We're only one week into 2017, but WWE is already making headlines. Here is a look at some of the top stories from the past seven days.
Chris Hero Returns to NXT as Kassius Ohno
WWE has been scooping up some of the best indy talents in the world, and this trend has already continued in 2017 with the acquisition of Chris Hero.
Hero worked in WWE's developmental system from 2011-2013 as Kassius Ohno, and he returned to NXT using the Ohno name at the most recent NXT tapings, according to WWE.com.
With Cesaro already on the main roster, many fans will be hoping for a Kings of Wrestling reunion. The two were one of the most popular tag teams in Ring of Honor, winning the promotion's tag titles twice.
Ohno confronted Shinsuke Nakamura and made it clear he was looking to win the NXT Championship. If WWE plans to bring Nakamura up to the main roster soon, Ohno would make a great successor as champion.
Updated United Kingdom Tournament Participants
WWE's tournament to crown its first United Kingdom champion will take place on Jan. 14 and 15. According to Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc, the list of participants saw a few updates.
Here is the full group of 16 wrestlers who will fight for the title:
- Danny Burch
- Mark Andrews
- Roy Johnson
- Dan Moloney
- Joseph Conners
- Tyson T-Bone
- James Drake
- Tyler Bate
- Sam Gradwell
- Jordan Devlin
- Pete Dunne
- HC Dyer
- Trent Seven
- Saxon Huxley
A preview will air after this week's Raw, introducing the group of wrestlers to the WWE Universe. A few will be familiar to indy fans, but this will be the first exposure some of these men have had in the United States.
Four Female Recruits Report to Performance Center
The WWE Performance Center is constantly bringing in new talent, and this week saw four new women start their training in Orlando, Florida.
WWE posted a video profiling the four recruits. Kimber Lee, Heidi Lovelace, MaryKate Duignan Glidewell and Julia Ho were introduced with a series of photos and a brief history of each competitor.
Lee's connections to Drew Gulak were acknowledged, but the person TNA fans will be happy to see is Glidewell, who wrestled as Rosie Lottalove for a brief period in 2010.
There's no telling if any or all of them will make it to NXT, but it's great to see WWE hyping new talents months ahead of a possible televised debut to get people interested.
Three Chinese Recruits Begin Training
In another bit of recruitment news, WWE.com reported three new Chinese Superstars have arrived to begin training at the WWE Performance Center:
- Zhao Xia is the first female to ever sign a developmental deal from China. She has a lot of experience in competitive fitness and martial arts, so the physicality of WWE should be no problem for her.
- Yifeng is a Chinese actor and graduate of the Shanghai Theater Company.
- Big Boa is skilled in the art of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, having reached the rank of purple belt and winning various competitions.
These recruits follow the announcement in June from WWE about its first Chinese signee, Bin Wang. The company is continuing to expand its footprint overseas with the intention of being able to produce several international shows simultaneously in the future.
Murder Charges Dropped Against WWE Legend
According to Jamie Snyder of WFMZ.com, Judge Kelly Banach has dismissed charges of third-degree murder and involuntary manslaughter against Jimmy Snuka for the 1983 death of his girlfriend, Nancy Argentino.
Snuka's lawyers had claimed he was incapable of standing trial due to the WWE Hall of Famer suffering from dementia.
In August, the defense and prosecutors requested the case be dropped if Snuka's condition did not improve. The judge said more time was needed to assess his condition at the time.
American Ninja Warrior Veteran Trains at Performance Center
WWE posted the video above of American Ninja Warrior sensation Kacy Catanzaro taking part in a workout with NXT Superstars and Performance Center coaches this week.
Catanzaro shot to fame after being the first woman to make it up ANW's 14-foot warped wall, and she did it measuring at just 4'11".
While this may not indicate a possible future in the ring for Catanzaro, it's interesting to see WWE eyeing athletes from every walk of life.
The people who compete on ANW have to be in top physical condition to handle the various obstacles, so endurance and conditioning would not be a factor for her.
Catanzaro was joined by basketball player Satnam Singh and Kasim Edebali of the New Orleans Saints.
Big Returns and Title Match Set for Raw
According to WWE.com, Monday's Raw will feature two big returns and an unusual title match involving the United States Championship.
Shawn Michaels and The Undertaker will both return to WWE on Monday, but the reason for their appearances remains unclear.
Taker will likely be setting up his next feud for WrestleMania or announcing his participation in the Royal Rumble match. As far as HBK is concerned, it doesn't seem likely he will be taking part in a match.
Also set for Raw is a handicap title match featuring Roman Reigns and the team of Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens. If Y2J and KO win, they will share the U.S. title.
WWE hasn't done a co-champions angle since Layla and Michelle McCool shared the women's title. Hopefully they don't cut the belt in half this time.
Who do you want to see leave Raw with the U.S. title?
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