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The Grapevine (7/27/18): They Do Want Some


Good morning, and this is the Grapevine! This section of Smark Henry is where we round up all the founded and unfounded rumors abound the pro wrestling scene that you may have missed over the evening.

Could former NJPW and current WWE stars be headed back to Japan?

  • NJPW is interested in re-hiring AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura when their WWE contracts expire in January 2019. Styles and Nakamura, as well as Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson, signed three-year deals back in January 2016. While AJ Styles has expressed a preference for remaining with WWE as long as they would have him, Nakamura may return to NJPW, but his family is already living with him in Florida and he's reportedly already "in a good spot." (Source: Wrestling Observer Radio)
We say: AJ Styles seems to be a build-around star in Vince McMahon's eyes, so it would behoove him to remain and get that WWE money he couldn't get in NJPW. Shinsuke Nakamura, on the other hand, while not in a bad spot right now, hasn't been treated as well as Styles—but with his laidback lifestyle, he may not feel the need to return to Japan anytime soon. As for the rest of the Club, where they go is just as up in the air.
  • On a related note, WWE is also interested in re-hiring Juice Robinson. The wrestler formerly known as CJ Parker on NXT and the current IWGP United States Champion is apparently working as a free agent with NJPW, which means WWE can approach them openly. Juice isn't the only NJPW wrestler the company's interested in, as they're apparently interested in the Young Bucks, Cody Rhodes, and Kenny Omega, to name a few. (Source: WON)
We say: Not a bad idea, but they have to ask themselves this: will WWE have space for guys like Juice, considering what they've already done to many talents they've poached and stuck into the main roster?
  • Combat Zone Wrestling may have spoiled Matt Riddle signing with the WWE. On an event poster they initially released for their New Heights show tomorrow, July 27, they mention their booking of Matt Riddle as one of his "final indy appearances before signing with WWE." They replaced the poster with text not mentioning WWE at all, but still calling it one of his "final indy appearances." Riddle has backed out of many independent appearances save for EVOLVE (which has a working relationship with WWE), and reportedly chose to sign with WWE over NJPW. (Source: WON, Wrestling Inc)
We say: We think changing it to still say "final indy appearances" doesn't really help that much. It's clear that Riddle's headed to the big leagues, so not mentioning the company specifically doesn't really change the fact that he won't be an indy guy anymore. (And really, there's only one place that won't share.)

Let us know what you think of today's news in the comments!

Photo from WWE

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