AJ Styles, Goldberg and Brock Lesnar are in the center of yet another wild news cycle that could lead to a lot of shuffling of the deck in the coming weeks. With Goldberg's current comeback tour seemingly winding to a close, is there a chance his big shoes could be filled by John Cena sooner than expected?
AJ Styles Gets "Fired" from WWE
After a second attack in two weeks caused WWE announcers to lower their voices to condemn the backstage actions of a heel, AJ Styles was fired by Daniel Bryan on SmackDown Live. To keep up with the gimmick, Styles was moved to the alumni section on WWE.com, something that happens when people quit or get fired in real life.
Getting fired in WWE is like a Los Angeles Lakers winning streak in 2017, because neither lasts for very long. And while it's easy for fans to scoff at Styles getting fired by Bryan, WWE has suddenly backed into a wrinkle in the Styles-McMahon storyline that has massive potential.
Despite McMahon challenging Styles, Bryan made it clear that he is remaining steadfast in firing Styles. Will this cause tension between McMahon and Bryan and lead Shane to turn heel? Will they reach an agreement where Styles remains employed for the next two weeks until WrestleMania before becoming a free agent? Will Stephanie McMahon scoop up Styles immediately to spite her brother and make his match against Shane an interpromotional affair? The possibilities are endless, and if Styles simply gets his full-time job back on SmackDown Live, it'll be a colossal waste.
Tuesday on SmackDown Live, lead announcer Mauro Ranallo earned the ire of his former peers when he missed a SmackDown broadcast due to inclement weather, per his Twitter account. Former WWE announcers Taz and Josh Mathews sent scathing tweets in Ranallo's direction that had all the old-man rage of Clint Eastwood growling in Gran Torino.
Fun tweets, boys. I too miss the stone age.
Mick Foley Gone, Seth Rollins Back...Seth Rollins Gone Again?
Mick Foley had a vintage performance Monday night on Raw when he delivered a heartfelt promo exchange with Triple H, who is finally heating up as a despicable heel after weeks of seemingly mailing it in while waiting to get physical with Seth Rollins.
Nobody knows how to draw sympathy with a simple, pitiful facial expression like Foley, and he was at his sympathetic best while taking a verbal beatdown from Triple H and Stephanie McMahon before firing back with Mr. Socko in a moment that caused the Joe Louis Arena to come unglued.
I truly believe Foley's masterful performance led to the arena to further explode for Rollins, who was healthy enough to brawl with Triple H before getting literally cut off at the legs. While Triple H will spend the next week or two bragging about taking out Rollins once and for all, their (still unannounced) WrestleMania match is just about inevitable.
Word on the street is Goldberg vs. Brock Lesnar is shaping up to be another squash match, this time with Goldberg coming out on the winning end. The always-pesky vocal minority is clearly beginning to become restless with this pattern of squash matches. The city of Chicago serenaded Goldberg with jeering "CM Punk" chants while he was trying to thank the WWE Universe for their support.
With Goldberg's two one-on-one matches in WWE lasting less than two minutes combined, many are expecting a traditional full-length match befitting of a WrestleMania main event. Shawn Michaels sure is. Said Michaels on Jim Ross' Ross Report podcast (h/t Wrestling Inc):
It is, it's one of those, whatever the object that doesn't move and the immovable force or however that saying goes. And I think they will, I think they'll do their high-impact stuff, but the thing is, I think both of those guys are smart enough, they'll get some mileage out of that and be able to tell a good story with that.
I'm going to say, I think with those guys, they can tell a story, I mean, you might feel that it's too much, but I feel like 17-ish, 15 to 17.
WWE Throws in the Towel on Shaq Vs. Big Show
For months, The Big Show trained intensely, all while taunting Kazaam star Shaquille O'Neal on social media. The idea was that Shaq and Big Show were going to have a one-on-one match reminiscent of Show's previous WrestleMania clashes with outside athletes like Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Akebono Taro.
But after whispers from both sides that the match was falling apart, including this interview with Matt Wilansky of ESPN.com, WWE finally confirmed this much when it was announced on Raw that Show will be competing in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal for the fourth year in a row. Who knows, maybe Shaq shows up as a surprise entrant for a second straight year, but it would be baffling if WWE kept such a major appearance a secret once again.
Alfred Konuwa is a Featured Columnist and on-air host for Bleacher Report and Forbes. Like him on Facebook.
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