Opinion: Be wary of rumors that Vince McMahon wants to bury Cedric Alexander
Cedric Alexander worked his way out of 205 Live and to the big main roster stage. In recent months, he has shared a ring with Roman Reigns, AJ Styles, and has been found in some main event matches on RAW. Alexander is coming off of a U.S. Title opportunity this past Sunday at Clash of Champions. Recent reports indicate that the new Executive Director of RAW, Paul Heyman, is a huge fan of Alexander's.
Despite Heyman taking a liking to Alexander, rumors continue to swirl that Vince McMahon is now on a mission to bury the up-and-coming superstar. Alexander had been on a hot streak leading up to the Clash of Champions PPV, but he was quickly squashed on the Kickoff Show by AJ Styles. The Internet is running rampant with speculation that this was a sign that the WWE CEO wanted to extinguish the flames of Alexander’s build.
Dave Meltzer reported on Wrestling Observer Radio that this was indeed Vince McMahon’s goal with Alexander’s booking at Clash of Champions.
Here's what Meltzer said:
"I was told last night that Vince McMahon wanted to bury him. I don't know why, why would you want to do that?"
Paul Heyman was reportedly very high on Alexander
Prior to Clash of Champions, the reports were that Paul Heyman was very high on Alexander and that he saw him as a top star. The plan was to slowly matriculate him into the top tier, rather than thrust him immediately to the top, as we’ve seen that backfire in the past.
Why Squash him at Clash of Champions?
There are a couple of reasonable trains of thought as to why Cedric Alexander would be squashed in the match against AJ Styles at Clash of Champions.
#1. Time constraints. Clash of Champions carries the stipulation that every title will be defended. This PPV was packed to the brim with matches that had to happen because of the self-imposed stipulation. There simply had to be some quick matches.
#2. The slow build. If the plan was to truly build his star slowly, most expected him to take the loss at the Clash. It is irrelevant to his long-term plans. He was featured with a star like AJ Styles on a WWE PPV for one of the major titles. While it’s not yet super stardom, it also shows he has moved past the Cruiserweight label. If anything, it fits the narrative that Heyman and WWE have big long-term plans for the electric performer.
Backstage rumors proven false in the past few weeks
I’ll use two recent examples of backstage rumors that indicated a WWE Superstar was on McMahon’s bad side, only for them to just show up and take center stage. Readers may recall that Sasha Banks was rumored to be in Vince McMahon’s dog house after she reportedly threw a tantrum backstage in protest of losing the titles. She recently disputed those rumors on the WWE Network Special Chronicles.
Banks was reportedly so angry with WWE that she even took to social media and unfollowed the company's official account, along with Vince McMahon on Twitter. Banks followed that up by immediately following rival upstart, AEW. If Vince was as furious with Sasha as reports suggested, it’s highly unlikely to think he would bring her back to thrust her right back into one of the company’s top story lines.
With the passing of time, these rumors appear to be more and more baseless.
Just days before Clash of Champions, rumors were swirling once again about McMahon’s feelings on Luke Harper. Harper was taken off of TV when his tag team partner, Erick Rowan, was injured. Rumors indicated that Harper was unhappy with WWE’s lack of plans for him and he asked for his release.
Like Sasha before him, Harper took to social media to make a public statement. Harper openly shared that he would be requesting his release. While this seems like a legitimate situation, it’s odd that the rumor mill picked it up the week before the PPV.
McMahon reportedly “didn’t get” Harper, didn’t understand why he couldn’t do a southern accent, and was not a fan. Those are the types of headlines we were all seeing. In fact, just days before his return at Clash of Champions, it was reported that Luke Harper would not be returning to WWE television anytime soon.
Of course, a few days later at Clash of Champions, not only did we see Luke Harper return, we saw him inserted into a storyline that has been headlining SmackDown Live for weeks.
Is WWE using the internet rumors in order to throw us off of story-lines? Possibly.
Back to Cedric Alexander
So what should we expect from Cedric Alexander? The wrestling world should expect continued stellar in-ring performances. Expect to see him shine in mid-card matches on PPVs. Expect him to eventually begin to seriously contend for either the United States Title or the Intercontinental Title. He seems like a perfect fit to eventually win the Money in the Bank contract.
WWE has until next Summer to prepare Cedric Alexander for that type of spotlight. That’s more than enough time for Heyman and company to build credibility for Alexander, and add a much needed dimension to his character.
Let’s not jump to conclusions on these rumors. How about we take a deep breath and see where Cedric Alexander is a year from now?