Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on Kairi Sane, Randy Orton and More
The summer months have brought uncertainty to WWE regarding some of its most gifted in-ring performers.
Is Kairi Sane, once the Competitor of the Year in NXT, about to wave goodbye to the company and head back to Japan to continue her career?
That question headlines this week's collection of rumors, but it's hardly the only one.
What about Rey Mysterio's contract status? Surely WWE has him tied down for the foreseeable future, especially as he prepares for a high-profile match with Seth Rollins at Extreme Rules.
Maybe not, it appears.
Dive deeper into those topics, as well as Randy Orton's SummerSlam plans and CM Punk's negotiations with All Elite Wrestling in this look at the week in backstage rumors.
What Is Kairi Sane's Status with WWE?
"Sources tell TalkSport that Sane leaving WWE is far from set in stone," McCarthy stated, continuing:
"It's true that she is considering returning home to Japan to be with her husband, possibly wrestling another year or so in her homeland before retiring. But WWE are intent on taking care of Sane. They are set to offer her better money than she could get anywhere else in an attempt to keep her involved with the company, and it's believed she could be swayed."
Meltzer had reported Sane was on her way out of the company and would be returning to Japan imminently.
As such, there is some confusion as to whether Sane will remain in the U.S. or return to Japan, where she would act as an ambassador for WWE. With that said, The Pirate Princess did return to Raw on Monday night for a hell of a match with Sasha Banks, proving that neither her skills between the ropes nor her desire to have a great match have waned.
One can only hope WWE officials can get Sane to stick around because she appears to have only just begun to scratch the surface as far as what she can accomplish on the main roster is concerned. Perhaps she needs to step out of Asuka's shadow and make her own star.
Maybe a showdown with her Kabuki Warriors teammate is a necessity for her to realize her potential.
Whatever the case may be, WWE and its fans benefit from Sane hanging around and delivering between the ropes, as she did Monday against The Blueprint.
Randy Orton to Challenge Drew McIntyre at SummerSlam?
WrestleTalk's Louis Dangoor reported that, while Randy Orton has recently pitched working with NXT's Adam Cole and Tommaso Ciampa, The Viper is likely to challenge Drew McIntyre for the WWE Championship at SummerSlam.
The reason being the lack of quality, main event-level heels on Raw.
This should not be of any surprise to the WWE faithful. It is a pattern the company has fallen into time and time again. It fails to create new stars or pulls the rug out from underneath them before they can properly establish themselves. Then it has to revert back to the same old faces from the past 20 years because there is no one credible enough to compete in the top matches and feuds.
At this point in his career, after all that he has done for the company and to help it out during thing times, Orton should be able to work with a Ciampa or Cole if he so pleases. Instead, he appears to be en route to another championship rivalry that will almost certainly look like the other countless others in which he has been involved in the past.
A retread of something fans have already seen more times than they care to recollect does not help Raw. Nor does it appease a veteran like Orton, who appears motivated and desperate for something fresh and exciting at this point in his career.
Update on Rey Mysterio's WWE Contract
Meltzer reported on Wrestling Observer Radio that Rey Mysterio's contract expired several months ago and that CEO Vince McMahon denied a request for a raise. As a result, the future Hall of Famer has been working without a deal throughout his current program with Seth Rollins.
It is expected that Mysterio will re-sign with WWE, even though he has the opportunity to go anywhere he wants.
And it makes sense that Rey would want to remain with WWE.
No one has as much footage of Mysterio and the ability to write his legacy as McMahon's wrestling empire. While the appeal of Mysterio vs. Kenny Omega or a rekindling of his rivalry with Cody in AEW may be great, the only place Mysterio can cross off the few remaining items on his sports-entertainment wishlist is WWE.
Plus, the mass-marketing machine that company has could easily make his son, Dominik, a star from the get-go, something that has to be of great interest to Mysterio.
Report on CM Punk's Negotiations with AEW
On Episode 209 of his Keeping It 100 podcast, Konnan revealed that AEW officials told him during negotiations last year that CM Punk had asked for an "astronomical" amount of money to sign with the company.
Of course, this is merely a rumor, but it would not at all be surprising if Punk did ask for a sum that Tony Khan and the upstart AEW were unwilling to pay at the time.
He is the one star left in wrestling with the potential to attract viewers for his in-ring comeback. He understands that, knows his value and is not likely to be shy discussing it with any suitors.
It would be more surprising if Konnan had been told by those within AEW that Punk had requested a more than agreeable rate from the company.