Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
Riddle Positive About Name Change
WWE apparently shortened Matt Riddle's name to just "Riddle" on Thursday, but The Original Bro seemingly has no issue with the alteration.
Riddle took to Twitter to shut down any notion that he was unhappy with the change:
WWE has a penchant for shortening names, as it has done so with many Superstars over the past several years. Some of the most notable examples are Cesaro (Antonio Cesaro), Big E (Big E Langston) and Rusev (Alexander Rusev).
Riddle is now listed on WWE.com under just one name, which suggests WWE plans to go down a similar path with the former NXT Tag Team champion.
While it isn't always easy to understand WWE's motives, a name change can signal intent to push a performer at times, and that may be the case when it comes to the former UFC star.
According to Fightful Select (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), WWE plans on giving Riddle a "more serious character presentation" after WWE Chairman Vince McMahon was impressed with his match against Sheamus on Raw.
Sheamus won that match to qualify for the Raw men's Survivor Series team, but Riddle undoubtedly performed well and may finally be in line for his big break after being in a holding pattern for the past few months after his call-up from NXT.
Fightful Select noted that Riddle is "supportive" of the change in direction, and if WWE plays on his background as a legitimate MMA fighter, it could go a long way toward establishing Riddle as a threat on the red brand.
Big E Credits Bryan for Singles Push
Big E appears to be on the verge of becoming one of the top singles babyfaces in WWE, and the former New Day member divulged this week that a fellow Superstar has something to do with it.
In an interview with Gorilla Position (h/t Aidan Gibbons of Cultaholic), Big E discussed how Daniel Bryan aided in the decision to push him as a singles star:
"I have to give credit to Daniel Bryan because the run—the idea for the solo run was from him. Like, Bryan is the reason. Like, he's not just like, 'Hey Big E.' But like he's actually a part of the process and he's the one who said, 'Hey, this is what we should do with Big E.' So he's been behind that and for that, I'm really grateful."
Although Bryan is still an active wrestler in his own right, it was reported in July that he was made part of the blue brand's creative writing team as well.
Big E had a previous singles run in WWE that saw him win the Intercontinental Championship, but he didn't gain much traction. It wasn't until he joined forces with Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods to form New Day that he truly became a big star.
When Kofi and Woods were out due to injury recently, Big E was given a chance to go off on his own, and the returns were good. He had an entertaining rivalry with Sheamus and beat him in a Falls Count Anywhere match.
Big E's status as a singles wrestler was cemented during the WWE draft when Kingston and Woods were moved to Raw, while he remained on SmackDown.
If Big E remains on his current path and continues to thrive, he could be a strong candidate to win the 2021 men's Royal Rumble match, which would potentially put him in line to face Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania.
If that happens, then it sounds as though Bryan's confidence in Big E as a singles star will be a big reason why.
Reason for NXT's Absence from Survivor Series
NXT was a huge part of Survivor Series last year, but that won't be the case this year, and there are reportedly multiple reasons for that.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Gibbons), one of those reasons is that WWE is trying to keep NXT talent away from Raw and SmackDown talent to lessen the risk of spreading COVID-19 between the groups.
Meltzer also reported that WWE doesn't want to present NXT as being on the same level as Raw and SmackDown since it usually loses the ratings battle with AEW Dynamite on Wednesday nights.
NXT did bounce back with a viewership win this week, however, as its Halloween Havoc-themed episode had 876,000 viewers to AEW's 781,000.
Survivor Series has been about brand vs. brand matches in recent years, and last year's pay-per-view featured a twist with multiple Triple Threat matches between champions on Raw, SmackDown and NXT.
NXT largely dominated Survivor Series 2019 as its Superstars won the majority of the matches, including then-NXT Women's champion Shayna Baszler beating Becky Lynch and Bayley in the main event.
The brand vs. brand concept is staying this year, but it has been simplified back down to Raw vs. SmackDown and is set to feature matches such as WWE champion Randy Orton vs. Universal champion Roman Reigns, Raw Women's champion Asuka vs. SmackDown Women's champion Sasha Banks and Raw Tag Team champions New Day vs. SmackDown Tag Team champions The Street Profits.
NXT breathed some new life into Survivor Series last year and could have done the same this year, but there may be value in keeping it separate from the main roster and allowing it to be its own entity.
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