Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on Ric Flair, Kofi Kingston and More

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2021

Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on Ric Flair, Kofi Kingston and More

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Just when you thought Ric Flair was out, WWE pulls him back in.

    Flair revealed a budding romance with Lacey Evans on Monday's Raw and appears to be back in a full-time, on-screen role with the company.

    The Nature Boy headlines a roundup of rumors that also includes an injury update on Kofi Kingston and interest by WWE in two top stars from Ring of Honor and New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

    Dive deeper into each topic with this collection of insider reports.

Update on Ric Flair

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    Naitch is back!

    At least according to Dave Meltzer, who reported Ric Flair's return as an on-screen character for WWE on Wrestling Observer Radio.

    Flair appeared on WWE programming as part of the special Legends Night edition of Raw, inadvertently tripping up daughter Charlotte during her and Asuka's tag team match against Lacey Evans and Peyton Royce.

    As we found out Monday on the company's flagship show, there was nothing accidental about it. Flair again cost his daughter a victory, this time revealing a cozy relationship of sorts with Evans.

    The angle already smarts of the Dawn Marie-Al Wilson affair that occurred on SmackDown back in 2002, a storyline that saw a young woman bed her rival's father and resulted in some surreal angles and vignettes.

    WWE has actively chased an edgier product of late, what with Randy Orton running around lighting people on fire and the like. A torrid affair between The Nature Boy and The Sassy Southern Belle would certainly fit the direction the company is trying to head in.

    Whether it is a long-term storyline or an attempt by WWE to break up the monotony of Charlotte constantly challenging for titles remains to be seen, but the potential is there for Evans to benefit exponentially and get back on track after a so-so 2020.

Kofi Kingston Legitimately Injured

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    Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com reported Tuesday that Kofi Kingston is out with a broken jaw.

    This explains his absence on Monday's Raw, where Xavier Woods went it alone against Retribution's T-Bar in singles competition.

    Kingston has been a workhorse for WWE in his decade-plus with the company so for him to miss time because of injury is rare. With that said, the veteran competitor was also off-air over the summer, though that can equally be attributed to WWE's attempt to push Big E as a solo competitor.

    Perhaps the long road trips and endless bumps are catching up to Kingston, who is one of the longest-tenured full-time performers on the roster.

    Maybe the broken jaw was merely an unlucky strike.

    Whatever the case may be, it appears as though we will be getting a taste of what Woods can do as a singles worker. That may be a great thing for all involved.

    Imagine New Day's value to WWE as a unit and as three competent singles competitors.

WWE Interested in Ring of Honor World Champion?

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    WWE recently passed on signing Ring of Honor world champion Rush, according to Raj Giri of Wrestling Inc.

    The reason? His asking price was too high.

    This comes on the heels of Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select revealing that WWE recently offered Retribution members $250,000 deals, far below what talents making the jump to the main roster are typically offered.

    There is no indication whether T-Bar, Slapjack, Mace or Reckoning signed the deals, but the rather low nature of them is being attributed to the pandemic and lack of live touring.

    Meltzer backed up Sapp's report on Wrestling Observer Radio, stating that some stars on Raw and SmackDown are making the same amount they did during their NXT runs.

    The lack of touring is clearing affecting WWE's willingness to sink money into talent. Considering how bloated the roster is at all levels, it is probably for the best that the company didn't get their hands on Rush, who can still benefit a promotion in ROH that needs every star it can hold on to.

Pump the Breaks on Jay White to WWE

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    Meltzer also reported on Wrestling Observer Radio that despite recent reports that there was considerable interest in New Japan Pro-Wrestling's "Switchblade" Jay White within WWE, the likelihood that he joins the company is extremely low.

    He said that when the Young Bucks were starting up All Elite Wrestling in 2018, White informed them that he had signed a seven-year deal with NJPW. If accurate, that would make him unable to sign with a competitor for some time.

    Tony Schiavone backed up Meltzer's report on Wednesday's AEW Dynamite post-show, stating that he did not foresee White joining the company anytime soon because he is wrapped up long term in Japan.

    White is one of the best heels in professional wrestling and fresh off contesting a Match of the Year candidate against Kota Ibushi at WrestleKingdom 15. It makes sense that management from WWE and AEW would both be interested in bringing him in to benefit from his shining star.

    For now, though, it appears as though he will continue plying his trade in the rings of Japan, where he is a top star and perennial championship contender.