WWE has, or at least had, some pretty shocking plans involving Matt Riddle, a Raw star could be heading to NXT, Kurt Angle is returning, and more.
It’s Tuesday morning, and we’re officially into the second month of the year and Elimination Chamber is just a couple of weeks away. I’m Liam Winnard for WrestleTalk.com, and this is our audio news bulletin for February 1, 2022.
Listen to this morning’s round-up here:
WWE’s Shocking Plans For Matt Riddle
Brock Lesnar emerged victorious from the Royal Rumble and will challenge Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship at WrestleMania, but Lesnar winning the Rumble wasn’t the original plan.
According to PWInsider, the original winner of the men’s Rumble, was Matt Riddle. As we mentioned yesterday, plans changed a lot in the leadup to the event, and at one point Riddle’s tag team partner Randy Orton was also planned to win, but Riddle was the frontrunner until ultimately Lesnar was chosen.
WrestleVotes followed up with a report about how WWE’s plans to split the team have evolved, with the initial idea being a match between the two at SummerSlam last year which obviously didn’t happen and the plan was to hold off until WrestleMania.
However, there are now only a handful of people on the creative team who want to split them up, and the idea is that if a match does happen, it should be for the WWE Championship, which would explain the idea for Riddle to win the Rumble.
Riddle does have a shot at the WWE Championship in the upcoming Elimination Chamber after winning a qualifying match against Otis on Raw last night.
Dolph Ziggler Heading To NXT?
Last week, LA Knight confronted Dolph Ziggler and Robert Roode backstage in a post-Raw interview and seemingly teased a match for NXT 2.0.
It now looks like Knight is on his way to the main roster, but WWE still wants Ziggler in action in a match on its developmental show.
Bron Breakker posted a tweet last night, clipping a video of Dolph Ziggler’s elimination from the Royal Rumble at the hands of Bad Bunny and mocking him for it.
In an interview posted online after last night’s Raw, Ziggler responded to the tweet and teased heading to NXT 2.0 to challenge Breakker for the NXT Championship.
It seems like this would be a similar deal to Riddle and AJ Styles’ recent appearances on NXT, with WWE trying to boost viewership by using main roster stars on the show, and you would have to think Breakker would go over in the match, which would be big for him too.
Kurt Angle Returning To WWE
There were plenty of notable names backstage at Royal Rumble that we didn’t see on-screen, and one of those was Kurt Angle.
Some people suspected Angle would be a surprise entrant in the Rumble match, which didn’t happen, but he did film some content for the WWE Network over the weekend, including an episode of Table For 3.
However, Angle himself has now confirmed that he will be making a return to WWE TV for the next month or so, and he’s very excited about what WWE might have in store for him.
Angle retired from in-ring action at WrestleMania 35 in a loss to Baron Corbin, and was released from his WWE contract in April 2020, but has made several TV appearances since then.
There’s no word right now on exactly who or what Angle is planned to be involved with when he returns.
Shelton Benjamin posted a picture of him reuniting with Angle backstage at the Rumble, which is the only public acknowledgement that anyone in WWE has made of him being there.
In other little bits of news…
Matt Hardy confirmed Dave Meltzer’s report about his brother Jeff receiving an offer from WWE to return and be inducted into the Hall of Fame this year, as well as saying that Jeff’s drug test did come back negative.
Meltzer backed up Ringside News’ report about significant heat on Shane McMahon due to his role in producing the 2022 men’s Royal Rumble as being “pretty accurate”. PWInsider reported that Shane will be on Raw as a heel going forward. We mentioned yesterday that he’s booked for matches at both Elimination Chamber and WrestleMania.
Fightful Select’s reported Raw plans had Montez Ford taking on Dolph Ziggler, but it was Angelo Dawkins instead of Ford, so it seems like that may have been changed since Dawkins was in his hometown.
During Raw, WWE confirmed two matches for Elimination Chamber on February 19 in Saudi Arabia. The first is Bobby Lashley defending the WWE Championship in an Elimination Chamber match against AJ Styles, Austin Theory, Brock Lesnar, Riddle and Seth Rollins. The second is Becky Lynch defending the Raw Women’s Championship against Lita.
As mentioned earlier but just to confirm, Brock Lesnar used his Royal Rumble win to challenge Roman Reigns at WrestleMania. Ronda Rousey will announce her decision on SmackDown, and as we’ve covered recently, it’s very much believed she’ll pick Charlotte Flair.
WWE is advertising a house show match with Rousey teaming with Sasha Banks against Flair and Shayna Baszler for the March 6 house show in Laval, Quebec.
Ric Flair announced on Twitter that he’s split up from his fifth wife Wendy Barlow.
PWInsider reported that Big E has officially been moved full-time to the SmackDown brand on WWE’s internal rosters.
Riho confirmed that she’s broken her collarbone and has returned to Japan to recover.
Ring of Honor announced the Briscoes as the first inductees into its official Hall of Fame.
And William Regal took to Twitter to implore promoters to book Toni Storm and Tegan Nox. Shawn Dean, who is in charge of booking talent for AEW Dark and Elevation, tweeted that Storm and Nox should hit him up.
Be sure to stay tuned to WrestleTalk.com throughout the day to keep up with all the news from the world of pro-wrestling, and I’ll see you tomorrow morning for another round-up.
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