Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on SummerSlam, Aleister Black and More
With the march to SummerSlam on August 23 underway and because of the ever-fluid nature of the company's creative decisions, WWE dominated the wrestling rumor mill this week.
A major topic of discussion? The annual summertime spectacular and just where it may emanate from, if not the Performance Center in Orlando, Florida.
What did we learn about the potential for a different host location?
Will Aleister Black be involved following the heinous assault he endured at the hands of Seth Rollins and Murphy on Raw, or has the enigmatic antihero of the red brand fallen out of favor with key figures in the backstage political game?
Find out the answer to those two questions and more with this dive into the deep end of wrestling rumors.
Is WWE Still Looking for an Alternate Site for SummerSlam?
WrestleVotes reported that "the lengths WWE are going to find a location for SummerSlam are both astonishing and outlandish."
The Twitter account continued: "WWE has looked into hosting SummerSlam within the Northeast at an outdoor location w/ limited fans and, as of now, have found no interested states in allowing that to happen."
WWE CEO Vince McMahon loves spectacle and grandeur, so it is no surprise that he would be so ardent in his attempt to find a way to have one of his premier pay-per-view events with some sort of audience in a venue outside of the Performance Center.
That no state is interested, though, should be an indicator to the Chairman of the Board that it still is not time for wrestling to return to stadiums or even arenas. The COVID-19 pandemic is still gripping the nation, and with August upon us, it is time to turn attention away from searching for some over-the-top venue and towards building the best card possible.
The company needs that too, especially as ratings continue to slump and audience apathy is near an all-time high.
Turn things around creatively, and it will not matter where the show takes place.
New Day's Future as Big E Embarks on Singles Run
Tom Colohue of Sportskeeda reported in a Facebook Q&A that despite Big E's singles push, there are no plans to break up The New Day.
On the most recent edition of SmackDown, an injured Kofi Kingston gave Big E his blessing to embark on a singles run. "It's your time now," he said before embracing his friend and tag team partner.
Big E has long been one of the most impressive and entertaining performers on the WWE roster. A big man as powerful as any, he moves with the speed and agility of a much smaller competitor. Throw in his undeniable charisma and flair for comedy, and you have a complete performer who finally appears to be on his way to achieving the same sort of greatness Kingston has over the course of his career.
That WWE is willing to allow New Day to stay together, recognizing how valuable that unit is to the product, is refreshing. Especially since WWE Creative has never met a team or faction it did not want to break up the moment they started building any sort of legacy.
Evolution 2 Update
Alex McCarthy reported over at Sportskeeda that "WWE is indeed exploring the possibility of Evolution 2, and given how easy it would be to run at the Performance Center, it seems like simple, low-cost content to produce during this difficult time."
He continued: "WWE knows the goodwill the event brings with the fans, and many inside the company feel running a second show is a 'no-brainer.'"
The company's hesitancy in running the event—a women-only PPV—in 2019 surprised many, especially considering the rave reviews the first installment drew. With so many women play such integral parts in the product, though, it only makes sense to bring back Evolution and let the women have their showcase once more.
Bayley, Sasha Banks, Asuka, Shayna Baszler, Nia Jax, Charlotte Flair and Lacey Evans have all played significant parts on WWE programming in the past 12 months. Building feuds for them, booking high-profile matches in which they are the stars and not having to play second fiddle to their male counterparts is an opportunity and reward they have earned.
Hopefully, this comes to fruition because given the uniformity of the WWE product from week to week, a special event like Evolution may be just what the doctor ordered when it comes to piquing fan interest and bringing some back to the table.
Vince McMahon Has NOT Soured on Aleister Black
Colohue recently reported that there McMahon had some uncertainty regarding Aleister Black, stating (h/t
Shruti Sadbhav of Sportskeeda), "To put it bluntly, Vince thinks there's something missing about Aleister Black. It's similar to how he feels about Cesaro."
McCarthy followed up in a report for TalkSport, noting, "Vince is a huge fan of the performer—and of Tommy. Size. Agility. Skill. But he is worried the character is a gimmick and will limit him. ... Any idea that McMahon is giving up on Black, though, are 'absolute nonsense.'"
While McMahon may not be sour on Black per se, but the doubts are creeping in. And that is still worrisome for the character.
There is no denying that Black has lost the aura he had in NXT; that quality was a major part of the success he had with the brand. He was dark and edgy, a perfect alternative to the flashy Velveteen Dream or the cocky and arrogant Adam Cole.
He had the potential to arrive on the main roster and become a modern take on The Undertaker, a dark and brooding presence whom fans could immediately gravitate toward based on look and entrance alone. That he could back it up between the ropes only helped his case.
Now, though, the uncertainty regarding McMahon' feelings for Black's character leaves him somewhat in limbo.
We saw Black endure a brutal beating Monday, ending with his eye being jammed into the corner of the ring steps. Was it an angle meant to write him off the show, or will Black return, seeking vengeance a la Rey Mysterio?
Whatever the case may be, please don't let there be an eye patch involved.