Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on Daniel Cormier, Goldberg and More

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2020

Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on Daniel Cormier, Goldberg and More

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    Julio Cortez/Associated Press

    Both WWE and All Elite Wrestling found themselves the topic of rumors regarding hugely recognizable combat sports stars this week.

    In McMahonland, a potential business relationship with newly retired UFC legend Daniel Cormier raised some eyebrows, as did the suggestion by a legendary manager that AEW had its eye on Goldberg.

    Elsewhere, a potential departure from WWE had the internet buzzing, as it appears commentator Renee Young is on her way out of the company. Might she find employment in the promotion championed by her husband, Jon Moxley?

    Find out the answer to that question and more with this weekly collection of reports from industry insiders.

WWE Interested in Daniel Cormier?

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    Dave Meltzer reported on Saturday Night's Main Event that there is mutual interest between WWE and former UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier. Furthermore, Fox wants the accomplished mixed martial artist to join the SmackDown commentary team.

    The 41-year-old would bring a sense of legitimacy to the product, and his commentary work in UFC has been more than solid.

    One must think, though, that if WWE can ink a deal with Cormier, it will be for more than just a commentary gig.

    The unfinished business between him and Brock Lesnar, which has played out before a UFC audience on pay-per-view, makes the possibility of a big-money match between the pair way too appealing for Vince McMahon not to try to promote.

    While Cormier would bring a real-sports feel to the announce position, it is as a special attraction for a major WrestleMania encounter that the WWE chairman would almost certainly be looking toward. 

Why Is WWE Holding an Immediate Follow-Up PPV to SummerSlam?

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    Meltzer also reported that Payback on August 30 is an experiment by WWE "to see how it works."

    He added that "they must have an idea for a hot angle coming off SummerSlam that they felt needed an immediate follow-up."

    Whether it is an experimental idea or the result of an angle they feel the need to follow up on a pay-per-view platform the very next week, oversaturating the market with a product that is anything but "hot" right now is hardly the way to help boost business.

    If anything, it will burn out the audience, particularly on the heels of a TakeOver special, SummerSlam and seven hours of television.

    WWE is already having trouble getting fans to invest time in Raw and SmackDown as it is. Adding more, with the strong likelihood Payback will be chock-full of rematches, will not change that trend.

Renee Young's Exit from WWE

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    Bobby Burack of Outkick reported Renee Young is expected to leave WWE of her own accord shortly but will work Sunday's SummerSlam pay-per-view extravaganza.

    On the surface, her departure may not seem like a huge deal given that she hasn't appeared on WWE television in some time, but make no mistake about it: Young is a valuable asset WWE has failed by not using her to her fullest potential.

    They tried to shoehorn her into the commentary position, but that was a role the audience could tell Young never felt comfortable in. She had an engaging on-screen presence that was stripped away on the headset, where she was overproduced and unable to show off her personality.

    It is a shame WWE Backstage never hit the way it should have because that was Young in her natural setting, leading a show and throwing to guests.

    There is no telling what is next for the 34-year-old, but the fact that her husband is AEW world heavyweight champion Jon Moxley will spark rumors that she will continue her career with the competition. 

    Don't be surprised if Young finds success on a mainstream talk show or as an anchor for a major sports company such as Fox or ESPN. She is talented, fun to watch and should be immensely successful wherever she lands.

Update on Goldberg and All Elite Wrestling

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    Despite assertions by Jim Cornette that Goldberg was high on Tony Khan's want-list for All Elite Wrestling, executive vice president Cody Rhodes revealed that is not true.

    Furthermore, there has been no contact with the former WCW and universal champion. Which is good news for AEW.

    While Goldberg's name still raises eyebrows in the industry, his booking in WWE over the past three years has hurt the aura that surrounded the icon of the Monday Night War. His performance against Undertaker in Saudi Arabia and his lightning-quick loss to Braun Strowman at WrestleMania 36 hurt his viability in this era.

    Yes, he will always have a wealth of fans, but recreating the streak in a company that vowed from its start to be an alternative to WWE—which has a long history of trotting out nostalgia acts—is the wrong call. 

    Hopefully, there is no fire to this smoke because AEW has a talented roster of its own to focus on without dusting off another WCW alumnus to feature at the expense of homegrown stars.