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The Grapevine (10/18/19): Rising in the East


Welcome to 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 week. Remember to take everything with a grain of salt!

WWE is still trying to make NXT Japan happen:

  • WWE has apparently been in the process of trying to acquire a Japanese promotion to serve as the foundation for NXT Japan, with Pro Wrestling NOAH being one of the more prominent targets. No deal was reached between the two companies. WWE is also trying to sign top Japanese talent to serve as trainers for a potential Performance Center in Japan. (Source: WON)
We say: Bad idea for all involved, simply because any attempt by WWE to gain a foothold in Japan means taking some big-name stars and trying to mold them into Americanized WWE wrestlers. Whitewashing the rich, energetic, and unique Japanese wrestling style means getting rid of its original appeal, and we don't trust WWE to let them continue doing it how they have. Come to Southeast Asia instead, where they've got better name recognition and brand equity.
  • Brock Lesnar was apparently drafted to SmackDown as the big sports star FOX wanted. It's rumored that they wanted either Lesnar or Ronda Rousey on the show, and this explains why Lesnar won the title from Kofi Kingston on the premiere. Meanwhile, Cain Velasquez, who has reportedly signed an exclusive deal with WWE, is not yet listed on any roster; he will be paired with Rey Mysterio, which means he might be sent to RAW with him, even though Lesnar is on SmackDown. (Source: WON)
We say: The Cain part sounds like a huge mess waiting to happen, but they could just fix it by sending both he and Rey to SmackDown
  • Sasha Banks is reportedly cleared to compete on this week's episode of SmackDown. She apparently suffered injuries to her hip and tailbone at Hell in a Cell last week and was pulled from shows. There are no immediate plans for her after being drafted to SmackDown to join her best friend, SmackDown Women's Champion Bayley. (Source: PWInsider)
We say: That's good to hear, but we wonder how this run is going to play out now that she's on the brand where her best friend is the champion. Unless...

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

Photo from WWE

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