Today we’re going to play: where are all those wrestlers we thought were going to WWE?
First up, where is Kyle O’Reilly?
The former Ring of Honor champion reportedly turned down a new ROH deal just days before his WrestleKingdom 11 match last week – which might be why he lost the belt in 10 minutes to Adam Cole, bay-bay. Dave Meltzer speculated that O’Reilly must be on his way to WWE, but PWInsider is reporting he’s actually considering a few more options – one of which being him signing a deal with Flosports, which would see him used on the wrestling promotions on their streaming service. Until O’Reilly makes a long-term decision, he’ll continue to work with ROH on a per-appearance basis.
Next, where is Tommy End?
He’s in NXT, but you might not know it just by reading the names on their roster. Because he’s been given a slave name.
Presumably because WWE don’t want people chanting ‘Tommy, Tommy, Tommy ‘f***ing’ End’ on their PG product, he is now going by the name Aleister Black. Or, if you want to annoy WWE, Aleister ‘f***ing’ Black.
Chris Hero has also been suppressed with his new WWE overlords making him retake his previous slave name, Kassius Ohno. Despite still having some indy dates to finish up, he made his in-ring NXT return at the weekend at a house show in Largo, Florida.
And finally, where is Shelton Benjamin?
Benjamin was meant to be one of the first ex-WWE wrestlers to return after the brand split, with Smackdown even announcing his imminent arrival on the 26th July. In some brutally bad luck, though, Shelton tore his rotator cuff the following week, meaning we’re all still waiting for that return.
January, however, is the month of rampant speculation on WWE returns and surprises, as the Royal Rumble is the perfect place to debut them. It’s been about six months now since Shelton’s injury, so naturally, many are fantasy booking crazy athletic spots for him in the 30-man over-the-top-rope elimination match. Benjamin addressed them on Twitter:
“Recovery is going well. Still months away from anything physical so all the RR predictions are as accurate as they’ve been the last 6 years”
Benjamin is still in no condition to wrestle, so it looks like no surprise return later this month. Unless it’s all a wrestling work!
If any wrestlers don’t make it to the Royal Rumble, though, they can always turn up in the Impact Zone with a slightly different name.
TNA have been filming a massive batch of tapings for the last several days, and a few spoilers have come out from the shows.
Both Brooke Tessmacher and Angelina Love made their returns to the promotion, which now has a new logo, as this fan tweet from the tapings shows…
Scoop #3: Another shot of the new logo pic.twitter.com/wojlP8QlZz
— Jacob Cohen (@MrJacobCohen) January 6, 2017
If you’re thinking, ‘why is there a giant bird in the middle?’, it’s because that is the A from Anthem Sports & Entertainment, TNA’s new owners.
Which non-WWE stars would you like to see debut in the Royal Rumble match and how? Fantasy book The Bullet Club being led by John Cena in the comments below.