WWE: Backstage WWE & AEW Reactions Over CM Punk Interview, Triple H on WrestleMania 40’s Changed Plans, Ilja Dragunov NXT Update

Backstage WWE & AEW Reactions Over CM Punk Interview

As noted before, a recent episode of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani show featured CM Punk as the guest. During the interview, Punk gave several very dismissive comments directed at AEW and Tony Khan and also gave his thoughts about his recent return to WWE and the Vince McMahon sex trafficking lawsuit allegations among the topics discussed.

Fightful Select reported that the general reaction with AEW’s locker room was one of something that was “bound to happen” and them being hopeful that this is the end of his comments about the company. Those spoken to reportedly had very positive things about AEW which was stated to be more about being supportive of the company than anything else. One veteran AEW talent reportedly stated “more than anything, what the interview showed was that this was preventable from all sides. Punk is happy, AEW talent moved on, so hopefully everyone just learns from it and makes amends in the future.”

In regards to WWE, the general reaction within WWE’s locker room was one of being happy that the interview was released when it was so that the talk about it would die down by the time WrestleMania 40 rolled around. Those spoken to reportedly stated that they did not think Punk really wanted to discuss AEW but he was aware that “it was likely to come up.” It was reported that Punk’s media schedule will be a lot lighter now due to him dealing with his recovery from a torn triceps injury.

It was reported that there is still no backstage unrest between Punk, Drew McIntyre, and Seth Rollins since Punk’s return to WWE.

Triple H Comments WrestleMania 40’s Changed Plans Being “We Always Have to Call Audibles”

ESPN held a recent interview with WWE CCO Paul “Triple H” Levesque. One of the topics discussed included Levesque’s thoughts about WWE changing their plans and direction for the Undisputed WWE Championship match from Cody Rhodes vs. Roman Reigns to The Rock vs. Roman Reigns to back to Rhodes vs. Reigns for WrestleMania 40.

“Now it’s a different time, and the way I do things is slightly different. My career, I learned from being here, but there were things along the way that I always thought I would do differently. In this time now, I get to make those calls and with a large team of people. Whether people will want to believe it or not, I think we were sort of looking at this as here’s where we’re going to go to get this started and it has the opportunity of going this way or that way.

We always have to call audibles every single week. Everything you do is dependent on reactions. That’s what we do as an industry. … The beautiful thing with this group and with Cody and Roman and Rock especially, everybody’s got their ear to the ground. … And then we all just get together and figure the s— out.”

WWE Reportedly Does Not Have Any Main Roster Call-Up Plans for Ilja Dragunov After WrestleMania 40 Week

WWE reportedly currently does not have any plans to call up NXT Champion Ilja Dragunov to the main roster following this weekend’s WrestleMania 40 event, according to Fightful Select.

Corey Brennan reported that his sources stated that while WWE officials currently do not have any call-up plans, Dragunov is currently expected to be appearing on one of WWE’s main roster brands once his current NXT Championship reign ends.

Brennan reported that those spoken to also denied rumors of Dragunov not wanting to be called up due to his frequent trips home and stated that this is no such issue for him.

Brennan also reported that WWE officials currently have plans to push Dragunov to a similar level to Gunther once he gets called up to the main roster. Dragunov reportedly has been receiving a lot of high level praise within WWE with one NXT source describing Dragunov as a “wonderful person to be around.”