As noted before, WWE Hall of Famer Paul Ellering recently appeared on the Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling podcast and revealed that he was set to return to WWE programming with The Authors of Pain before the COVID-19 pandemic hit. This was also before Rezar suffered a bicep injury in March, putting the team on the shelf once again while they were in the middle of a push on the RAW brand.
“The idea was to bring me back in, but then this corona stuff came up,” Ellering said earlier this month. “Then the guys got hurt and they were out a while, so everything got put on the back shelf and I don’t know where it sits now.”
Ellering previously managed Akam and Rezar in WWE NXT, and then briefly after they were brought to the main roster. After their RAW debut on the April 9, 2018 show, AOP ended their partnership with Ellering and he has been away since then.
In an update, the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reports that Ellering’s return to work with AOP would’ve been under Paul Heyman’s direction when he worked as RAW Executive Director. Heyman had plans to give AOP a big push as his top heel tag team on the red brand. This would’ve been an interesting dynamic with Ellering managing AOP as they were also set to be the big muscle for Seth Rollins at that time. The push fell apart due to Rezar’s injury, and then the decision was made to keep Akam off TV until Rezar was able to return.
A WWE source noted to The Observer claimed Ellering’s name was never brought up for the return of AOP before the pandemic, or since then, because WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon didn’t like Ellering. This is reportedly why Vince had AOP turn on Ellering after their main roster debut match.
Regarding future plans for AOP, word now is that they will not be working with Rollins when they return, but that could always change. AOP is expected to be back some time between late September and the end of this year. It will be interesting to see if AOP still receives a big push now that Heyman is no longer working creative because WWE wasn’t using them before he came into power.
Stay tuned for updates on Akam and Rezar.