Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on Toni Storm, Omos and Veer MahaanDecember 30, 2021
Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on Toni Storm, Omos and Veer Mahaan
The sudden, unexpected release of Toni Storm on Wednesday afternoon shook the wrestling world one last time in 2021.
The former No. 1 contender to the SmackDown Women's Championship, fresh off a Christmas Eve showdown against Charlotte Flair, is suddenly gone from WWE and poised to become one of the hottest free agents in the business when her non-compete clause wraps up.
She becomes the latest performer to depart the company this year.
The details surrounding her release headline a collection of rumors that also features the latest on Omos and exactly what is up with the Veer Mahaan vignettes and plans for his debut.
The Latest on Toni Storm's WWE Departure
Less than one week after challenging Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown women's title on Christmas Eve, Toni Storm was released from her contract with WWE, per Fightful Select's Sean Ross Sapp.
"Storm worked a Triple Threat match at last night's WWE live event, and PWInsider noted that talent indicated she flew herself home. This is also what we've heard from other talent," Sapp reported. When asking whether there were any extenuating circumstances surrounding the situation, Sapp was told "everything is fine." He continued:
"We've been told that many within WWE were 'blindsided' by the news of Storm asking for her release. One source within the company we spoke to said that it would have been difficult for WWE to justify not granting someone their release after several rounds of 'budget cuts.'"
Storm will become a free agent once her non-compete concludes, entering a competitive market in which several promotions should be vying for her services. Once considered a can't-miss prospect, WWE managed to flub that up with booking that left fans scratching their heads rather than being genuinely excited for her ascension up the ranks on the blue brand.
Expect All Elite Wrestling to pursue her, not to mention promotions around the globe. The former NXT UK women's champion had built a reputation for herself in Australia and Japan before signing with WWE.
Don't count out Impact Wrestling, either. Fiancee Juice Robinson has appeared for the promotion semi-regularly over the past year, and the company's women's division is among the best in the industry. She would fit in perfectly there, and a main event-worthy dream match with Deonna Purrazzo awaits.
Where Was Omos Monday Night?
Omos was noticeably absent Monday night on Raw. Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio reported that the big man's match with AJ Styles in Madison Square Garden the night before was so bad that the decision to pull him from Monday's show may have been to avoid exposing his limitations in another poor contest.
The former Raw tag team champion is a massive human being with an imposing look and an undeniable presence. The problem is that he spent the past year in a team with Styles, who carried the majority of the in-ring work before Omos entered and got in his one or two moves. He didn't have the opportunity to evolve as a worker because WWE spent the entire 12-month stretch hiding his flaws.
Now that the company went ahead with the breakup—earlier than intended because of changing plans for both competitors, per WrestleVotes—Omos is in a situation wherein his weaknesses are going to be front and center anytime he is put in a one-on-one situation.
Styles, for as great as he is, can only do so much with him.
If the report proves accurate, the MSG performance may well have stunted any plans the company has for Omos. If its trust in him has been hurt in any way whatsoever, do not be surprised if any and all plans for a massive singles push are suddenly paused, if not outright canceled as the company tries to reassess what the best move is for its colossus.
What's the Deal with Veer Mahaan?
Stop us if you have heard this one before: WWE has no creative plans in place for Veer Mahaan, despite vignettes continuing to hype his impending singles debut.
Per Sapp, "As far as creative plans, Fightful was told that as of the time the videos began airing, there were no 'significant creative plans in place for Veer or his debut.'"
The report also states that, while it is unknown whether things have changed, the company is aware of the comedic aspect of dragging out the vignettes.
Therein lies what is so frustrating about the creative process in WWE.
Here is a young performer who, at some point, the company believed could benefit its show. It went through the trouble of producing vignettes and putting an emphasis on his debut but has no plans for him. At this point, the company's creative team is popping itself by producing a weekly segment because it amuses them and the audience more than anything.
While all involved might luck into something in the short term, what does that say about the company's willingness and ability to create new stars?
Mahaan isn't going to suddenly explode into the stratosphere as the next Rock or Steve Austin, but he damn sure will never get over as the punchline to a joke that will outlive its humor sooner rather than later.