Breaking Down the Latest WWE Rumors on the Road to Royal Rumble 2021

Chris Roling@@Chris_RolingFeatured ColumnistJanuary 16, 2021

Breaking Down the Latest WWE Rumors on the Road to Royal Rumble 2021

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    WWE

    WWE has little time left to match huge expectations for the 2021 edition of its Royal Rumble event. 

    Scheduled for January 31, this year's Royal Rumble follows last year's instant classic, which featured highlights like the dominance of Keith Lee, Edge's stunning in-ring return, Brock Lesnar's unforgettable performance and the strapping of a rocket to Drew McIntyre's back as the top guy in the company. 

    It's going to be a tall order for WWE to again reach the same heights. McIntyre and Roman Reigns figure to headline in their respective title matches, though a great unknown hangs over both rumble matches, which feature WrestleMania matches as the reward for the winners. 

    Written another way, now is the best time of year for WWE rumors, so let's dive into the latest from the mill. 

Ric Flair's Status

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    Ric Flair seemed like a one-off on WWE's recent Legends Night edition of Raw. 

    "Seemed" being the key word there. 

    Flair popped up again and cost Charlotte Flair a match against Lacey Evans, this time revealing some sort of relationship with his daughter's opponent. And according to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio, the relationship and angle isn't going anywhere. 

    Call it a fun throwback sort of feud with Flair as WWE clearly pursues more adult-oriented feuds and angles. That trend has been easy to see (there have been multiple people set on fire in recent weeks) and who better to bring back than Flair? 

    WWE has worked a limited number of part-time Superstars and legends into the equation during the pandemic era, so Flair's presence at this time of year would seem to indicate the company has plans to feature him prominently in the women's division through WrestleMania. That would be a brilliant way to keep Charlotte in the spotlight without necessarily being in title scenes. 

Ricochet's WWE Future

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    Ricochet has come under the spotlight recently because of his contractual situation with WWE. 

    Speculation hinted the high-flying Superstar could be on his way out of the promotion soon, but Meltzer (h/t Sportskeeda's Lennard Surrao) has since reported that his contract actually expires in 2024. 

    For what it's worth, Ricochet has also shot down rumors about his contract. 

    Interestingly, it would be so WWE for speculation like this to break out before Ricochet makes a big splash in the Royal Rumble or partakes in a major program again. Yes, that sounds farfetched after his flop of a big push as a solo act, but the rumble is the time to do it—just ask Drew McIntyre how things went last year. 

Drew McIntyre Update

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    Drew McIntyre remains sidelined ahead of the Royal Rumble, with details still emerging about his positive COVID-19 test. 

    According to Meltzer (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), McIntyre doesn't know how he ended up contracting it because he "very rarely leaves the house if not for work."

    Per the report, WWE doesn't think McIntyre worked his January 4 win over Keith Lee while positive for the virus because of a negative test before the match. 

    Either way, McIntyre remains on track to put his title on the line against the returning Goldberg at the rumble on January 31. The match is an odd one because the returning legend seemed destined to have a spear-based showdown with Roman Reigns, but it's still an integral part of the planned rumble card. 

    After McIntyre accepted the challenge this past week, it remains clear WWE wants the match to happen at the end of the month. 

WrestleMania 37 Delay?

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    Considering the rumble's major impact on WrestleMania, it would classify as major news if WWE ends up pushing back WrestleMania 37. 

    Originally scheduled for March 27 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, WrestleMania 37 could be getting a two-week nudge to April 11, according to Fightful Select (h/t Upton). 

    Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, last year's Mania got bumped from its original location and took place at the WWE Performance Center in Orlando, Florida. Since the start of December, weekly main programs have been filmed at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida. 

    At this point, a delay wouldn't come as a massive shock as WWE tries to plot the where and whether fans can attend. The pre-taped nature of last year's Mania didn't prevent an unforgettable event split up over two nights, capped off by an instant classic of a pre-taped match between AJ Styles and The Undertaker in a graveyard.