Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
JBL Rumored for WWE HOF Induction During WrestleMania Weekend
Former WWE champion John Bradshaw Layfield is reportedly set to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame in April.
According to WrestlingInc.com’s Raj Giri, WWE will soon announce JBL as a member of the 2020 Hall of Fame class, which will be honored April 2 in Tampa, Florida, as part of the WrestleMania 36 festivities.
While there has been plenty of speculation regarding who will be added to the class, the only names confirmed by WWE thus far are Batista and the New World Order, represented by “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall, Kevin Nash and Sean Waltman.
The 53-year-old JBL is a former WWE, intercontinental, United States, European, tag team and hardcore champion who was a mainstay in WWE for 13 years as an active wrestler.
He first truly gained notoriety as one half of the APA tag team with Hall of Famer Ron “Faarooq” Simmons, who would be an ideal candidate to induct him since JBL did the honors for him eight years ago.
Bradshaw and Simmons were highly successful and popular as a tag team, but there was never any real inkling that Bradshaw was destined for singles stardom.
APA broke up in 2004, and Bradshaw was given an opportunity to show what he could do as an individual with the JBL gimmick. It wasn’t long before he beat Eddie Guerrero for the WWE Championship and held it for 280 days.
JBL was a fixture in the upper midcard after dropping the WWE title to John Cena at WrestleMania 21, and he remained a top heel until his retirement from in-ring competition in 2009.
The big Texan spent several years as a commentator for WWE, and he still makes some appearances for the company as part of the pay-per-view pre-shows.
It seemed like it was a matter of when, rather than if, JBL would make it into the Hall of Fame, and it appears as though his wait may finally be over.
Bayley vs. Naomi Reportedly Planned for WrestleMania
The rivalry between SmackDown women’s champion Bayley and Naomi reportedly may carry over to WWE’s biggest event of the year.
According to Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer Live (h/t WrestlingInc.com’s Marc Middleton), the current plan is for Bayley and Naomi to face each other for the SmackDown women’s title at WrestleMania 36.
Naomi returned at the Royal Rumble after several months off WWE programming, and she quickly set her sights on Bayley.
The former SmackDown women’s champion recently had a chance to earn a title shot, but she lost by fall to Carmella in a No. 1 contender’s Fatal 4-Way match that also included Alexa Bliss and Dana Brooke.
Bayley beat Carmella in a title match on last week’s SmackDown when she cheated by putting her feet on the ropes during a pinfall. When she attacked Carmella after the match, Naomi ran down to make the save.
Both Naomi and Carmella insisted that they deserve a title shot, which led to a No. 1 contender’s match between Naomi and Carmella being book for Friday’s SmackDown. The winner will challenge Bayley at WWE Super ShowDown in Saudi Arabia on Feb. 27.
If Naomi beats Carmella and challenges Bayley, it is somewhat difficult to envision WWE carrying the story all the way to WrestleMania, although it would not be impossible.
One factor to consider is Sasha Banks, who has not been on TV in recent weeks and was not part of the women’s Royal Rumble match because of an apparent undisclosed injury.
While Bayley and Banks are friends, fans have long called for a Bayley vs. Sasha match on a big stage, and there is none bigger than WrestleMania.
Bayley vs. Sasha is a match that would get the WWE Universe buzzing, but if that bout is not in the cards, Bayley vs. Naomi may be the next best thing.
Big Show Scheduled for Upcoming WWE Appearances
WWE is advertising Big Show for a pair of appearances at upcoming Raw events in February and March.
According to Middleton, the veteran Superstar going against Seth Rollins is being advertised (likely as a dark match) for the Feb. 24 Raw in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, and the March 2 Raw in Brooklyn, New York.
The 48-year-old Big Show made his surprise in-ring return on the Jan. 6 Raw when he teamed with Kevin Owens and Samoa Joe against Seth Rollins and AOP. They faced off the following week in a rematch, which Big Show, Owens and Joe lost due to interference from Murphy.
Big Show has not been on television since, but the advertised dates could be a sign that he will return soon.
Show did not wrestle a single match in 2019 while recovering from hip surgery, as his last bout prior to his return came back in November 2018.
At this point in his career, The World’s Largest Athlete is more of a part-time attraction than a regular performer, but he can still be effective and useful for WWE in the right situations.
Big Show is a four-time world champion in WWE and he has essentially done it all, so based on his name recognition alone, it comes as no surprise that WWE still values him.
It is unlikely that Big Show will be in a big match at WrestleMania or part of any long-term storylines, but if WWE wants to pick its spots and use him here and there, he still brings something to the table.
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