Backstage News From Raw, Orton An Injury Risk, Rhodes To Return?, NXT Stars Still Hoping To Make It

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Randy Orton

- Did WWE just throw in the towel with this week’s episode of Monday Night Raw? The show was expected to have a light audience and it delivered the lowest average viewership of 2016. We’re told the show's script was finished on Saturday and there were no re-writes (something that is extremely rare).

- There has been a lot of talk behind the scenes about the announcement of Brock Lesnar’s opponent for SummerSlam happening on this week’s Smackdown. As we’ve noted on a number of occasions, the announcement is being made before UFC 200 for promotional purposes, even though it lacks logic before the 2016 WWE Draft and before WWE Battleground. We’ve already gone over Randy Orton as a possible opponent but other names have come up as well. There was talk about booking Brock against one of the newer NXT guys such as Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Finn Balor or Samoa Joe but all have their potential pitfalls. The Rock is a guy Vince wants to face Lesnar but he’s not believed to be available, if he was, Vince would probably jump all over it. If it is Orton, there is concern it’s a bad idea considering he’s coming off a major shoulder injury, there are questions about his neck and Brock likes to work stiff. We still can’t confirm an opponent as Vince McMahon is keeping it close to his vest but it will be confirmed during the airing of Smackdown.

- Cody Rhodes is a guy that is hoping to make himself a bigger star and possibly return to WWE. While he quit WWE, we heard he was someone that was likely to either get released or low-balled on his next contract. Perhaps Rhodes will hope to drive up his asking price by having success on the independent circuit, it certainly worked out well for AJ Styles.

- The Vaudevillains remain an interesting story as their push is not 100% over but it’s been in a holding pattern. We’ve noted before Vince McMahon doesn’t like or understand the gimmick and feels they are the second NXT tag team to be pushed as heels, only to fail on the main roster.

- WWE is restarting on Baron Corbin as his first program didn’t do him any favors. However, as one observer noted, if he can’t have great matches with Dolph Ziggler, maybe he isn’t ready.

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