4 Wrestling rumors we hope are true and 4 we hope aren't: Title feud canceled because of Randy Orton, Former MITB winner to unexpectedly leave WWE?

Randy Orton (left); The MITB briefcase (right)
Randy Orton (left); The MITB briefcase (right)

Welcome to this week's edition of WWE/Wrestling rumors we hope are true and those we hope aren't. It hasn't been the biggest week in the wrestling rumor mill, but there's still a fair amount to cover.

From storylines to injuries to absences and more, here are the big rumors from the world of wrestling and WWE:

#4. Hope is true: Randy Orton's backstage reaction to a creative pitch by WWE

Randy Orton
Randy Orton

Randy Orton is in an interesting position in WWE. After a half-year-long feud with Alexa Bliss and The Fiend ended in underwhelming fashion, WWE was quick to make sure he was away from that.

Post-WrestleMania, his storyline has been with a relative newcomer and former United States Champion [Matt] Riddle. The Viper initially lost a match to Riddle on RAW. The week after, Orton teamed up with Riddle and a Tag Team between the two seems to be the direction.

It's an exciting storyline for both men, as Randy Orton will be utilized to elevate a newer Superstar in Riddle. Many would argue that it's far better than anything he did with Alexa Bliss and The Fiend (though that storyline admittedly had a few moments of shock value).

Riddle lost the United States Title at WrestleMania but hasn't gone back for it. According to Fightful (via Cageside Seats), Randy Orton was in favor of working with Riddle:

[Fightful] also says the plan after WrestleMania 37 was for Riddle’s program with Sheamus to continue. Obviously, plans changed. 'Those backstage in WWE said Orton was in favor of working with Riddle, and the changes made.'

We hope this is true because it seems like a fun storyline. "Odd pairing" tag teams are a tried-and-tested formula and it seems to work most of the time when WWE is committed. While there's no idea as to how long this storyline will last, we can only hope that it is a long-term one that leads to a big pay-per-view match.

#4. Hope isn't true: John Cena Sr. on Otis possibly leaving WWE

Otis has fallen down the pecking order in WWE.
Otis has fallen down the pecking order in WWE.

Otis was a surprising breakout star in WWE in 2020. From his storyline with Mandy Rose heading into WrestleMania 36 and his unexpected Money in the Bank victory, things were looking up for Otis.

And then WWE realized that they had no plans for Otis as Mr. Money in the Bank. With Drew McIntyre and Roman Reigns being the two main World Champions for a big part of 2020, Otis was never going to become WWE or Universal Champion.

He has fallen down the pecking order since, turning heel on SmackDown and aligning with Chad Gable. While he seems to be a Tag Team Title contender, his peak in WWE may have come and gone.

In a conversation with Boston Wrestling MWF’s Dan Mirade, John Cena Sr. suggested that Otis could be the next one to leave WWE:

“Bye [pretends to wave goodbye],” Cena Sr. said. “Hang on, he’s not long for the [company]. I think so, I think so [we could be discussing Otis’ departure soon].”

We hope this isn't true because Otis is a good talent for WWE to keep around even if he's never going to be a main event Superstar. He's entertaining and can fit into several roles well.

#3. Hope is true: WWE gives a promotion to veteran John Cone, not a release

Referee John Cone and Nia Jax.
Referee John Cone and Nia Jax.

It seems as though Mark Carrano's firing has benefited somebody else in WWE. Veteran referee John Cone was part of the talent relations team and was expected to lose his job recently.

PWInsider reported that not only was Cone kept in that role, but Carrano's firing from WWE meant that the former received a promotion. Sportskeeda's Lennard Surrao wrote:

PWInsider added that John Cone's release had since been rescinded, and the WWE referee is now second-in-command after John Laurinaitis in Talent Relations. Cone was previously the Manager of Talent Relations, but Mark Carrano's firing opened up a spot, facilitating his return to the department.

It should be noted that Cone was never expected to lose his role as a WWE referee.

We hope this is true because it's good news to see a veteran getting rewarded rather than released. Over the past 13 months, we've seen several heartbreaking moments of long-time servants released by WWE.

It's good to know that Carrano's loss was somebody else's gain in the long run.

#3. Hope isn't true: A potential update on Randy Orton's injury

Randy Orton
Randy Orton

Multi-time WWE Champion Randy Orton's storyline with Riddle was under threat after he reportedly suffered a minor injury recently. Before RAW last week, there were inquiries about what possibly happened and Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful stated that Orton suffered a deep bruise in his arm and shoulder area:

According to Sean Ross Sapp of Fightul Select, Randy Orton suffered a "deep bruise" in his arm and shoulder area during his match with Riddle on RAW. Sapp reports that initially, the injury didn't seem to be severe enough that it would cause Orton to miss any significant amount of time. However, he did note that he wasn't sure if the diagnosis had changed within the last few days.

Interestingly, Randy Orton went on to wrestle anyway, teaming up with Riddle to defeat Cedric Alexander and Shelton Benjamin. Even if he was injured, it's not uncommon for WWE Superstars (or wrestlers, for that matter) to work through injuries - especially small ones.

Either way, we hope this isn't true because there's a chance that it could get worse. WWE either need to put Randy Orton in non-wrestling segments on RAW or protect him by making Riddle take the workload in their tag team matches.

#2. Hope is true: CM Punk interested in a backstage role outside of WWE?

CM Punk
CM Punk

CM Punk's return to wrestling happened on WWE Backstage, where he was a FOX employee and not a WWE one. For years now, fans have been clamoring for a CM Punk return to WWE or any other big promotion.

CM Punk, however, has made it clear that the in-ring part of his career is well behind him. It's hard to imagine that over seven years have passed since his informal retirement and departure from WWE.

Sportskeeda's Lennard Surrao wrote:

Despite not being an active performer, the former WWE Champion has been a vocal critic of the current wrestling scene. He was one of the special guest analysts on WWE Backstage for as long as the Fox Sports show lasted.

CM Punk was asked about possible interest in a backstage role in a wrestling promotion in a Q and A session on Twitter. His response was an interesting one:

We hope this is true because CM Punk's mind could be better utilized backstage than in the ring. As much as fans would love to see CM Punk return to WWE in an in-ring capacity, that seems unlikely to happen.

#2. Hope isn't true: Two recently released WWE stars were told not to wait outside Vince McMahon's office

Vince McMahon
Vince McMahon

The recent WWE "spring cleaning" was another shocker, as it happened exactly a year after the previous one on April 15th. Two names who were released over the last few months were Steve Cutler and Chelsea Green - with the latter being a bit of a shocker.

Fightful Select gave an interesting insight into the situation where both former WWE Superstars tried securing meetings with Vince McMahon. It was even reported that they were told not to wait outside McMahon's office. Sportskeeda's Lennard Surrao wrote:

The Fightful Select report stated that Bayley was appreciative of the efforts of the stars who were outside Vince McMahon's office. WWE's Role Model reportedly encouraged the talent and felt it was the right thing to do in the given situation. However, Cutler and Green were eventually told not to wait outside McMahon's office. They were instead instructed to be in catering and told they would be seen when ready.

We hope this isn't true because it's an unfortunate situation for any Superstar to be in, especially when other WWE stars tell them that building a relationship with Vince McMahon is important.

#1. Hope is true: Daniel Bryan's possible direction in WWE after expulsion from SmackDown

Daniel Bryan's 2018-2021 run on SmackDown was remarkable.
Daniel Bryan's 2018-2021 run on SmackDown was remarkable.

Just as Daniel Bryan publicly revealed his desire to transition into a WWE part-timer, he was written off SmackDown. After Roman Reigns defeated him clean to retain the Universal Championship, the stipulation was that Daniel Bryan would have to leave SmackDown.

After Bryan's incredible run on SmackDown ended, there's a big question about his future. He could be taking a hiatus before returning as a part-timer, but SmackDown won't be the place even if he does.

That leaves two options within WWE for Daniel Bryan - RAW and NXT. Dave Meltzer of WON reported that Daniel Bryan could be NXT-bound:

"The obvious thought would be he can go to RAW, or possibly NXT," Meltzer stated. "There is an aspect of NXT in the sense Bryan would have a better opportunity to do the style of matches he wants with people he can have those kinds of matches with, especially on TV where he would be the most valuable commodity they have."

We hope this is true because NXT is the perfect place for a Superstar like Daniel Bryan. He would be the most popular star on the brand and to have a WrestleMania main-eventer would be a big boost. We could even see a side of Daniel Bryan that we haven't before.

#1. Hope isn't true: Backstage reason why WWE wasn't utilizing AJ Styles post-WrestleMania

AJ Styles is a WWE Grand Slam Champion.
AJ Styles is a WWE Grand Slam Champion.

AJ Styles and Omos haven't been seen on WWE TV post-WrestleMania 37. It was only announced a day before the May 3rd episode of RAW that they would put their newly won Tag Team Titles on the line against The New Day.

Before that, there was no word about the RAW Tag Team Champions. It was clear that AJ Styles and Omos were in the RAW Tag Team Title match because there was no other plan for them. Even still, AJ Styles walked out of WrestleMania as a WWE Grand Slam Champion - only five years into his run with the company.

Bryan Alvarez of WON stated that AJ Styles hasn't been utilized up until May 3rd only because there was nothing written for him:

He (Bryan Alvarez) also said that everyone is available to be used on Raw and everyone who has been missing is simply because they haven’t had anything written for them. That would apply to the Raw tag team champions, AJ Styles & Omos.

We hope this isn't true because it's as bizarre as it gets. WWE couldn't utilize the Tag Team Champions, but the losers of the WrestleMania match (The New Day) are getting regular TV time and are throwing tomatoes on heels. It makes no sense whatsoever.

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Edited by Zaid Khan