- Following up on Alberto Del Rio's appearance at Triplemanía XXII on Sunday, I wanted to make a few notes on his claims of racism in WWE.
Del Rio's claims are valid following his encounter and subsequent confrontation with social media manager Cody Barbierri. We've already detailed the incident but where Del Rio gave WWE no option but to terminate him is when he physically confronted Barbierri.
As we reported here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com, had Del Rio properly reported the incident, Barbierri would have likely been suspended if not terminated. However, the way Del Rio handled it resulted in his termination.
While racism is Del Rio's claim, the claim WWE immediately reacted to was "unsafe work environment." Remember, the company was sued after a backstage incident at Royal Rumble 2013 involving Big Show and former WWE employee Andrew Green.
The last I heard, Barbierri could still face disciplinary action, however, it's unlikely to garner the same attention due to his lower profile.
Richard Reacts: It's been a couple of weeks now and I can say both Del Rio and Barbierri should be held accountable for their actions. Barbierri instigated the incident and had it not been for an inappropriate joke/comment, he likely wouldn't have caused Del Rio to react in an inappropriate fashion. However, Del Rio should have handled himself better and properly reported the incident to company officials. WWE's handling of the situation makes it appear they favored Barbierri over Del Rio and opens them up to claims of harboring racists in the workplace.
- Sam Roberts interviewed John Cena over SummerSlam weekend, obviously prior to his main event WWE World Heavyweight Championship match against Brock Lesnar. Cena explained that he knew what he was in for in facing Lesnar after explaining how realistic the gameplay and graphics are in WWE 2K14.
Sam asked John if he was "bummed out" that Sting wants to wrestle The Undertaker. John said he's always on the bench waiting for the bullpen coach to put him in. Cena said it doesn't matter if it's him, Undertaker or Brooklyn Brawler, Sting has to have one match in WWE. Cena said selfishly as a fan, he wants it to be him and he believes everyone wants to see "Crow Sting."
Cena also heavily put over Cesaro. He said the WWE 2K15 panel was about as much personality as he's seen from Cesaro. Cena said he needs to do that every week and he'll be praising him as the next champion.
You can watch the interview at this link.
- Dean Ambrose was written off television to film his role in the upcoming WWE Studios production "Lockdown." That is the obvious part and wasn't the discussion making rounds backstage. What people were talking about was how the feud of Seth Rollins vs. Ambrose showed the company's ability to effectively book a mid-card program. The feeling backstage was that it was refreshing to see two guys not in the main event having a great feud.
- There was talk at one time to pair Nikki Bella with Seth Rollins, however, it was nixed due to the feeling that no one would buy it because of Nikki's relationship with John Cena being featured on Total Divas.
- Kurt Angle's contract with TNA Wrestling expires on September 21, 2014 and there continues to be a lot of speculation regarding his future. One thing that has become increasingly clear is the likelihood of him re-signing with TNA seems very slim. Angle has publicly stated he would be open to a WWE return and wants to explore his options.
In speaking with WWE sources, the feeling is they would not be interested in Angle as an in-ring performer. In fact, I was told recently the only role for Angle in WWE would be as a trainer in developmental (stemming from issues with his health and the fact the two parties parted on bad terms). However, there has been some change in opinion.
I'm told some people within WWE -- including Vince McMahon -- are not completely opposed to Angle returning to the ring. Apparently the change in position has to do with the need for someone to go right after Brock Lesnar and the fact there's no one to program him with after John Cena. The logic behind a potential Lesnar/Angle program would be he's an Olympic Gold Medalist and fans will buy that he has a chance and they have nothing to lose by putting Brock over him.
However, any contract for Angle to return to the ring in WWE would be contingent on him passing a physical. That would only be the short-term question as the long-term question would be, would he be able to "survive" a program with Brock to have any type of program after that?
Another point to consider is that WWE has never been overly enthusiastic about taking a talent straight from TNA and putting them back on television. That would be another issue but apparently it's legitimately being considered as Vince McMahon is reportedly very frustrated about not having a top babyface to program with Brock Lesnar.
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