19-time champion in ‘incredible form’ ahead of WWE return, 8-time world champion’s future ‘uncertain’ following major injury
Welcome to this week’s edition of WWE/Wrestling rumors we hope are true, and those we hope aren’t. This will be the last edition before WrestleMania 38, and it should come as no surprise that this week is loaded with WrestleMania-related rumors.
From plans for WrestleMania and the RAW after to plans for the Show of Shows in the future, this article also focuses on discussed strategies for rookie superstars, returning superstars and unfortunate injuries. Let’s start:
#4. Hope is True: Big News on “Stone Cold” Steve Austin Ahead of WrestleMania 38
“Stone Cold” Steve Austin is expected to play a major role at WrestleMania 38. He has confirmed that he will be appearing as a guest on the KO Show, and a rumor has suggested he is in contention for the final night of Night One of Wrestle Mania 38.
Given that it could go last, there’s been a lot of speculation that Austin could have a game against Kevin Owens, even if it’s short. Dave Meltzer reported that Steve Austin, 19 times champion in his wrestling career, trained very hard before his return to WWE and is in great shape:
“He’s training very hard so it’s going to be more than that. Will he do a 20 minute game? No I don’t think so. Will he go through 7 minutes or something and have a fight everywhere? I expect that, yeah.
We hope that’s true because it would be amazing to see Austin back in the ring, even if it’s just for a little one-off. This will certainly vindicate WWE’s reported decision to headline the KO Show at WrestleMania on Saturday.
#3. Hope is not true: Bobby Lashley’s immediate WWE future in doubt following serious injury
Bobby Lashley hasn’t wrestled since before losing the WWE Championship to Brock Lesnar inside the Elimination Chamber. He was eliminated and technically did not participate in the match, and this was used as a way to protect him while losing the title and banning him from television.
This was believed to be due to an injury he sustained which required surgery.
Dave Meltzer reported in the Wrestling observation bulletin who didn’t have the required shoulder surgery and his immediate future is uncertain as WrestleMania approaches:
“The other match listed is Omos v Bobby Lashley. But there is a caveat. Obviously Lashley hasn’t had major shoulder surgery as feared due to the injury he suffered. during the match with Lesnar at the Royal Rumble otherwise he wouldn’t be ready. However, the injury was serious enough that he hasn’t wrestled since and isn’t allowed at this stage. We’re told it’s was the mach provided Lashley was cleared. If he’s not, then they should change plans.
We hope that’s not true because it’s an unfortunate situation, but we hope Lashley will have shoulder surgery and come back when the time is right.
#3. Hope is True: WWE Plans for Two-Night WrestleMania Events Going Forward
The two-night WrestleMania concept wasn’t original when WWE introduced it in 2020, but it’s a formula that seemingly stuck. This will be the third consecutive WrestleMania to span two nights, and fan reception has been positive.
The consensus seems to be that running WrestleMania as a two-night event with shorter hours is less exhausting and better than having a single show that lasts over six hours.
Dave Meltzer explained on Saturday night’s main event podcast that WWE is likely to stick with two nights of WrestleMania in the future despite not selling out the show at AT&T Stadium this year:
“I think WrestleMania is going to be two nights in the future. I think that was the first step to see if people would buy and they bought in enough numbers. Did it sell out first day, were the original numbers gigantic? No, but that’s okay. It’s a big stadium. It wasn’t going to be easy to sell it out two days in a row. (H/T – WrestlingNews)
We hope that’s true because the two-night WrestleMania is a much better option and yields better matches. Even big matches saw crowds dwindle due to the length of WrestleMania between 2016 and 2019.
#2. Hope is not true: Gable Steveson spoils his WWE debut date?
Gable Steveson was drafted to RAW last October, but the Olympic gold medalist has yet to make his WWE debut. There have been rumors that the company has big plans for the young star, who recently announced his retirement from amateur wrestling.
But when will the Olympian make his debut? Gable Steveson may have ruined his first date on Twitter. Matt Black from Sportskeeda wrote:
“After his victory, Steveson took to social media over the weekend to reveal he would be at WrestleMania 38, stating that ‘it’s about time!! hinting at his in-ring debut for the company. However, the tweet didn’t last long and Steveson quickly deleted it. But not before many members of the WWE Universe were able to capture it at advance.
You can see the deleted tweet here.
We hope that’s not true because it would have been better as a surprise debut. That said, the RAW after WrestleMania seems like the perfect time for WWE to debut the young superstar.
#2. Hope is True: Big Plans for RAW’s Post-WrestleMania Edition
The post-WrestleMania RAW is considered the most important episode of free-to-air WWE television of the calendar year. The aforementioned show has yielded several amazing moments over the years. However, the post-WrestleMania episodes of 2020 and 2021 were incredibly disappointing.
The next RAW after WrestleMania will be the first edition since 2019 to have fans in attendance. As a result, WWE could step up their game with big surprises and moments in store.
According to a report from Cageside Seats, we’ll likely see RAW after WrestleMania look like iconic episodes from the past few years:
“There are rumors that Raw After WrestleMania will be booked as it has in years past, with big surprises and comebacks on the show,”
We hope that’s true because it’s a pivotal episode, and it should be treated as such. It basically sets the pace and tone for a whole year of programming.
#1. Hope is not true: Why Vince McMahon never put the world title on Scott Hall
Scott Hall tragically passed away recently due to several health complications. It was a great loss to the wrestling world and a painful death for a two-time Hall of Famer. Many of the current generation may not be as familiar with Hall’s work, but those who watched wrestling in the 1990s saw him as a prominent superstar in WWE and WCW.
However, as Razor Ramon and Scott Hall, he did not win any World Championships. That didn’t seem to be a problem for him, and it certainly didn’t affect his position as one of the most crucial stars in the business at the time.
Dave Meltzer from WON revealed via a source close to Scott Hall that the reason Vince McMahon never made him world champion was due to the president’s preference for his actual best friend, Kevin Nash fka Diesel:
“In hindsight, he felt Razor Ramon could have been WWF Champion, but he felt Vince liked Kevin Nash more and Nash was bigger than him,” Meltzer wrote.
We hope that’s not true, but it probably is. It would have changed the course of wrestling history if Razor Ramon was the one to get a world title push.
#1. Hope is True: A Hardy Boyz Return Slated for Cody Rhodes at WrestleMania?
Cody Rhodes’ rumored return to WWE is one of the most anticipated in recent years. It was hard for fans to imagine that Rhodes would return to the company he left six years ago. He established himself as one of the biggest wrestling superstars of that time and was one of the main faces of AEW.
As of this writing, Cody Rhodes’ rumored direction is a rematch against Seth Rollins on Sunday at WrestleMania. So why isn’t WWE pulling the trigger on Rhodes’ return to advertise WrestleMania?
David Meltzer reported on the Wrestling observation radio that we might see a Hardy Boyz style return from 2017. For the uninitiated, the Hardy Boyz were a last minute addition to the RAW Tag Team Championship ladder match, and they received one of the reactions from most iconic throwbacks of the past decade. We might see something similar for Cody Rhodes:
“Every impression I get is that he does the Hardys thing where you show up on the day of the show,” Meltzer said. “I mean he could show up tomorrow. We have two Raw left. Like The Hardys when they showed up the day of the show at WrestleMania. I know we talked about it.”
We hope that’s true because that’s the best way to handle his comeback. At this point, everyone seems to know when he will return to WWE, and the reaction when he does will certainly be worth it.