Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on AJ Styles, Beth Phoenix and More
The post-WrestleMania WWE rumor mill is churning out reports on top Superstars, Hall of Famers and NXT competitors, just in time for the roster shuffle known as the Superstar Shake-up.
Former WWE champion AJ Styles has been a staple of the SmackDown brand since 2016, but his availability for this year's Shake-up is in doubt following an injury sustained against Randy Orton at The Showcase of Immortals.
What is the latest surrounding The Phenomenal One's health, and who else joins him in this week's round-up or rumors?
Take a look for yourself.
AJ Styles Injury Update
AJ Styles suffered a hip injury at WrestleMania 35 when he delivered a Phenomenal Forearm to Randy Orton on the arena floor, Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com reported.
The former WWE champion has not yet been officially diagnosed, but he missed an autograph signing Monday at Axxess and was not present at Tuesday's SmackDown taping.
Styles has been a workhorse for WWE since arriving in 2016 and wrestled throughout the summer of 2018 with a thigh injury, as documented in the WWE 365 series on WWE Network. For as much ring time as he has seen over the last three years, it is surprising he has not been more banged up than he has been.
Losing Styles to any sort of injury long-term would be a massive blow for a roster already devoid of star power. He has been the foundation of SmackDown for the better part of the last three years and a staple of major WWE events over that same period.
Without him, others would have to pick up the slack from both a star and in-ring perspective, something far easier said than done.
Beth Phoenix to Wrestle More?
Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com (h/t Cageside Seats) reported Beth Phoenix may stick around to work a few more matches, including an upcoming tour of Europe.
Phoenix was the star of the Women's Tag Team Championship match at WrestleMania, turning back the clock and reminding everyone watching why she is a WWE Hall of Famer. Her Glam Slam to Bayley from the top rope had her in position to win the titles for her and Natalya before The IIconics stole the win and the gold.
While a full-time in-ring return is probably out of the question, utilizing Phoenix to bolster the division's star power in the short term and to promote high-profile bouts is a smart move.
That's especially true considering Raw just lost Ronda Rousey.
A showdown with Becky Lynch would be a dream match of sorts and provide the division a big match to build toward.
Phoenix is in her physical prime. Her performance at WrestleMania proved she can still go. If she is up for it, WWE Creative should use her talents.
New NXT Call-Ups?
Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio reported WWE officials have discussed call-ups for NXT's Candice LeRae and Kairi Sane.
The report comes on the heels of both women competing in the women's Battle Royal at WrestleMania.
Wednesday night at the NXT television tapings, Sane lost to NXT women's champion Shayna Baszler, per Wrestling Inc., and took what appeared to be her final bows before the Full Sail audience, lending credibility to Meltzer's report.
LeRae has been scantly used in NXT, usually popping up as Mrs. Johnny Gargano rather than getting to showcase her in-ring talents. On Wednesday's WWE Network broadcast of NXT, she defeated Aliyah in singles competition.
Both women would be valuable assets to an already talented, jam-packed division.