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The Grapevine (3/27/20): Reign Another Day


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!

Here are some updates from wrestling in the time of the coronavirus, including one major WrestleMania change:

  • Roman Reigns has apparently dropped out of WrestleMania. While his decision has not been officially announced by WWE yet, Pro Wrestling Sheet reported that Reigns did not want to risk his compromised immunity from leukemia to COVID-19, resulting in WWE needing to find a replacement for Goldberg's Universal Championship defense. (Source: Pro Wrestling Sheet)
We say: We'll find out how true this bit is on this week's episode of SmackDown, but it's already an interesting one. We definitely can't fault Roman for prioritizing his health, and it takes guts for someone to back off of what seemed to be a sure win. Our suggestion is to just stick Bray Wyatt and John Cena in the title match and make it a triple threat and have Wyatt leave the Performance Center as champion again. Then they could have the original Wyatt/Reigns plan somewhere down the line. Two birds with one stone.
  • Rezar is down with a biceps injury, resulting in both Authors of Pain being sidelined from Seth Rollins's stable. He sustained the torn biceps after taking a crossbody from Montez Ford on the March 9th RAW, and he will be out for around eight months. The decision is apparently not to use Akam on TV while Rezar is out, leaving Rollins and Murphy as the only unit of the stable right now. So far, it's unclear if WWE plans to add more people to the stable to replace AOP in the meantime. (Source: WON)
We say: That's highly unfortunate, but we don't see why Akam can't stick around as the enforcer for the group. We wish Rezar a speedy recovery.
  • Brodie Lee's dinner segment on this week's episode of Dynamite was meant to reference Vince McMahon. In the segment, Lee gets mad at Dark Order members Alex Reynolds and John Silver, who sneezed and tried to eat before Lee was finished, respectively. This referenced wrestlers' stories of Vince McMahon getting mad at those who would eat before he's finished and people who would sneeze around him. This reportedly upset some people within WWE. (Source: Wrestling Observer Radio)
We say: Yeah, it was a nice wink-wink moment for those who love hearing backstage stories, but in the grand scheme of things, this felt like a pointless shot at Lee's old employer that made the character look more goofy than sinister. If TNA ever taught us anything, it's that these shots at Vince never really accomplish anything other than make a non-WWE company look insecure. On the other hand, the Dark Order has been both serious and comedic, so if that's the tone they really wanted to go for, then more power—it just feels like Brodie deserves better than this misguided meta gimmick. (On that note, at some point formerly-WWE AEW wrestlers will need to stop referencing their previous bad booking before the line gets old.)
  • AEW had no wrestlers in the crowd for this week's Dynamite because the local government is limiting the number of people in a public space. The state government of Florida has narrowed the maximum number of people down to 10, resulting in no more informal audiences on AEW shows and the picture-in-picture of some AEW roster members cheering and gambling in the locker room. (Source: Wrestling Observer Radio)
We say: Them's the breaks. It was a good way to get an atmosphere going in the empty arena shows, too, but the rule is the rule.

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

Photo from WWE

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