Unfortunately, Jason Jordan's injury news has gotten worse. Jordan had tests done this past week that proved many of the fears that were expected in regards to his neck. Jordan was and is still suffering from numbness in his extremities as well a lack of strength in his hands; he is having a hard time holding and gripping things. The next step is this week when Jordan will see a specialist to see if surgery is the next step. This is ultimately the worst case for him and something that he originally believed would not be necessary. The internal company fear is that neck fusion surgery is the type of surgury that may be necessary to correct the issue. This is a major surgery and is very similar to the type that Edge received that ultimately gave him some more time but also ended his career. The recovery time from a neck fusion surgury is anywhere from 10-14 months depending on the individual and the severity of it. We will know more later this week after he meets with the specialist.
Where does this leave Wrestlemania plans? Well, Jordan was originally planned to be in the Elimination Chamber match and those plans are all but sure to change. Moving on to Wrestlemania, he was set to wrestle Seth Rollins. With those plans also likely not coming to fruition, WWE is looking for other options at this point. The likely plan would be for him and Finn Balor to work with each other as neither really have a current direction. However this will depend on Samoa Joe's condition and recovery as they can always go with Joe facing either man. Let's also not count out Bobby Lashley if they choose to introduce him prior to Wrestlemania.
Speaking of Wrestlemania - with many matches set up, there are many stars without a direction or program. From the RAW side, there are truly no challengers for RAW Tag Team Champions Sheamus and Cesaro; they could always hot shot a rehab of The Revival or The Club but I'm not certain they would go in that direction. On the Smackdown side, it continues to get a little more complicated as Randy Orton has no direction at thia point and logic would dictate that the Bludgeon Brothers are next in line for the Tag Titles, which leaves New Day with no direction. I mentioned New Day and not the team of Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin as WWE would rather find a spot somewhere on the card for New Day, whom they view as much bigger stars.
A couple of Wrestlemania matches are still contingent on WWE lining up some certain stars. WWE would love to have the services of The Rock at Wrestlemania to team with Ronda Rousey so they can work Triple H and Stephanie McMahon in a tag team match. This is something that is not a done deal and this will very much depend on schedules aligning as well as insurance polices on the Rock. The last time the Rock worked a match for WWE, he was injured and that injury held up the filming of his movie and cost the studio hundreds of thousands of dollars. With that being said, if WWE can not get the services of the Rock at Wrestlemania the three backup plans are to have Braun Strowman team up with Ronda, Kurt Angle to team with her, or to have Rousey wrestle Charlotte Flair. If they have their way, WWE would like to go with Braun Strowman facing The Miz if he is not needed for the tag match. Below is the current Wrestlemania card that WWE is hoping to achieve:
- Brock Lesnar vs. Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship
- AJ Styles vs. Shinsuke Nakamura for the WWE title
- Shane McMahon and a partner vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
- Ronda Rousey and a partner vs Triple H and Stephanie McMahon or Ronda Rousey vs. Charlotte Flair
- Alexa Bliss vs. Asuka for the RAW Women's Championship
- The Miz vs. Braun Strowman for the Intercontinental Championship
As it pertains to Ronda Rousey, while WWE realizes it was a Philadelphia audience and that they have a reputation for being more openly critical, there were still some concerns that the mention of her name on Smackdown was met with boos. WWE knows that they have to book Rousey the right way and still give it that "badass" appeal. At first the intention was to not give Ronda a manager to do the talking for her but many officials (including Vince McMahon and Triple H) are much more open to the idea of waiting until after Wrestlemania to make that change. Obviously, the best case sitiuation would be Paul Heyman; this would be something that Paul would have to approve on and while he has said in the past he wasn't looking to be an "advocate" for anyone else other than Brock Lesnar, this is a situation that he may jump all over as it would build the Heyman brand and bring mainstream attention to him.
NXT had wellness testing about a month back and while I will not confirm any positive tests at this time, it is very interesting that a few workers have been off TV and live events since that testing.
The card for NXT TakeOver: New Orleans is beginning to take shape and below is what we are looking at for the show:
- Andrade Almas vs. Aleister Black for the NXT Heavyweight Championship
- Ember Moon vs. Shayna Baszler for the Women's Championship
- SAnitY vs. The Undisputed Era in a 6-man tag
- Johnny Gargano vs. Tommaso Ciampa in an Unsanctioned Street Fight
- Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic finals
- Ricochet will be in action
From an NXT standpoint, I think it is very likely that they could take the Tag Team Titles off the Undisputed Era prior to TakeOver. In addition to this, at this time the plan is for War Machine to win the Dusty Rhodes Tag Team Classic and instantly giving them credibility as top contenders. Because of booking and time constraints, one of the big issues is trying to introduce everyone to the NXT audience and then get them on the Takeover card. That being said, this does not even account for EC3 being on the roster. There will be call-ups after Mania with likely candidates being Johnny Gargano, Authors of Pain and likely a few others.