It’s been noted by several sources that Michael Cole mentioned on this week’s episode of Raw that the people in charge of Raw and SmackDown after the brand extension will be referred to as COO’s or Chief Operating Officers. There’s been no confirmation on who will be in charge, but this does show a shift to the past history of having those in charge being referred to as General Managers.
Also on the note of the brand split, reports are coming out that the current plan for the split includes different crews, writing teams, referees, colored ropes, and sets for both Raw and SmackDown. Some reports state that there are as many as 20 PPV events scheduled for 2017. As far as NXT call-ups, the main names floating around lately are Finn Balor and American Alpha.
There was heavy speculation as of late that WWE was pursuing former talents to bring back into the fold for the brand split. Three of the names being heavily referenced were Kurt Angle, Rey Mysterio, and Jeff Hardy. However, recent reports are that Angle’s return is unlikely to occur soon and Hardy and Mysterio have yet to even be contacted due to their current status under contract in other promotions.
However, one superstar who is expected to be back soon is none other than Randy Orton. Reports state that while Orton is not 100% recovered from his shoulder injury, he’s improving and he’s currently even being advertised for WWE live events in August. It wouldn’t be difficult for WWE to bring Orton into the fray in a less physical role for the draft itself, allowing him to return but also have some more time to recover before returning to in-ring competition.
As reported by numerous outlets, in light of his suspension recently Roman Reigns was actually ordered to apologize to the entire WWE locker room. There were varying opinions, including some who felt it wasn’t necessary and others who felt it was the right move. It’s also worth noting that the order came from Mark Carrano, which several have pointed out means that the decision was made by Triple H and not Vince McMahon.
Speaking of Reigns, while he won’t be back on television until Battleground, it’s now being reported that he’ll be back in the ring before that date. Roman is being advertised for the July 23rd WWE Live event in Wildwood, New Jersey. That event takes place one night before he returns to challenge Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins for the WWE Championship at Battleground.