Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on MJF, Women's Tag Tournament and More

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJune 2, 2022

Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on MJF, Women's Tag Tournament and More

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    Credit: All Elite Wrestling

    Disenfranchised wrestlers continue to dominate the headlines with MJF, Sasha Banks and Naomi still capturing the attention of industry insiders and fans in the wake of public disputes with their employers.

    The Salt of the Earth grabbed the attention of All Elite Wrestling fans following a controversial weekend that saw him no-show at a scheduled appearance at the company's fan fest and reportedly book a flight out of Las Vegas the night before his match with Wardlow at Double or Nothing.

    MJF stuck around, though, and the match went down as scheduled, but that did not necessarily represent a reconciliation with management. Wednesday featured a stunning pipebomb-esque promo from the Long Island native and a new report pointed to a potential reason for his frustration.

    Elsewhere, an update on the tournament for the WWE Women's Tag Team Championship added credibility to Naomi and Banks' frustrations, while creative inconsistency reared its head in the form of Lacey Evans' non-appearance on Monday's Raw.

Latest on MJF

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    On PWTorch's Everything with Rich & Wadeit was reported there are some in All Elite Wrestling making "four to five times" what MJF is, including Christian Cage, Mark Henry, Malakai Black, Adam Cole, Bryan Danielson, CM Punk and "a few more."

    Furthermore, the young heel is such a coveted talent that Vince McMahon is even willing to look past his ongoing issues with AEW to throw him a considerable amount of money and bring him into WWE.

    None of that is terribly surprising at all. 

    MJF made mention of the former WWE guys in his pipebomb promo Wednesday night on Dynamite and how Tony Khan "hoards" his money to bring them in. It was a point of contention from The Salt of the Earth and one he made abundantly clear, and public, while voicing his frustrations in what quickly became the most buzzed-about element of the post-Double or Nothing broadcast. 

    It is also no surprise that McMahon would want to bring MJF in to WWE, even if he is a bit of a malcontent in AEW. The 26-year-old is one of the best heels of this generation, can go word-for-word on the mic with anyone and has a penchant for performing between the ropes at his best when the moment calls for it. 

    He is exactly what he said he is Wednesday night: a generational talent. And if Tony Khan is not willing to shell out some cash and address his other concerns, McMahon absolutely will, and MJF will be a massive loss for the company he has been a significant part of since day one.

What's Going on with WWE Women's Tag Team Championship Tournament?

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    In the latest "Naomi and Sasha Banks were probably right" news, Wrestling Observer Radio's Dave Meltzer reported that plans for the vacated WWE Women's Tag Team Championship tournament are officially "dead."

    The fact that Banks and Naomi walked out over creative differences with management over the treatment of the tag titles, only to have WWE then walk back plans to hold a tournament to decide new champions, essentially proves the disgruntled talents' point.

    The company has been so noncommittal to the tag titles since their inception in 2018 that nothing regarding its lack of foresight in regards to them is a surprise at all.

    Oftentimes thrown on two singles stars with nothing else better to do, the belts have been the subject of inconsistent booking and indifference by the creative team for so long that even a mainstream star like Banks and a respected veteran like Naomi could not bring credibility back to them.

    That frustration and realization that nothing they did would change the creative mindset understandably led Banks and Naomi to leave.

    WWE is certainly doing everything in its power right now to prove that the future Hall of Famers at least had a point when it came to the treatment of titles they were passionate about building back up.

    Speaking of creative inconsistency...

Where Was Lacey Evans Monday Night?

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    Lacey Evans was slated to make her in-ring return on Monday's episode of Raw, but the artist formerly known as The Sassy Southern Belle was nowhere to be found.

    Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats reported that is because WWE made the decision to send the 32-year-old to Charlotte, North Carolina for NASCAR's Coca-Cola 600 race, where she served as the honorary grand marshall for the event.

    It is at least somewhat likely WWE knew it wanted to send Evans to the race for the mainstream media opportunity so one has to wonder why the company would promote that for Raw in the first place if that was to impede her ability to make her scheduled in-ring return.

    Anyone who has been paying attention to the creative process within the company has come to expect inconsistency and for plans to change, seemingly on a whim, so it is no great surprise that she did not return to the squared circle as advertised.

    This, coming from a company that took the stance that Naomi and Banks walking out of Raw after a match featuring them had been advertised for all of 10 minutes.

    Evans will likely make her in-ring return Monday night on the post-Hell in a Cell episode of Raw. Maybe that is the right call, considering the audience interest in the previous night's PPV.

    Still, one would have expected WWE to deliver on the advertised segment rather than simply not mentioning it during the broadcast.

Latest on AEW Grand Slam 2022

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    Tony Khan has already revealed AEW Dynamite Grand Slam will return to Arthur Ashe Stadium in 2022, but he did not provide a date or any timing information.

    Meltzer reported on another edition of Wrestling Observer Radio that the target date is mid-September and Khan wants it to become the biggest TV show of the year for AEW.

    It was in 2021, with the dream match of Bryan Danielson vs. Kenny Omega taking place, not to mention a women's title bout pitting Britt Baker against Ruby Soho and the dream match of Sting and Darby Allin vs. FTR.

    The electricity inside Arthur Ashe, the stunning visuals and the energy of the audience helped make that Grand Slam episode of Dynamite one of the best the company has produced, so it is no surprise Khan would want to return to the site of that first broadcast.

    With a stronger roster, a hotter product and CM Punk as its world champion seemingly for the foreseeable future, there is every reason to believe AEW can replicate its efforts from that first show a year later.