WWE has given WALTER a new name and to say people are outraged would be the understatement of the year so far, there are big Royal Rumble-related plans in place for Austin Theory, the Hardy Boyz are reuniting in the ring, and more.
It’s Wednesday morning, and it’s time to get caught up on all the big stories from the world of pro-wrestling. I’m Liam Winnard for WrestleTalk.com, and this is our audio news bulletin for January 19, 2022.
You can listen to this morning’s round-up here:
WALTER Is Now… Gunther?
Last night’s NXT 2.0 unfortunately won’t be remembered for the great main event between WALTER and Roderick Strong, but rather for what transpired after WALTER had picked up the win.
Just before ring announcer Alicia Taylor was about to announce him as the winner, WALTER grabbed a microphone for himself, and declared: “The winner of this match is… Gunther”.
On January 13, WWE filed to trademark Gunther Stark. People then googled Gunther Stark, and found out that a man named Gunther Stark was actually a Nazi military commander in World War 2, which fans online were very vocal in pointing out.
(Note: since there seems to be some misinterpretation happening, this doesn’t necessarily mean – and we aren’t saying – WWE purposely named him Gunther Stark because of the apparent Nazi connection. It’s likely just a coincidence and WWE didn’t check it first, which is still WWE’s fault and worth criticising, but not the same as saying they purposely named him after a Nazi.)
WALTER only said Gunther, not Stark, so WWE may have dropped the Stark in response to this discovery. Also worth mentioning is that WWE’s recap of NXT on its website doesn’t reference the name change at all, and still only refers to him as WALTER.
One notable name that reacted to the change is Keith Lee, who tweeted: “Man….if what I’m hearing is real…. Poor Walter”.
In the other main bit of news from last night’s NXT, Grayson Waller has an ally in the form of former Indus-Sher member Saurav Gurjar, who is probably best remembered for posting a picture and spoiling Keith Lee’s huge title win back at Great American Bash 2020.
It seems like Saurav may be undergoing a name change too, because the announcers did that thing where they pretend they don’t know who he is, and he was referred to repeatedly as “Grayson Waller’s Insurance Policy”, in the same way that Omos was constantly referred to as “AJ Styles’ Big Man” before WWE had actually decided what his name was going to be.
Austin Theory Royal Rumble Plans
It’s been made pretty obvious by the fact that he’s consistently been appearing in segments with him on Raw, that Vince McMahon is a big fan of Austin Theory.
The 24-year-old seems to have everything you’d want from a potential future star, and WWE is definitely going in that direction, and that is reportedly set to continue at Royal Rumble in a couple weeks.
WrestlingNews.co is reporting that a source told the site that the current plan is for Theory to make it until the final four or five participants in the Rumble match, and would get “time to shine”.
The source also said that McMahon feels Theory will become a main eventer within the next year.
Speaking on his latest Jim Cornette Experience podcast, Cornette waxed lyrical about Theory, saying:
“I cannot find a flaw in this kid. His body language, his facials, his attitude, his timing, his ring positioning, the execution of what he does, his aggression, his selling, he’s not only great, but he’s great beyond his years. He’s a prodigy.”
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Theory beat Finn Balor clean on Raw this past Monday, and the source also made some comments about Balor, saying that WWE is now using him in the Jeff Hardy role of someone who can put over younger guys, and that Vince McMahon has no interest in pushing him at this point.
There was said to be a pitch to turn Balor heel recently, but nothing has been said about that for several weeks.
Hardy Boyz In-Ring Reunion
The in-ring reunion of the Hardy Boyz has been officially announced, as Matt and Jeff will be teaming together for Big Time Wrestling on March 12 in Webster, Massachusetts.
This comes after it was announced that they’d be doing signings together that same weekend.
The last time Matt and Jeff teamed up together was on April 9, 2019, when they won the SmackDown Tag Team Championship from the Usos, but Jeff picked up an injury and their title reign was cut short, and by the time he returned, Matt had already left WWE for AEW.
With Jeff having been released by WWE last month, many are expecting a Hardy Boyz run in AEW, and the fact they are teaming together would seem to increase the likelihood of that happening.
In other noteworthy news this morning…
This past Monday’s Raw had just over 3,000 fans in attendance in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which was described as “brutal” by Dave Meltzer, and was WWE’s second lowest attendance since the pandemic.
Seemingly in response to fans criticising her therapy session segments on Raw for the past couple of weeks, Alexa Bliss tweeted: “Sometimes you need to just be patient & see how things play out …”
Dave Meltzer said on Wrestling Observer Radio that AEW is currently preventing Bryan Danielson from working in a particular region because the promotion wants his first match in said region to be an AEW match.
Amidst the free agent buzz surrounding Cody Rhodes, he sent a text message to his phone contacts, simply saying: “Bet on yourself, always”, which got people talking as you’d imagine it would.
Chris Jericho has filed to trademark “GFY” after saying it in a promo on AEW Dynamite last week.
The February 7 and 14 episodes of WWE Raw, and the February 8 and 15 episodes of NXT 2.0, are going to be bumped from the USA Network to SyFy due to the Winter Olympics.
Fightful Select is reporting that there’s been a “significant push” in WWE to sign former ROH Women’s Champion Rok-C after the 20-year-old attended a tryout recently.
GCW has announced that Gran Metalik, now going by the name Mascara Dorada, will be working matches for the promotion on February 4, 19 and 26.
And AEW has announced that Jon Moxley will be making his return on tonight’s episode of Dynamite after he took a few months off to attend rehab. Also announced for Dynamite is the return of TNT Champion Cody Rhodes, the Acclaimed vs Darby Allin and Sting, Malakai Black and Brody King vs the Varsity Blonds, Orange Cassidy and Kris Statlander vs Adam Cole and Britt Baker, Serena Deeb vs Skye Blue, and CM Punk vs Shawn Spears.
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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