Top 10 Wrestling Stories of the Week 6/24: AEW-NJPW Forbidden Door, Lesnar Returns to WWE, More

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Welcome back TJR readers! Did you spend all day Friday trying to convince your father that you are in charge now, and missed WWE Smackdown? Perhaps you spent all day Monday remembering two legendary referees, and missed Raw.

Worry not for I have returned with another edition of the Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week.

Before I get into the Top Ten List this week, I would like to take a second to recognize the two losses we had in the wrestling world this week. We lost not one, but two legendary referees (as well as long-term WWE employees) this week, with both Dave Hebner and Tim White passing away. As any of my readers may know, I myself have recently entered the crazy world of wrestling refereeing. Due to this, I have spent hours watching these two men work to try to pick up anything from them. So I would like to thank both of them for unknowingly teaching me the right way to referee, as well as giving my condolences to their friends and family. Here’s a great tribute video WWE posted for Tim White.

10. More Wrestlers Qualify for the Men’s and Women’s Money in the Bank Matches

With Money in the Bank being just a little over a week away, several more wrestlers qualified for both the Men’s and Women’s Money in the Bank Ladder Matches. On the Women’s side, both Raquel Rodriguez and Asuka qualified for the ladder match. They will be joined by Lacey Evans, Alexa Bliss, Liv Morgan, the winner of Shotzi vs. Aliyah and two other women in the match. On the Men’s side Sheamus, Drew McIntyre and Omos qualified this week. They will join Seth “Freakin” Rollins, the winner of Sami Zayn and Shinsuke Nakamura and other men in the match. Vince McMahon has not yet been named for the match, but he has recently been seen practicing leaping off of things. (TJRWrestling)

9. John Laurinaitis Put on Leave by WWE

WWE is going to have to do without People Power for the foreseeable future. This week it was reported that WWE’s Head of Talent Relations John Laurinaitis has been put on leave, while allegations of misconduct are investigated. Laurinaitis, along with Vince McMahon, are both being investigated by the WWE Board of Directors for “hush money” paid to a former female employee. Bruce Prichard, who is already the Executive Director of Raw and Smackdown, has been named interim Head of Talent Relations until the investigation concludes. Prichard has already started making changes within WWE, with him purchasing Glad instead of Hefty trash bags. (TJRWrestling)

8. Triple H Declares He is Back

It may be once again time to play the game in NXT. This week it was reported that Triple H visited the WWE Performance Center. Triple H reportedly spoke to the talent, telling them that “he was back.” Triple H was forced to step away from his role in NXT last September, after having heart surgery. Since stepping away, many changes have occurred with NXT, including some of Triple H’s best friends (like William Regal, Road Dogg and others) being let go. Things changed drastically last week however, when both Vince McMahon and John Laurinaitis were forced to take a leave of absence due to accusations of misconduct. Stephanie McMahon is now the acting CEO/Chairwoman, and it now appears her husband Triple H is back running the brand (NXT) he helped create. Hunter’s best friend Shawn Michaels has been one of the main guys running NXT. Without question, it has been a rough couple of weeks for WWE, with them now perhaps hoping to turn their black and blue bruises into black and gold. (TJRWrestling)

Triple H on the mic

7. Rhea Ripley Out of Money in The Bank Title Match

Just two weeks after earning a WWE Raw Women’s title shot against Bianca Belair at WWE Money in the Bank on July 2nd, it was announced on Raw that Ripley is not medically cleared for the match. A Fatal Five-Way match was held at the beginning of Raw to determine a new challenger for Belair. That match saw Carmella defeat Becky Lynch, Asuka, Liv Morgan and Alexa Bliss to become the new number one contender. This is obviously a tough break for Ripley, who will now have to wait to get her title shot against Belair. Ripley shouldn’t be too concerned, however, as with her talent, I am sure that the purple light will shine on her again. (TJRWrestling)

6. Vince McMahon Appears on Both Raw and Smackdown

Vince McMahon may no longer be the CEO of the WWE, but he showed this week that he isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. McMahon appeared on both Raw and Smackdown this week, giving quick promos on both shows. At the beginning of Smackdown this past Friday, McMahon came out simply to remind the WWE Universe of the WWE motto of “then, now, forever and together.” McMahon then welcomed the crowd to Smackdown before leaving the ring. This past Monday on Raw, McMahon once again came to the ring, he promoted John Cena’s appearance on the June 27th Raw, before leaping off the steps to exit the ring. McMahon’s appearances reportedly angered people at WWE, with many wishing he would just take some money and “hush”. (TJRWrestling)

5. Bryan Danielson Not Cleared to Compete at Forbidden Door or Blood and Guts

AEW & NJPW Forbidden Door will, unfortunately, have to go on without another of AEW’s biggest stars. This past Wednesday’s Dynamite opened up with Bryan Danielson giving a promo in the ring. Danielson then stated that he is not medically cleared to compete against Zack Saber Jr. at Forbidden Door this Sunday or at Blood and Guts this coming Wednesday. Danielson then stated that he has found a replacement for both matches, and he will be revealed this Sunday at Forbidden Door. Speculation has run high on who this person may be, with Cesaro and Johnny Gargano’s names being thrown out. Personally, I don’t think Danielson went that far to find his replacement, as finally, it will be time for AEW to get into Brie Mode! (TJRWrestling)

4. Kazuchika Okada Debuts for AEW

One of the greatest Japanese wrestlers of all time walked through the Forbidden Door this week on Dynamite. This past Wednesday on Dynamite, IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Jay White and Adam Cole were double-teaming “Hangman” Adam Page in the ring. Suddenly, Japanese legend (and the former IWGP World Champion) Kazuchika Okada ran down to the ring, and helped Page. Okada and Page then stared each other down, while both Cole and White retreated. It was then announced a few minutes later that White will defend the IWGP World Title against Okada, Cole and Page at Forbidden Door this Sunday. This is obviously a huge matchup, with it being surprising that they waited four days before the show to announce it. Clearly, Tony Khan thought it was a better use of AEW’s time to NOT promote the other matches at Forbidden Door, than to waste TV time on this one. (TJRWrestling)

3. Sasha Banks’ WWE Release Confirmed…We Think

Last week it was reported by Raj Girl of Wrestling Inc., that Sasha Banks had been released by the WWE. This week that report was confirmed by multiple other sources to be correct. Banks had not been seen in WWE, since her and Naomi unceremoniously walked out of the middle of Raw on May 16th. WWE, nor Banks has commented on the release at this time, and there have been no updates on Naomi’s status with the company as well. Banks should be free to tell her side of the story when she chooses, however, as there have been no reports of Vince McMahon paying her millions of dollars to be quiet. (TJRWrestling)

2. Brock Lesnar Returns to WWE

WWE put up the Brock signal this week. This past Friday on Smackdown, Roman Reigns defended the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship against Riddle in the main event. After Reigns was victorious in the match, Reigns got on the microphone and stated that “there’s no one left.” Suddenly a familiar music hit the arena, and Brock Lesnar came to the ring. Lesnar then proceeded to F5 Reigns and The Usos to end the show. A short while later it was announced that Lesnar will face Reigns at SummerSlam on July 30th. This will be the seventh time that Lesnar and Reigns have faced each other on PPV, with the two just facing each other at WrestleMania 38 this past April. Lesnar and Reigns will be facing each other in a “Last Man Standing” Match this time, likely because a “Loser Has to Work Raw” Match was not interesting enough. (TJRWrestling)

1. AEW X NJPW Forbidden Door to Take Place This Sunday

AEW and NJPW will finally collide this Sunday at 8PM ET at AEW X NJPW Forbidden Door. So far 10 matches have been announced including Gunn Club (Billy, Colten, & Austin Gunn) & Max Caster facing a NJPW Dojo team of The DKC, Kevin Knight, Alex Coughlin & Yuya Uemura. Dudes With Attitudes (Sting, Darby Allin, Hiromu Takahashi & Shingo Takagi) will go against The Bullet Club (The Young Bucks, El Phantasmo & Hikuleo). Eddie Kingston, Shota Umino & Wheeler Yuta will face the team of Chris Jericho, Minoru Suzuki & Sammy Guevara. Zack Sabre Jr. will go one-on-one with a mystery opponent. A Fatal 4-Way for the AEW All Atlantic Championship will be held between Pac, Miro, Malakai Black and Tomohiro Ishii. A Winner Takes All Triple-Treat Tag Team Match will be held between ROH Tag Team Champions FTR, IWGP Tag Team Champions Jeff Cobb & Great O-Khan and Roppongi Vice. Thunder Rosa will face Toni Storm for the AEW Women’s Championship. Will Osprey will defend the IWGP United States Championship against Orange Cassidy. Jon Moxley will face Hiroshi Tanahashi for the Interim AEW World Championship. Finally “Hangman” Adam Page, Kazuchika Okada and Adam Cole will challenge Jay White for the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. Personally, I am excited for this show, as I once went through the Forbidden Door before being thrown out of the women’s locker room. (TJRWrestling)

That concludes 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 as bad as being a WWE stock owner. Then follow me on Twitter @Fowlerwrestlin1.