Roman Reigns Denies Steroid Use and the Most Controversial Stories of the Week
Last week, there wasn't enough controversy to warrant another installment of this article. This week, there are enough stories to warrant a miniseries.
From Roman Reigns publicly denying his involvement in a steroid ring to WWE continuing to sign your favorite independent wrestlers, WrestleMania season is taking on a life of its own.
Roman Reigns Denies Allegations of Being Linked to a Steroid Ring
Roman Reigns found himself embroiled in a controversy linked to a steroid ring after Richard Rodriguez, the currently jailed CEO of World Fitness Nutrition, named the top star as a client as part of a YouTube video by filmmaker Jon Bravo.
Rodriguez's Iron Addicts gym was raided in February 2017, and Rodriguez was charged with running an illegal steroid operation, according to Tim Elfrink of the Miami New Times.
Reigns vehemently denied the claims made by Rodriguez in a statement (h/t Wrestling Inc.), saying:
I have never heard of Richard Rodriguez or Wellness Fitness Nutrition. I learned from the mistake I made nearly two years ago and paid the penalty for it. Since then, I've passed 11 tests as part of WWE's independent drug testing program.
Daniel Bryan Rising as a Royal Rumble Favorite?
The neverending Daniel Bryan comeback story received its latest glimmer of hope when the former WWE world heavyweight champion was listed as a top-three favorite to win the Royal Rumble on Paddy Power (h/t Wrestling Inc.).
Bryan has been working tirelessly to get cleared by WWE, but the promotion has remained steadfast in standing by the advice of Dr. Joseph Maroon, who insists Bryan should never compete again due to lingering concussion issues, per Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline (h/t Wrestling Inc.).
Bryan has been actively involved in top storylines since becoming the SmackDown General Manager but never more so than his budding feud with Shane McMahon, who has been at odds with Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens.
With rumblings and teases of a Daniel Bryan heel turn, perhaps a surprise appearance in the Royal Rumble match could set off a chain of events that makes for a more exciting WrestleMania payoff.
Seth Rollins Brings Back Curb Stomp, Renames It the Blackout
Seth Rollins shocked the world Monday on Raw when he brought back WWE's most violent finisher on a day dedicated to a pillar of non-violence in Martin Luther King Jr.
Fans in the AT&T Center exploded when Rollins used the previously banned finisher on Finn Balor, who sold it like he had a concussion.
Some were so shocked with the sudden return of the maneuver that questions arose as to whether Rollins went off the script. Ensuing coverage of the finisher on WWE's YouTube channel, and Corey Graves referring to the move as the Blackout, confirmed that the move is back for good.
It'll be interesting to see how Rollins' Blackout plays into Balor's much-needed character development given the history between the two Superstars dating back to their Universal Championship Match at SummerSlam 2016, where an errant powerbomb by Rollins led to a major shoulder injury for Balor.
WWE Signs Ricochet, Candice LeRae and War Machine; Are EC3 and Lashley Next?
As the Royal Rumble looms, new blood could be in the fold as potential surprise entrants in both the men's and women's Royal Rumble. WWE signed away more high-profile independent wrestlers in War Machine, Ricochet and Candace LeRae.
LeRae figures to be one of many surprise entrants in the 30-woman Royal Rumble Match, with War Machine and Ricochet likely to resurface at a later date in 205 Live and NXT, respectively.
Two former WWE Superstars with an outside chance of returning at the Royal Rumble are Lashley and EC3, who recently finished up with Impact, per Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Wrestling Inc.).
With no strong favorite and so many potential surprises, both 2018 Royal Rumble matches are shaping up to be as wild as ever.