Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on Bray Wyatt, FTR and More

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2022

Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on Bray Wyatt, FTR and More

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    Where is Bray Wyatt?

    It's a question fans have been asking since his shocking release from WWE last July and his subsequent lack of activity with any other major promotion as soon as his non-compete clause ran out.

    Dave Meltzer shined some light on the status of the former WWE and universal champion in this week's collection of rumors.

    Also included is the reasoning for Sonya Deville's push as Bianca Belair's challenger, the latest on Kushida's departure from NXT, and WWE's interest in reacquiring FTR. 

Latest on Bray Wyatt's Asking Price

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    Wrestling Observer Newsletter's Dave Meltzer responded to an inquiring fan that Bray Wyatt's asking price is "very high," hence him not yet signing with a promotion following his release from WWE just under a year ago.

    Wyatt is a two-time universal champion and one-time WWE champion, not to mention an immensely marketable performer. He has competed against top stars in big matches and was a significant name for the company. It makes sense that he would value himself enough to have a higher asking price than many of the former Superstars who have gone on to sign elsewhere.

    Whether that is the real reason he has yet to sign or if he has another project in the works preventing him from committing to wrestling remains to be seen.

    If and when Wyatt does sign with someone, perhaps even the promotion that let him go, expect some incredible creativity and more freedom to craft characters as he sees fit, especially given what had to be considerable frustrations surrounding his portrayal of The Fiend and how that persona ended up.

Update on Sonya Deville Challenging Bianca Belair for Raw Women's Title

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    Meltzer also reported on his Wrestling Observer Radio show that Sonya Deville has been selected as the first challenger to Bianca Belair's Raw Women's Championship because WWE does not want to go back to the Becky Lynch too soon after WrestleMania 38.

    It also buys the company's creative team some time as Rhea Ripley transitions into the role of heel after her betrayal of Liv Morgan on Monday's Raw.

    Given how over Deville has been in her role as a power-abusing WWE official, there are not many options better than The Pride Fighter to challenge Belair.

    Deville has a connection with the crowd and is a trained in-ring performer, so why not go with her as a sure-fire option who fans will want to see beaten up by The EST of WWE?

    Lynch vs. Belair is a big-money match and it would behoove the company to hold it off until Money in the Bank or SummerSlam. Meanwhile, we had our first taste of Belair vs. Ripley in NXT and, more recently, at Elimination Chamber. Their chemistry is strong and the dynamic of a heel Ripley vs. babyface Belair is an easy sell.

    That match will likely serve as a taste of women's wrestling's future and should be held off until the time is right.

    Given the moving pieces and WWE looking to the future with the two alternatives, Deville makes the most sense and should be primed for a fun match with the champ as soon as WrestleMania Backlash.

Update on Kushida Leaving WWE and NXT

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    Meltzer's busy week continued with another Wrestling Observer Radio report, this one detailing the departure of Kushida from NXT.

    He revealed that not only was Kushida leaving not a secret to anyone in WWE but the main roster creative forces had no interest in bringing him to Raw or SmackDown. That is not much of a surprise given the manner in which The Time Splitter was utilized on NXT.

    Even under the previous regime, where indie and international stars were heavily featured, he struggled to gain traction on the show. He popped up here and there as a mystery opponent for a heel, but he was rarely involved in any substantial feud.

    That did not change when the brand underwent a makeover. If anything, his status fell even further, thanks to a ridiculous partnership with Ikemen Jiro in Jacket Time. It was an insulting use of an international star who still has plenty to contribute elsewhere if WWE does not know what to do with him.

    Do not be surprised to see him pop up in AEW or as part of the recently announced joint show with New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Forbidden Door, on June 26. 

WWE Interested in Re-Signing FTR

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    Fightful Select's Sean Ross Sapp reported WWE has renewed interest in bringing Ring of Honor and AAA tag team champions FTR back into the fold.

    It is not difficult to see why the company that introduced the team to a national audience would want to re-sign them. Dax Harwood and Cash Wheeler are the best tandem in professional wrestling and amid the hottest streak of their career.

    Consecutive five-star matches against The Briscoe Brothers and The Young Bucks have them rolling, and an upcoming one-on-one match between the tag team partners in the Owen Hart Foundation Men's Tournament has created a buzz about next week's episode of Dynamite from Philadelphia.

    Few teams have become synonymous with consistent excellence like Harwood and Wheeler and promotions, including WWE, have taken notice.

    It would be a tough sell, though.

    WWE displayed a clear lack of interest in booking tag team wrestling or FTR with a sense of credibility during their time with the company.

    Creative frustration and a lack of opportunity led to their departure in the first place so it would take rebuilding trust between higher-ups in WWE and the performers in order to make that deal a reality, especially when FTR have been allowed to have the matches they want, travel the world to other promotions and build their reputations as part of AEW.