Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
Heyman Discusses Partnership with Reigns
The unexpected pairing of Roman Reigns and Paul Heyman has been a major success on SmackDown since joining forces a few weeks ago, as Reigns has already managed to capture the Universal Championship.
In an interview with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated this week, Heyman discussed how big of a deal it is that he and Reigns are now on-screen partners:
"With all humility aside, this is the biggest move WWE could make with its talent at the moment. We have the tenured, still-young, just-hitting-his-prime WrestleMania main-eventer, the undisputed No. 1 star in WWE, and he'd been off for seven months. Didn't even appear at this year's WrestleMania. Now he's ready to come back, and he returns with someone that has been on top and been associated with top acts for 30 years. However you define me, whether it's as a manager, an advocate, a supporting mouthpiece, and now special counsel to the tribal chief, I have been with more WWE and Universal champions than anyone. And now these two acts are together for the first time."
Few could have predicted after Reigns' surprise return at SummerSlam that he would align himself with Heyman just days later on SmackDown.
For much of Reigns' career, he has been at odds with Heyman and Heyman's client, Brock Lesnar. With Lesnar currently out of the picture, however, using Heyman to freshen up Reigns' character for the first time in years is perhaps the best possible utilization of arguably the best talker in the business.
Heyman's presence and his gift of gab are big reasons for the success Lesnar has enjoyed throughout his career, and now he is bringing those same elements to the table alongside Reigns.
The Big Dog has never been a heel as a singles Superstar in WWE, and while there still hasn't been a clear indication that he is 100 percent a heel now, Reigns is leaning more in that direction than at any other time during his career.
Reigns feels different and exciting for the first time in a long time, and all it took was pairing him with one of the greatest managers in the history of the business.
James Talks Controversial Finish to Raw Match vs. Asuka
Mickie James fell short in her attempt to beat Asuka for the Raw Women's Championship on this week's episode of Raw, but the match didn't come without controversy.
With James stuck in the Asuka Lock, the referee called for the bell and informed the ring announcer that James could not continue. James didn't agree with the assessment, as evidenced by the shocked look on her face.
In an interview with Alex McCarthy of TalkSport, Mickie explained what happened:
"I honestly don't know. I rolled back to count—one, two—there was no count. So she obviously went to go and lock back in the Asuka lock and I think in those moments, here's the thing: it is a dangerous sport.
"We have to be very careful. The refs do their job and kind of their job is to protect us and make sure it never goes too far or no one ever gets hurt. So he made his decision based on what he thought was a reality, that I was hurt or I couldn't continue and that's unfortunate for me."
James added: "I felt like I could continue and it's an unfortunate loss. But, it's not a real loss let's face it. It was the final decision, what can I do? Except go in there and throw a fit on Monday!"
The finish marred what was an otherwise excellent match between two of the greatest female Superstars in WWE history. James, who has already built a Hall of Fame resume, was looking to add a seventh WWE Women's title to her list of accomplishments.
While it was an unfortunate result, perhaps the controversial nature of the finish could lead to another title match between Asuka and James either on Raw or at the Clash of Champions pay-per-view.
Asuka seems to be entering into a rivalry with Zelina Vega, as Vega confronted Asuka after the match against James, but another title match between Asuka and James could be a good way for Vega to interject herself and further her issues with The Empress of Tomorrow.
Rousey Tweets Natalya, Teases WWE Return
Ronda Rousey got the wrestling world talking Thursday when she responded to a WWE tweet about a match she had against Natalya in 2018.
Rousey tagged Nattie in the tweet and wrote that she is "looking forward to a rematch someday" with her close personal friend:
The former UFC star has not been seen on WWE programming since competing in the main event of WrestleMania 35 against Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair last year.
Rousey took the pinfall to Lynch in that match and suggested afterward that she planned to take time off from wrestling in order to start a family with her husband, Travis Browne.
Last week, the daughter of late WWE Hall of Famer Roddy Piper posted multiple photos on Instagram that showed her doing wrestling training with Rousey.
Rousey has often said that Piper was her biggest inspiration in wrestling, which is why she uses the "Rowdy" nickname.
While Rousey hasn't publicly discussed any plans to step back inside the ring any time soon, it has long been assumed by wrestling fans that she would be back at some point. With both Lynch and Flair out currently, WWE could benefit from Rousey's presence now more than ever.
It is unclear if she would even want to come back at a time when no fans can attend due to COVID-19, but there is no doubt that Rousey would breathe new life into the women's division, just as she did when she arrived on the scene a couple of years ago.
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