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Mike Bennett & Maria To WWE?, Zack Ryder Update, Title Situations In Impact & NXT

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Mike Bennett and Maria

What's the latest on Mike Bennett and Maria Kanellis to WWE?

As we first reported here in WNW Premium, the former Impact stars will indeed be WWE-bound this year. They have agreed to the terms for a contract, but an actual contract has not been signed yet. I'm being told not to be shocked if we see a surprise appearance from Maria at Saturday's NXT TakeOver: Chicago. I'm not sure if this means Bennett will pop up in NXT as well or be sent up to the main roster. Personally, I would love for the duo to go to SmackDown, seeing as though the blue brand is in need of top heels. Their work in Impact last year was what made the company bearable at times. Regardless, they should be fun to watch.

I recently heard on a popular wrestling radio show that Zack Ryder is almost ready to come back and could possibly join Raw because his girlfriend Emma is there - is this true?

While Ryder is back to working in the ring at the Performance Center, the rest of what you asked is not true. Upon his return to TV, Ryder will head back to SmackDown Live, which is really a great fit for him in his current position. Whether he reunites with Mojo Rawley remains to be seen. Additionally, Ryder and Emma are no longer dating. According to recent Instagram posts, he is now dating current Impact Wrestling star Laurel Van Ness, who competed in Tough Enough two years ago as Chelsea Green.

With GFW and Impact Wrestling merging, will the GFW belts be going away at Slammiversary? It feels very JV to see other promotions and belts talked about on Impact so I'm hoping so.

I can't say for certain that all of GFW's titles will be merged after Slammiversary. Without spoiling too much, there's plenty of indication we will be seeing unification matches in the coming months. I do agree that things are a little wonky right now with Impact trying to build a solid foundation after bringing in new talent and titles. The rebuilding process continues, and I remain hopeful that Impact will succeed once again. The company will tape 4 episodes of Impact (that will lead us into Slammiversary) in India at the end of this month. Hopefully there's a clearer direction after July 2nd.

Should NXT introduce a midcard-level title with the roster having a lot more indie guys at the top? Maybe something like a TV Title of sorts.

NXT is doing a great job right now with just three division titles. While I can understand some desire to bring in a secondary singles title for the likes of Drew McIntyre, Roderick Strong, Andrade Almas, etc., I worry that would almost be too much. The writers at NXT have been successful at booking TakeOver events with three title matches and then at least two additional matches for singles or tag teams. If you look at the Chicago card, the UK Championship is currently being used as the brand's fourth title until the UK "division" gets its own show. If they do decide to introduce a new title, I wouldn't be against the idea of having something similar to FCW's 15 Championship.

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