Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on the WWE Draft, Sasha Banks and More
The uncertainty surrounding the WWE draft and where the Superstars who make up the company's immensely talented roster headlined this week's backstage rumors and reports.
Just how much information have Superstars been given ahead of the start of the company's two-night ratings grab on Friday and Monday? The answer to that question lies within.
Also discussed is Sasha Banks' status within WWE, Samoa Joe's whereabouts of late and the potential for a Becky Lynch-Asuka rivalry.
Dive deeper into each of those subjects, thanks to reports from the industry's most respected insiders, with this collection of WWE rumors and reports.
WWE Draft Update
Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select reported WWE talent has not been told which brand they will be appearing on after this week's WWE draft.
At a time when everything is leaked online or to industry insiders, it is not at all surprising WWE officials would decline to tell performers which brand they will be drafted to Friday on SmackDown or Monday on Raw. Creating an element of surprise makes for a better television product, and if that means inconveniencing the Superstars for the time being, it is worth it.
Particularly at a time when All Elite Wrestling continues to build momentum for itself on the back of a strong television product Wednesday nights.
Some of the draft moves appear to be pretty obvious, but we have been surprised before by WWE curveballs. The unexpected makes for a more engaging show. Why ruin it by giving talkative talent a heads-up?
Sasha Banks in Vince McMahon's Good Graces
Sapp also noted Sasha Banks has recently impressed Vince McMahon, who has gained respect for the former women's champion.
It is unfathomable that the WWE chairman did not already respect Banks, particularly considering the quality of her work over the years and the relatively high-profile positions she has repeatedly found herself in.
It was only three years ago The Boss made history alongside Charlotte Flair, becoming one of the first two women to headline a pay-per-view bout by competing inside Hell in a Cell.
The strength of Banks' recent work, including a brilliant performance against Becky Lynch at Sunday's Hell in a Cell, is likely the reason for whatever renewed respect McMahon is experiencing for the newly dubbed "Blueprint."
Whether that manifests itself in a championship run or continued push remains to be seen.
Samoa Joe Injury Rumor
Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com reported Samoa Joe is suffering from a broken thumb and is awaiting clearance to return to the squared circle.
The Samoan Submission Specialist's WWE run has been a frustrating one, if only because his physical style has often landed him on the injured list, forcing him off television just as he appears to build momentum for himself.
Recently, Joe delivered a series of strong performances in the King of the Ring tournament and also found himself defending Roman Reigns during his "whodunnit" storyline.
The former United States champion was amid a stellar string of matches that finally had him looking like the guy who won fans over in both Ring of Honor and Impact Wrestling. However, he again finds himself on the sidelines watching as WWE prepares for a high-profile draft that will likely see him shuffle between brands for what feels like the umpteenth time in his main roster career.
Regardless of whether the 40-year-old appears on Raw or SmackDown, one can only hope he can rekindle the in-ring roll he was on of late because that Joe was much more fun than the slower, more lethargic competitor we had been witness to in the last two or so years.
Becky Lynch vs. Asuka?
Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio noted an injury suffered by Sasha Banks at Hell in a Cell may lead to Becky Lynch vs. Asuka for the Raw Women's Championship.
The Man endured green mist to the eyes as The Empress of Tomorrow and tag team partner Kairi Sane upset Lynch and Charlotte Flair on Monday's Raw. While that would seem to ignite a rivalry going forward, Meltzer's report feels more speculative based on television than any insider knowledge.
The WWE draft is likely to alter plans across the board, and Lynch's match with The Kabuki Warriors on Raw may have been little more than a placeholder; a way to bring all the champions together while putting Asuka and Sane over just 24 hours after winning the tag titles.
Lynch did hint on social media that Asuka's mist-assisted attack was a "declaration of war," perhaps adding credibility to Meltzer's report.
It will not be until Friday's SmackDown that we get a taste of what is to come for The Man, Asuka and the women's division as a whole as WWE shifts, shuffles and manipulates its massive roster as part of yet another draft.