Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson Not Likely for WrestleMania, Jay Briscoe Tribute & More of the Latest Wrestling News - Knotfest
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Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Not Likely for WrestleMania, Jay Briscoe Tribute & More of the Latest Wrestling News

Posted by Rob Pasbani in Culture on January 20, 2023

Plus the latest on Vince McMahon, CM Punk, and a preview of all the wrestling on TV this weekend.

Will we smell what The Rock is cooking?

The latest rumor is that The Rock will not be ready for this year’s WrestleMania. This week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter has the latest on Dwayne Johnson and it doesn’t look good.

The hope from WWE officials (their “pie in the sky scenario”) was that The Rock would make an appearance winning the Royal Rumble, and face Roman Reigns at WrestleMania in Los Angeles later this year, culminating a two-year story. But according to the Observer, The Rock has indicated to WWE officials that he will not have the time to get into the shape required to have a match with Reigns at Mania but they could keep the door open for something in the future, if Rock’s schedule clears up.

The Observer does humor the possibility that this could be a secret being kept from everybody and he could still end up appearing, but it seems much less likely.

This Monday on the 30th anniversary of Raw, the entire Bloodline will be there, and they’re inviting “generations of the Bloodline” to acknowledge Roman Reigns. If the Rock were in any way a part of WrestleMania plans, it would seem to make the most sense that he make some sort of surprise appearance during that segment. Should the segment go in a different direction, it will be a good indicator that The Rock isn’t coming to WWE this year.


RIP Jay Briscoe

On Wednesday, news broke out that Jamin Pugh, better known as Jay Briscoe, had died in a terrible automobile accident. He was only 38 years old. Pugh was driving his daughters to cheerleading practice. They are alive and in stable condition but have a long road ahead of them. A fundraiser has been set up going directly to his family.

As a fan of Ring of Honor from the beginning, I can’t describe how weird it feels to know Briscoe will no longer be on my television. I saw him and his brother Mark from their earliest matches when they were 17 and 18 and watched their career blossom and the duo turn into one of the best tag teams in the world. I never saw the Briscoes have a bad match. It’s a shame we will never see him in the ring again. He always delivered a great match and sent the fans home happy.

Here are some tributes from wrestlers:


What’s on TV this weekend?

Smackdown is live tonight at 8pm on Fox with this lineup:

  • Tag team top contender’s tournament first round: Ridge Holland & Butch vs. Ludwig Kaiser & Giovanni Vinci
  • Tag team top contender’s tournament first round: Drew McIntyre & Sheamus vs. The Viking Raiders
  • Roman Reigns & Kevin Owens contract signing

AEW Rampage airs at 10pm on TNT with this lineup:

  • Daniel Garcia vs. Action Andretti
  • Brian Cage vs. Willie Mack
  • Jade Cargill & Leila Grey in tag team action
  • Jungle Boy vs. Ethan Page
  • Eddie Kingston promo

GCW has a cool show tonight on FITE+ featuring Vikingo in the main event.

In Japan, there will be a big New Japan vs. NOAH crossover event this weekend. You can see a preview of the card here.

This weekend will also see the final match of The Great Muta, who is teaming with AEW’s Darby Allin and Sting. Full card for that event here.

Monday is the RAW 30th-anniversary show on USA Network. Here’s the lineup:

  • WWE United States Championship: Austin Theory (c) vs. Bobby Lashley
  • Raw Tag Team Championship: The Usos (c) vs. Dominik Mysterio & Damian Priest
  • Steel cage match: Becky Lynch vs. Bayley
  • Bloodline acknowledgement ceremony with Roman Reigns
  • WWE legends appearing: Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Ric Flair, Shawn Michaels, Kurt Angle, Jerry Lawler, The Bella Twins, Road Dogg, X-Pac, Theodore Long, Ron Simmons

Vince McMahon settled his lawsuit with 80s ref Rita Chatterton, who accused McMahon of rape. McMahon always denied the charges and said their encounter was consensual. Nevertheless, he settled for millions of dollars to avoid a public lawsuit as he is trying to sell his company.

WWE CEO Nick Khan appeared on Bill Simmons’ podcast, and fans who follow the business end should definitely listen. Here is a thorough recap.

The latest Wrestling Observer states that CM Punk has been “put on ice” by Tony Khan, and there are no plans for him creatively currently. Perhaps more interesting is that there was been no talk of him being released recently either. Punk is still recovering from an arm injury from his last match.

D-Von Dudley has left his position as a producer in WWE, he has announced. He was recently pulled from an ECW reunion show by WWE, which likely lead to the split.

MLW is coming to Reelz! The indie promotion announced a weekly two hour block starting Tuesday, February 7th at 10 PM Eastern. The first hour will have an original run of programming with the second hour featuring highlights from MLW’s 20 year history.

Japanese star Kota Ibushi who seems close to being ready to come back was asked by Dark Puroresu Flowsion which WWE wrestlers he would most like to fight and he responded “Sami Zayn[,] Finn Balor[,] Shinsuke Nakamura[,] The reason is that I have had my best bouts with them in the past, so I would like to see the current chemistry between myself & them.”

Do you enjoy pro wrestling? Knotfest Wrestling has a bi-weekly column filled with wrestling news. Read previous editions of this column here. You can always follow me @robinjection on Instagram and Twitter and @Squaredcirclpit.


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