The Road to WrestleMania takes many twists and turns, some good and some bad, but all typically ignite the WWE rumor mill.
Such was the case this week as the health of one of the company’s premier stars was called into question, his date with another immensely popular babyface in danger of not happening.
Another Superstar has apparently been cleared to return to action, even if he has to miss out on WrestleMania before he sets foot back on television.
Then there is one of the most dominant women’s wrestlers on the planet and the company’s reported long-term plans for her well beyond the upcoming April 8 pay-per-view extravaganza.
AJ Styles‘ Injury Status
WWE champion AJ Styles is currently slated to defend his title against 2018 Royal Rumble winner Shinsuke Nakamura but a recent injury scare has some worrying the match will, at the very least, be hampered by whatever it is affecting The Phenomenal One.
Initial talks of injury became prominent on March 16 when Styles appeared to suffer a knee injury and was helped to the locker room by officials. Twitter user Kim, in attendance at the show, captured a photo of the WWE champion limping to the backstage area.
Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com reported on rumors and speculation surrounding Styles’ status Monday afternoon.
“PWInsider.com can confirm Styles is dealing with an injury, although we have not confirmed the nature of the issue. Styles is backstage at Raw in Dallas today to be looked over by WWE medical staff, we are told.”
Styles addressed his own status for WrestleMania in a phone interview with Catch-Newz.
The match between Styles and Nakamura is one of the most anticipated matches on the WrestleMania card having first been teased last June at Money in the Bank.
Buy or Sell?
Buy. That there has been no major revelation or breaking news in regards to Styles’ status for WrestleMania, it appears safe to say The Phenomenal One will defend his title against The Artist in the SmackDown brand’s main event.
Styles coming out and saying in a media interview that he will be at the show, facing his longtime rival, is further evidence that there is no fire to the “what if AJ can’t go” smoke.
The franchise star of SmackDown for the last two years, Styles’ presence at the event is essential for the brand many consider the B-show of WWE. He brings that program credibility and a match with Nakamura will not only help cement the Japanese legend as the top dog on Tuesday nights after WrestleMania, it will also help provide the Showcase of the Immortals with a legitimate Match of the Year candidate.
Whether Styles has to work on one leg or not.
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Big Cass Cleared to Return to Action
Johnson followed up his report on Styles with another bit of news ahead of WrestleMania, this time regarding Big Cass.
Cass was backstage at Raw, according to Johnson, and was in the final phases of being cleared to return to action.
Dave Shearer, also of PWInsider.com, added that Cass was telling those behind the scenes Monday that he has been cleared following the leg injury that has kept him out of action since last August.
Buy or Sell?
Buy, as long as WWE Creative does not rush him back onto television for the sake of getting Cass a spot on the WrestleMania card.
His is a return that would be perfect for the night after the big event, when WWE stuns fans with surprises and sets up the men and women who will play a pivotal role in the months proceeding the prestigious event.
The bigger question is whether Cass would be a better fit on Raw or SmackDown.
Raw has such a wealth of talent that it is difficult to find a spot of relevance for him. SmackDown, though, is brimming with main event villains and may not be the best home for Cass at this point and time.
That is unless WWE executes another Superstar Shuffle that evens things out a bit.
WrestleMania 35 Plans for Asuka Already?
According to Corey Jacobs of WrestlingNews.co, WWE officials have big plans in store for Asuka well beyond WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans.
“As of this writing, the plan is for Asuka to win the Smackdown Women’s Championship WrestleMania and her streak will continue into next year. There are tentative plans for Asuka to defend the title against Ronda Rousey.”
WrestleMania 35 will emanate from MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey in 2019 and if the early report proves accurate, it will feature one of the highest profile women’s matches in WWE history.
Buy or Sell?
Buy. From the moment Asuka stopped using her crossface chicken wing version of the Asuka Lock, instead opting to utilize a cross arm breaker instead, it appeared as though WWE Creative may be planting the seeds for an eventual match between the most dominant woman in company history and the baddest woman on the planet.
Rousey has the star power and Asuka the aura to sell a major pay-per-view main event. If ever the women were to headline WrestleMania, that may very well be the match to do it.
It also says a ton about WWE’s faith in Asuka, whose work since day one in NXT has been nothing short of spectacular.