WWE removes Sasha Banks, an unplanned WWE Title change has taken place, a “very concerning” Bryan Danielson update, and more.
It’s Friday which means it’s nearly the weekend, but before we get there let’s get up to speed on all the latest wrestling news. I’m Liam Winnard for WrestleTalk.com, and this is our audio news bulletin for July 8, 2022.
Listen to this morning’s round-up here:
WWE Removes Sasha Banks – Banks & Naomi Update
There have been yet more significant updates in the ongoing saga involving Sasha Banks, Naomi and their statuses with WWE.
For weeks we’ve been uncertain about whether they’ve been released, but right now, it’s looking more likely than ever.
Yesterday, PWInsider reported a huge development in that Sasha Banks and Naomi have been removed from WWE’s internal roster, something that they’d still been on even just a few days ago.
If that wasn’t enough, both Banks and Naomi have updated their Instagram bios which have no references to WWE, now referring to themselves as quote “professional wrestlers”, which is obviously a no-no term in the WWE world.
There’s still more though, as WWE uploaded a video to YouTube last night highlighting Paige’s greatest moments following her WWE departure. One of those moments is her 2017 return as the leader of Absolution, which took place during a match between Sasha Banks and Mickie James.
If you compare the footage in that video to the original footage of that particular moment, WWE has edited it with specific camera shots that cut out Banks’ presence and focus solely on James. If you hadn’t seen the original, you wouldn’t even know Banks was there based on how WWE edited it. This is similar to the recent situation where there was a Sasha Banks sign in the crowd at SmackDown, and WWE edited it to blank it out in an official photo of the show posted on their website.
So there’s two theories there – either it’s a temporary thing and WWE just doesn’t want people to focus on Banks while she’s away, or, there’s something more to it in the sense that they’re kind of cutting her out of the history books somewhat. The latter is obviously the more exciting theory that people are latching onto right now.
Fightful Select reported later in the night that the WWE Creative team is currently operating on the assumption Banks and Naomi are not returning whatsoever.
As of right now, they are still both listed on the SmackDown roster page on WWE.com, and there has been no official confirmation that they’ve been released.
WWE Forced To Make Unplanned Title Change
The injury curse continues to strike as WWE was forced to make an unplanned title change last night. Spoiler warning for future episodes of NXT UK.
At Wednesday’s NXT UK tapings, Ilja Dragunov announced that he had to relinquish the NXT UK Championship due to injury. He had held the title for 320 days after winning it from WALTER, now Gunther, in one of the best matches of last year at NXT TakeOver 36.
NXT UK held a tournament to determine a new champion at last night’s tapings, which was won by Tyler Bate, making him the first ever two-time NXT UK Champion.
Bate beat his former tag partner Trent Seven in the final, following their recent split after losing the NXT UK Tag Team Championship.
Coincidentally, the UK tag title also had to be relinquished a couple of weeks ago by Oliver Carter and the injured Ashton Smith, who are the ones that won it from Moustache Mountain.
That title is now currently held by NXT 2.0’s Josh Briggs and Brooks Jensen.
‘Very Concerning’ Bryan Danielson Update
A number of updates have come to light regarding the injuries to some of AEW’s biggest stars, including a “very concerning” note on Bryan Danielson.
Danielson suffered a concussion during the Anarchy in the Arena match at Double Or Nothing in late May, and hasn’t been cleared to wrestle since.
On the latest Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer pointed out that it’s a very bad sign that Bryan still isn’t cleared and this may be a quote “real bad situation”.
Of course, the time it takes to recover from a concussion always varies, but considering Danielson’s history, the fact it’s already been five weeks is a bad sign.
Meltzer also provided updates on CM Punk and Adam Cole. Meltzer said that the broken foot surgery for Punk might take a couple of months, but not something like six months, so he shouldn’t actually be gone for too long.
On Cole, Meltzer simply said he’ll be out “for a while”.
In other little bits of news…
Meltzer reported that, for the second week in a row, AEW was hoping to do a tag team match on Dynamite with the Lucha Brothers taking on Andrade El Idolo and Rush, but either Andrade or Fenix weren’t able to compete, so we got Penta vs Rush in a singles match instead.
Tony Khan says he’d like to make the sequence of events we’ve just had – Forbidden Door followed by Blood & Guts followed by the Royal Rampage – an annual thing each summer.
Connor Schell has resigned from the WWE Board of Directors. WWE’s official announcement says this was a decision based on his workload at a different company he works for, not a dispute with WWE.
NJPW made a couple of big announcements. The first is that it will return to the UK in October, and the second is that STARDOM wrestlers will now be competing on US-based New Japan shows.
Pat McAfee has signed a multi-year extension with WWE. McAfee is a weekly announcer for SmackDown and is an occasional wrestler, having had a match against Theory at WrestleMania and kind of a match against Vince McMahon. On July 30, he’ll have another at SummerSlam, this time against Happy Corbin. WrestleVotes followed up by reporting that everyone in WWE is thrilled about McAfee re-signing.
Michael Cole, McAfee’s commentary partner, tweeted: After 25 years in “the booth,” working with @PatMcAfeeShow is the highlight of each week. His excitement is contagious (even if he almost kicks me when standing on our table) and has helped revitalize my love for our business! @WWE, our fans, and I are lucky to have him!
According to PWInsider, Liv Morgan has officially been moved to the SmackDown roster after winning the brand’s women’s title at Money in the Bank.
PWInsider has also stated that Bayley was seen at the Performance Center for several days earlier this week, seemingly training for her in-ring return.
And it’s been confirmed that the Briscoes will challenge FTR for the ROH World Tag Title at Death Before Dishonor on July 23 in a rematch from Supercard of Honor.
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 Monday morning for another round-up.
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