Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on Sting, Drake Maverick and More

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistMay 21, 2020

Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on Sting, Drake Maverick and More

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    Don Feria/Associated Press

    Could one of the biggest stars of the famed Monday Night War be on the move?

    Sting dominated the rumor mill headlines this week as his future with WWE became cloudy and the possibility that he pops up in All Elite Wrestling became more realistic. But is it merely smoke where there is no fire, or might the Hall of Famer wind up sharing the ring with the likes of Cody, Kenny Omega, Chris Jericho and Jon Moxley?

    Speaking of Superstars with ties to the glory days of WCW, what is the deal with Charlotte Flair's recent booking? Is she a babyface, as portrayed on SmackDown, or a heel, as she has been on Mondays and Wednesdays?

    As it turns out, she may be both as WWE Creative attempts a unique booking strategy.

    Dive deeper into those industry stars and more, including Roman Reigns' status, with this week's romp through the muddy waters of wrestling rumors.

Sting to AEW?

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    Dave Meltzer of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that there is talk of Sting joining All Elite Wrestling. This comes on the heels of Ryan Satin's exclusive story at Pro Wrestling Sheet that Sting is no longer under contract with WWE.

    Knowing how big of a fan AEW Executive Vice President Cody was of WCW growing up, it makes sense that he would be interested in bringing Sting into the company in some form or fashion. Not just because of the connection to his father's old company but also because The Stinger is one of those few stars who still has an aura about him that gets fans buzzing.

    Sting's star power has not diminished in the slightest, and any sort of appearance in AEW, even as a one-off, would be enough to make waves.

    It makes so much sense that it feels like a sure thing, even though history has repeatedly taught us there is no such thing in wrestling.

    Still, do not be surprised if the face-painted antihero of the Monday Night War makes his presence felt in AEW at some point as it continues to establish itself as the hottest promotion in the industry.

Drake Maverick Still Finished with WWE?

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    Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats reported that, despite all signs to the contrary, Drake Maverick is still expected to be finished with WWE.

    The report comes just as Maverick is slated to battle Kushida and Jake Atlas in a Triple Threat Match in the Group A finals of the tournament to crown a new cruiserweight champion.

    Maverick's underdog quest for one more match, one last opportunity in WWE, has been the story of the tournament. Why WWE would go through so much effort to spotlight a Superstar, only to be legitimately finished with him and essentially serve him up to another company to sign with all of this momentum behind him, makes no sense.

    WWE is not so arrogant as to believe Maverick would immediately lose his momentum upon arriving in another promotion. History tells us it is not something the company does, building up stars before letting them go to the competition.

    This feels like a story concocted to build up Maverick and put him over. And if so, good for him. If it is his last ride with the company, shame on WWE for exploiting a Superstar whose lifelong dream was extinguished for its own creative hubris.

Is Charlotte Flair a Heel or a Babyface?

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    Meltzer also reported the reasoning behind Charlotte Flair's recent portrayal on Raw, NXT and SmackDown is not to present her as a heel or babyface but, rather, a star. 

    While Meltzer is likely right, such a report sounds like WWE making excuses for its inconsistencies while booking The Queen. It is mighty convenient to tell people that so and so is not a babyface or a heel as a way to make up for lazily booking the same star in one role on one show and another on another.

    Given how frequently WWE books things without rhyme or reason or, worse, just for the sake of filling time, it should be of no surprise that this is the company's philosophy on any of its talent, let alone a star tasked with appearing on all three brands.

    That explanation for Flair's portrayal, at least on the WWE side of things, is a booking crutch to make up for the fact that it has no plans to book the NXT women's champion or any of its stars in a consistent and sensible manner as long as it can maximize screen time and not have to work to explain it all.

Update on Roman Reigns

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    Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select provided an update on Roman Reigns, who continues to sit out amid concerns over the coronavirus and his newborn twins.

    "Fightful spoke to a source high up in WWE who told us that Roman Reigns 'does not seem in any rush to return, and nobody here faults him for it,'" Sapp reported. "The person would note that right now no indication if or when a return could happen has been given, saying he could head back in two weeks, two months, or be out indefinitely. Reigns is not figured into plans creatively at this point."

    It is not at all surprising that given the company's propensity for short-term booking, it would have zero plans in place for the top star in the industry. With that said, the aggressiveness of the virus and the uncertainty of when things will get back to normal do make it difficult to plan even the longest-term storyline.

    Still, to not even be a little forward-thinking as to what might best suit Reigns when he does come back is a reflection of just how in-the-moment WWE booking has become. The days of yearlong storylines involving Hulk Hogan and Randy Savage, or even Bret and Owen Hart, are essentially a thing of the past. With no guarantees as to when the company will be back in arenas or when Reigns will feel comfortable returning, shows are more short-sighted than ever, and the result is less meaningful broadcasts.

    Perhaps that is why television ratings have tanked since the pandemic began.