The rumor mill in WWE has been hotter than ever this year. News keeps coming in with plans changing and various noteworthy stories breaking. WWE is currently transitioning following Summerslam into new programs for both Raw and Smackdown going forward. John Cena vs. Roman Reigns on Raw and Kevin Owens vs. Shane McMahon on Smackdown give us an insight into how the company is trying to ensure the product is still carrying some momentum into autumn. Other stories are circulating about the plans for contracted talents as WWE hopes to find successful ideas for everyone on the roster.
WWE doesn’t always give us what we want, unfortunately, as seen with countless disappointments in recent years. The good moments do, however, make up for it with some incredible rumors coming to fruition in improving the product. We'll take a look at both sides of the rumor list right now. Some of these theories and speculation going around could lead to great things happening for the betterment of WWE. Others are horrible things that will just make you shake your head at what the company is doing. These are eight current WWE rumors circulating that will make you excited about the future and seven that will just disappoint you.
15 Happy: Bobby Roode scheduled to have Glorious SD push
The main-roster debut of Bobby Roode surprised many fans when he appeared on Smackdown. Roode on the main roster isn’t a surprise at all given how talented and popular he is. The big shock is that he's working as a face rather than as a heel. Roode spent his entire NXT run playing a heel character, and everyone expected that to continue. Rumors have revealed that the character change is a great thing for his future.
WWE wanted someone to replace John Cena as a top face on Smackdown. Roode was cheered most nights by fans, partly thanks to his incredible Glorious theme. The popularity of Roode makes him a highly valuable face, now that his job is to get cheers every week. WWE wants Roode to progress into the upper echelon of Smackdown faces by the beginning of 2018. Any fan of Roode has to be content with the chances of his important spot on the roster going forward.
14 Disappoint: Batista headlining 2018 HOF
Fans can appreciate the work of Batista, along with all of his success after leaving the wrestling industry. WWE, however, wants to induct Batista into the 2018 Hall of Fame as the headliner of the class solely for his timing in a major movie. Batista will be a part of the Guardians of the Galaxy team in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War movie set to be released just weeks after WrestleMania 34 weekend.
WWE is reportedly hoping to get buzz from one of the stars of a major blockbuster film by having Batista get inducted into the Hall of Fame. There’s no doubt that Batista’s speech would be great, and he deserves it. But the induction of Batista seems way too early and forced. Many other deserving names are out there. Batista also seems to be looking to keep his distance from WWE following his displeasure over the last run. It would make for an awkward moment to see Batista get inducted next year.
13 Happy: WWE gives up on Baron Corbin main-event push
Baron Corbin seemed to be ready to become the top heel on the Smackdown roster earlier this year. WWE went all in on Corbin by having him win the Money in the Bank briefcase. The vast majority of Money in the Bank winners would go on to win the WWE Championship or World Championship. It makes a wrestler look ridiculous if he doesn’t use the golden opportunity to cash in at an opportune time and win the title.
Corbin was the first one to lose it in truly embarrassing fashion after getting rolled up by Jinder Mahal in six seconds. Following the loss of the briefcase, Corbin would get destroyed by John Cena on Summerslam. Rumors are out that Corbin has backstage heat for trashing one of the company’s doctors in front of the locker room. Corbin also is in the doghouse for bad decisions on social media. Fans can rest safely with the lackluster Corbin no longer being a threat to become WWE Champion.
12 Disappoint: WWE returning to Brock/Roman WM plan
The rumor regarding the main event of WrestleMania 34 has been out since WrestleMania 33. Brock Lesnar defeating Goldberg to capture the Universal Championship was done in hopes of creating another big moment for Roman Reigns. WWE wants Reigns to end Lesnar’s one-year long reign on the biggest stage at the upcoming WrestleMania for yet another standout moment. It appeared those plans were changing when Lesnar was rumored to return to UFC.
Instead, WWE doubled down, and Brock, apparently, is turning away from UFC’s offers. Lesnar is now scheduled to continue his title reign into WrestleMania 34 for a showdown with Roman. It will be yet another WrestleMania centered on the crowning of Reigns for the fourth year in a row. Reigns and Lesnar tried this story at WrestleMania 31, and fans rejected it then. Expect much worse now as WWE goes back to the same lazy storytelling.
11 Happy: Hardys getting ready to become "Broken"
The Hardys returned at WrestleMania 33, and it feels like we’ve been waiting forever to see them revert back to their “Broken” personas from their time in TNA and ROH. Matt Hardy and Jeff Hardy each rejuvenated their careers over the past two years by taking risks as characters. WWE has shied away from allowing them to use the popularity gimmick due to TNA/GFW threatening to sue and claiming ownership of it.
Recent rumors of WWE thinking of an alternative phrasing to get the characters, such as the term “woken,” is a positive step. Jeff Jarrett reportedly leaving TNA/GFW also provides hope for the Hardys, considering he's the main person who tried to stop Matt and Jeff. WWE is hardly doing anything with the Hardys right now in terms of a story. That could be by design to slowly transition into the characters we’ve all been waiting for.
10 Disappoint: Vince loves The Drifter
WWE’s change in presentation of “The Drifter” Elias has shocked many viewers. Elias was essentially an enhancement talent in NXT and came to the main roster for the same reason. The expectations were for The Drifter to take part in comedy segments before getting easily defeated. That quickly changed when Elias started to receive more momentum in his booking. Drifter was placed in a feud with huge star Finn Balor and actually scored the final win in their series of matches.
The reason for this is due to Vince McMahon becoming a huge supporter of Elias. Vince loves his look and the old school heel act of pandering to the crowd with insults via his songs. We've witnessed The Drifter go from being a comedic footnote into someone that has consistent television time. WWE even went as far as to upload a video of his pre-show stuff on nights when he isn’t working on Raw. Don’t be surprised if he’s a big factor by the end of the year.
9 Happy: Dolph Ziggler leaving soon
The career of Dolph Ziggler has turned into one of the biggest disappointments in WWE. Fans have gone from wanting to see him become a consistent main-event star into not giving a damn about his work. Ziggler has regressed over the years with his in-ring work falling behind the likes of new stars AJ Styles, Kevin Owens, and Sami Zayn. His character is in even worse shape as no one wants to see him speak on a microphone.
WWE is trying to revamp Ziggler with a new character, insulting the wrestlers that have more pageantry to their presentations. It looks like a huge flop already, and WWE is likely hoping for that. Ziggler’s rumored new character is just here to lose to Bobby Roode as the final feud of his WWE tenure. The reports indicate Ziggler will leave WWE when his contract expires in a few months. This is great as we no longer have to see Ziggler waste time with the lackluster work, and he can reinvent his career elsewhere if he chooses to.
8 Disappoint: Shelton Benjamin and Chad Gable not planned for long term
The return of Shelton Benjamin to WWE in late August saw him form a tag team with Chad Gable. Benjamin is not only replacing Jason Jordan as Gable’s tag team partner but also adds another depth of relevance since he’s a familiar name. Their first match together saw them deliver an impressive outing against the Ascension. Benjamin and Gable showed glimpses of having chemistry.
Unfortunately, the long-term plans are not for them to continue working together too long, if rumors are true. Reports indicate that Benjamin is going to turn on Gable sooner rather than later as a lower-card feud. They're supposed to team for a few months to form a connection with the fans that will upset them when the turn happens. The safe bet is that both men would struggle to find success on their own with the lack of television time available. Benjamin and Gable are already off television one week after their first match, which isn’t a good sign either way.
7 Happy: Edgier programming going forward
Some of the recent promos to take place on WWE television have been quite different from the product we’re used to. Roman Reigns and John Cena have gone after each other using savage lines that both break script and push the envelope with their language. They've helped add realism to the feud. Kevin Owens recently told Shane McMahon that Shane’s family would've been better off if he had died in that helicopter crash a while ago.
Rumors indicate that WWE is not completely adhering to the PG rating in terms of keeping every segment family friendly. WWE doesn’t have to go back to the Attitude Era, but the return of the feeling like anything can happen is important. These moments in pushing the envelope create enough of a shock value to make fans buy into the segments more. Both top programs on Raw and Smackdown right now each show the success of the shows getting a little edgier.
6 Disappoint: Jinder Mahal title reign lasting into 2018
Jinder Mahal’s shocking WWE Championship reign is still going despite many expecting it to end within a few months. The run of Mahal was further cemented when he defeated Shinsuke Nakamura at Summerslam in a match everyone expected Nakamura to win. It was a statement win by WWE to showcase that Mahal was the champion and that you should treat him as much.
The reign of Jinder has been lackluster, with all of his PPV matches failing to deliver. Mahal isn’t even the worst champion in recent memory, and he isn’t doing a terrible job. The issue here is that he doesn’t carry the reputation of being a great wrestler that recent successful champions have had. Smackdown has seen a decline that carried over through Jinder’s title reign and is still going right now. The champion has to represent the show strongly, and rumors of Mahal being champion until 2018 aren't good for the brand.
5 Happy: Kurt Angle wrestling at WrestleMania 34
Kurt Angle has been a breath of fresh air as the Raw General Manager. We get to see Angle indulge in the pop of fans celebrating his legendary career, and he plays a neutral face without bias. Evil authority figures have become so overplayed. Most fans, however, still want to see Angle wrestle, as he was considered one of the all-time greats at his peak. In fact, Angle still looked great in his final few years in TNA before joining WWE.
The current speculation is that Stephanie McMahon is being kept off television until closer to WrestleMania 34. A clash between both authority figures on the Raw brand will lead to a match between Triple H and Angle. Considering Angle hasn’t wrestled in a WWE ring in over a decade, it will be an incredible moment to see him perform on the big stage. A bout between two true legends will also sell a lot of tickets. Hopefully, nothing comes up in his medicals to prevent Angle from having another high-profile WWE match soon.
4 Disappoint: Bayley in WWE's doghouse
Bayley is one example of how brutal the transition can be from NXT to the main roster. The character of Bayley was gold in NXT. Fans treated her like a hero, and she appealed to the younger crowd in a very unique way you couldn’t manufacture. One year into her main roster run, Bayley has taken a huge hit. WWE has done very little to get her character across as anything different from any other pandering face.
The success of Bayley came right away with very little adversity in her story. Fans didn’t connect to her in the grand scheme of the bigger audience. It reached a low point with multiple crowds booing her out of the building following her injury. The time away from the ring may help reinvent her character, but WWE may have given up on her. Bayley will need to make some changes and get some help from the booking, or her career could be doomed.
3 Happy: Four Horsewomen vs. Four Horsewomen
One positive for Bayley and three other important women in WWE with nothing going on is their rumored WrestleMania 34 plans. WWE’s “Four Horsewomen” features Bayley, Charlotte Flair, Becky Lynch and Sasha Banks being respected as the biggest stars creating change for women’s wrestling after their success in NXT. All are talented but have very little momentum at the moment. This could be because WWE already has a plan for them on the biggest show of 2018.
Two interactions between these aforementioned ladies and UFC’s “Four Horsewomen” have teased a potential match. Former MMA fighters Ronda Rousey, Marina Shafir, and Jessamyn Duke all showed up to the Mae Young Classic to support Shayna Baszler. The tension sold between both “Four Horsewomen” teams is now rumored to create a big attraction match at WrestleMania 34. Everyone involved would benefit, and fans would be treated to a special match. Rousey alone becoming part of WWE adds a lot to the company. We’re hoping it’s all true.
2 Disappoint: Another John Cena break coming up
Diehard wrestling fans are finally starting to appreciate John Cena after his breaks have made them realize how greatly he's missed. The ascension of Roman Reigns as his replacement has only helped add to Cena’s popularity. This current run against Reigns is delivering some of the best television in recent memory. Cena is still at the top of his game, and there are so many great matches out there for him to have.
Sadly, it appears Cena will be taking more time off following his match with Roman. Rumors indicate Cena, working on other projects, is going to be out from November to January. WWE will definitely miss Cena in that time frame as the end of the year becomes a bit stagnant. Cena currently has a great spot, as he's in a legends’ position due to his overall career accomplishments but still has a lot to offer. The potential of him leaving again is quite disappointing.
1 Happy: Asuka undefeated streak coming to the main roster in a major way
The success of Asuka in NXT has led to her having the most dominant undefeated streak in WWE history. Asuka retaining the NXT Women’s Championship over Ember Moon at TakeOver: Brooklyn 3 was an incredible moment. Many expected it to end there, but Asuka retained once again. An injury and the decision to move her up to the main roster saw her relinquish the title at the most recent NXT tapings.
WWE decided it was time to move her to Raw or Smackdown with the undefeated streak still intact. Asuka is rumored to continue running through her opponents and to win one of the two major Women’s Championships quickly. Hopefully, WWE doesn’t quit on this plan, as Asuka is considered the best female performer in the company today. Asuka could easily carry the division for a full year or longer with new opponents to create magic with. If reports are true, Asuka will get the ball right away to prove she can carry it on a bigger stage.