WWE News & Notes 2014: Will WrestleMania 31 Feature The Rock, Hulk Hogan, 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin & Sting?
"Stone Cold" Steve Austin has dispelled rumors that he is returning to the ring at WrestleMania 31, saying on "The Steve Austin Show" podcast that he has no desire to take the bumps that go with competing in the squared circle. Austin went on to say that he does not want to train for one more fight and that his "return" involved going back to working out at Gold's Gym. "The Rattlesnake" stated that while he could still "whoop" WWE World Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar in a bout, he has a pending project in February that would prevent him from competing at WrestleMania 31.
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's name is also being linked to WrestleMania 31 after the promo he did with Triple H during the 15th anniversary show of Friday Night SmackDown. While The Rock and Triple H teased one more match against one another, The Rock versus Lesnar may still be in play, especially with Roman Reigns injured. Another match-up that may potentially occur is The Rock against Rusev, who he interrupted during his surprise visit on Monday Night Raw.
Despite the rampant dirt sheet rumors, The Rock did tell TMZ last Friday that he did not think he would be returning to the ring saying he didn't want to get hit in the mouth. The Rock also has various movie projects in the works, including "Shazam," in which he will play the "Black Adam" character, and the new "Baywatch" movie, which may prevent him from competing at WrestleMania 31 altogether.
Hulk Hogan is also rumored to be looking to compete at WrestleMania 31. Although Hogan has been very vocal about getting into the ring one last time, preferably against John Cena, he would still have to pass a physical before he can climb back into the ring. Sting, who has a merchandise deal with the company including being a part of the latest WWE 2K15 video game, is still in play, having expressed a desire to go one-on-one against either The Undertaker or Triple H. Despite all the chatter, Sting has yet to sign a contract to compete in an WWE at the moment.
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Bray Wyatt has also expressed an interest in going up against "The Deadman," in a recent interview with the Miami Herald, should he come back for one more match at "the Grandest Stage of Them All."
"Bray Wyatt versus The Undertaker would be the greatest I could accomplish," said Wyatt. "Just being there side-by-side with him. I get the comparisons, but we are also very different. He is 'The Deadman.' He will always be 'The Deadman,' and I'm Bray Wyatt. When or if, or when we shall meet, it will be every bit of everything I thought it would be."
Wyatt seems to be moving away from teaming up with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan, having recently "set them free" and may be paired up with former NXT Tag Team Champions The Ascension, who are due to get the call up soon to the main roster.
As far as the WWE World Heavyweight title scene, WWE intends to keep Lesnar out of action until the Royal Rumble in January according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. Lesnar, who won the title at SummerSlam, will likely face Cena in Philadelphia prior to the Over-The-Top-Rope main event that will feature 40 WWE superstars instead of the usual 30 people.
One person who may not be a part of the Royal Rumble is Daniel Bryan, who may need a second surgery after all. Bryan said he had lost strength in his arm after undergoing neck surgery earlier this year, attempted to fix the problem through rehabilitation but may need Tommy John surgery after all, putting him out of action from anywhere to six to 12 months.
In other wrestling news, Kurt Angle's contract with TNA Wrestling has expired and the six-time WWE world champion may be looking to return to the WWE. Angle, who was recently a guest on "The Ross Report" podcast, told Jim Ross that this would be his last contract and would be ready to return to action this month. The WWE is rumored to have offered Angle a full-time deal, but Angle allegedly turned it down due to the fact that the former Olympian does not feel he can handle a full-time workload at this point of his career.
Another pair of talent leaving TNA Wrestling is Team 3D, Bully Ray and Devon, whose contracts have also expired. The former TNA, WWE, and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) Tag Team Champions, who were inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame at the Bound For Glory pay-per-view (PPV) last Sunday, hinted that they will sign with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) to attempt and attain their "other favorite sets of tag titles." Team 3D's biggest hint as to their next move was when they promised to put the NJPW stable named the Bullet Club through tables after defeating the team of Tommy Dreamer and Abyss at Bound For Glory. The current NJPW tag team champions, Doc Gallows (known as Festus/Luke Gallows to WWE fans) and "Machine Gun" Ken Anderson, are members of the Bullet Club, along with AJ Styles, The Young Bucks (formerly of TNA Wrestling and Ring of Honor), Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga and Yujiro Takahashi.
Jeff Jarrett, who is running Global Force Wrestling (GFW), is a part-time member of the Bullet Club, and may help NJPW expand their reach into the U.S. by airing their product in the American market. GFW will present NJPW's Jan. 4 PPV show with negotiations ongoing to broadcast future NJPW events in the United States in 2015.
With TNA Wrestling losing talent and still shopping for a new television, the company was rumored to have made a lucrative offer to the retired CM Punk, according to "The Wrestling Observer Newsletter," worth the equivalent to what Hogan was making during his run with the company. PWInsider says that such an offer was never made to the "Straight Edge Superstar," who has been out of the wrestling public eye since leaving the WWE. Regardless whether the offer was made or not, CM Punk is not returning to the ring any time in the near future, the five-time WWE world champion appearing to be happily retired and enjoying life.
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