Saturday Roundup: Cody Rhodes, Drew McIntyre WWE Update, Cash Wheeler on AEW Infighting, Stardom, AAA, Indies


  • This past Friday’s WWE Friday Night SmackDown drew a preliminary viewership of 2,135,000 viewers on FOX, according to SpoilerTV.
  • Rhea Ripley announced on Twitter that her grandmother passed away this past Thursday. Ripley stated “Thursday night I lost one of my favorite people. Nonna, Im going to miss your strong loving hugs & your little sassy cheeky attitude. It’s so hard saying goodbye, but being able to see you again in Feb was the highlight of my year. I miss you & I love you with all my heart.
  • Cody Rhodes reportedly recently had meetings in Los Angeles with Hollywood executives regarding potential roles in films and television, according to Fightful Select. It was reported that Rhodes has been interested in portraying Johnny Cage for a new upcoming Mortal Kombat film, which The Miz also has been interested towards. It was also reported that Rhodes is also currently interested in a role for a potential Legend of Zelda film.
  • Prior to the main event of Friday’s WWE SmackDown show in Lincoln, Nebraska, Paul Heyman stated in a promo that The Usos have invoked their rematch clause for the Undisputed WWE Tag Team Championship. Heyman revealed that this rematch against Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens will be taking place on the April 28th SmackDown show in Corpus Christi, Texas, which is the same night as Night 1 of this year’s WWE Draft.
  • Bianca Belair announced on Twitter that this past Tuesday was the seven year anniversary of her official debut in WWE. Belair stated “This week hit 7 years of being in @wwe; 3 years on Main Roster! April 11, 2016. Missing a few, but so much has happened so quickly & I am so grateful! WWE changed my WHOLE life! What we do here as individuals & as a roster is so special! Let’s keep building this legacy! #ESTofWWE
  • As noted before, WWE NIL signees Hanna and Haley Cavinder announced that they will be forgoing their fifth year of eligibility with the NCAA in favor of starting a “new chapter” of their lives. In a recent episode of NBC’s Today Show, the Cavinder Twins revealed that this “new chapter” will be them starting a new career in wrestling for WWE. They stated in unison that ” We love WWE.” Haley also stated “Their fanbase, the sport, the fitness side of it. That fits our brand and aligns great with us. They are a great partner and we’re very excited with the future with them.” Hanna responded “We have a lot of long-term deals too. We just signed two long-term deals, one with Caktus AI and another with a media company that truly fits who we are as a brand; sports, business, and health and fitness. We’re super excited to announce those.” (Transcript h/t:
  • WrestleVotes reported (via GiveMeSport) that their sources within WWE stated that high level WWE officials currently do not believe that Edge will be going to AEW once his current contract expires. It was reported that WWE officials would also be very surprised if Edge were to continue wrestling once his time in the company is over. This belief reportedly is based on recent rumors of Edge considering reuniting with Christian Cage in AEW for one last run and final match between the two before he retires.
  • As noted before, Drew McIntyre’s contract with WWE is currently expected to expire within the next nine months and talks between the two sides for a new potential deal have stalled. McIntyre recently updated his Twitter account blacking out his profile photo and header image and also removed all references to WWE in his bio. Prior to the changes, McIntyre’s Twitter bio had stated “@WWE Superstar | #SmackDown.”
  • In a recent episode of the Oh…You Didn’t Know? podcast, co-host “Road Dogg” Brian James stated that WWE’s talks to hold two night events for WrestleMania had started around the time of WrestleMania 34 in 2018. James stated “Seven straight hours I believe it was (WrestleMania 34). Goodnight Irene. Yeah, this is at the time where that conversation started (about WrestleMania being two nights), you know what I mean? Where it was like, this is too much. But then it’s like, well who has been productive for you all year that you’re gonna take off the show?… That’s a tricky situation to be in and so, this was one of the years, one of the first years where that conversation started milling around like, ‘Hey, is there anything to doing this on two nights? Or three or something?’ So yeah, that conversation started because of these seven and eight-hour nights like these.”
  • In the same episode, James also revealed that Shane McMahon almost got into a backstage fight with Brock Lesnar following Lesnar tossing the Universal Championship at Vince McMahon following his match with Roman Reigns at WrestleMania 34. James stated “I don’t really know (why Brock Lesnar was upset after the WrestleMania 34 main event). I honestly don’t. What I remember of that is I almost got hit by the title. It (WWE 24 documentary) showed he threw the title across me to Vince (McMahon) and everybody kind of stood up like, what the crap was that? And so, I don’t know. I didn’t really know what went down then, and I wasn’t about to go after Brock to find out… I remember Shane (McMahon) being in Gorilla and being hot and trying to go after Brock and I said, ‘Hey, let’s let it go, let it go. Let’s just stay right here and all keep our teeth.’  So he was aiming for Vince (Road Dogg laughed) and he’s a good aim. He’s got a good aim, good throw, he had a good rotation on the title. But one of those straps almost caught me right in the mug… He aimed it to Vince. He didn’t aim it at him, you know what I mean? It landed in front of him. It was safe. He could’ve hit all of us if he wanted to… I actually didn’t know if it was a work or not because nobody said a word and nobody did anything. Sometimes they would do things and then laugh with each other later and stuff and then you go like, oh, I almost got killed in the crossfire there. I don’t appreciate that. So you don’t know, I don’t know. I do remember Shane was hot and wanted to go and I was like, ‘Ah.’ So he ended up going so maybe he knew something I didn’t know.” (Transcript h/t: 1 & 2)


  • In response to a recent article from Deadspin about CM Punk, Brandon Cutler posted and later deleted a tweet stating “Someone gets it.” This tweet was in response to the article’s title of “CM Punk is gaslighting AEW into a return.”
  • Dax Harwood recently responded on Twitter about the negative messages he has been receiving on social media. Harwood stated “Woke up this morning reading a lot of bad stuff about me. I’m not sure why. Either way, hoping I lose my job, and my means of providing for my family ain’t it, though. It’s sad that everyday i have to remind myself social media isn’t real life.
  • Harwood’s tag team partner Cash Wheeler recently responded on Twitter in defense of Harwood statingDax is one of the best people you could ever meet. Passionate about wrestling and family. Protective over his friends, especially when people don’t know everything. He’s not afraid to speak up, and not do it anonymously. Honest to a fault. We all need to do better to fix this situation. Everyone involved. No fingers pointed. No one is completely innocent. I respect everyone involved and want the best for AEW. I am tired of reading negativity from both sides, fans and wrestlers. Real life is more important. Enough.”
  • Friday’s AEW Rampage show in Milwaukee, Wisconsin featured Matt Hardy issuing challenge to The Firm for a Firm Deletion match at the Hardy Compound at an unspecific date. Hardy stated that this match would be an 8-Man match of The Firm (Ethan Page, Lee Moriarty, Big Bill, & Stokely Hathaway) vs. himself, Jeff Hardy, Isiah Cassidy, & HOOK.
  • Friday’s AEW Rampage show in Milwaukee also featured the official announcement of an AAA Mega Championship match of Dralistico vs. El Hijo del Vikingo (c) for the card of next week’s Saturday Rampage show in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • As noted before, this past Wednesday’s AEW Dynamite show in Milwaukee featured Jeff Hardy making his official return to the company. In a recent episode of The Extreme Life of Matt Hardy podcast, co-host Matt Hardy gave his thoughts about his brother Jeff’s recent return to AEW following his lengthy suspension over a DUI arrest. Hardy stated “This literally came together the last few days. We’ve been talking about this for a while. Jeff’s eye will take a while — I kept making jokes, ‘How did you fly here today, did you take a red eye? Ahahaha.’ — He still has blood in his eye. They said that would probably take six to eight weeks. I put it out there, ‘In six to eight weeks, he should be good.’ His vision is fine, his eyes are stable, they’re working in sync now. He got cleared at the end of last week to do stuff physically. We had an idea of bringing him in and interjecting him into this scenario. The segment cut a little short, but here’s a great spoiler, watch Rampage on Friday and you’ll find out where this match is going to be and who the official competitors are. Jeff will be involved, HOOK will be involved, Isiah (Kassidy) will be involved. You’ll find out who from The Firm we’ll face on Rampage.”
  • Hardy also gave his thoughts about the online skepticism from some fans over if his brother has actually changed his life for the better this time. Hardy stated “This is the most work I’ve ever seen him do on himself. He had ten months. He seems different. He seems different. I don’t want to sit here and vouch for him, I don’t want you to take my word for it or take anyone else’s word for it. Watch him and follow his actions. He’ll make you a believer. I am confident that his actions, conduct, and behavior will make people a believer. He’s made me a believer. I’ve seen a lot of him and gotten to follow his journey and I know the work he’s put in and how dedicated he’s been to legitimately changing and trying to get his shit together once and for all. I’m so extraordinarily proud of him. He’s done great. Everyone was happy to see him. He’s happy to be there. It was so adorable, right before we went out, he was so nervous and so worried because he hasn’t been in a ring, at all. He came out to my house on Monday, got in the ring, ran the ropes, took a few bumps. He was worried how the people were going to react to him. Jeff is one of the few individuals who has ‘it’ and people are connected to him. When he came out and the people went nuts and were cheering and chanting, it was great, a magical moment. Really glad we got to this point and very excited to see where we go forward from here. Coming off his past, he has stuff to prove to people. I’m the ultimate optimist. My mentality doesn’t work for everybody, but I say, people change, give them a chance, especially if they’ve legitimately put the work in and have tried. I do that with everybody. Either he’ll prove you wrong or prove you right. I have a very good feeling about this point Jeff is at in his life.” (Transcript h/t:
  • In a recent episode of The Sessions with Renee Paquette podcast, host Renee Paquette revealed that she currently has plans to hold a talk with AEW CEO and Ring of Honor owner Tony Khan over the idea of doing features on current and past wrestlers from ROH. Paquette stated “Here’s a thing I would actually love to do for AEW and for Ring of Honor, everything that falls under that umbrella, I wanna talk to Tony (Khan) about this because I would love to do features on people like a Nigel (McGuinness), like a Samoa Joe, Claudio Castagnoli. For newer fans that are maybe less familiar with their catalog, with why these guys are your favorite’s favorites. I would love to do features like that to just update — because there’s so many younger fans. If you weren’t watching however long ago, you don’t know — of course, you can see that these guys can still go. Nigel’s not wrestling but these other guys I just mentioned, you can see how talented they are, you understand why they’re great in the ring but to go back through their catalog and understand some of the rivalries they’ve had, how they changed what professional wrestling is. I would love to do features like that.” (Transcript h/t:
  • In a recent interview with the Ten Count podcast, NWA World Women’s Champion Kamille stated that she would be interested in competing in a match against current ROH Women’s World Champion Athena in the future. Kamille stated “I would love that, absolutely. She’s an incredible competitor and I think being able to mix it up with her would be something that not only we would like to do, but something the fans would like to see as well.” (Transcript h/t:

Indies & Misc. Wrestling

  • Saturday’s Cinderella Tournament 2023 Finals event for Stardom in Tokyo, Japan featured Mercedes Mone making a surprise appearance for the company. Following the Six Woman Tag Team match of Neo Stardom Army (Nanae Takahashi, Yuna Mizumori & Yuu) vs. STARS (Hanan, Mayu Iwatani & Saya Iida), Iwanatni gave a post-match promo to the crowd that was interrupted by an attack from a disguised mystery person. This person then revealed themselves to be Mone. In a backstage press conference, Mone called Iwanati stupid and stated that she always has a plan in order. Mone also promised that Iwanatni will have a price to pay for their upcoming IWGP Women’s Championship match at Stardom’s All Star Grand Queendom 2023 event next month.
  • Saturday’s Stardom Cinderella Tournament 2023 Finals event also featured MIRAI defeating Mai Sakurai in the Cinderella Tournament Finals to be crowned the winner of this year’s tournament.
  • A new wrestling-related book titled Ballyhoo!: The Roughhousers, Con Artists, and Wildmen Who Invented Professional Wrestling is currently scheduled to be released this November, according to PWInsider. This book reportedly is being written by John Langmead and will be published by the University of Missouri.
  • Game Changer Wrestling recently announced that they will be holding two co-promoted events with Westside Xtreme Wrestling this September in Oberhausen, Germany. It was also announced that the first event is GCW vs. Germany on September 22nd and the second event is GCW vs. Europe on September 23rd. This will be GCW’s official debut events in the country.
  • Japanese wrestling legend Yoshihiro Takayama was recently hospitalized with aspiration pneumonia according to his wife. This illness was stated to be related to his cervical spinal cord injury that he had suffered six years ago leaving him being paralyzed from the neck down. Following his injury, Takayama had a hole made in his throat to assist his breathing which had recently started to leak air requiring him to undergo successful surgery. After being discharged from the hospital, Tayakama was stated to have recently developed pneumonia requiring him to be hospitalized again. (English translation via
  • reported that AJ Mendez, former AJ Lee in WWE and current Women of Wrestling’s executive producer, recently joined the cast of an upcoming comedy film called Sacramento that will begin production this Spring.
  • New Japan Pro Wrestling recently announced that they will be lifting their rules requiring the usage of face masks for those attending their events in Japan starting on May 1st. The company announced that those who wish to continue wearing face masks at their events will be able to do so. It was also announced that company staff and talent will also no longer be required to wear face masks at shows but the choice if they want to continue to do so or not will be left up to them.
  • David Finlay recently announced on Twitter that he will be debuting a new member for his Bullet Club group at tonight’s NJPW’s Capital Collision 2023 event in Washington, D.C. Finlay stated “This is a quick message to my Bullet Club members past, present, and future. This weekend, at the New Japan STRONG pay-per-views, I will be in the building just in case anyone wants to challenge my leadership of my Bullet Club. Let’s see if the guys wearing Club shirts in other companies are feeling as tough in person. Tough like past member ELP. Now ELP, I haven’t seen you online running your mouth since Sakura Genesis. Are you okay? By the way, do you know what an Olympic level asshole you have to be to have three guys almost fight over who gets to beat you up now? You need to reflect and end up better wherever you end up next, my friend. Like Tama Tonga did. Tama Tonga left Bullet Club, and he found his groove. Just a pity he didn’t find his father’s veracity, or his titanium skull. It’s great news for me and really bad news for you and your title, Tama. I’ll be seeing you real soon To ELP’s replacement, I say this; we’ve been talking for weeks now, and you keep telling me that you were ready. But this weekend, let’s say at Capital Collision, the talking stops and you have to show me. You have to show me that you’re sick of being overlooked and underappreciated, just like I was. All this time and they’ve seen nothing in you. But not me. You do what needs to be done, and I’ll be there to welcome you into my Bullet Club.” (Transcript h/t:
  • As noted before, Lucha Libre AAA recently dropped the match of Chessman vs. Adrian Marcelo from the card of their Triplemania XXI Monterrey event this Sunday in Monterrey, Mexico due to Marcelo recently failing his wrestling licensing test. Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that his sources stated that besides failing his licensing test, AAA officials also did not want to go ahead with their plans for this match due to recent sexual assault allegations against Marcelo. These allegations were made by a woman this past week who claimed that Marcelo had sexually assaulted her in a car in February of 2022. Meltzer reported that AAA officials dropped their plans for Marcelo once the Nuevo Leon prosecutor’s office announced that they were investigating Marcelo over the incident. Meltzer also reported that AAA officials still are planning for Chessman to compete in a match at the event against a mystery opponent.
  • Dave Meltzer reported in this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter that the reason why AAA officials waited until this past week to announce the opponents for El Hijo del Vikingo’s Mega Championship match for Triplemania XXXI: Monterrey was due to them having issues getting notable key talent for the match. This reportedly was the reason why Swerve Strickland was included in the match since AEW had turned down AAA’s requests for other talent.