhodes videos, telling the story of a driven, second-generation star coming back from a devastating injury and intent on fulfilling his goal of becoming champion, will go a long way in ensuring The American Nightmare's return lives up to expectations.

    Given the abundance of talent at play in WWE and only so much ring time for everyone on a weekly basis, it would be wise to let Borash oversee the production of more videos aimed at introducing some of its characters in hopes of creating a bond with fans.

    We have seen over the years that it works, most notably in a series of interviews featuring Jim Ross and Mankind in 1997.

    Let Borash work his magic with the likes of Tegan Nox or Mustafa Ali, highlighting their personalities and character traits first so that it means more than just trotting them out there for a one-off when it comes to their TV appearances.

Another Legend Set to Appear at Raw XXX?

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    Ric Flair noted on his To Be The Man podcast that Hulk Hogan will be appearing at WWE's Raw XXX special Monday night in Philadelphia.

    It makes sense for Flair to appear on the broadcast given his influence in Evolution and work with the red brand during the 2000s, but Hogan is a different story.

    His contributions to the red brand have been limited to a few appearances as an active competitor and a series of legends cameos designed to pop ratings over the years.

    Hogan appeared in 1993 during the build to WrestleMania IX but then proceeded to work for the competition as WCW and Eric Bischoff waged war with WWE. When he returned to the company in 2002, he again made limited appearances before becoming a SmackDown-exclusive Superstar.

    Sure, there was the iconic showdown with The Rock that set up their WrestleMania X-8 showdown, which remains one of the great moments in the show's history, but it is difficult to consider him one of the greats of Raw.

    Hogan popping up for a celebration of the show's three decades would be simply to create buzz for a show that will already have plenty of it, with appearances from The Undertaker, Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Flair alongside a loaded card.