By Chuck Carroll
(CBS New York/CBS Local) — Post-WrestleMania is a quiet time for WWE, as the company takes a collective deep breath in the wake of its biggest event and reassesses where it stands. It’s also a good time to plan for the year ahead, with RAW and SmackDown continuing and Money In The Bank just a month away. With that, we look at injuries, roster changes and various other goings-on across the WWE universe.
Daniel Bryan has been absent from television since losing the WWE Championship to Kofi Kingston at WrestleMania earlier this month. The 37-year-old is dealing with an undisclosed injury, according to PWInsider’s Mike Johnson, who notes the exact nature of the ailment is being kept a closely guarded secret. Complications from repeated concussions previously forced Bryan to temporarily retire from in-ring competition.
Sheamus has also been missing in action and is reportedly dealing with an injury of his own. Reports suggest he may have suffered a concussion in a recent six-man tag team match. Going through the WWE’s concussion protocol could explain his absence.
Here’s a full list of WWE talents switching rosters as part of the Superstar Shakeup…
To RAW: AJ Styles, The Miz, Ricochet, Aleister Black, Erik and Ivar of The Viking Experience (formerly known as The War Raiders), Andrade and Zelina Vega, Rey Mysterio, The Usos, Naomi, EC3, Lacey Evans, Eric Young, Cedric Alexander.
To SmackDown: Roman Reigns, Finn Bálor, Elias, Bayley, Ember Moon, Kairi Sane, Lars Sullivan, Buddy Murphy, Liv Morgan, Chad Gable, Apollo Crews, Mickie James, Otis and Tucker of Heavy Machinery.
Luke Harper has announced that he has asked WWE officials to release him from his contract. The former tag team champion appears to have put in the request prior to Tuesday’s SmackDown. It does not appear that Harper wants to retire from wrestling, however. “My goal in the future is to continue to grow as a performer and person and continue to make my family proud,” he tweeted. So far no word from WWE.
Former New Japan Pro Wrestling star Kushida has reported to the WWE Performance Center in Orlando to begin his tenure with NXT. His signing was originally announced prior to Takeover: New York. He will be an important piece of the puzzle as the NXT brand continues to expand its global presence. Triple H considers him to be one of the biggest international stars in wrestling.
WWE also announced former MLW and Lucha Underground star Shane Strickland as well as AAA phenom Humberto Garza, aka Garza Jr., have reported to the PC. Garza Jr. is a third-generation luchador.
If you were curious about how much WWE pays developmental talent, the average salary is roughly $80,000, according to the Sports Business Journal. Contracts generally range from $50,000 to $150,000. The article also notes that about 40 percent of developmental talents under contract come from international markets.
Ricochet has started a GoFundMe Me page to raise money for his mother after her home was destroyed by a fire. The popular recent NXT call-up says he has many memories of the home from his childhood and wouldn’t be asking for money if he didn’t feel it necessary. “This is something I want to do to show my mom that she is not alone in this and that we are all here for [her family] in their time of need,” he wrote.
John Cena is up for a role in the upcoming Suicide Squad sequel, according to Variety.
Chuck Carroll is former pro wrestling announcer and referee turned sports media personality. He once appeared on Monday Night RAW when he presented Robert Griffin III with a WWE title belt in the Redskins locker room.
Follow him on Twitter @ChuckCarrollWLC.