WWE Rumors: Latest on Matt Riddle, Drew Gulak Contract and Tapings for New Shows

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMay 26, 2020

Photo credit: WWE.com.

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.

Riddle's Main Roster Call-Up Reportedly 'Imminent'

Matt Riddle has long been one of NXT's biggest stars, but The Original Bro's time as part of the black and yellow brand reportedly may be nearing its conclusion.

According to F4WOnline, Riddle's main roster call-up is "imminent," meaning Wednesday could potentially be his final NXT appearance.

Riddle is scheduled to face Timothy Thatcher in a cage match on Wednesday's NXT where the only way to win is by submission or knockout. WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle, who was recently released from his position as a backstage producer, will serve as special guest referee for the match.

Riddle and Pete Dunne won the NXT Tag Team Championships in February, but when COVID-19 resulted in travel restrictions that prevented Dunne from returning to the United States, Riddle began teaming with Thatcher.

They seemed like a good fit initially and won a couple of matches together, but things went south two weeks ago during a title defense against Imperium. Thatcher got frustrated when Riddle wouldn't tag him in, and when Riddle accidentally knocked him off the apron, Thatcher took off.

That allowed Fabian Aichner and Marcel Barthel to beat Riddle for the titles, and it led to a singles match between Riddle and Thatcher later that night.

Riddle beat Thatcher with a roll-up, but Thatcher got the last laugh by brutally attacking his former partner. Thatcher then challenged Riddle to a rematch with no pinfalls, and Riddle agreed under the condition that it take place in a cage.

While Riddle has never won a singles title in NXT, his infectious personality made him a big star, and he has unquestionably been one of the faces of the brand.

It is fair to wonder if Riddle will be used properly on the main roster, but given his character, look and legitimacy in the form of being a former UFC fighter, he has a better chance than most to thrive on Raw or SmackDown.

Gulak Reportedly Signs New Deal with WWE

Just over one week after Drew Gulak's WWE contract expired, the former cruiserweight champion is reportedly back with the company.

According to Mike Johnson of PWInsider, Gulak has signed a new deal with WWE, resulting in his profile getting moved back from the alumni page to the SmackDown page on WWE.com.

Speculation regarding Gulak's status with the company began swirling two weeks ago when his profile was moved to the alumni section. Johnson later reported that Gulak's contract expired but added that he and WWE were still negotiating.

News of Gulak's contract expiring came shortly after he lost a first-round match to Daniel Bryan in the Intercontinental Championship Tournament on SmackDown. The match was widely praised, as both Superstars showed off their technical prowess.

The possibility of Gulak departing WWE was shocking initially since he has been a significant part of SmackDown in recent months. Gulak has been positioned as Bryan's coach and friend, and he aided him during a rivalry with Sami Zayn, Shinsuke Nakamura and Cesaro.

Before that, Gulak was a fixture on 205 Live and NXT. He was a key part of WWE's rebooted cruiserweight division beginning in 2016 and even held the title at one point.

Gulak is a versatile performer who has been a face and a heel in WWE, plus he has played both serious and comedic roles. He is a valuable commodity for those reasons, and he should continue to be an important part of the blue brand now that he is reportedly back in the fold.

WWE's Taping Schedule for This Week

WWE reportedly changed its planned taping schedule for this week beginning with Monday's round of tapings.

According to PWInsider (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Marc Middleton), this week's Raw and next week's Raw were originally supposed to be taped Monday, but WWE taped this week's Raw, SmackDown, 205 Live and Main Event instead.

Now, WWE is reportedly scheduled to tape next week's Raw, SmackDown, 205 Live and Main Event on Tuesday. Then, WWE will reportedly tape "several hours" worth of NXT content Wednesday.

The NXT TakeOver: In Your House pay-per-view is set for June 7, and Wednesday's round of tapings will reportedly account for every episode of NXT prior to that event.

WWE has attempted to lessen travel for its Superstars and personnel in recent weeks during the coronavirus pandemic by taking a week-on, week-off approach. Based on the planned tapings for this week, there will likely be no need for anyone to report to the WWE Performance Center next week.

One notable difference with this week's Raw compared to previous shows during the COVID-19 pandemic is the fact that WWE Performance Center trainees were used as audience members to provide noise and atmosphere, similar to what AEW has been doing.

They were reportedly used for the SmackDown, 205 Live and Main Event tapings as well, and WWE also intends to use them for NXT.

The next two weeks of Raw and SmackDown will primarily focus on the build toward Backlash, which is scheduled for June 14.

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