WWE Rumors Roundup for Week of July 27 Ahead of SummerSlam 2018
WWE's slow burn to SummerSlam is starting to set fire to the rumor mill.
Fans already know some of the stellar matches in the process of being cemented. Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar will do battle again. An all-time classic will once again unfold between A.J. Styles and Samoa Joe.
But coming off the heels of Stephanie McMahon announcing Evolution, the first-ever all-women's pay-per-view, it seems the rumor mill has turned it up a notch.
There are rumblings about a major push for a rising star, a veteran lobbying for a change, a possible legendary return and more.
Heading into the weekend, these are the biggest rumors to know surrounding the WWE.
Randy Orton Personally Wanted a Change
It was short and simple: Orton turned on the fans, going heel in the process. He was already mostly there after attacking Jeff Hardy in a vicious manner, but watching him link his former Legend Killer gimmick right into suggesting the fans themselves are the real legend killers was more brutal than any harm he could've done to a guy wearing face paint.
Orton is simply more interesting when he's playing the bad guy, so it's refreshing to hear he pushed for the change in direction, according to WrestleVotes: "Regarding Randy Orton's heel turn, it has been something he's wanted for a while now. Orton definitely pushed for it. I'm expecting him to be the top heel on SmackDown going forward. With him, Nakamura, Joe, Miz & Almas, SD has a strong mix of main event level heels."
Orton is the perfect addition to the heel stable on blue brand, and going bad doesn't mean he can't feud with those guys either. Based on his comments about indie wrestlers, it only seems like a matter of time before we get a legendary showdown between Orton and Styles.
Blue Brand Superstar in Line for Major Push?
It's go time for Andrade "Cien" Almas.
Almas put on an epic match with Styles a few weeks back, really getting his first shot to impress both those backstage and the WWE Universe itself on a major platform. He delivered, as most who square off with Styles do, and now he could be looking at getting a rocket strapped to his back.
According to Mike Johnson of PWInsider, Almas' match against Styles "really impressed a lot of people backstage and there was talk coming out of the show that he was in line for a big push."
As mentioned previously, blue brand has plenty of heels on the roster already. But Almas is perhaps the freshest, newest one. He's unique and most of his main-roster battles will be new to fans, making him an ideal riser as the WWE heads into the summer and then holiday seasons.
James Ellsworth Is out Once Again
James Ellsworth had a short fun run with WWE this time, helping keep the Carmella-championship angle somewhat fresh.
But Ellsworth got "fired" by SmackDown general manager Paige on the latest episode—which it turns out was a good way to really send him packing.
Ellsworth himself released a statement on Twitter thanking WWE and its fans for his latest stint.
More interesting, though, is Mike Johnson of PWInsider reporting Ellsworth "had not signed a contract with WWE."
We're likely to see Ellsworth back in small bursts here and there when a brand needs some comedic relief. He's seemingly universally liked and plays the part well, though it seems this stint is officially over.
Shinsuke Nakamura Heading Back to NJPW?
Shinsuke Nakamura's tenure with WWE could be coming to a close sooner than most realize.
While he's one of the best in the world at what he does, Nakamura has floundered on the main roster after a brilliant run in NXT. His hyped encounters with Styles fell short, the character itself went an odd way (as did his theme music) and he's now holding a consolation belt thanks to the United States title.
According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t Robert Schillaci of Wrestlingnews.co), Nakamura could go back to NJPW.
"It wouldn't completely shock me. I know they do want him back," Meltzer said about Nakamura. "There will be attempts [and] for all those guys. Gallows and Anderson, if they wanna go back there, they can go back there. They're kind of treading water [in WWE]. Who knows how that's gonna go."
Nakamura joined WWE in February of 2016, so the short-term deal likely extends through the end of this year before going up for renewal.
Companies poaching each other's talent isn't anything new in this business, so Nakamura deciding to leave wouldn't come as too much of a surprise. He's not in Styles' position as the face of a brand and world-title holder, making it unlikely he leaves. Nakamura might see fit to go back to his roots after gaining valuable experience in WWE.
The Rock Return?
It seems like only a matter of time before The Rock hops back into a WWE ring.
While he's bogged down by Hollywood responsibilities, the man otherwise known as Dwayne Johnson doesn't shy away from talking about WWE often.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Andrew Ravens of PW Mania), The Rock could make his big return next year at WrestleMania 35.
It's a huge rumor, to say the least, as The Rock hasn't had a serious match since WrestleMania 29, when he fought John Cena (we're not counting the fight with Erick Rowan at WrestleMania 32).
The biggest of all special attractions now, The Rock could pop in on a random episode of a program at this point and start hinting at the future soon. It only makes sense for WWE to try to get him back and involved as the shows move to a bigger platform thanks to the new television deals.
We'll have to wait and see what WWE has planned if The Rock does choose to come back, but it will surely only be the best of the best.