Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on WALTER, SummerSlam and More
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect wrestling companies around the globe, WWE faces great uncertainty regarding its summertime spectacular, SummerSlam.
Will it take place in front of fans? Will it be confined to the Performance Center in Orlando, Florida?
Those questions dominate this week's wrestling rumor and innuendo but are far from the only ones on the minds of insiders and fans alike.
What is the latest on Tessa Blanchard and the next stop in her career? What is up with United Kingdom champion WALTER and why has he not been featured on any WWE programming during the pandemic?
And finally, who did The Young Bucks originally want to fill the role of The Exalted One?
The answers to those questions await you inside.
Vince McMahon Wants Walter for the Main Roster?
Dave Meltzer reported on Wrestling Observer Radio that WWE wants United Kingdom champion WALTER on the main roster but the Austrian does not want to move to the United States.
And that essentially puts a cog in that.
It is impossible to imagine a main roster run for any Superstar who does not live in the U.S., especially at this time and in the current climate.
Though television is stationary for the time being, recorded biweekly at the Performance Center, that is still a ton of flying at a time when a plane is hardly the safest place to be due to COVID-19 concerns.
While moving to the U.S. may be one concern of WALTER's, he has to remember his treatment in the Survivor Series tag team match in which he was the first man eliminated during the Raw vs. SmackDown vs. NXT match. It was a huge blow to the aura that officials in NXT UK had worked so hard to establish for The Ring General.
If he had no reservations about traveling, he almost certainly would in regards to his booking and usage. Considering the amount of concern regarding the ongoing global pandemic, and the work he has left to do with the UK brand, perhaps it is best that he remains put for now.
An Update on SummerSlam's Location
WrestleVotes reported WWE is now very unsure about its ability to hold this year's SummerSlam event on August 23 with fans in attendance: "As badly as they don't want the event at the PC, unfortunately that's very much on the table. Decision not yet imminent."
The "decision not yet imminent" line suggests officials will do everything they can to delay the decision until they know for certain they cannot hold the show in an arena setting with fans to cheer on the action.
While a Performance Center SummerSlam would be an inconvenience for the company and certainly not where it saw itself at this point, the coronavirus pandemic has been an inconvenience for everyone. It is also extremely dangerous, especially as numbers continue to rise in Florida, a state that houses dozens of WWE Superstars and the PC itself.
As much as Vince McMahon, management and the wrestlers would love to get back in front of a red-hot audience and feed off its energy, it simply must be responsible and smart or risk more negative feedback for its handling of business during the pandemic.
Tessa Blanchard Expected to Land With...?
Alex McCarthy of TalkSport reported that WWE is the front-runner to land former Impact Wrestling world champion Tessa Blanchard.
Blanchard was recently let go from Impact after failing to make the most recent television tapings, then refusing to film promos requested for the build to the company's Slammiversary pay-per-view on July 18.
Concerns over her ability to return to Mexico and her fiancee Drago, helped strengthen Blanchard's refusal to fly in for the television tapings, per the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
The report by McCarthy also stated All Elite Wrestling supremo Tony Khan has no interest in Blanchard at this point. That is a bit surprising given the star power she would bring to the women's division and the fact that her father, Tully, is an on-screen performer for the company as Shawn Spears' manager.
It makes sense that WWE would be interested in Blanchard, though.
The amount of money in a Blanchard-Charlotte Flair feud will have the company and Vince McMahon seeing green. Given the rich history of the Four Horsemen and the talent of those two women in particular, there is no reason to believe they could not headline a major pay-per-view in the future.
Who Did The Young Bucks Originally Foresee as The Exalted One?
Given the long history and friendship between the Bucks and Scurll, dating back to their days in New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Ring of Honor and the Being The Elite YouTube show, it makes sense that Matt and Nick Jackson would want someone they trust and have had success working with in the past.
Scurll, though, re-signed with Ring of Honor for a lucrative sum of money and increased creative power within the company.
Jericho admitted in the same podcast that he pushed for Dr. Luther to fill the role.
The debuting Brodie Lee was ultimately revealed as The Exalted One and would go on to challenge Jon Moxley for the AEW World Championship at Double or Nothing.
While it is cool to hear the behind-the-scenes insight from Jericho, it does raise a few eyebrows.
The Exalted One was a hugely promoted concept but it appears there was never really a firm idea as to who would fill the position. And if three of the most influential people in the company wanted someone other than Lee, it makes him look like a last resort, something that hurts the perception of his place within the company.