Welcome back TJR readers! Did you spend all day Friday trying to open a forbidden door, and missed WWE Smackdown? Perhaps you had a Full House on Monday, and missed Raw.
Worry not for I have returned with another edition of the Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week.
10. Corey Graves Cleared for In-Ring Return
Monday Night Raw may have to find a new announcer soon. This week it was reported that Corey Graves has been cleared to return to in-ring action. Graves signed a developmental deal back in 2011, and actually captured the NXT Tag Titles with Adrian Neville (current AEW superstar PAC). Graves’ wrestling career was unfortunately cut short after suffering two concussions in 2013 and 2014. Graves has since transitioned into a successful commentator first in NXT and then on WWE Smackdown/Raw. Graves has stated several times over the last year that he wants to come out of retirement, including earlier this month stating that he wants to compete in the Men’s Royal Rumble Match. Personally, I am hoping that Graves does return to the ring if for no other reason than it means there is a chance I will hear “What a Maneuver” from the commentary booth once again.
For years, I made this exact same drive, several times a month.
Philly to Pittsburgh, beat up, barely $50 richer, with a head full of big dreams.
I miss dreaming.
— Corey Graves (@WWEGraves) January 11, 2022
9. Brody King Debuts for AEW
Brody King has finally debuted for AEW. Over a month ago it was reported that King had signed with AEW, and would be joining the House of Black alongside Malakai Black. This past week on Dynamite, King debuted and helped Black take out Penta and the Varsity Blondes. Before debuting in AEW, King was a former ROH tag team and six-man tag team champion. King and Black are also the current PWG Tag Team Champions, known as ‘The Kings of the Black Throne.’ We will have to wait and see if King will be successful in AEW, or if like a lot of signees he will become ‘King of the Dark.’ (TJRWrestling)
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) January 13, 2022
8. Sasha Banks Suffers a Foot Injury
WWE will be missing one of its major stars for the Royal Rumble this year. This past Sunday at a live event in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Sasha Banks appeared to suffer a leg injury in a match with Charlotte. The match was suddenly stopped, with Banks needing to be helped to the back. Later it was reported that Banks suffered a foot injury in the match, and will be out of action for 6-8 weeks. It is unknown who will take Banks’ place in the Rumble, but I can guarantee you it will not be Sunny. (TJRWrestling)
7. Sammy Guevara Wins Interim TNT Championship
Sammy Guevara is once again the AEW TNT Champion…sort of. This past Saturday, Cody Rhodes was supposed to defend the TNT Championship against Guevara at Battle of the Belts. Unfortunately, however, Rhodes was pulled from the match due to Covid-19. Cody was replaced by his brother Dustin, who faced Guevara to crown an interim TNT Champion. Guevara was victorious in the match and will now face Cody at some point in the future to unify the titles. Having two TNT champions may seem confusing and pointless to some, but at least Guevara and Dustin were the two top ranked competitors… (TJRWrestling)
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) January 5, 2022
6. ROH Set to Return on April 1st
It appears that Ring of Honor is not dead yet. This week ROH announced that they would be returning on April 1st with SuperCard of Honor. This is welcome news to ROH fans who feared the worst after ROH went on hiatus at the end of last year. ROH was also featured heavily this past Saturday at Impact Wrestlings Hard to Kill PPV. That event saw Jonathan Gresham successfully defended the ROH title against Chris Sabin as well as saw ROH stars Matt Taven, Mike Bennett, Maria Kanellis-Bennett, Vincent and PCO “invade” the show. It is unknown who will be on the card when ROH does return, as they also released all of their talent at the end of last year as well. What is known is that there is a certain referee from Central NY that will gladly work the show for a hot dog and soda. (TJRWrestling)
5. Doudrop to Face Becky Lynch at the Royal Rumble
A surprise challenger will be facing Becky Lynch at the Royal Rumble for the Raw Women’s Championship. This past Monday on Raw, Doudrop defeated Bianca Belair and Liv Morgan to earn the right to face Lynch at the Rumble. The finish of the match saw Lynch get involved and attack Belair, helping Doudrop to pick up the win. Most wrestling fans are not giving Doudrop much of a chance of capturing the title from Lynch. However, I disagree with that notion, as any wrestler who was mentored by Eva Marie clearly has the skills to become a champion. (TJRWrestling)
4. Alpha Academy Win the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship
Otis is finally a champion in the WWE. This past Monday on Raw, Alpha Academy (Chad Gable and Otis) defeated RK-Bro (Randy Orton and Riddle) to capture the Raw Tag Team Championships. The finish of the match saw Otis hit Orton with a power slam and then pin him cleanly for the win. This is Otis’s first title win since joining WWE, although he did win the Money in the Bank Briefcase back in 2020. This is actually the third tag title reign for Gable, who also gave hope to Doudrop that is possible to overcome a stupid name to become a champion. (TJRWrestling)
3. Hulk Hogan Post Controversial Anti-Vaccine Statement
WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan has found himself in controversy once again. This week on Facebook, Hogan posted that he believes that the Covid-19 vaccine is responsible for the deaths of Bob Saget, Betty White and Sidney Portier. Hogan quickly removed his baseless post after receiving much backlash, but the damage was already done. Since making the post Hogan has been ridiculed heavily, with even Tonight Show Host Jimmy Kimmel poking fun at him. Hogan’s agent was obviously upset by his client’s comments, but was relieved that he made them without using a single racial slur. (TJRWrestling)
2. Impact Wrestling Knockout Women’s Champion Mickie James Enters the WWE Royal Rumble
WWE decided to kick the forbidden door wide open this week. This past Friday on Smackdown, WWE announced a number of former superstars that would be entering the 2022 Women’s Royal Rumble. Names like the Bella Twins, Lita, Michelle McCool, Kelly Kelly and Mickie James were all announced for the Rumble match. Making this announcement even more shocking is the fact that James is the current Impact Wrestling Knockout Women’s Champion, with Pat McAfee actually mentioning that James is the champion on Smackdown. It is unknown how WWE convinced Impact and James to appear in the Rumble, but they clearly must have paid a Hefty sum. (TJRWrestling)
NEWS: Mickie James Announced for WWE Women's Royal Rumble 2022 https://t.co/8aIxc7ac24
— John Canton (@johnreport) January 8, 2022
1. Seth Rollins to Face Roman Reigns at the Royal Rumble
It appears that Roman Reigns will be facing an old friend at the Royal Rumble on January 29th. This past Friday on Smackdown, WWE Official Adam Pearce let Roman Reigns know that he would be picking his opponent for Rumble. After The Uso’s defeated The New Day in the main event of Smackdown, Reigns was shown in his dressing room. There was then a knock on the door, with Reigns getting up to answer it. The camera then panned over to show Seth Rollins. Rollins then began to laugh loudly, while Reigns had a serious look on his face to end the show. Rollins is currently a heel, making him an interesting choice for Reigns. Even more surprising is that Rollins is a Raw Superstar, as everyone knows that Survivor Series is usually the only time that Raw and Smackdown Superstars go head to head. (TJRWrestling)
That will conclude another edition of The Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week. Thank you for taking the time to read this each week. Although I often joke, I have recently started refereeing with NYCW and respect more than ever what wrestlers do every week. I wrote an article all about it all right here. If you like what I do, despite my jokes being almost bad as being Hulk Hogan’s agent, then feel free to listen to my brand new podcast The Smark and the Noob and follow me on Twitter @Fowlerwrestlin1 as well.