WWE Rumors on Vince McMahon; Matt Hardy on AEW Brand Split; Carmelo Hayes Talks Draft

WWE Rumors on Vince McMahon; Matt Hardy on AEW Brand Split; Carmelo Hayes Talks Draft

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY src8:  WWE Chairman and CEO Vince McMahon speaks at a news conference announcing the WWE Network at the 2src14 International CES at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas on January 8, 2src14 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The network will launch on February 24, 2src14 as the first-ever 24/7 streaming network, offering both scheduled programs and video on demand. The USD 9.99 per month subscription will include access to all 12 live WWE pay-per-view events each year. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through January 1src and is expected to feature 3,2srcsrc exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to about 15src,srcsrcsrc attendees.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe and All Elite Wrestling.

Vince McMahon Making Creative Changes Remotely

While things in WWE have generally remained positive on television in the wake of Vince McMahon’s return to the top of the company, the chairman’s presence in creative can be felt from time to time.

Per Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), McMahon has been making “heavy alterations” to storylines and creative while working remotely instead of in-person at arenas.

It’s not a surprise that McMahon has been throwing around his authority. He’s had a big presence in creative meetings, particularly coming out of WrestleMania 39 when WWE’s sale to Endeavor was announced.

Mike Johnson of PW Insider reported on April 4 there was a “huge negative shift in morale” when the 77-year-old took creative control of the post-WrestleMania episode of Raw.

While Sapp didn’t address the current state of morale right now, he did note talent still has “more flexibility” in their promos than in the past with McMahon running the show.

As long as McMahon doesn’t completely shut Triple H out of the creative process for Raw and SmackDown, storylines in WWE should mostly continue on the strong track they’ve been for several months.

Matt Hardy Talks Potential AEW Brand Split

As All Elite Wrestling continues to grow with the addition of a weekly Saturday show, there’s an expectation the roster could be split between wrestlers who will work exclusively on either Dynamite or Collision.

Speaking on his own podcast (h/t Matthew Wilkinson of Wrestling Inc.), Matt Hardy explained why some of the talent is “a little anxious about where they’re going to land” if the brands are split:

“People want to plan vacations and family time and trips and whatnot and it’s kind of tricky because as of now everybody kind of has to leave everything open. So, I’ll be happy when Collision gets here and they kind of have really a good lock on what roster is on Dynamite and what roster is on Collision, there’ll be some guys that float back and forth.”

It’s unclear if the two shows will have separate rosters, as Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Sean Neumann of Wrestling Inc.) reported last week there is an internal debate that “changes every day and will continue to change until (Collision) is on the air.”

When AEW announced Collision on May 17, the press release included an image featuring top stars including MJF, Orange Cassidy, Thunder Rosa, Samoa Joe and Miro.

All Elite Wrestling @AEW

As announced at the Warner Bros. Discovery 2023 Upfront presentation today, TNT will launch a second night of professional wrestling with a new 2-hour series, #AEWCollision, starting on Saturday, June 17th LIVE at 8pm ET/7pm CT on @tntdrama!

To read the full press release:… pic.twitter.com/roOipqNDD6

CM Punk is also expected to be one of the featured stars on the show, though Tony Khan declined to answer a question about the former AEW world champion’s potential return during the media scrum after Double or Nothing.

If Punk is going to return, it would make sense to keep him separate from The Elite given the issues that happened between the two sides after All Out in September.

But as Hardy noted, the rest of the roster would probably like some clarity about where they are going to be with another weekly program being added to AEW’s schedule.

Carmelo Hayes Talks Not Being Drafted

While a total of 16 NXT Superstars were brought up to the main roster in the WWE draft, Carmelo Hayes was not one of them.

Speaking to Peter Rosenberg on the Cheap Heat podcast (h/t Ben F. Silverio of Wrestling Inc.), Hayes said he wasn’t bothered “one way or another” about not getting called up to Raw or SmackDown:

“Obviously, we all want to go, we all want to move up and be able to experience main roster and that grind and everything, but I had just been focused on everything I was doing now … My time is my time, and when my time comes, that’s when I’ll go. I’m trying to do the best I can possibly do down here in NXT before I leave, leave a legacy, have a couple of banger title defenses, and just go out on top. It would have been too early for me to get pulled up at that point, I think.”

Hayes was hardly the most surprising non-call-up from the draft. Bron Breakker seemed like a lock to be brought up given how over he’s been on NXT, but WWE opted to keep him on the developmental brand.

Breakker’s time seems like it will come soon after he lost an NXT title match to Hayes at Battleground on Sunday.

As for Hayes, the current NXT men’s champion certainly looks ready to be a featured player on the red or blue brand. But the rosters for both shows are so crowded right now, especially with the new additions following the draft, that it will benefit him to have an extended run as the top men’s name on NXT for awhile before being added to the main roster.

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