Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on Jeff Hardy, Brock Lesnar and More
The WWE rumor mill continues to churn out updates on SmackDown's upcoming move to Fox, this week focusing on just how long Brock Lesnar's WWE Championship opportunity against Kofi Kingston for the October 4 broadcast has been in the works.
Cedric Alexander was in the middle of a significant push when he was inexplicably squashed as part of the Clash of Champions Kickoff Show Sunday. What was the meaning of that defeat and who behind the scenes may have it out for the former cruiserweight champion?
And what is up with all the Kevin Owens-to-NXT buzz?
Find out the answer to those questions and more with our rundown of the latest WWE rumors, beginning with an update on a former WWE champion's contract status.
Jeff Hardy Contract Update
Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select reported WWE officials have added "at least one year" to Jeff Hardy's current contract due to injury. The company exercised a one-year option on Jeff and brother Matt's deal but added another 12 months due to time missed by The Charismatic Enigma.
Hardy is 42 years old, and with a body wracked with bumps, bruises and dings from years of big bumps and high-risk maneuvers, one has to wonder just how much the company can get out of the former world champion even if it continues to add time to his deal.
One of the greatest performers of his generation—and one of the most popular to boot—Hardy has exceeded all expectations set for him by management and fans alike. His creativity fueled him to take risks between the ropes that few others would even consider, let alone execute.
Adding time to a deal in hopes of keeping him under wraps in wrestling wartime may be wise on WWE Chairman Vince McMahon's part, but it may also prove wasteful if he cannot get any sustained run out of Hardy.
How Long Has Brock Lesnar vs. Kofi Kingston Been in the Works?
John Pollock of POST Wrestling noted Brock Lesnar's WWE Championship match against Kofi Kingston for the October 4 episode of SmackDown Live on Fox has been "in the works for a long time."
It makes sense that Vince McMahon and management would want to maximize the first television rating for SmackDown's jump to Fox by pulling out all of its biggest stars, including the biggest draw at its disposal.
Lesnar, like it or not, is a box-office attraction with crossover appeal. Those with no real knowledge of sports entertainment know who he is thanks to his tremendous success in UFC. Add to that the fact he looks like a dominant badass around whom WWE can build special broadcasts and hype high-profile title bouts, and you have all the reason you need for his involvement in the broadcast.
While the details of his latest deal have been kept relatively quiet, it would not be a surprise at all if we see The Beast Incarnate appear more on Fox than he has on Raw and USA Network since returning in 2012.
Cedric Alexander's Push Update
Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio reported Vince McMahon has been looking to bury Cedric Alexander, hence his recent booking at Clash of Champions and Raw.
AJ Styles defeated Alexander in minutes during the Sunday's Kickoff Show, and he Alexander and The Viking Raiders lost to The Phenomenal One, Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson just 24 hours later.
Given McMahon's track record in relation to smaller, cruiserweight-sized competitors, it's not a shocker that he would go out of his way to delegitimize Alexander, despite Paul Heyman and WWE Creative's best efforts to push the former champion in a more significant role.
If true, it is a shame because he has been responsible for some of the better in-ring performances the red brand has seen of late, including a great match with Drew McIntyre a month or so ago.
At the same time, one has to wonder how much of a burial it is when Alexander is sharing the ring with one of the biggest stars in the industry, going as far as to defeat Styles in the main event of Raw in Madison Square Garden.
Kevin Owens to NXT Update
Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats noted that while it was teased Kevin Owens would be heading to NXT, it does not appear as though his run with the brand will last long if it does happen.
The creative direction KO's character took Tuesday on SmackDown Live, in which he vowed to make life a living hell for Shane McMahon, suggests any planned run on NXT has been extinguished for the time being.
That is disappointing because someone like Owens, a former universal champion, could have added legitimate star power to the brand as it transitions from WWE Network to USA.
Couple that with the fact the McMahon rivalry is well past its sell-by date, and the disappointment only intensifies.
For now, Owens will continue to share screen time with McMahon despite the fact his anti-authority rebel character has completely cooled and all momentum established earlier this summer has been negated by repetitive and unnecessarily long-winded booking.