Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
Hardy Hints at WWE Departure
After losing a squash match to Erick Rowan on Monday's episode of Raw, Matt Hardy suggested that his time in WWE may be nearing its conclusion.
Hardy acknowledged that his name was trending on Twitter and added: "Hope you’re enjoying my #WWE TV appearances.. At this rate there won't be many more."
The 45-year-old veteran has been outspoken about his desire to reprise his "broken" character on WWE programming, and he has attempted to keep the character alive with his "Free The Delete" YouTube series.
PWInsider (h/t Liam Winnard of WrestleTalk) recently reported that Hardy's WWE contract expires in February, meaning Monday's match could have been one of his final appearances.
Since Matt's brother, Jeff Hardy, landed on the shelf with a knee injury shortly after WrestleMania last year, Matt hasn't had much of a role on WWE television.
The organization has primarily utilized Hardy as enhancement talent against up-and-coming wrestlers such as Buddy Murphy and Ricochet, and he hasn't received any promo time.
The broken character that Hardy created in Impact Wrestling has a ton of potential, and that was apparent during a feud with Bray Wyatt a couple of years ago, when Hardy was allowed to test it in WWE.
WWE hasn't let him spread his wings creatively since then, though, and it seems likely that Hardy will test the waters with companies like AEW, ROH or Impact Wrestling rather than re-sign with WWE if the organization's stance on the character doesn't change.
Bryan Discusses Storyline with The Fiend
Ahead of his Universal Championship match against "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt at the Royal Rumble on Sunday in Houston, Daniel Bryan discussed his storyline in an interview with Nick Talbot of MySanAntonio.com.
One of the biggest parts of the feud occurred several weeks ago on SmackDown, when The Fiend pulled Bryan underneath the ring and began ripping out his hair. When Bryan returned at TLC, he was clean-shaven and sporting a buzzcut.
Bryan divulged that while cutting the beard as part of the storyline was his idea, he didn't want to cut his hair as well:
"Actually, it was my idea. And my idea was not the hair, it was just the beard. I had kind of pitched this to them as this idea of, 'OK, how do we extend this story with Bray Wyatt,' which is what they wanted to do, because he's already defeated me cleanly, right? How do we do that? One of the things to me was that he's changed people's character so much when he's faced them. And by him ripping out or cutting my beard, it would be this idea that he's stripping me of part of my identity. That was my kind of pitch to them."
Bryan noted that there were two barbers under the ring cutting off his hair during the segment, and while he praised them for their work, he realized that he would have no option other than to cut his hair short after the fact.
The leader of the Yes Movement also talked about how his wife, former WWE Superstar Brie Bella, reacted to the new look:
"And it's really funny, because as different as it is for my character, I knew I was in trouble, because my wife hates shaved heads. She's never liked them, and I texted her immediately after. I said, 'You're not going like this.' And her response was 'What did you do?' And I know I'm in trouble because she knows that this idea of the beard thing was my idea. So, my idea has led me to this. And I tried to take a couple pictures before I FaceTimed her, but none of them were good. And I was just like, 'OK, I better just FaceTime her.' And then, you know those conversations that you have with your significant other where it's like, they're really quiet and you can just see the anger. This was one of those kinds of things. But luckily that happened the day after Thanksgiving, and then I flew home that Saturday, and we had a bunch of family and stuff there, so she couldn't be too outwardly mad. Then after a day or two it blows over. She just gets used to it, and that's sort of how it all went down."
While the end result may not have gone over well with Brie, it played perfectly into the story WWE has been telling with regard to The Fiend, and it undoubtedly added another layer of intrigue to the rivalry leading up to Royal Rumble.
On Friday's episode of SmackDown, Bryan got the better of The Fiend with help from Kane and sent him scurrying back under the ring. As a result, he challenged The Fiend to a strap match at Royal Rumble.
With Bryan and The Fiend tethered together, they figure to engage in a hard-hitting and brutal affair that will take their already personal rivalry up a notch.
DDP Compares WWE and AEW
After making his in-ring debut for AEW last week in a six-man tag team match on Dynamite, WWE Hall of Famer Diamond Dallas Page compared the past two companies he has worked for.
According to Ross Kelly of WrestlingInc.com, DDP noted that AEW gives its performers more freedom than WWE when it comes to cutting promos:
"The biggest difference [in AEW] is 'Here's what we need to get in, go cut yourself a promo.' [In WWE] it's spoon-fed to you with all of the writers that WWE has and I don't know – if I had to read what those guys were writing and it wasn't coming from my soul – I don't think I would have gotten over. They had this one vision and I had a whole another vision."
DDP also said that while he works with AEW behind the scenes and offers his opinion when asked, he isn't part of the creative team.
There is some belief that those who work with AEW are blacklisted by WWE, but Page suggested that isn't the case and expressed his willingness to help both companies:
"WWE's coming here on Wednesday and they're gonna interview me for [Karl] Malone and [Dennis] Rodman. I'm like in the middle – I wanna be able to help Cody with whatever he needs but if WWE needs something from me, then I'm always there for them. They've treated me super-great for the last 10 years."
DDP is an all-time great and possesses a wealth of knowledge, so there is no question that he can contribute a lot to any promotion that enlists his services.
It seems as though Page is most deeply entrenched in AEW since he wrestled a match last week and has made several appearances on Dynamite, but he has built up enough goodwill with WWE that the door is apparently open for him at any time.
Listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot wrestling topics. Catch the latest episode in the player below (warning: some language NSFW).