Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on WrestleMania Fans, TakeOver, and More
With WrestleMania 37 rapidly approaching, the sports-entertainment rumor mill has shifted to the fans who will fill Raymond James Stadium at the weekend for the annual spectacular and their potential reaction to the top stars in WWE.
Is there any internal concern over what may await competitors such as Drew McIntyre, Roman Reigns, Edge or Bobby Lashley?
That question is answered in just one of the reports in a collection that also includes an update on the relationship between Impact Wrestling and All Elite Wrestling, as well as notes on the NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver Night 1 main event.
Fan Reaction Concerns at WrestleMania?
Steve Carrier of Ringside News reported that while some fans believe WWE is concerned about fan reaction at WrestleMania, there don't appear to be any worries within the company.
"We've been asking around about WWE's concern that fans will react differently than they're 'supposed to' at WrestleMania. Some fans believe WWE is concerned about this, but we've been told that there has been no open talk about this concern in meetings or otherwise rumors," he wrote.
There may not be any outward concern about the reactions to WWE's top Superstars, but the performers themselves are certainly thinking about it.
"Right now, as a company, we're all kind of flying blind because we have these stories and we have this creative but we don't know what the actual reaction is going to be," Edge said, per Alex Biese the Asbury Park Press. "When we walk out there, who knows how they’re going to react?"
He added: "I think the bottom line is you've just got to hope they react. And I’d like to think, as starved as we all are just for entertainment and a walk back into whatever our new normal is, I'd like to think that’s going to be a pretty ravenous crowd, reaction-wise."
This being the first event WWE has held in front of a live audience in over a year will serve as a great indicator to the company and its talent just what is and isn't clicking creatively and allow those in power to make the necessary adjustments moving forward.
NXT Main Event Cut for Time
Television time forced the main event of NXT TakeOver: Stand & Deliver Night 1, which saw Raquel Gonzalez defeat Io Shirai to become the new NXT women's champion, to be cut for time, Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select reported.
Typically, this is not a problem for the black-and-gold brand as the TakeOver specials air on WWE Network and thus have no strict time limit. Since Wednesday's first night of action was simulcast on the USA Network, though, WWE had to adhere to specific time limits and Shirai and Gonzalez had to trim from their match.
One would never really know as the women delivered a great contest that appropriately paid off the weeks of intense build. Shirai's dive from the TakeOver set was a highlight, as was the lariat from Gonzalez that turned her opponent inside out and set her up for the one-armed powerbomb that earned her the win.
With Night 2 of TakeOver airing exclusively on Peacock, timing issues will not be as much of a problem. That is probably for the best, too, considering the show has two blockbuster main events. Finn Balor will defend the NXT Championship against Karrion Kross, while Adam Cole and Kyle O'Reilly bring their rivalry to a head in an unsanctioned match.
Expect one or both to be on the longer side.
Update on AEW-Impact Relationship
Sapp also reported that the relationship between AEW and Impact had been in the works for well over a year.
Doc Gallows of The Good Brothers revealed to Sapp that AEW world champion Kenny Omega had been talking to Impact Executive Vice President Don Callis during that time about making the partnership a reality.
The latest chapter of that business deal will unfold on April 25 when Impact world champion Rich Swann battles Omega in a match where both titles are up for grabs.
To this point, the on-screen rivalry between the two companies has been rather one-sided, with AEW getting the better of the opposition. It appears highly unlikely Swann would be chosen to go over Omega in the match, leaving some to wonder what the endgame is given how inadequate Impact has appeared so far.