Oli Davis rounds up the biggest professional wrestling news in his daily WrestleTalk column…
On last week’s Smackdown Live, Rusev announced he’ll appear on this week’s episode to confront Shane McMahon. The Bulgarian Brute has been out with injury since February – where he’s since found himself both drafted to Smackdown and split up from his long-time manager Lana – and now he’s demanding a championship opportunity at Money in the Bank on his return.
It turns out, though, Lana was responsible for more than just wearing red power suits and call cities by the wrong name. She also appears to have been managing Rusev’s diary, as he’s missed his first Smackdown appearance, not showing up at all on last night’s episode.
Why was he absent? A sporting event scheduling clash, of course.
— Rusev The Ruler (@RusevBUL) May 17, 2017
Let me just run that through my WWE real talk translator app. Oh, that means, ‘I got bumped for the Women’s contract signing segment.’
Someone else who’s been sorely missing from Smackdown – in what is either because of backstage heat or an incredible commitment to her ‘voiding wrestling matches gimmick’ – is All Red Everything Eva Marie.
After receiving a moderate push on Smackdown Live last Summer, Marie found herself suspended because of her first violation of the company’s Wellness Policy. But after the suspension period ended, Eva failed to return to television. It’s now been 273 days.
Marie has been filling her time with acting projects, a fitness modelling career and removing any reference to being a WWE superstar from her Twitter. And now, following reports on Wrestlemania week that WWE officials wouldn’t be renewing her contract, Pro Wrestling Sheet claim Marie is also now finished with Total Divas, and producers are actively searching for her replacement – with Charlotte the favourite to become a new season regular.
The article mentions that the show is also unsure about Paige’s status, who was suspended the day before Marie last August, and has been a continued source of controversy ever since.
Following its lowest non-holiday, non-football season viewership figure for 20 years last week, Raw managed to climb ever so slightly over that very low bar with a 2.75 million average.
Last week’s 2.68 million figure was partly blamed on the show being broadcast on tape delay from the United Kingdom. This week can find excuses in going up against the NBA and NHL playoffs.
63% of your ratings, however, thought the episode AvRAWge, while 20% rated it slightly higher at Cor.
At least Raw showed what direction the main event picture would be taking over the next few months, now that Brock Lesnar’s originally planned opponent Braun Strowman is out with injury.
WWE claim the Monster Among Men will now be out for up to six months, when doctors discovered he had a shattered elbow in last Thursday’s minor surgery. But Braun is unperturbed:
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Sometimes life throws you unexpected obstacles. Things will get in the way of your dreams they always do. How you handle your set backs is what makes the difference. I could sit around and think what could I have done to avoid this what did I do to deserve this. Y? Y? Y? I say to hell with that. There's no time for excuses and pity party's!!!! Every day Is a day I get the opportunity to grow stronger everyday I push myself further cause I refuse to let this slow me down. Nothing can stop me from being the best. I'll blow through this like I have every set back life has ever throw at me and continue to own my destiny!!!! This is my life and I tell what and when I'm gonna do things. #nothingcanstopme #unstoppable #braunstrowman #monsteramongmen
According to Pro Wrestling Sheet reporter James McKenna, the actual recovery time is still 4-8 weeks, which WWE are exaggerating to make his eventual return all the more impressive.
Dave Meltzer has corroborated this on Wrestling Observer Radio, confirming the 6 month recovery time is a work, and that Strowman is expected to wrestle at Summerslam, most likely against Universal Champion Brock Lesnar. Meltzer speculated that WWE’s original opponent for Brock at Summerslam – thought to be either Seth Rollins or Finn Balor – to fight the Beast Incarnate at Great Balls of Fire. Which is still an actual name for an actual pay-per-view.
Check back on Flickering Myth every day for round-ups of the biggest professional wrestling news…