News Rumor Look Back: Feb. 18 - 24, 2019

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Welcome to the weekly Rumor Look Back, where we look at the rumors from six months ago and see which played out as originally predicted. Let’s get right into it.

February 18, 2019

  • After Fightful reported the plan was for the Women’s Tag title match to close Elimination Chamber last night, both that site and PW Insider indicated Vince McMahon changed the match order late Sunday afternoon to have the WWE title go on last.
  • In retrospect, the WWE title was the bigger story and positioning it there could get fans believing Kofi might win it. But it would have made it seem like the Women’s tag belts were really important if they got the main event spot. Though in retrospect, we know they never thought they were.
  • McMahon didn’t believe the Women’s match would “get the desired reaction to close the show”, according to Fightful.
  • I don’t specifically recall the crowd, but they certainly weren’t dead for it.
  • Wrestling Observer’s Bryan Alvarez tweeted that Carmella & Naomi being eliminated first from the Women’s title match was a “change of plans”, presumably due to their outside the ring issues over the past few days.
  • I already don’t remember those “outside the ring issues.”
  • Possibly related - PW Insider says announcers didn’t get their usual entrances with music ahead of Elimination Chamber.
  • Not really a big deal.
  • It looks like Jay White is getting the booking New Japan would have used for Kenny Omega had he not signed with AEW, per Wrestling Observer and others.
  • Looking how it all went, probably not entirely.

February 19, 2019

  • Becky Lynch is currently Vince McMahon’s “chosen one”, according to Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio. Vince was apparently insistent Lynch win the Rumble regardless of any problems it caused for the WrestleMania main event story down the road.
  • It’s good he recognized what he had, but that booking from the Rumble to Mania was suspect.
  • A source told WrestleVotes there was a push at WWE headquarters to make last night’s Raw feel different with management telling everyone to “think outside the box”.
  • Took a few months, and Paul Heyman, to really feel different.
  • Lacey Evans is getting a “super big push”, per Meltzer.
  • I’ll say she did with her three month Women’s title program after WrestleMania, but then it feels like they changed their minds. (1/1)
  • It was also noted on Observer Radio that WWE is preparing for Michael Cole to move out of the top commentator position in the not-too-distant future.
  • He’s still working it, but he’s got guys who could definitely step into his spot, such as Tom Phillips and Vic Joseph.
  • While he stressed that he didn’t know if it has anything to do with his recent booking, Mike Johnson said on PW Insider Elite Audio that Lio Rush “has a reputation for rubbing people, including other workers, the wrong way.”
  • Lio isn’t on TV at all any more. I kind of miss him.

February 20, 2019

  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer mentioned Asuka vs. Lacey Evans was talked about for WrestleMania 35 but it’s looking more likely than not that it won’t be happening.
  • It did not happen. (1/1)
  • There’s been talk of doing a Kurt Angle retirement match at WrestleMania 35, per the Observer.
  • Also accurate. It was against Baron Corbin, to the crowd’s dismay. (1/1)
  • Rikishi seemed to hint at The Usos becoming free agents soon, and that’s led to the obvious speculation WWE put the titles on them to entice them to stay.
  • Word was they signed new contracts around this time.
  • According to Meltzer, WWE pitched The Elite on an invasion angle to bring them in and The Young Bucks were close to signing.
  • That would have been a pretty baller angle.
  • PW Insider says Abyss started working as a producer for WWE at Monday Night Raw last week and will be in that role going forward.
  • That is his job now. No Abyss on TV though. I wouldn’t have been against Kane vs. Abyss once. (1/1)

February 21, 2019

  • According to Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio, part of Vince McMahon’s reasoning for this week’s NXT call-ups was that the current product “is stale” and the current roster “aren’t gonna be Superstars”.
  • Rough take from the boss. But who’s fault is it that there are no current stars?
  • McMahon is not happy Undertaker is doing Starrcast, per Observer Radio.
  • We know this is true since he forced him not to. (1/1)
  • Uncertainty about what they’re doing with Taker is part of why the entire WrestleMania 35 card is “in flux”. Meltzer also says WWE has never not had a card for ‘Mania in place this late in the game.
  • Taker wasn’t on the card at all.
  • However, according to Bleacher Report’s Jeremy Botter, Daniel Bryan is set to face Kevin Owens at WrestleMania 35.
  • That did not happen. Maybe it was the plan, but Kofi heating up changed that. (0/1)
  • Follow-up on an earlier rumor about Lacey Evans, Meltzer says WWE sees her as the Roman Reigns of the women’s division. After Ronda Rousey leaves, they hope their “big three” will be Evans, Becky Lynch & Charlotte Flair.
  • They were wrong

February 22, 2019

  • Per the Observer, Ronda Rousey wanted Becky Lynch to hit her as hard as she could during the angle at Elimination Chamber, so that’s what happened.
  • Make it look real.
  • Speaking of Lynch, PW Insider says she will be at Monday Night Raw next week for Ric Flair’s birthday celebration episode.
  • She wasn’t part of the Celebration, though she was on Raw. (0/1)
  • There was a big push to make sure Undertaker gets on the card at WrestleMania 35 after it was announced he’s doing Starrcast, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter.
  • He was not on the card. (0/1)
  • John Cena is still expected to wrestle at WrestleMania 35, it’s just not clear who his opponent will be.
  • He did not wrestle, though he did have a segment with Elias. (0/1)
  • On Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer mentioned “there is a front runner” for the AEW TV deal but they likely wouldn’t do big numbers on it from the start if they go to that network.
  • We’ll find out how well they do from the jump in about 6 weeks.

February 23, 2019

  • Daniel Bryan vs. Kofi Kingston will be the main event of Fastlane, says the Observer.
  • It wasn’t even the match and this match/angle wasn’t the main event. That went to the Shield reunion match. (0/1)
  • They also say there was talk at one point of doing a women’s tag team title match at WrestleMania 35 featuring a team from Raw, SmackDown, and NXT in a Fatal 4-Way.
  • There was a fatal 4-way but with no NXT team. (1/2)
  • In the latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter, it’s noted that “a lot of top NXT talent” would rather stay in NXT and not be called up to Raw or SmackDown. They go on to say at least one top star “dreads” the idea of moving up but others can’t wait to.
  • They’ll likely be staging put with NXT going to two hours on USA Network.
  • Per PW Insider, TJP did not ask for his release like Hideo Itami and Tye Dillinger.
  • He went to Impact, but hasn’t been used much.
  • Noam Dar has switched brands to NXT UK and that’s where he will primarily work now, says Insider.
  • He works that and 205 Live. (1/1)

This week: 7/13 - 54%

Overall: 2,861/5,178 - 55.3%

Have a great week, everyone!

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