Backstage news from Monday Night Raw in Tulsa…
– The “ladder match” was replaced by the “I Quit” stipulation between Alberto Del Rio and Jack Swagger at Extreme Rules because the feeling was it wasn’t worth the risk. We’re told there was some back and forth about replacing Dolph Ziggler with a third person in the bout but they decided to do a Wrestlemania 29 re-match with a stipulation instead. The idea was the program [of Del Rio vs. Swagger] already has had significant build and they didn’t have to worry about a random being “thrown in.”
– Big E Langston was originally tapped to face Kofi Kingston for the United States Championship at Extreme Rules on Sunday, however, plans changed when Dolph Ziggler was ruled out. As we’ve noted on multiple occasions, there has been talk about Langston, AJ Lee and Ziggler all holding titles but WWE decided to hold off when Ziggler couldn’t go.
– We’re told “eyes are as wide open as they have been” on The Shield following this week’s Elimination tag team match. Everyone continues to rave about their in-ring work and the way the group has gotten over.
– AJ Lee vs. Natalya was booked just to keep a little bit of the spotlight on the Divas ahead of the E! reality series premiering this summer. As we reported last week, this is something that is expected to continue.
– As of this week’s WWE Raw, there was no booked ending for John Cena vs. Ryback at Extreme Rules on Sunday. The writing team was going back and forth on a couple different outcomes.
– We heard there were some rumblings close to the locker room about The Miz showing he has lost some weight and muscle definition in his return. Miz is back full-time after filming “Christmas Bounty” over the last month.
– Make of this what you will but we’re told Mattel has plans to release a Dean Ambrose action figure with the United States Championship and a two pack of Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns. The action figures are expected to hit stores this summer.