Welcome back to another stacked edition of the WWE Rumor Roundup, and as always, we’ve got some big stories lined up today from the bustling world of pro wrestling.
A senior executive, James Kimball, was recently let go by the company, and the news of his unforeseen departure has raised concerns in some circles. Elsewhere, three huge AEW stars could soon be involved in a massive bidding war as WWE is reportedly interested in signing them when their contracts end.
We wrapped up the rumor roundup with an exciting update on how Austin Theory is perceived backstage within the company.
#1. WWE’s Senior Vice President fired due to an HR policy violation
The exits have been far and between in Triple H’s regime, as the Chief Content Officer has focused on re-signing many former talents.
The corporate setup, however, has witnessed a few changes of late, with James Kimball becoming the latest figure to depart WWE. As reported by Fightful, the SVP of Talent Operations & Strategy was laid off immediately last week from the company after an undisclosed policy violation.
It was clarified that the ‘HR policy violation’ could mean several things and that it wasn’t something that might have ‘directly affected anybody else.’
Having spent ten years in the UFC before arriving in WWE in 2020, James Kimball worked on the recently-introduced NIL program over the past two years and was said to be close to Triple H during his tenure.
For those wondering, Vince McMahon’s return to power had nothing to do with Kimball’s firing, even though several locker room members are pretty surprised by the termination.
#2. Austin Theory is destined for greatness
Fans briefly feared for Austin Theory when Vince McMahon announced his retirement last year as he suffered a series of losses after the recent change in management. Theory, however, is a former NXT star, and Triple H indeed has big plans for the 25-year-old superstar.
As revealed in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, high-ranking officials view Austin Theory as a ‘major project’ backstage.
The reigning United States Champion is allegedly set to face John Cena at WrestleMania 39, and the match could be the ideal ‘passing of the torch’ moment. Irrespective of the outcome, though, WWE wants to develop Theory into a top guy for an extended period, as stated below by Dave Meltzer:
“Austin Theory vs. John Cena for the U.S. title. Theory is clearly a major project to be a top guy for a long time.”
A win over his childhood hero at WrestleMania could propel Austin Theory’s career to the next level while also legitimatizing his second reign with the United States Championship.
While he still has a long way to go, Austin would be glad to have support from the people who matter the most behind the scenes.
#3. Triple H’s team will pursue the signings of three prominent AEW stars
The momentum in the modern-day wrestling war has clearly shifted in WWE’s favor since Triple H took control of the creative. Tony Khan’s AEW has visibly lost some steam, and there is a possibility that some of the promotion’s key people will leave once their contracts expire. The names in question are Kenny Omega and The Young Bucks.
As revealed in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter this week, the AEW deals of Omega and the Bucks will be up by the end of the year. Both AEW EVPs are expected to be represented by Barry Bloom in the negotiations, and the belief is that WWE will undoubtedly put forth attractive offers.
Dave Meltzer added on the Wrestling Observer Radio that WWE is preparing to “go hard” for Kenny Omega, Nick and Matt Jackson, and any other talent that could add value to the roster.
“It’s gonna be a real interesting year for Tony [Khan] because a lot of key deals are gonna be up this year, and WWE’s gonna go hard for almost everyone good.”
The Elite will have some big decisions to make at the end of 2023, but do you see them crossing over to AEW’s rivals? Sound off in the comments section below.