Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on Shane McMahon, Backstage Morale and More
Reaction to the prodigal son's absurd amount of television time was a hot topic as Superstars' dissatisfaction became more and more apparent.
The response to his overexposure was only one of the fascinating reports this week, as backstage morale and Lars Sullivan's injury status also piqued interest.
Dive deeper into each subject now, just in time for Sunday's WWE Stomping Grounds pay-per-view.
Resentment over Shane McMahon's Push?
Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select (h/t Cageside Seats) reported growing frustration with Shane McMahon's "infuriating" push, especially considering the new Wild Card rule has limited television time for many Superstars across Raw and SmackDown Live.
Rusev lent credence to the report Tuesday, tweeting, "I'm not. It's normal. He is the bosses [sic] son" in response to a fan that asked how frustrating it is to see McMahon on television instead of him.
When another fan called him out for being a "WWE employee" going off on his own company, The Bulgarian Brute responded, "I'm not an employee...", an obvious shot at the company's labeling of its talent as "independent contractors."
Rusev has a history of saying things others may be thinking but would not be quite as courageous to express. His, and everyone else's, frustration is deserved. The impending demise of the brand extension at the hands of a Wild Card rule that has gotten out of hand does limit television time and opportunities.
Why the company, which has collected some of the most talented individuals on the planet, continues to see to it that the McMahon family dominates television time when there is no longer any evidence between it and an increase in television ratings is mind-boggling.
As long as it continues, the frustration and disenfranchisement with the most recognizable promotion on the planet will, too.
Details on Backstage Morale
WrestleVotes said on Tuesday: "Texting with a WWE source, who travels with the crew. Said the vibe going into Sunday’s PPV is similar to the vibe around the "In Your House" shows from back in the day. Lack of meaningful matches, low ticket sales and general feeling reminds them of 1995/1996. Yikes."
That is pretty damning given how significant a down period that era of WWE was and how low morale among the Superstars was at the time.
It is hard not to see why they would be frustrated.
Not only is there the aforementioned Shane McMahon issue, but the lack of actual creativity among the writers and half-empty arenas across the country can also be demoralizing when you are traveling the world, putting your body through the wringer and still not affecting as large an audience as you hoped for.
Worst of all? You're fighting for limited screen time and against fan apathy for a stale, overproduced product that no longer incites the type of emotion it once did.
All of that comes together to create a scenario like Sunday's Stomping Ground pay-per-view, which almost feels must-miss rather than the must-see extravaganza WWE spectaculars once were.
Lars Sullivan Update
Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio reported it was believed Lars Sullivan would be back on television this past week and the fact that he was not could suggest his knee is injured worse than originally expected.
This is the second time a push for The Freak has been halted.
An anxiety attack shelved his initial push, which was slated to conclude in a WrestleMania program with John Cena. Now, in the midst of a push that saw him obliterate Lucha House Party by himself, Sullivan finds himself unable to capitalize due to a knee injury.
One of the more promising big men in recent memory, Sullivan has the tools necessary to create chaos and reign supreme over WWE for years to come. Availability is a performer's greatest asset, though, and he has not been available to WWE officials, making him less valuable the more time he misses, regardless of whether it is his fault or not.
Hopefully, he can return and get back to smashing the opposition sooner than later. If not, he may see his potential wasted by a company that has always practiced under the idea of "what have you done for me lately?"