Paige Undergoes Surgery; Braun Talks Universal Title; Lesnar Set for WWE on Fox

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 14, 2019

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 05: WWE Superstar Paige attends the WWE Superstars For Hope Reception on April 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for WWE)
Brian Ach/Getty Images

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.


Paige Undergoes Neck Surgery

Paige announced Wednesday that she was set to undergo surgery:


Okayyy surgery time. Thankful for the wonderful people in my life. Okurrr see ya on the other side

She previously announced last week that she would need another procedure after undergoing a fusion surgery in her neck in 2016:


Me and my fave Dr! Dr Juan Uribe. He did an amazing job on my last neck surgery. Also the miracle worker for @BellaTwins Nikki and @TJWilson necks! Unfortunately, the match from Uniondale created a new hernia that we thought would heal. It did not. Sooo.. One more surgery to go. https://t.co/fKfAxRCoK2

Paige had been scheduled for a meet and greet alongside The Kabuki Warriors during SummerSlam Weekend in August, but she was pulled in order to prepare for the surgery. Paige was also unable to accompany The Kabuki Warriors to the ring for their WWE Women's Tag Team Championship match against Alexa Bliss and Nikki Cross on Raw.

The night after WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans in April, Paige announced her retirement from WWE as an in-ring competitor because of her neck injury. After that, she was installed as the general manager of SmackDown Live, and she served in that role for several months.

Paige became the manager for Asuka and Kairi Sane in mid-April, but the group hasn't been on television much because of a lack of focus on the women's tag team division.

No timetable has been given for Paige's return to TV, and it is unclear if the organization will use her in a different role when she comes back.

Although Paige can no longer wrestle, she is still a major asset to WWE because of her speaking ability and her popularity with the fans. Losing her for any period of time is a hit to the women's division.


Strowman Discusses Universal Title Pursuit

Braun Strowman has yet to win a championship in WWE aside from the symbolic Greatest Royal Rumble title, but he has his eyes on one of the biggest prizes in the company.

In an interview with The Gorilla Position (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Robert Gunier), Strowman discussed why he hasn't won the Universal title yet and whether that championship might be in his future:

"The powers that be aren't ready for [me to be Universal Champion]. One of the biggest things is that I'm running out of opponents; I've beat everybody. That's the biggest thing, I feel like. Where we're at right now, we're trying to get some other guys more established because, let's be for real, not everybody can match up to what I've done and what I'm capable of doing. So I feel like that's part of the biggest thing—just timing-wise, everything happens for a reason in this business. Everything that you [see] going on right now has literally been in works for a year, two years already. So we plan so far ahead.

"Honestly, as well, I don't feel like where I'm at with my character [gives him reason to] need a title. I get some, if not the, biggest reactions when I come out anywhere in the world with just me. And a title, without a doubt, is what I want to hold. The Universal Title is the most prestigious thing in the WWE—absolutely, to represent the company in that way [would be great]. But if I don't need it, I don't need it."

While Strowman has had his fair share of Universal title opportunities and time in the main event spotlight, he has always fallen short. Most notably, he unsuccessfully cashed in his Money in the Bank contract against Roman Reigns last year and then lost a match to Brock Lesnar for the vacant Universal Championship at Crown Jewel in November.

Since then, Strowman has primarily worked lower on the card, as he feuded with Saturday Night Live personalities Colin Jost and Michael Che, as well as Bobby Lashley.

The tide may be turning for The Monster Among Men, though, as he rushed to Universal champion Seth Rollins' aid on Monday's Raw when Rollins was getting attacked by The OC.

Strowman is scheduled to face United States champion AJ Styles on next week's Raw, which suggests a feud with Styles or perhaps even a friendly rivalry with Rollins could be in the cards.

That doesn't necessarily mean Strowman will win a title, and that may not be a bad thing since his size and presence make him such an attraction that winning a championship doesn't matter as much for him as it does other Superstars.


Lesnar Scheduled to Appear on SmackDown's Fox Debut

WWE will reportedly have a huge name in the fold when SmackDown debuts on Fox on Oct. 4.

According to WrestlingInc.com's Marc Middleton, the Staples Center in Los Angeles is advertising Brock Lesnar to appear on that show. It will double as a SmackDown 20th anniversary special as well, with legends such as Hulk Hogan, Sting, Ric Flair, Kurt Angle, Goldberg, Trish Stratus, Lita, Booker T, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley and Mark Henry also scheduled.

It is important for WWE to put on a strong special Oct. 4 for several reasons, including the fact that All Elite Wrestling is debuting its weekly television show on TNT two days earlier.

Lesnar shockingly dropped the Universal Championship to Seth Rollins at SummerSlam, and WWE later announced that he will not receive a rematch. Lesnar has not been seen since his loss to Rollins, and it stands to reason that he could be out of the fold until the Oct. 4 SmackDown.

If that is the case, he may begin a new program on that show, and it wouldn't be surprising to see him target WWE champion Kofi Kingston if Kofi is still in possession of the title.

An altercation of some kind with Goldberg is another possibility given their history dating back to WrestleMania 20 and culminating with Lesnar's win over Goldberg at WrestleMania 33 in 2017.

Regardless of what Lesnar does on the SmackDown 20th anniversary show, the fact that he is scheduled to appear essentially guarantees that there will be plenty of eyes on Fox's debut episode.


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