Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on Roman Reigns, Raw Creative and More

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistSeptember 10, 2020

Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on Roman Reigns, Raw Creative and More

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    The Big Dog has put the SmackDown roster on notice, but who is behind Roman Reigns' recent creative success?

    As it turns out, it's someone extremely close to the universal champion, according to this week's collection of rumor and innuendo.

    Reigns is only one of the topics under discussion this week, though. 

    Also at the forefront of the rumor mill are NXT and indie standout Mercedes Martinez, All Elite Wrestling newcomer Miro and the tumultuous creative process plaguing WWE Raw.

Roman Reigns Booking News

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    Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select (h/t Cageside Seats) reported Paul Heyman has had considerable backstage input in the manner in which Roman Reigns has been booked since returning.

    It should be of no real surprise to anyone that Heyman would have influence, creatively at least, over a Superstar he is working so closely with on-screen. Especially someone like The Big Dog, who has such a wealth of potential as a heel.

    He is an untapped resource of heat and quality programming. And if his work with Brock Lesnar is any indication, Heyman knows how to book a badass heel.

    Thus far, it has shown.

    Reigns has been one of the most engaging characters in all of professional wrestling since his return to WWE at SummerSlam. He has injected the company's product with an energy it desperately needed and provided fans something to cling onto at a time while creative has struggled elsewhere and it has not gone unnoticed.

    If The Big Dog's renaissance continues, WWE officials and management must consider broadening Heyman's influence on it even further. Doing so may be the company's creative saving grace as it enters a part of the year that is not necessarily synonymous with a great product.

Mercedes Martinez Coming Soon to Raw as Part of Retribution?

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    Paul Davis of reported Mercedes Martinez's loss to Rhea Ripley inside a steel cage on the September 8 episode of NXT may have been a means to write her off that show and move her to the main roster, where she would debut as part of Retribution.

    The report clearly stated "could," and Martinez certainly has unfinished business that the black-and-gold brand's creative team could exploit. With that said, she could also benefit from following up a relatively high-profile loss with a debut in a major angle on WWE's flagship.

    What better way to repair the way this audience sees her than by booking her as one of the more prominent members of the invading faction?

    It would benefit the performer herself and give Retribution someone who could be slotted against Asuka as a credible threat to dethrone her as Raw women's champion.

Raw Creative Issues Plaguing WWE

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    Gary Cassidy of Sportskeeda reported the reason for last-minute match announcements on Monday's Raw was that "Vince McMahon hadn't looked at the show until this morning and talent last night was being pitched under the provision 'Vince hasn't read the show yet.'"

    The result was a handful of matches being announced around 90 minutes before it hit the USA Network airwaves, making it difficult for the company to drum up interest or intrigue among fans.

    Cassidy quoted an unnamed source as saying, "Raw has really fallen apart without Heyman driving the creative."

    It is not difficult to understand why the red brand may be in dire straits creatively.

    The demotion of Paul Heyman hurt Raw, while Bruce Prichard—now overseeing both brands—is likely overworked and creatively spent. Having to create content for five hours of television a week as the driving creative force is an unenviable task.

    Not having the freedom to institute ideas, angles and matches until McMahon approves of everything likely makes it that much more difficult.

Update on Miro's AEW Debut

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    Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet reported that Miro (formerly Rusev in WWE) has signed with All Elite Wrestling and his deal is for longer than one year, citing sources close to the situation.

    Miro is perhaps the most intriguing signing of all former WWE Superstars to end up in Tony Khan's promotion. We have never seen the Bulgarian wrestle in a ring not owned by Vince McMahon. He was trained in, and excelled at, WWE style for his entire career.

    How might he evolve and excel as a performer beyond that?

    Will he find a new version of himself as a performer while working alongside the likes of Kenny Omega, Adam Page, Cody and The Young Bucks? Or will he struggle to adapt?

    From a character standpoint, just based on the raw emotion he showed during his debut as Kip Sabian's Best Man, he'll be just fine winning the audience over at least.