Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on Ronda Rousey, Keith Lee and More
With WWE Clash of Champions mere days away, it should be of no surprise that this week's wrestling rumor mill features several prominent former world champions.
There is Ronda Rousey, the ex-UFC bantamweight and Raw women's champion who has not been seen since her historic WrestleMania 35 title defense against Becky Lynch and Charlotte Flair. Might the mainstream star be eyeing a return to the squared circle in time for next year's Showcase of the Immortals?
What plans are in place for Keith Lee as he embarks on his run through the promotion's flagship show?
Is WWE really planning a pay-per-view main event featuring the Mad Max: Fury Road extras known as Retribution?
Find out the answers to those questions and more with this roundup of rumors from around the WWE Universe.
A Rowdy Return?
Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats reported there is increased chatter of a Ronda Rousey return, perhaps in time for WrestleMania in 2021.
We have not seen Rousey on WWE TV since her loss to Becky Lynch at WrestleMania 35 in April 2019 despite speculation that the former Raw women's champion would battle The Man at this past April's Showcase of the Immortals.
One would assume that if Rousey does return, she would be a part of a major match. With Lynch on maternity leave, the most obvious choice for her opponent would be Charlotte Flair, but do not be surprised if we get Rousey vs. Sasha Banks or Bayley, both of whom have elevated their stars exponentially through their fantastic performances throughout 2020.
Another option would be Asuka, who never had that high-profile match Rousey.
Give the lack of household names attached to the current WWE product, Rousey's return would be a welcome one, especially if she can rediscover the passion for performing she exhibited throughout her first run with the company.
Plans for Keith Lee on Raw
Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio reported there are no concrete plans for Keith Lee on Raw, except to treat him like a main event Superstar in big matches.
And therein lies the problem with so many of the call-ups from NXT on the main roster.
There are so rarely plans for any of them. They are creative pawns for CEO Vince McMahon, utilized to create momentary excitement about a product that has been stagnant for well over a decade and then left to wallow in mediocrity the moment their allure wears off.
They simply exist to bolster an already loaded roster of talented Superstars, all of whom struggle to maintain relevancy when creative opts to focus on established stars, retreads and legends coming back to pop a rating.
Lee will likely be the latest in a long line of performers to catch Vince's eye until the Boss becomes enamored with the next next big thing.
It is unfortunate too because Lee could have ruled NXT for as long as he wanted had he not been rushed to the flagship.
Retribution to Headline Survivor Series?
Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com reported the current plan for Retribution is to book them in a huge multi-person tag team match in the main event of the Survivor Series pay-per-view in November.
Those of you who tuned into Raw know that the idea of this gimmick lasting through the fall is not an appealing one.
We have seen this pattern play out before, with another group of renegade invaders having revenge on the mind. A decade of ago, Nexus took over Raw and punished anyone in sight for what they felt was humiliation and disrespect at the hands of management.
They, too, were part of a high-profile tag match.
That one, the main event of SummerSlam 2010, single-handedly killed their heat, leaving them to limp around for another six months before fading into sports-entertainment notoriety.
If Retribution follow suit, running well beyond their expiration date, watching WWE television may well become a chore rather than a hobby.
Latest on Clash of Champions Main Event
Meltzer also reported in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that the reason Drew McIntyre is slated to defend the WWE Championship against Randy Orton in an Ambulance match at Sunday's Clash of Champions pay-per-view is to protect The Scottish Psychopath from a pinfall or submission loss while giving The Viper his latest championship reign.
McIntyre has been the picture of consistency since winning the title at WrestleMania. He has been the lone bright spot of many a Raw, but Orton has been so red-hot since January that it only makes sense that management would want to put the title on him.
The WWE product has always been stronger with a heel champion being chased by a babyface counterpart. With stagnancy setting in, perhaps this is the company's attempt to light a fire under the flagship show, doing so with a future Hall of Famer and a star it can confidently build a show around.
And this would protect McIntyre so he can eventually regain his strap from the third-generation heel.