Baszler vs. Asuka Plans, Hell in a Cell Date Change, Latest on WWE Releases

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 11, 2020

Photo credit: WWE.com.

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.


Baszler vs. Asuka Plans Delayed?

The original plans for Clash of Champions reportedly called for Asuka to defend the Raw Women's Championship against Shayna Baszler.

However, according to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), those plans may now be on hold since Baszler is one-half of the WWE women's tag team champions with Nia Jax.

Baszler and Jax beat Sasha Banks and Bayley for the tag titles at Payback, and while either Baszler or Jax could be a singles title contender at any time, it seems WWE is very much fixated on their odd couple dynamic as a tag team currently.

They are also in the early stages of a feud with the Riott Squad, as Baszler and Jax faced Liv Morgan and Ruby Riott in two separate handicap matches on Monday's Raw. That suggests it could be Baszler and Jax vs. the Riott Squad at Clash of Champions.

If that is the case, then Asuka will be left without a clear dance partner. On next week's Raw, The Empress of Tomorrow is set to defend the Raw women's title against Mickie James, however.

Asuka is a heavy favorite to win, but a rematch with James could be possible at Clash of Champions. Another option is defending against Natalya since James is feuding with Nattie and the team of Asuka and James beat Nattie and Lana last week.

Natalya interfering in Monday's title match in order to establish a Triple Threat between Asuka, James and Nattie at Clash of Champions could be on the table as well.

Asuka is likely to emerge from Clash of Champions with the title in tow regardless, which means Asuka vs. Baszler at some point down the line could still be in the cards.


WWE Reportedly Changes Hell in a Cell Date

WWE has reportedly decided to move up the scheduled date of the 2020 Hell in a Cell pay-per-view.

According to Meltzer (h/t Upton), Hell in a Cell was originally supposed to take place Nov. 1, but it is now scheduled for Oct. 25 instead.

Meltzer theorized that the pay-per-view was moved up since WWE's deal with the Amway Center in Orlando, Florida, expires on Oct. 30. By making the event happen on Oct. 25, it is guaranteed that Hell in a Cell will emanate from the WWE Thunderdome.

While Meltzer noted that WWE has an option to renew its deal with the Amway Center, moving up Hell in a Cell means the company won't have to scramble in case a new agreement isn't reached.

Hell in a Cell is usually a highly anticipated pay-per-view on the WWE calendar because of the signature Hell in a Cell match. There are several heated feuds in WWE right now that could be a good fit inside the cell, including Sasha vs. Bayley or Randy Orton vs. Drew McIntyre. Roman Reigns vs. "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt could also be an option if WWE decides to go that route.

The WWE Thunderdome has undoubtedly breathed some life into the WWE product compared to the WWE Performance Center, so it is wise on WWE's part to get as much as it can out of the Amway Center.


WWE's Plans for Future Releases

WWE reportedly has no immediate plans to release any additional Superstars from its roster.

According to Meltzer (h/t Upton), WWE officially cut ties with 70 employees this week that it previously furloughed in April, but none of them were wrestlers and the company doesn't intend on parting ways with more wrestlers.

As part of the budget cuts in April due to COVID-19, WWE released several Superstars, including Rusev, Luke Gallows, Karl Anderson, Zack Ryder, Curt Hawkins, Heath Slater and others.

WWE also released AOP last week, but Meltzer indicated that no other talent releases are imminent at this time.

Despite letting so many wrestlers go since April, WWE still has the deepest talent pool in wrestling by a wide margin when taking into account Raw, SmackDown, NXT, NXT UK and 205 Live.

It was difficult to get everyone on the roster involved previously, and while that is still an issue, the releases made it a greater possibility. Also, many of those who were released have landed on their feet in promotions such as AEW and Impact Wrestling.

For now, WWE is reportedly happy with what it has in terms of talent, meaning roster members can breathe a collective sigh of relief.


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