Ringside Roundup: Bray Wyatt, Adam Page, Ronda Rousey, Adam Cole’s Contract, More

– Bray Wyatt Released by WWE

WWE releasing Bray Wyatt was the big news of this past weekend. Wyatt, whos been out since WrestleMania in a losing effort to Randy Orton, was expected to return at any moment. At the end of the match, Alexa Bliss turned on Wyatt while simultaneously taking over “The Fiend” character.

WWE has released over 33 wrestlers in 2021, with Wyatt as the latest casualty with “budget cuts” cited as the official reason. The company is reportedly trying to get the payroll down, and with such an initiative, a wrestler’s on-screen range as a performer means more than ever. What do I mean?

Bray Wyatt’s backwater southern cult leader character was engaging and provided depth to a lot of storylines. However, after a mixture of excellent and atrocious booking for years, the gimmick became played out. After some time off, Wyatt changed course with the horror-inspired “Fiend” gimmick. Wash, rinse, repeat with the booking, and Wyatt’s second character became worn. 

It’s unlikely that WWE would let Wyatt take more time off to debut another new character. Too much time off needed for a high-dollar contract makes it difficult to capitalize on an investment. Wyatt sold a lot of merchandise, but WWE seems to be going in a different direction with the type of wrestler they want on screen. Wyatt no longer fits that mold. 

– Adam Page No Longer On All Out

The Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported last week that AEW changed its booking plans for All Out. Not only will Adam Page not challenge Kenny Omega for the world title, but he’s also not be on the pay-per-view. Man, if I only waited a week to write my post on the possibility of CM Punk canceling out Adam Page.

On the surface, it looks like CM Punk’s pending arrival in AEW has put Adam Page on the back burner. However, upon further examination, there is something else at play. CM Punk will be the belle of the ball in AEW from now until the conclusion of All Out. Adam Page dethroning Kenny Omega will get lost in the shuffle due to all of the Punk excitement.

Adam Page is the person who should beat Omega. Pushing that match back until the excitement of CM Punk’s arrival this month and Daniel Bryan’s debut next month dies down will serve Page better when the match happens.

Christian Cage became the number one contender on Dynamite last night and, in all likelihood, will face Omega at All Out. A contingent of the AEW faithful will boo Christian out of disappointment for Page’s removal. Christian as the challenger makes sense from a narrative perspective.

Right now, however, Christian vs. Omega feels like a cold match. No one expects Christian to win, and he hasn’t felt like a big deal since his debut in March. Booking Page in any other match is a consolation prize the audience will damn with faint praise. Keeping Page off of All Out is the right call.

– Adam Cole Leaving WWE???

Another Adam is making headlines in the form of NXT’s Adam Cole. Reportedly, WWE didn’t realize that Cole’s contract was up until two days after it had expired in early July. Cole signed an extension until 8/31 with the provision that the standard 90-day no-compete clause is waived. This means he could sign with AEW on 9/1 if he doesn’t come to terms with WWE.

Fightful.com reported that WWE has not offered Adam Cole a new long-term contract. That could change between now and 8/31, as the company changes its mind like a horse of a different color. Adam Cole was main roster ready the moment he signed his NXT contract. His character is played out on television as he’s won every title and had every big match there is to have.

WWE’s lousy booking of NXT talent on the main roster does not bode well for the former NXT and ROH world champion. Last year, WWE booker/agent Road Dogg had this to say about Adam Cole in an interview.

“Adam Cole is the most professional and most talented. He gets it. He gets every aspect of it. He could cut a promo. He is one of the guys where you tell him I need you to do a minute, and that’s all you say to him. He gives you a minute of hiccupless verbiage that makes you go, ok, that was perfect, thank you, every single time. That’s Adam Cole in a nutshell. He’s also a great worker, he has a great psychology. If he was Karrion Kross’ size, he would be the Universal Champion right now, and if he wasn’t, I would be wondering why.”

Karrion Cross was fast-tracked to the main roster because he looks like Vince McMahon’s vision of a WWE superstar. Three weeks in, Kross lost his first match to Jeff Hardy, beat Keith Lee in week two, and lost to Keith Lee on Monday. If that’s how they’re booking a guy they like, imagine how they’d book someone who they feel is too small?

Adam Cole is tailor-made for superstardom. I used to laugh at such a statement, but I can admit when I’m wrong. In the ’90s, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels got over despite being considered too small for the main event. In 2021, with fans accepting smaller wrestlers more than ever before, Adam Cole has the good to flourish as Hart and Michaels did.

In the end, Cole’s decision to either stay or go will come down to whether he wants to bet on himself in WWE’s main roster environment or cash in ASAP with AEW, where he would be a perfect fit. Plus, his girlfriend works there, too.

-Ronda Rousey Irks Fans with Bray Wyatt Tweet

Ronda Rousey drew the ire of fans this week when she blamed them for WWE releasing Bray Wyatt.

There is some merit in what Rousey said. While there is no doubt Bray Wyatt is a highly creative individual, bad booking did him in. Wyatt’s character with the most diehard wrestling fans had a great honeymoon period followed by a nasty divorce.

Rousey is a shrewd businesswoman and quite clever when it comes to promoting herself to maximum benefit. Trust me; it’s all part of her plan. 

Did Ric Flair Ask For His Release? Or, Was He Fired?

WWE announced on Monday that Ric Flair had been released. The bigger story surrounding this issue is how it all went down. The Wrestling Observer reported that Flair sent Vince McMahon a text message demanding his release and complained about how he and his daughter, Charlotte, were booked. Flair released a statement kind of denying he asked to be released while praising WWE and their use of Charlotte.

One day later, Flair firmly confirmed with People Magazine that he denied asking for his release for booking issues but business reasons. WWE contracts are known to be crazy restrictive. Wrestlers can’t seize outside opportunities without permission. While WWE is known to give the OK occasionally, it’s hard to nail down a rhyme reason why WWE says either yes or no.

Going with Flair’s version of events, WWE probably said no one too many times, which in turn, cost him some money. WWE hasn’t used Flair in any capacity since February, with no signs of booking him anytime soon. Why deny Flair other ventures if you’re simply keeping him in your back pocket?

Is the Observer inadvertently putting out inaccurate information, or is Flair trying to quell any bad blood between him and WWE? Observer founder Dave Meltzer has said on his radio show that he and Flair are friends, so in the end, who knows. Meltzer has many critics, but I don’t peg him to be an outright liar.

Ric Flair in AEW is the scuttlebutt (of course), but he also has plenty of commercial and endorsement opportunities to keep himself busy. If AEW comes calling, some type of confrontation between Flair and Sting is an absolute must.

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