Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on Riddle, Royal Rumble Winners, More
Riddle has become a breakout star on the Raw brand and has signed a new deal to stick with WWE for the foreseeable future.
His contractual status headlines this week's collection of wrestling rumors.
Joining him are the favorites to win the men's and women's Royal Rumble matches January 31 and an update on the Bray Wyatt-Randy Orton feud that gets weirder by the week.
Dive deeper into those topics with these rumors from wrestling's top insiders.
Riddle Contract Update
Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful reported that after not being impressed with WWE's initial offer, Riddle did indeed sign a new deal with the company recently.
Riddle has seen his star rise on the Raw brand of late, with increased television time and more attention given to his comedic side. He has been teaming with Jeff Hardy as The Hardy Bros to battle The Hurt Business, though he has not been on the winning side of those battles much at all.
It will be interesting to see whether there are plans for him on a higher level or whether he was paid handsomely and kept around just to prevent him from going elsewhere. We have seen such a thing happen in the past, so it would not be out of the realm of possibility.
Riddle has made the most of the screen time, though, and is exactly the type of personality who would get over with a live audience if there were fans in the stands. Whether he can maintain his momentum long enough to perform his shtick in front of a live audience is the real question.
Current Favorites to Win the 2021 Royal Rumble Matches
Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats reported Wednesday that the favorites to win the Royal Rumble matches are intercontinental champion Big E and Bianca Belair.
Both have been steadily building momentum for themselves on SmackDown, with Big E recently dethroning Sami Zayn on the Christmas show while Belair has routinely mixed it up with former women's champion Bayley.
Such a win would propel Big E to a Universal Championship match against Roman Reigns, while Belair would presumably challenge Sasha Banks on the Grandest Stage of Them All. WWE has already planted the seeds for that match, keeping Belair and The Boss close in tag team matches to prep the audience in the event of a WrestleMania showdown.
Perhaps best of all is the freshness of the two prospective Rumble winners.
They have not been in that position before. Nor have they won world titles. They would be the perfect choices to represent the future of the company and help it to move beyond the inertia of the better part of the past year.
All the more reason to pull the proverbial trigger and book the outcome.
Another Bray Wyatt-Randy Orton Showdown
H Jenkins of RingsideNews.com reported that "The Fiend" Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton are set for one more "crazy gimmick match" at Royal Rumble.
In case you have been living under a rock, Orton closed out the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view by lighting The Fiend on fire, burning him to a crisp in the center of the ring and seemingly writing that persona off of television.
The report would suggest that is not the case—that Orton's actions will only escalate things between the former world champions. If that didn't, The Viper threatening to set alight to Alexa Bliss on Monday's Raw surely will.
It is almost impossible to think of a gimmick match wilder than one wherein the object is to set your opponent ablaze, but cinematic WWE can do that. The options are wide-open. Whatever the company chooses, though, it almost certainly has to end with one of the Superstars disappearing for a while.
After all, there are so many times you can half-heartedly commit homicide on live television before fans stop buying it and turn away instead of investing more.
And then there's the fine line between corny and effective that WWE occasionally flirts with too.