Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on WrestleMania, Brodie Lee and More
The coronavirus epidemic has engulfed WWE's WrestleMania 36 season in uncertainty, creating more questions than answers ahead of the industry's biggest night, but the pro wrestling rumor mill has shined some light on what fans can expect from this year's Showcase of the Immortals.
From taped matches to expected matches already planned for the show, rumor and innuendo are responsible for all of the updated info surrounding the pay-per-view on April 4-5, not to mention the latest on All Elite Wrestling's new signing, Brodie Lee.
WWE Tapes WrestleMania Matches
Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer Live reported WWE has recorded some of the matches for the April 4 and 5 WrestleMania 36 broadcast and will resume filming the rest of the card Thursday ahead of a "stay-at-home" order by Florida's governor.
WrestleVotes supported Alvarez's report, saying they will have results from the show but will not be sharing them as to avoid spoilers for this year's event.
Such a drastic step suggests WWE is taking seriously the possibility it would not have been permitted or able to produce a live broadcast given the ongoing coronavirus epidemic and its effect on everyday life.
While there will be those who complain about the idea of a pre-taped show, it does allow the company to toy with the card and present it in an order that complements its quality. Flashback two years ago, to WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans, and an underwhelming match between Roman Reigns and Brock Lesnar that headlined the show.
Under these circumstances, WWE Creative could have adjusted things to put the Ronda Rousey/Kurt Angle vs. Triple H/Stephanie McMahon tag match in the main event spot instead.
The pretaped show from a Performance Center with zero fans will make for a surreal viewing experience, but hopefully the Superstars involved recognize their legacies can still be built at the event and turn in their absolute best performances anyway.
Proposed WrestleMania Main Event
Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select reported that, as of last week, WWE had yet to nail down a main event for Night 1 of this year's WrestleMania broadcast.
"There was plenty of back and forth over the past week over what would main-event the two nights of WrestleMania. At one point, Becky Lynch vs. Shayna Baszler was set to main-event night one. However, there is word there was a push for Roman Reigns and Goldberg to be in that spot."
The report would suggest the company is leaning toward Drew McIntyre vs. Brock Lesnar for the WWE title headlining Sunday's program. Considering that match represents the Raw brand, it would only be fair for Reigns vs. Goldberg to be the marquee match on the first night.
The star power is undeniable, it is a legitimate dream match and the company can cap off a WrestleMania broadcast with Reigns standing tall as the new champion and have zero fans booing in protest.
Of course, Lynch has been the face of the company this year and has more than earned her opportunity to main event The Show of Shows.
While there has been no official announcement regarding which match will actually get the nod, a good deal of it could come down to the quality of the match WWE records this week.
Original Plans for the SmackDown Women's Championship at WrestleMania
Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio reported the original plan for the SmackDown Women's Championship match called for Sasha Banks vs. Bayley, but it was scrapped when it became clear WWE Creative would not have enough time to tell their story.
Instead, the company opted for a multi-woman match that stacks the odds against the champion and plants the seeds for a rivalry with The Boss.
If accurate, the decision is a welcome change of pace for WWE. Too often, the company rushes through storylines to the extent that we never really get the opportunity to enjoy programs that would have benefited from a slow burn.
Bayley vs. Banks is the type of storyline that has incredibly rich background from their days in NXT and would do wonders to elevate a women's division on SmackDown that desperately needs it.
Good on those in power for recognizing how important that program would be and resisting the urge to hot-shot it for the sake of a throw-away 'Mania match.
Brodie Lee Continues to Reference Vince McMahon in AEW Promos
Brodie Lee's continued digs at WWE owner Vince McMahon continued Wednesday night on AEW Dynamite, Josh Gagnon of WrestlingInc.com noted, citing his attire and apparent disdain for sneezing.
McMahon has a long, notorious reputation for hating sneezing due to his own inability to control them.
Such a dig is childish, but of all the stars to leave WWE, Lee is the one who has earned the right to take digs at his former boss.
One of the most talented in-ring performers on the WWE roster as Luke Harper, he was wholly underutilized and spared significant career-advancement opportunities. Every time he would appear in a major angle, he would be shoved back into the Wyatt Family or have his significance diminished.
Back in the realm of relevance and amid a major storyline in which he is the centerpiece, Lee has the opportunity to showcase his ability and prove his former employer wrong.
As far as the digs on the "out of touch old man" are concerned, McMahon has done worse to wrestlers still under his employment than call them a few names or mock their disdain for sneezing.