Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on Angel Garza, Wellness Policy and More
With the Royal Rumble in the rearview mirror and WrestleMania 36 still two months away, the WWE rumor mill focused on the unlikely ascension of Angel Garza, potential Wellness Policy suspensions and the current status of Shane McMahon.
Garza enjoyed an explosive first night on WWE Raw, leaving an impression on the show that may earn him some high-profile matches against the likes of Humberto Carrillo and Rey Mysterio in the coming weeks. What of his NXT run, though, where he was one of the centerpieces of the cruiserweight title picture?
Industry insiders have the answer to that question, as well as an update on the assailant who attacked MJF in the closing moments of Wednesday's AEW Dynamite, with this collection of rumors and innuendo.
Angel Garza Working Multiple Brands?
Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio reported the current plan is for Angel Garza to work both Raw and NXT while United States champion Andrade serves his 30-day suspension.
Garza enjoyed an explosive first night on the flagship, brutalizing Humberto Carrillo before delivering a sickening hammerlock DDT to Rey Mysterio on the exposed concrete floor. Alongside Zelina Vega, he earned considerable heat from the fans in Salt Lake City.
Now, it is up to management to continue building on the momentum of his first night with the red brand.
The danger anytime a Superstar competes on multiple brands is miscommunication that could prove his or her undoing. The last thing that should happen is for the Raw creative team to put a ton of effort into introducing Garza, only for NXT to book him in a loss to one of its stars.
Garza avoided that this week, but the danger will always be there as long as he splits his time among shows.
On a positive note, he has more than lived up to expectations early in his WWE run, and the opportunities he currently enjoys are a reflection of it.
Wellness Policy Suspension Updates
WrestlingVotes reported on Twitter, "word coming out of Raw is that more suspensions are coming. Must be something in that Southern California water (hint hint). Working to confirm details."
Thus far, the only officially announced suspension for Wellness Policy failure is Andrade. WWE Creative wrote the United States champion off of television a week ago via hammerlock DDT by Humberto Carrillo on the arena floor.
Speculating as to whom the report may be referencing is irresponsible, but whoever it is could not have picked a more inopportune time to get themselves into trouble.
It is WrestleMania season, the most significant stretch of the whole year. Getting popped for a Wellness Policy violation and potentially missing out on that hefty payday is a huge disappointment for talent, but no more disappointing for management who may have had them penciled in for a significant match or role at the biggest show of the year.
If true, the report suggests there will be stars who miss out on the opportunity to leave an impression on The Road to WrestleMania.
The silver lining? Superstars who may not have had a place on the card before will now have a chance to impress company officials and potentially cash their ticket to Tampa, Florida.
Shane McMahon Update
Meltzer reported in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that even though Shane McMahon was one of the officials who helped put together this year's men's Royal Rumble match, he has not been working backstage as a producer; in fact, he has not been around much at all since wrapping up his run as SmackDown Commissioner.
Given the mostly positive reception of this year's Rumble match, perhaps he would be best suited as a backstage producer, where his ideas could influence the creative direction of the broadcast.
While the desire to see McMahon dominate television time as he did over the last year is significantly low, he has always been a creative force, as witnessed in his matches.
Letting him express that creativity with the Superstars while putting together their matches or angles may benefit all involved. It would also keep the prodigal son as a member of the WWE family.
Who Attacked MJF at the End of AEW Dynamite?
Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats reported the assailant who attacked MJF in the stands as Wednesday's AEW Dynamite went off the air is believed to be a member of its roster. He added that many believed it to be Frankie Kazarian of SCU.
From a creative standpoint, it would make sense.
Earlier in the broadcast, the commentary team of Jim Ross, Tony Schiavone and Excalibur did a remarkable job of building Kazarian up during SCU's match with Best Friends.
Schiavone, in particular, referred to him as the unsung hero of the team while Ross called him one of the more underrated wrestlers on the roster.
The subtle art of putting him over to that extent will help viewers get behind him if the idea is to book a Kazarian-MJF match in the lead-in to Revolution on February 29.
For all of the criticism the commentary team finds itself under from time to time, it is something that JR and Co. do extremely well.