Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on Matt Hardy, MVP and More
The latest report on Matt Hardy's WWE future, as well as his former tag team partner MVP's role with the company, headlines a jam-packed collection of backstage rumors.
Joining the ex-tag champions in the rumor mill are Charlotte Flair, potential new Hall of Fame inductions and the latest on red-hot free agent Jeff Cobb.
Find out what is in store for those stars with this roundup of the industry's hottest rumors and innuendo.
Is Matt Hardy Headed to Free Agency?
Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com reported that while Matt Hardy continues to have conversations with WWE, he is expected to hit free agency when his contract expires on March 1.
Hardy was last seen taking a wicked con-chair-to at the hands of Randy Orton on Monday, as The Viper continued building momentum ahead of what seems destined to be a WrestleMania match with Edge.
To say Matt's usage following a promising return to the company at WrestleMania 33 was disappointing would be an understatement of massive proportions. The introduction of Woken Matt Hardy failed to catch on thanks to inconsistent booking, and the performer commenced wallowing in obscurity.
That he was always seen as the secondary member of a team, alongside either brother Jeff or Bray Wyatt, was an indication of WWE Creative's lack of interest in pushing him on his own merits. The result? A disappointing conclusion to what should have been one last great run with the company that made him a bona fide star in the industry.
Update on MVP's WWE Status
Johnson also reported that MVP may be segueing into the role of producer with WWE.
MVP appeared on Raw on Monday night, hosting the VIP Lounge with 2020 Royal Rumble winner Drew McIntyre. The former United States champion offered his managerial services to The Scottish Psychopath but ate a Claymore kick for his troubles.
If the segment taught us anything, it is that MVP could still be a valuable asset to the company as an on-screen talker. He was engaging in his verbal clash with McIntyre and could easily help to elevate someone like Cedric Alexander, who has all of the talent in the world but has failed to make the ever-important connection with audiences needed to support a major push.
We have seen what a confident, skilled talker can do for talent who struggle with that element of their performance. Sami Zayn has elevated Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro over on SmackDown, and MVP has the potential to do the same for any number of performers who do not have the natural charisma of their peers.
Even if he works strictly behind the scenes, MVP is a performer who seemingly has many contributions left to give the industry.
What Is the Endgame with Charlotte Flair's Latest Storyline?
Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio reported the goal of Charlotte Flair's ongoing storyline is to help build up the NXT audience.
Using an established star to elevate those around her? Whaaaaaaaat?
It is exactly the booking that should have been implemented a long time ago. If there were nothing better for a star such as Flair, why not use her undeniable star power to lend some credibility to a roster of young stars the audience at large may not be as familiar with?
The diehard fans know and love Rhea Ripley, but to those who tune in only to Raw and SmackDown, they have no reason to know or care about the NXT women's champion regardless of her talent. Using Flair to put her over, establishing Ripley as a huge star and ensuring the next wave of women are already credible in the eyes of the WWE Universe, is pitch-perfect booking from an often-maligned creative team.
That is, if the writers can resist the urge to put The Queen over Ripley, much in the same way they inexplicably killed Asuka’s unbeaten streak back at WrestleMania 34.
2 New Hall of Fame Inductees?
WrestleVotes reported three substantial names will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame Class of 2020: The Bella Twins and Jushin "Thunder" Liger. If true, those three performers will join the New World Order and Dave Batista in this year's crop of talent.
There will be those who argue vehemently that Brie and Nikki Bella are undeserving of a place in the Hall of Fame, and those fans would be very wrong. Like it or not, The Bella Twins represented an entire generation of women's wrestling in WWE, were hugely influential in the women's evolution and expanded mainstream coverage of the sport through their reality shows.
Throw in high-profile PPV matches with Stephanie McMahon and Ronda Rousey, a 301-day Divas Championship run for Nikki and star power that rivaled some of the top male competitors on the roster, and you have two women who have done more than enough to warrant inclusion.
As for Liger, there are few Superstars who have inspired and influenced an entire era of wrestlers more than the Japanese competitor. Liger's style was, in many ways, a precursor to that of today; he was an aerial artist who could work the mat style if necessary. And his look helped to set him apart from the body guys and pretty boys in high-profile positions in wrestling's major companies.
Both inductions would be well-deserved and bolster a class that already touts considerable star power at the top.
Jeff Cobb's AEW Status
Johnson wraps up this week's collection of rumors by reporting Jeff Cobb has not signed a contract with All Elite Wrestling despite appearing on Wednesday's broadcast of Dynamite and the announcement that he will square off with Jon Moxley on the next edition.
However, Johnson revealed that Cobb is still a free agent and that his status with Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro-Wrestling is not indicative of working relationship between the companies.
Cobb is an immensely talented professional wrestler who could thrive in any major wrestling company in 2020. A raw powerhouse who has the stamina and athleticism to hang with any wrestler for a significant period of time, he is a hybrid athlete. Whether clubbing with Moxley or tossing Kenny Omega around the ring with suplexes, Cobb is a perfect complement to the already overflowing roster of talented wrestlers AEW has amassed.
Whether he chooses the company over the aforementioned promotions, or even WWE, remains to be seen, though.