WWE officials have been discussing creative options for the coming year, including another draft lottery after WrestleMania 24. As previously reported, the Elimination Chamber will return at No Way Out, with the participants fighting for the WrestleMania title shot not chosen by the winner of the Royal Rumble. Early marketing has already listed the participants as Randy Orton, Shawn Michaels, Jeff Hardy, Ken Kennedy, Umaga and Bobby Lashley. There had been talk in recent weeks of Batista and Triple H working a WrestleMania match again but they did nothing to tease that direction during the Evolution quasi-reunion on Raw XV. Plans remain in flux.
Furthermore, the Ric Flair retirement angle, which again was not mentioned on Raw XV, might not go ahead after all. Flair has reportedly still to sign the new two-year contract that was verbally agreed upon a few weeks ago, while his current deal expires on 08 January. The Wrestling Observer revealed the extensive plans that were originally considered for this angle, which was initially pitched by Steve Austin directly to Vince McMahon after WrestleMania 23. Brian Gerwitz, who never watched Flair in his prime and had existing heat with Austin, was reluctant to do anything with it at all, yet Michael Hayes and Court Bauer wanted to run it on Smackdown. That led to Flair being brought over from Raw in the draft and the ensuing plan, primarily booked by Bauer and Vince, was to run as follows… Flair would be taken off TV for a few weeks as they ran highlights of his greatest moments to build to his Smackdown debut. He would then have challenged Khali for the World Heavyweight Title at Saturday Night’s Main Event in August. It would have been built up as a major event, with numerous comments from other legends and the Flair family about his chances of winning the title, similar to the Flair/Vader match from Starrcade 1993. Flair would have arrived at the arena in a limo, cut a promo, get some offense in but ultimately lose the match. He would refuse to speak to any interviewers afterwards and no-show Smackdown the next week. The announcers would have hyped a Flair interview the following week, mentioning rumours that he was going to announce his retirement. When the time came he would say that if he could no longer be the old Ric Flair then he would indeed retire, since he wanted people to remember him the way he was rather than what he had become. He would have then challenged himself, saying that the next time he lost, it would indeed be his last match. He would then have gotten a few victories as more legends were brought in to make comments, with one of them actually criticising Flair. This would have lead to Flair challenging MVP for the US title at Unforgiven, only for the critical legend ,at one point slated to be Terry Funk, to interfere and cost Flair the title but giving him a DQ victory. This would then have lead to Mick Foley seconding Funk and building to a final Four Horsemen match at the Survivor Series as Flair brought them in to combat his foes. After that would have come Flair vs Foley at Armageddon, another legend opponent at the Royal Rumble, and then Flair entering Money in the Bank at WrestleMania. He would have then won it and challenged for the title that night. He would have lost that match, placed his robe and boots in the middle of the ring, and then walked off. Of course, none of it came to pass and was more than likely never actually discussed with Flair.
Carlito was talked into staying with WWE after a talk with Vince McMahon on 03 December. The main reason behind them keeping Carlito around is that they are planning to expand further into Central and South America and he is one of the few wrestlers they have who speaks Spanish, although there was some concern about losing another wrestler to TNA right now. Vince had been very critical of Carlito’s work over the past year, saying he wanted more high spots and a faster pace from him. According to Dave Meltzer, Carlito and Ric Flair went into their Judgement Day match without a finish because Vince was threatening to fire Carlito immediately afterwards if he didn’t deliver an improved performance. He made the call for a finish mid-way through the match and informed the referee (Carlito submitted to the Figure-Four). When Carlito came through the curtain Vince was waiting on him but all he said was “Better.” Carlito has complained that he wants his character to be a deeper and edgier heel, like how he was first used during his John Cena feud in 2004. Meanwhile, Carlito’s father, Carlos Colon, is still trying to get WWC a deal as a WWE developmental territory but that’s not going to happen anytime soon.
Ron Killings is expected to start working full-time with AAA in February. However, Umaga and Jeff Hardy are understood to be trying to get him a WWE deal.
Sting is expected to finalise a new one-year deal with TNA very soon. It is thought that he would work some Impact tapings and most PPVs but not house shows. Dixie Carter is keen on keeping him around as a big-name that will help TNA get licensing deals.
Credit: Wrestling Observer Newsletter, 17 December 2007 (subscribe here)
Tags: TNA, WWE