We’re just a couple of weeks away from the first ever live episode of SmackDown, and WWE reportedly has reached out to multiple past and potential future stars to join the company. The WWE draft will take place on the July 11th edition of RAW, and rumor has it that John Cena will be the face of one brand, while Roman Reigns will be “the guy” of the other.
With the brand split now paving way for two different rosters, WWE has also announced two PPVs per month – one for each brand, except for the big four (Royal Rumble, SummerSlam, Survivor Series and WrestleMania). It is being reported that WWE will now go ahead with 20 PPVs per year – necessarily not the best news for wrestling fans, who already feel that there are more PPVs than required.
Today, we take a closer look at the major talking points from the world of WWE.
ROH superstar bids goodbye amid speculations of joining WWE
Arguably the biggest news coming out of the week was the departure of Ring of Honor’s Roderick Strong. Roddy has been with the promotion for the past 13 years, and bid farewell to the ROH faithful after his match with Mark Briscoe at the Best In The World Pay Per View. Strong is a former ROH World Champion, and won the tag team titles and the TV title during his tenure with the company.
With reports of NXT superstars soon to be called up to the main roster after the brand split, WWE has been actively looking for independent stand outs to sign with NXT. Another ROH superstar Moose worked his last match for the promotion, and is expected to join Strong at WWE NXT in the near future.
Kurt Angle clears the air about his future and joining WWE
With WWE reaching out to former WWE superstars, the biggest name making rounds was that of Kurt Angle’s. Angle is currently a free agent, after leaving TNA earlier this year. Angle has also been vocal about his interest in rejoining WWE, and has also started a campaign on social media, which led to speculations of a return to the company.
However, with WWE recently disclosing the fact that they hadn’t reached Kurt, Angle revealed that while he did indeed speak to Triple H, it wasn’t about joining WWE in the near future. Angle didn’t rule out the possibility of returning to WWE, but said it might happen in 2017, and not any time soon.
Hideo Itami cleared to compete after over a year
The Japanese superstar didn’t have a great debut year in WWE, with him getting injured last year in May. It has been nearly 14 months since Hideo got injured, and the former Pro Wrestling Noah star finally made his in – ring return last week during an NXT live event in Winter Park, Florida. Hideo teamed up with MK – 61 to defeat the team of Samoa Joe, Tino Sabbatelli and Blake.
Hideo did not join the WWE crew that traveled to Japan, with the superstars finishing up with the tour on Sunday. The WWE crew will join the other superstars for Monday’s edition of RAW, which will roll out of the Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.
Brock Lesnar’s UFC 200 fight a quid pro quo agreement between UFC and WWE
The past month has seen a huge spike in interest and buzz about UFC 200 – exactly what UFC was banking on when they announced the return of former UFC Heavyweight champion, and current WWE superstar Brock Lesnar. The landmark announcement makes Brock the first athlete to compete for UFC while still being contractually obligated to WWE.
Reports have since emerged about a quid pro quo deal in place between the two juggernauts. While WWE was interested in getting Paige VanZant for this year’s SummerSlam, as they tried to bank on her recent popularity due to her appearance on Dancing With The Stars, Paige reportedly turned down the offer. However, WWE’s interest still firmly lies in getting Ronda Rousey to compete in a match, possibly at Survivor Series or at WrestleMania 33.
Results from the first taping of the Cruiserweight Classic (Warning: Spoilers)
WWE taped the first series of matches of the Cruiserweight Classic last month, which saw 16 superstars advance to the round of 16. Here are the complete results of the first round of the tournament, which will air on the WWE Network from July 13th.
(1) Gran Metalik defeated Alejandro Saez
(2) Ho Ho Lun defeated Ariya Daivari
(3) Clement Petiot lost to Cedric Alexander
(4) Brian Kendrick defeated Raul Mendoza
(5) Damian Slater lost to Tajiri
(6) TJ Perkins defeated Da Mack
(7) Lince Dorado defeated Mustafa Ali
(8) Kenneth Johnson lost to Akira Tozawa
(9) Tyson Dux lost to Zack Sabre, Jr
(10) Drew Gulak defeated Harv Sihra
(11) Anthony Bennett lost to Tony Nese
(12) Kota Ibushi defeated Sean Maluta
(13) Jason Lee lost to Rich Swann
(14) Noam Dar defeated Gurv Sihra
(15) Jack Gallagher defeated Fabian Aichner
(16) Johnny Gargano defeated Tommaso Ciampa