Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on Logan Paul, Imperium and More

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistApril 7, 2022

Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on Logan Paul, Imperium and More

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    Credit: WWE

    The creative direction of WWE is always a hot topic on the heels of WrestleMania thanks to that period of time typically being when the company introduces new stars, stories and feuds to carry it through the spring. 

    It is no different here in 2022, when potential call-ups from NXT and additions to Edge's growing faction dominate the headlines.

    And what of Logan Paul, who fans last saw receiving the Skull-Crushing Finale courtesy of his own tag team partner, The Miz? Might the celebrity make more appearances and jumpstart a feud with the former WWE champion?

    Dive deeper into those topics and more with this collection of WWE rumors.

Logan Paul Babyface Turn?

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    The reason The Miz turned on Logan Paul at the conclusion of their WrestleMania victory over the Mysterios was that the latter had worked into his deal with WWE that he would be a babyface by the time the feud was over, Dave Meltzer revealed on Wrestling Observer Radio.

    As we know, Miz received an enormous babyface reaction himself and high-fived fans on the way to the back, appearing to be anything but a heel in doing so.

    It will always be an uphill battle for Paul to be accepted as a babyface in WWE. A lot of that can be attributed to his antics away from the squared circle, which initially saw him frequently criticized for offensive content posted on his YouTube channel before he parlayed that notoriety into becoming a household name. Putting him opposite Miz, who might be the best heel in WWE but is respected by fans, is not going to give him the desired reaction. 

    It remains to be seen whether Paul will pop back up on WWE television anytime soon. A match with The Miz would seem to be the most logical direction if he does.

Gunther and Marcel Barthel to the Main Roster?

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    Tuesday was a bad night for Imperium, who saw Fabian Aichner walk out on Marcel Barthel and Gunther lose cleanly to new NXT champion Bron Breakker.

    A report by Sean Ross Sapp may shed some light on why those two creative decisions were made.

    Sapp says Gunther and Barthel are on their way to SmackDown. This move has been in the works, especially for Gunther, since the former NXT UK champion made the move from Europe to the United States.

    It is interesting that Aichner is not a part of the package given how he has roots in Imperium's beginnings. Barthel is a skilled wrestler and has been highlighted in tag team action on NXT, so it remains to be seen whether he could swim on the main roster if he were forced to go it alone.

    The money is clearly in a singles run for Gunther, who could conceivably be a main event star for whichever brand he appears on. Big, physical and imposing, he is a believable badass. Just ask the fans who have watched him across both NXT brands to this point.

    Hopefully, WWE recognizes his potential and does not allow him to become bogged down by 50-50 booking and questionable storylines that strip away everything about him that works so well.

    Sapp also reported that Raquel Gonzalez and LA Knight could be on their way to the main roster.

New Members of Edge's Faction?

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    Sapp also reported there are two names pitched to join Edge and Damian Priest in a faction that figures to dominate Raw for the foreseeable future: Rhea Ripley and Tommaso Ciampa.

    The seeds were planted for Ripley's turn following her and Liv Morgan's loss to Sasha Banks and Naomi Monday night on Raw. A frustrated Nightmare walked off, leaving Morgan by herself in the wake of the defeat. The two reconciled later on, but do not be surprised to see the Australian turn on Morgan following another loss and cement herself on the heel side of things.

    Ciampa lost to Tony D'Angelo at NXT Stand and Deliver on Saturday afternoon in what amounted to his send-off from the brand. He has yet to pop up on either main-roster show, but The Blackheart would fit the aesthetic of the faction.

    A collection of that talent, a relatively cool presentation and a wealth of superb pro wrestlers to work with should help establish Edge's group as one of the hottest in WWE—especially if the creative team does not overthink it and lets it develop naturally.

    That, of course, is a big "if."

Cody Rhodes Already a Top Merchandise Seller in WWE

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    Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com reported that Cody Rhodes' merchandise, put on sale after his return Saturday night in Dallas at WrestleMania 38, sold out at both Axxess and Sunday's event. The American Nightmare has already become a major merchandise seller for the company, most likely due to the excitement and anticipation surrounding the debut. 

    Rhodes returned to WWE as the mystery opponent for Seth Rollins and proceeded to have one of the best matches of the two-night extravaganza. He won after several Cross Rhodes, and the crowd in Dallas ate it up.

    Ditto the following night on Raw, on which he returned to a hero's welcome and discussed the motivation for his return to the company: winning the WWE Championship that eluded his father, Dusty.

    It was a career weekend for Rhodes, and it is no surprise that fans were eager to flock to merch stands to commemorate the moment by snagging his merchandise. Hopefully WWE handles his booking as well as it did over WrestleMania and Rhodes remains a top merch seller for the foreseeable future.

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