Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on Paul Wight, Retribution and More

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistFebruary 25, 2021

Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on Paul Wight, Retribution and More

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    The paradigm shift within the wrestling industry continued Wednesday with the announcement that Paul "Big Show" Wight had signed with All Elite Wrestling.

    Who knew about the jump ahead of time and when headlines this week's collection of WWE and AEW rumors.

    Joining that major story is an update on Charlotte Flair's WrestleMania program and plans for Retribution after a teased break-up Monday on Raw.

Update on Paul Wight Signing with AEW

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    Neither WWE nor AEW talent was aware of Paul "Big Show" Wight signing with the latter until it was announced Wednesday afternoon, Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select reported.

    According to the report, high-ranking WWE officials were told earlier in February that the future Hall of Famer would no longer be working with the company.

    Unlike other instances of stars being upset or disenfranchised with their positions in the company, Wight's departure for AEW comes as a total surprise to those who expected him to be a WWE lifer.

    A great ambassador for the company and one of its biggest (figurative and literally) stars of the past 20 years, he leaves a company that helped him develop Hollywood opportunities to join a promotion that continues to jam-pack its roster.

    Wight will serve as the commentator for the new AEW Dark: Elevation YouTube show alongside Tony Schiavone, but the commentator made sure to point out Wight still has a wrestling license.

    It is only a matter of time before the former WWE and WCW champion sets foot in an AEW ring. One has to wonder whether the business relationship between the company and Shaquille O'Neal, whom Wight never had the opportunity to wrestle in WWE, helped draw him to the promotion.

Is Retribution Heading for a Breakup?

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    Retribution's Mace and T-Bar lost to New Days' Kofi Kingston and Xavier Woods on Monday's Raw, sparking a post-match tirade from a visibly frustrated Mustafa Ali and leading some to wonder whether the days of the renegade faction are coming to an end.

    Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats suggests that is the case—and sooner rather than later.

    What should have been a star-making vehicle for Ali has instead been a watered-down midcard act that loses more than it wins while simultaneously bogging down the stars involved.

    Dominik Dijakovic, Mia Yim, Shane Thorne and Dio Maddin have all seen their growth stunted by way of their involvement with the group. Hopefully a split allows them all a reset so they can go on to accomplish more on the main roster than they could under the silly masks and half-assed gimmick.

Charlotte Flair's WrestleMania Program

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    Ortman also reported that the post-match antics involving Charlotte Flair and Asuka from Monday's Raw, which saw The Empress of Tomorrow appear frustrated with another loss for the team, is setting up a WrestleMania 37 match between the two.

    It "may not have come off as planned because of Asuka losing a tooth during their loss to Nia Jax and Shayna Bazler," he said.

    If accurate, this would mark the second time Flair and Asuka battle on the WrestleMania stage. Their clash in 2018 was one of that year's best matches and brought an end to Asuka's 914-day undefeated streak.

    The Raw women's champion has been de-emphasized of late, but a feud with Flair would reverse that trend. The question is whether WWE would go the same route it did at WrestleMania 34 and put over Flair.

    Considering Asuka has reigned over the division for as long as she has and WWE almost never misses the opportunity to book Flair to win another title, the likelihood is strong.