RVD-Hall of Fame Rumor; Paul Wight on WWE Contract Talks; Aleister Black InjuryMarch 24, 2021
Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
Rob Van Dam Reportedly Set for WWE HOF Induction
Former WWE champion Rob Van Dam is reportedly scheduled to be part of the WWE Hall of Fame's class of 2021.
During an appearance on The NWC Show (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Marc Middleton), former WWE and ECW star Sabu said: "Rob Van Dam is getting into the Hall of Fame this year. I wasn't supposed to say nothing."
Per Middleton, Fightful followed up and confirmed what Sabu said, adding that RVD's induction will be revealed on an episode of WWE Icons, which is set to debut on Peacock in the coming weeks.
The 50-year-old RVD recently finished up a run with Impact Wrestling, but he is best known for the success he enjoyed in ECW and WWE.
As one of the faces of ECW from 1996-2001, Van Dam held the Television and Tag Team Championships, but he arguably went on to accomplish even more in WWE from 2001-07.
During that run in WWE, Van Dam was often either a top guy or a key cog in the midcard, winning both the WWE and ECW Championships once in addition to being a six-time Intercontinental champion, four-time Hardcore champion, three-time Tag Team champion, one-time European champion and one-time Money in the Bank winner.
Van Dam later returned to WWE and wrestled there from 2013-14, playing a role in putting over some of the younger stars on the roster and making them look good.
RVD is one of the most innovative wrestlers of all time, as his high-flying style raised the bar and set the stage for much of the wrestling fans see today.
His trailblazing career deserves to be recognized, and there is no question that he has earned the title of WWE Hall of Famer.
Wight Talks WWE Contract Negotiations Before Joining AEW
Paul Wight shocked the wrestling world when he signed with AEW in February, and he recently explained what led to him leaving WWE and joining the upstart AEW promotion.
During an appearance on Talk Is Jericho with AEW star Chris Jericho (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Jason Ounpraseuth), Wight revealed that during his final WWE appearance on the Jan. 4 Legends Night edition of Raw, he was in contract negotiations with WWE:
"After the last Raw that I did that was just absolutely horrendous because I was going through the contract negotiations then. Sometimes, when you're going through contract negotiations with them, they'll try to, lack of better term, make things a little bit more awkward, difficult or to prove a point. It's part of the psychology of the game, and so they wanted Randy Orton to 'pieface' me into a chair, basically, push me in the face and knock me down. Then I was supposed to sit there in a chair and take it, and I'm like, 'Well, he's not going to shove me on my ass.' I mean, no disrespect to Randy, but Randy knows he couldn't do it if I didn't want him to."
Orton's "Legend Killer" gimmick was in full effect on that show, as he punked out both Wight and Mark Henry, but it was something that clearly didn't sit well with Wight since it spoke volumes about his place in the company.
Wight suggested to Jericho that he felt he was being phased out by WWE, which spawned the idea that he needed a fresh start:
"They're taking my passion away from me. They were taking wrestling away from me and then to just sit there on the ramp and then get called a has-been while I sit there and watch a match, it's just you talk so much about legends, and respect for legends and respect for Hall of Famers but any time Hall of Famers are around, they get run into the ground. And that's one of those kind of things where that machine is always moving forward. It's about moving forward and any blood that they can get out, they're going to get that last drop, until there's nothing left for anyone. The talent doesn't have anything left. The fans don't have anything left for them, and for me, that was just the icing on the cake where I'm like, you know, I need to restart. I need to rebrand myself."
The 49-year-old Wight was more of a part-time attraction in his final years with WWE, and he was primarily used to put over younger talent.
Wight told Jericho that someone high up in WWE told him five years ago that he would never headline another WrestleMania or main event another pay-per-view again since the goal was to use him to put over up-and-coming wrestlers from NXT.
Rather than continuing on in that role and perhaps risking not being allowed to wrestle anymore, Wight jumped at the opportunity to join AEW.
Upon signing with AEW, it was announced that he would primarily serve as the color commentator for AEW Dark: Elevation on YouTube, but it was also noted that he would be an occasional wrestler.
AEW hasn't started building up Wight toward a match, yet all signs point to him being offered more opportunities in that regard than if he had stayed in WWE as Big Show.
Aleister Black Reportedly Has Minor Injuries
WWE Superstar Aleister Black is dealing with some minor injuries, according to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t Ounpraseuth).
Black has not been seen on WWE programming since losing a No Disqualification match to Kevin Owens on Raw in October 2020. Black's wife, Zelina Vega, was released from WWE the following month.
It has widely been assumed that Black's absence is linked to Vega's release, although Meltzer's report could mean that injuries are contributing to his hiatus as well.
The 35-year-old Black signed a contract with WWE in 2016 after a decorated independent wrestling career under the name Tommy End.
Black made his NXT debut in 2017 and went on to enjoy a dominant run as part of the black-and-gold brand, holding the NXT Championship once and rarely losing.
He got called up to the main roster in 2019 but never truly gained his footing as a singles star after initially teaming with Ricochet.
Black and Ricochet competed for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania 35, and Black beat current WWE champion Bobby Lashley in a singles match at WrestleMania 36 last year.
He turned heel a few months later and feuded with Owens, but his run came to an abrupt halt in October.
It remains unclear why Black has been gone and whether he will be back, but his talent is undeniable, and he has limitless potential if utilized properly.
Listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot wrestling topics. Catch the latest episode in the player below (warning: some language NSFW).