WWE Rumors: Examining Latest Buzz Around Roman Reigns, Shane McMahon and More

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJuly 19, 2016

MIAMI, FL- SEPTEMBER 01: Roman Reigns looks on during the WWE Smackdown on September 1, 2015 at the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Ron ElkmanSports Imagery/Getty Images)
Ron Elkman/Sports Imagery/Getty Images

Rumblings about both Roman Reigns' and Shane McMahon's futures with the company highlighted the rumors swirling ahead of the WWE draft.

A backstage report offered insight into where Reigns will sit on the WWE food chain when he returns from suspension. We still don't know what substance The Big Dog took to violate the talent wellness policy, but we may now know how that infraction will impact his standing.

As for Shane, the newly named SmackDown commissioner won't necessarily stick around to oversee the blue brand.

Elsewhere on the internet, the Cruiserweight Classic tournament has already reportedly led to NXT adding new talents. And Sasha Banks weighed in on the buzz over who will be her mystery tag team partner on Sunday's Battleground pay-per-view.

Before we dive into those stories, though, let's look at two rumors from last week that turned out to be absolutely true.


A Quick Look Back

Quinn Ojinnaka, the former NFL lineman better known to wrestling fans as Moose, officially has a new home.

After the big man bid adieu to Ring of Honor, Joseph Currier of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that WWE was interested in signing Moose but "backed off due to a domestic-violence allegation in 2009 that led to Ojinnaka being suspended from the NFL." Currier also noted that TNA made "the best financial offer" that Moose had on the table.

Fans didn't have to wait long to see what all that meant. Moose debuted on last week's TNA Impact Wrestling:

Last week also saw plentiful talk about whether Daniel Bryan would be the general manager of SmackDown. The WWE App spoiled the surprise. In screenshots like this one shared by PWMania.com, WWE talked of the Yes Movement coming to SmackDown, seemingly a reveal of Bryan's involvement.

The mystery of whether that was a slip-up or fan overreaction was solved on Monday's Raw when Shane-O-Mac named Bryan his GM for SmackDown early in the show.


Uncertainty Surrounding Shane

While Shane is a prominent figure in the overall narrative arc of Raw's battle with SmackDown, that might not be the case in the long run. It's unclear what's ahead for the blue brand's commissioner. 

According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Nick Paglino of Wrestle Zone), Shane doesn't have a front-office position as of now and has told his friends he isn't sure how long he will be on WWE TV.

There is no guarantee that Shane will continue to commit so much time for WWE. The executive isn't married to the company the way his sister is. Shane has had his hand in a variety of other industries from cable services in China to motorcycle sales. 

And he just spent seven years away from the family business.

Seeing him leave again after SmackDown got rolling wouldn't be surprising. Bryan's role as GM will make it easier for Shane to slide into the background over time. 


The Boss Addresses Battleground Speculation

Banks will face Charlotte and Dana Brooke at Battleground with a mystery partner at her side. The former NXT women's champ shut down talk of joining forces with a former rival.


ALSO THIS SUNDAY: @MsCharlotteWWE & @DanaBrookeWWE take on @SashaBanksWWE and...??? #WWEBattleground #RAW https://t.co/TVlHeN7nBU

In a Streamable video, Banks said of potentially teaming with Bayley, "She's in NXT, and I don't want to bring her up here, because I don't want to lose."

That would be an exciting partnership, but one that WWE may wish to avoid right now. As Sean Rueter of Cageside Seats wrote, "A Bayley debut or Nikki return could overshadow Banks a bit at a time when they seem to be building to her next big moment in Brooklyn at SummerSlam."

Still, plenty of fans are going to expect Bayley to be Banks' teammate come Battleground. That would be a fun move and a big story.

BayleyCredit: WWE.com

Banks could just be misdirecting the audience, trying not to spoil the surprise. But there's a good chance a less exciting name will battle Brooke and Charlotte at the PPV. 

One possibility remains Naomi, who hasn't appeared on WWE TV in months. She's likely to return to action soon. In fact, Naomi tweeted that "the glow is coming," in what looked to be a tease for her arrival.


Reported NXT Signings

Fans got a glimpse of a number of little-known, high-flying talents from around the world at Wednesday's Cruiserweight Classic kickoff on the WWE Network.

For those who enjoyed Kota Ibushi's and Gran Metalik's performances in the first round of the inaugural event, there is good news: WWE reportedly signed them beyond the Cruiserweight Classic.

Sean Radican and James Caldwell of PWTorch reported that WWE inked deals with both Gran Metalik and Ibushi. The report also noted that "WWE also has several tournament wrestlers on their radar for potential signings."

Ibushi was the star of the first edition of the Cruiserweight Classic, wowing the crowd with his acrobatic style. WWE's desire to bring him aboard on a more permanent basis makes perfect sense.

The signings are made more intriguing by the recent announcement of the return of a cruiserweight division. One of Stephanie McMahon's first moves as commissioner of Raw was to proclaim on Monday night that her show will exclusively feature the roster's cruiserweights.

That will open the door for Ibushi and Metalik to move up in a hurry and for the rest of the Cruiserweight Classic to be an extended tryout for other talents. 


Backstage Word on Reigns

Reigns is not assured the throne when he returns. The former WWE champion's violation of the company's wellness policy reportedly didn't sit well with the boss.

Roman Reigns @WWERomanReigns

I apologize to my family, friends and fans for my mistake in violating WWE’s wellness policy. No excuses. I own it.

Meltzer reported in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc) that WWE CEO Vince McMahon is unhappy with Reigns, and that while the chairman still sees him as a top star, Reigns may no longer be pushed as the No. 1 guy.

Reigns fits the WWE mold too well to slide completely down the ladder, but one has to assume that his getting busted just before a PPV world title main event had to irk the higher-ups.

WWE has been seemingly positioning Reigns as the next John Cena, the face of the company in and out of the ring. His suspension puts that transition in danger.

The most likely scenario is that Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins will serve as the top champions for Raw and SmackDown, leaving Reigns lower on the totem pole, having to earn his way back up.

But as we have seen with Randy Orton, this kind of suspension isn't a career-killer. The Viper became WWE champ after his second violation.

Reigns will have some climbing ahead, but he's not done wearing gold.


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