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    Friday, January 7, 2022

    The Grapevine (1/7/22): Backstage Morale Shaken After Recent Staff Releases, Samoa Joe Update, Next Saudi Arabia WWE Event

    Samoa Joe

    Welcome to the Grapevine! This section of Smark Henry is where we round up all the important founded and unfounded rumors floating around the pro wrestling scene that you may have missed over the past few days. Remember to take everything with a grain of salt!

    Backstage morale takes a hit after releases of "Triple H guys"

    Backstage morale among WWE wrestlers and employees have reportedly taken a hit following the releases this week of Performance Center and NXT staff that Triple H brought in. While it's not official that Triple H's hires were being targeted, it's easy to believe that they are, considering who's being fired. People were reportedly "greatly shaken," "befuddled," and "angry" by Wednesday's releases. (Source: PWInsider)

    We say: It's definitely tough to spin this as anything but revenge being taken on Triple H and the past eight years of credibility he's built up for NXT and the Performance Center, and nothing to show for it in the ratings war against AEW. It really is a shame that many hardworking and effective people are getting caught in whatever political crossfire this is—going to show that it's hard to have sympathy for WWE as a company. If we were Triple H, we'd leave as this is a direct spit in the face of his entire legacy and influence, getting back at his father-in-law and his new lieutenant with a company that fans will love. (Not AEW.)

    Samoa Joe expected to make in-ring return

    Samoa Joe, who had been confirmed as one of the Wednesday releases this morning, is expected to make his in-ring return as soon as the no-compete clause is up. WWE had considered Joe to be a non-competitor as his current role in NXT before being released was a talent scout. Joe had previously been released in April last year and brought back by Triple H in August as an in-ring competitor, winning the NXT Championship, before being stripped on the eve of the NXT 2.0 launch in September. (Source: Fightful Select)

    We say: It's clear that Joe isn't done yet, and if guys like Bryan Danielson, Christian Cage, and Katsuyori Shibata can come back for another run, there's no reason Joe can't. We're excited to see where he appears next.

    News on next Saudi Arabia WWE event

    WWE is reportedly returning to Saudi Arabia on Saturday, February 19. This will apparently be the February premium live event, a departure from their usual Thursday afternoon shows in the local time. Following the February show, it's presumed that WWE will return to the country in September later this year. (Source: Fightful Select, Andrew Zarian)

    We say: Not that there's any real reason to get excited for the Saudi Arabia shows, but not rushing them on the Thursday schedule for the wrestlers to come back in time for SmackDown on Friday may be a better look for everyone involved.

    Photo from WWE

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    Item Reviewed: The Grapevine (1/7/22): Backstage Morale Shaken After Recent Staff Releases, Samoa Joe Update, Next Saudi Arabia WWE Event Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Romeo Moran
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