The Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week 9/22: WWE Releases, Smackdown Moving, The Rock Returns, More

Triple H TKO screens WWE New York Stock Exchange

Welcome back, TJR readers! Did you spend all day Friday smelling someone’s cooking, and missed WWE Smackdown? Perhaps you spent all day Monday deciding what channel to move your billion dollar show to and missed Raw.

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

10. Eddie Kingston Captures The ROH Championship

AEW Grand Slam started off with a big title change this week. The opening contest saw ROH Champion Claudio Castagnoli face NJPW Strong Openweight Champion Eddie Kingston in a title for title bout. In the end, Kingston ended up hitting a spinning backfist and powerbomb to pick up the win. Eddie Kingston is now a double champion, and needs to only win 25 more to have all the titles in AEW. (TJRWrestling)


9. CM Punk Makes First Public Comments

Two weeks after being fired by AEW after yet another backstage altercation, CM Punk made his first public comments this week. Punk returned as a color commentator for Caged Fury Fighting Championships on Friday, and made references to the All In incident. Most interestingly, when Punk was asked if he had time on his hands, Punk responded by saying “yeah, I got some time on my hands, for the next two months.” This of course instantly began speculation that Punk may be returning to the WWE this November at Survivor Series, which just happens to be taking place in Punk’s hometown of Chicago. (TJRWrestling)

CM Punk Nick Khan


8. Randy Orton Begins Training at The WWE Performance Center

The Viper may finally be getting ready to return to the ring. This week, Randy Orton was seen training at the WWE Performance Center, likely getting ready for an in-ring return. Orton has not been seen since May of 2022, due to dealing with a serious back injury that required back fusion surgery. Many questioned if Orton would ever return to a wrestling ring, with even his own father stating that doctors advised Orton to stop wrestling. Clearly, Orton does not agree with this assessment, however, and is planning to make the doctor admit that he stands corrected. (TJRWrestling)

Randy Orton


7. Rey Fenix Captures the AEW International Championship

Jon Moxley’s reign as AEW International Champion came to a quick and unexpected stop this week. This past Wednesday at AEW Grand Slam, Moxley defended the International Championship against Rey Fenix. Unfortunately for Moxley, however, he ended up suffering a concussion at the very beginning of the match. Moxley tried to soldier through the rest of the match but realized halfway through he was not doing well. Moxley then reportedly told Fenix to beat him, with Fenix then hitting the Fenix Driver on Moxley. Unfortunately, the referee did not understand what was going on and unexplainably stopped counting the three. Fenix then had to hit Moxley with a second Fenix Driver, before the referee finally counted the pinfall. When asked why he stopped counting the pinfall, the referee explained that he thought just like the tag rules he was supposed to just ignore the pinfall. (TJRWrestling)


6. Jade Cargill Signing With the WWE

The WWE Women’s Division will soon have another huge addition. This week it was reported that Jade Cargill’s contract has ended with AEW, and she is expected to begin at the WWE Performance Center this week. Creative for Cargill has reportedly already begun for Cargill to debut on the main roster, with it said to be a “high priority.” Cargill was the longest reigning AEW TBS Champion of all time, winning 60 matches in a row until finally losing to current champion Kris Statlander. Cargill going to the WWE is actually the second most important move by a female wrestler this week, right behind Mandy Rose switching from FanTime to OnlyFans. (TJRWrestling)

Jade Cargill


5. WWE releases over 100 office employees

Black Friday unfortunately came early for over 100 WWE employees. This past Friday WWE released over 100 of its office employees due to the merger with Endeavor. Included in the releases was Dana Warrior, the former wife of the late Ultimate Warrior. It is important to note that this was the real Dana Warrior, and not one of the multiple fake Dana Warriors that appeared later on. (TJRWrestling)

wwe tko endeavor ufc


4. AEW PPW’s Reportedly Moving to Max in 2024

John Canton may soon have even more wrestling to cover every month. This week it was reported that AEW will be soon moving all its PPV’s to the Max streaming service next year. With the move, AEW will also be expanding its PPV’s to a total of 12 per year. When asked if he was worried about having to book a PPV monthly, Tony Khan admitted that he still didn’t know what he will do with the other three weeks of television a month. (TJRWrestling)

AEW All Elite Wrestling HBO Max logos


3. The Rock Returns to The WWE

The Hollywood strikes are proving to be very beneficial to the WWE. This past Friday’s Smackdown not only featured an appearance by John Cena but also an appearance by the most electrifying man in sports entertainment. Smackdown began with a surprise return by Pat McAfee, who was quickly interrupted by Austin Theory. Theory then tried to say that Smackdown was his show, but was corrected by McAfee who said it was the people’s show. Familiar music then played in the arena, as The Rock appeared to a massive pop. The Rock then verbally assaulted Theory, before hitting Theory with a spin buster and The People’s Elbow. Earlier in the day The Rock also stated in an interview that he is open to wrestling at WrestleMania 40, with a match with Roman Reigns being heavily speculated. As soon as he heard the interview with The Rock, Cody Rhodes immediately began making phone calls to see if there was anything he could do to end the Hollywood Strikes. (TJRWrestling)


2. WWE Smackdown Moving to The USA Network

WWE Smackdown will be going back to cable television next year. It was announced this week that Smackdown will be leaving Fox, and returning to the USA Network in October of 2024. The deal is a 5-year-deal worth over a billion dollars. Smackdown was previously on the USA Network from 2016-2019. WWE will also produce four prime time specials a year for NBC Universal in the deal. This move also means that both Monday Night Raw and NXT will reportedly no longer be aired on USA. It is unknown which network Raw and NXT will land on, with it being reported that many networks and streaming services are interested. I can however confirm that TJRWrestling is currently not in the running for either Raw or NXT. (TJRWrestling)

Vince McMahon WWE SmackDown


1. Multiple WWE Superstars Released

It did not take very long for WWE’s new owners to start making cuts. Less than a week after releasing over 100 employees, multiple on-screen talent were also released this week. Among the names let go were Quincy Elliot, Bryson Montona, Mace, Mansoor, Dana Brooke, Aliyah, Dabba-Kato, Yulisa Leon, Daniel McArthur, Kevin Cortes, Alexis Grey, Ikemen Jiro, Brooklyn Barlow, Shanky, Mustafa Ali, Shelton Benjamin, Elias, Rick Boogs, Riddick Moss, Emma, Top Dolla and Dolph Ziggler. Of the names listed, Ziggler may be the most surprising as he had been with the company for almost 20 years. (TJRWrestling)

That concludes another edition of The Top Ten Wrestling Stories of the Week. Although I often joke, I have recently started refereeing with GroundZero and training at the Institute of Professional Wrestling, and now respect more than ever what wrestlers do every week. If you like what I do, despite my jokes being as bad as getting a call from talent relations. Then follow me on Twitter @Fowlerwrestlin1 and listen to my Podcast The Smark and the Noob. Thank you to all of those who read this every week