Top SmackDown News & Rumors: Former champion let go because of backstage issue, Cody Rhodes to finally face 8-time WWE Champion? AJ Styles idea

A very warm welcome to another edition of the top SmackDown backstage rumors and news stories that could have a major impact on the blue brand in the future. In today’s edition, we will examine some interesting stories revolving around superstars such as the Undisputed WWE Champion Cody Rhodes, The Rock, and AJ Styles.

Cody Rhodes defended his Undisputed WWE Title against AJ Styles at Backlash and will now face Logan Paul at King and Queen of the Ring Premium Live Event later this month. The American Nightmare could be set to face a massive name at WrestleMania 41, as per new reports. Who is that? Let’s find out:

#1. Cody Rhodes to face The Rock at WrestleMania 41

Dave Meltzer said in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter that although The Rock has pitched for The People’s Champion vs. Undisputed WWE Champion match at The Show of Shows, SmackDown’s top champion might not hold the title until the next WrestleMania.

Even though the plan is for The Rock to face SmackDown Superstar Cody Rhodes, it’s important to remember that WWE plans can change.

”At this point, the show is scheduled to feature Cody Rhodes vs. The Rock. Dwayne Johnson’s idea is WWE Title vs. People’s Title. Those in WWE have noted that there is no guarantee Rhodes will be champion at that time, which is where the people’s belt comes in,” said Meltzer.

The Rock was heavily involved in the build towards WrestleMania 40. The Final Boss pinned Rhodes in a tag team match on Night One of The Showcase of The Immortals. A one-on-one showdown between the two men is something fans are eagerly anticipating, and it could finally happen at WrestleMania 41.

#2. Dutch Mantell comments on what AJ Styles should do on SmackDown

On Sportskeeda Wrestling’s SmackTalk, Dutch Mantell suggested a “phenomenal” idea for the legendary AJ Styles. The veteran noted that The Phenomenal One could become a mentor to a young wrestler, which could build up a big rivalry between them.

Mantell emphasized that WWE must give the SmackDown Superstar an exciting storyline, especially since he hasn’t had much going on since WrestleMania 40.

“Talking about AJ, they’ve gonna have to do something with him, and I don’t really have a clue. I think, what if he took a younger kid, like mentoring him. They tell that story, him and the kid, and they fall out and take it from there. It’s been done before, but you gotta tell a story somewhere,” he said. [1:05:31 onwards]

AJ Styles’ match against Cody Rhodes at Backlash is considered one of the best matches in the company by some. The two SmackDown Superstars delivered a stellar main event, and it was Rhodes who emerged victorious as Styles failed to win the big one yet again.

#3. Drew Gulak allegedly released because of the backstage issue with Ronda Rousey

Former Cruiserweight Champion and ‘assistant to General Manager’ on SmackDown Drew Gulak was recently let go by WWE. Triple H stated that his contract was over and the company chose not to renew it.

As per Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, Gulak’s departure from the company had to do with his backstage incident with former SmackDown Women’s Champion Ronda Rousey.

”While people are publicly coming up with other reasons, many within the company acknowledged this was all related to Ronda Rousey claiming that he [Drew Gulak] grabbed the draw string of her sweatpants, and she was very upset about it at one time in the past,” said Meltzer.

The Baddest Woman on the Planet had spoken about Gulak’s inappropriate behavior in an interview after leaving WWE. Gulak responded by saying that it was an ”accident” and he did not intend to do it.

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