Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on Seth Rollins, Wardlow and Paige

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJanuary 13, 2022

Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on Seth Rollins, Wardlow and Paige

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    The Royal Rumble is drawing nearer, and with it comes increased chatter about the card and potential surprises that may occur.

    Seth Rollins will challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at the January 29 pay-per-view, but could The Visionary be in store for a character change before then? 

    What about the women's Rumble match, which has already announced 11 participants, including some surprises. Might the biggest shocker come in the form of a former Divas champion notorious for fighting with her family? 

    Shifting away from that event and looking toward the future, might All Elite Wrestling's breakout big man Wardlow be the apple of Vince McMahon's eye? 

    Find out the answer to all those questions with this collection of wrestling rumors and speculation.

Seth Rollins Turning Babyface?

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    After playing to the crowd against The Usos moments after the December 7 episode of SmackDown, there is speculation Seth Rollins may undergo a babyface turn before his Universal Championship match against Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble PPV, per Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats.

    It would make sense that WWE would want one of the two men involved in one of its biggest championship matches to be a babyface. And Rollins has been a heel for just about three years and done everything he can in that role.

    Freshening him up as a good guy, while retaining some of the Visionary elements that have helped make him one of the best characters on the show, is a solid idea. That he, arguably, works better as a babyface only helps sell the idea even more.

    When you factor in the notion that SmackDown lacks any real depth at main event level, you have even more reason to make him turn, especially when fans start to sing along with his entrance music and get behind this wacky, over-the-top incarnation of Rollins.

WWE Loves Wardlow

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    WWE loves Wardlow and will look to sign him away from AEW once his contract comes due, according to WrestleVotes.

    I're stunned.

    Vince McMahon has a reputation for loving big, muscular heavyweights. He always has. They have been the cornerstone of WWE for as long as he has been in charge so it is no surprise whatsoever that he and the company hierarchy would look at Wardlow and see dollar signs.

    That is a testament to what Tony Khan and AEW are doing with the 33-year-old at this point. He has become one of the most intriguing characters on the show, a modern take on Batista.

    In 2005, The Animal recognized Triple H was a scheming, manipulative, selfish person rather than a friend and whooped his ass when it was time for him to break out on his own. Wardlow has already shown hints and teases of that being the direction his partnership is heading with MJF.

    That he has a groundswell of support from fans who love his aggression and repeated powerbombs gimmick has only set him up for bigger and better things moving forward.

    Wardlow will be at the center of a bidding war when his AEW contract comes to its end, and that bodes well for his future championship and main event aspirations, regardless of which company he represents.

Is Paige Making a Comeback?

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    Ortman also noted there is growing speculation that former Divas champion Paige, who has hinted as much, may make a one-night return to the squared circle in this year's Royal Rumble match.

    If that were to happen, it would be the first time since December 26, 2017 that she competes in a WWE ring.

    Paige previously had her in-ring career cut short following a debilitating neck injury that led to a scary in-ring moment and, ultimately, forced her to retire

    A celebrated second-generation wrestler and former champion, she was once heralded as the next big thing in women's wrestling, a can't-miss prospect whose passion for the sport was apparent to anyone who watched her compete.

    A return in the women's Rumble match after almost four years years away would not only generate a huge reaction and be one of the most memorable moments of the entire show, but it would also be a step in the right direction toward a potential in-ring return.

    We have witnessed Edge and Bryan Danielson come back from premature retirements to have extraordinary second halves to their career while Raw commentator Corey Graves was recently cleared to compete, Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select reported, following retirement in 2012 due to concussions.

    Sometimes it takes that one performance to prove to head office that you are ready to resume a career that was taken from you far too early. Hopefully, Paige gets her shot.