Undertaker Talks Bray Wyatt; WWE Rumors on Randy Orton’s Injury, Raw Women’s Division
Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
Undertaker Talks Comparisons to Wyatt
There is no more legendary supernatural character in the history of pro wrestling than The Undertaker, who has become the measuring stick against which all similar gimmicks are compared.
Although they have plenty of differences, Bray Wyatt is considered the modern-day Undertaker in many ways. During an appearance on Sportsnet’s Tim & Friends (h/t Subhojeet Mukherjee of Ringside News), The Phenom gave his thoughts on the comparisons:
“There’s, obviously, a huge amount of comparisons between his character and mine. He’s his own guy. He’s his own character. I don’t think it’s fair to him to compare what he does to what I did. In the big scheme of things, it’s in the same supernatural genre, but it’s 2023, and he’s doing his own thing, but I can appreciate—I can see what he’s trying to do. I just let him know, too, that my phone’s always on, and if he needs to talk to me about things or run things by me, that’s cool. I would be more than glad to share my experiences with him and hopefully shine some light on questions that he has moving forward.”
Taker has worked with Wyatt in the past, beating him in a match at WrestleMania 31 in 2015, but they interacted far more on the 30th-anniversary episode of Raw last month.
LA Knight, who went on to lose a Pitch Black match to Wyatt at Royal Rumble, cut a promo and claimed every legend in the back was too afraid to confront him, which led The Undertaker to show up.
Knight escaped, but Wyatt stopped him, and they proceeded to beat down the cocky heel in the middle of the ring.
When the segment was over, Taker and Wyatt exchanged a glance and some words that weren’t picked up on camera, and The Undertaker referred to it as a “cool moment.”
Some interpreted it as a passing of the torch. While that may have been the case in some ways, The Undertaker has been careful to deflect comparisons between himself and Wyatt because of the lofty standards he set during his 30-year career in WWE.
Orton’s Injury Timeline Reportedly Unknown
Randy Orton has been out for several months with a back injury, and it remains unclear when or if he will return to in-ring action.
According to Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), there have been no updates on Orton’s “very serious” back injuries. As of a few months ago, “there was concern” he would never return to wrestling, or at least not for “a long time,” per Meltzer.
Fightful Select (h/t H Jenkins of Ringside News) reported in November that Orton had undergone fusion surgery on his lower back expected to keep him out for “an extended period of time.”
Orton has not competed in a match since the May 20, 2022, episode of SmackDown when he and RK-Bro tag team partner Matt Riddle dropped the Raw Tag Team Championships to The Usos in a unification match.
The Viper was put through the announce table as part of a post-match angle, and on the ensuing episode of Raw, Riddle said Orton’s back was badly injured and he would have to take time away to heal up.
While Orton is relatively young in wrestling terms at 42, he has been part of the WWE main roster for over 20 years, making his debut in 2002.
Over the past two decades, Orton has established himself as one of the most accomplished, successful and popular wrestlers of all time, winning 14 world titles, which puts him behind only the 16 won by John Cena and Ric Flair.
WrestleMania 39 is less than two months away, and there has been no indication that Orton will be back in time to have any involvement with the show.
It is possible Orton and WWE are keeping things under wraps so his return can be a surprise, but every indication is that he isn’t close to returning to a WWE ring despite having missed nine months.
Reported Face, Heel Rankings for Raw Women’s Division
When it comes to the Raw women’s division, WWE reportedly has an internal hierarchy for both the face and heel sides.
According to PW Insider (h/t Saptarshi Sinha of Ringside News), WWE has internally ranked its top five babyfaces and heels in the Raw women’s division.
On the face side, Raw women’s champion Bianca Belair is unsurprisingly on top, followed by Becky Lynch, Asuka, Mia Yim and Candice LeRae.
As for the heels, the Damage CTRL trio of Bayley, Iyo Sky and Dakota Kai occupy the No. 1 position, with Rhea Ripley, Alexa Bliss, Piper Niven and Carmella behind them.
Depending on what happens at WrestleMania 39, the lists could get shaken up significantly.
Ripley is challenging Charlotte Flair for the SmackDown Women’s Championship after winning the 2023 women’s Royal Rumble match. If she beats Charlotte as expected, it would necessitate a full-time move to the blue brand.
Meanwhile, Belair will put the Raw Women’s Championship on the line at WrestleMania against the winner of an Elimination Chamber match at the Elimination Chamber premium live event next weekend.
Asuka is the favorite to win, and if she beats Belair, she would perhaps jump from No. 3 to No. 1 in the pecking order.