The future for Kevin Owens in WWE is murky at this point, according to storylines. The former Universal Champion abruptly quit on Monday's RAW, apparently not taking recent losses to Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins very well. The latter was apparently the straw the broke the camel's back.
His profile has been moved to the alumni section of WWE's website, and Owens has gone dark on social media. All but two posts on his Twitter account have been removed. Of the two remaining, one is a collage of his triumphs in WWE, including mocking John Cena's "you can't see me" wave as the 16-time champion lay prone in the ring. The other is a series of four pictures chronicling his dramatic recent fall -- some literally -- at the hands of Strowman.
You have to tip your hat to WWE for going the extra mile to sell this storyline. It's truly impressive that they're going to such great lengths to get fans invested in the drama surrounding the bruising Canadian. Where they are heading with this angle remains unclear, and it's anybody's guess at this point. Could it be a move to SmackDown? Could it be a clever ruse to continue his feud with Strowman and get back in the title picture? Some have even speculated that he'll sit out until the return of Sami Zayn who is shelved until next year following multiple surgeries to repair torn rotator cuffs.
But if it were up to K.O., his exit and eventual reemergence would build to a match against Finn Bálor on sports entertainment's grandest stage. The 34-year-old sees the popular Irishman, whom he considers his closest friend in WWE, as the perfect foe.
He divulged his wish during our conversation on the eve of SummerSlam in between games of cornhole and bocce ball at a Special Olympics event along the sweltering Brooklyn, New York waterfront. As fate (and storylines) would have it, his match against Strowman the following night would be the beginning of the end for him. Theoretically, the deck is now cleared to push for the bout, even though it's a little too early to be setting up anything for next April.
"There's so many guys I wish I could wrestle, but if it was up to me, whatever I would do would lead to me and Finn Bálor at WrestleMania next year, because he and I came to WWE the exact same time," Owens told me. "We didn't know each other before we got there. We became pretty close pretty quickly when we did get to the NXT Performance Center. He's been my best friend ever since, so I'd love to share the ring with him on that stage in WrestleMania."
Both had grappled their way to become among the elite names on the independent circuit before signing with WWE in 2014. Since then, Owens says both have been working hard to make the match happen. Perhaps with the chemistry they share inside the ring matching their friendship outside of it, his wish might just come true.
"I love wrestling him and as far as I know he feels the same way," Owens elaborated. "I think we put on really entertaining matches that are very good. We had a match in Japan a few years ago that I still think was one of my best ones in WWE. So, I think we mesh pretty well."
News and Notes
WWE will be returning to Saudi Arabia on November 2, according to multiple reports. The show would mark the promotion's second in the country this year following the success of The Greatest Royal Rumble in April. WWE and the Saudi government are in the middle of the first year of a 10-year "strategic multiplatform partnership."
Kurt Angle won't be absent from WWE television for long. Per PWInsider's Mike Johnson, Angle was backstage at last Monday's RAW despite having been sent on a "mandatory vacation" by Stephanie McMahon one week earlier. Johnson also notes that Angle has been training for another match.
Ronda Rousey vs. Nikki Bella is being discussed as a possible main event at the all-women's Evolution pay-per-view in October, according to The Wrestling Observer.
After the Bella Twins were booed loudly at SummerSlam and on RAW the following night, Brie Bella has been receiving a warmer reception on SmackDown since pairing with husband, Daniel Bryan. The pair will be facing another real-life married couple in Miz and Maryse at Hell In A Cell.
Daniel Bryan and Miz are also scheduled to wrestle at the WWE Super Show-Down in Australia, with the winner receiving a future WWE Championship opportunity.
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Former WWE Superstar Neville is rumored to appear at Saturday's highly anticipated All-In show. Cody Rhodes and The Young Bucks, who are promoting the sold-out event, have been stirring up the rumor mill on this one with a series of tweets. The Bucks' Matt Jackson tweeted that he'd spoken to Neville recently. The former WWE Cruiserweight Champion has been absent from wrestling since unceremoniously walking out of the company last October.
Ring of Honor announced it will return to Philadelphia for a series of television tapings on October 14.
Chuck Carroll is a former pro wrestling announcer and referee turned sports media personality who now interviews the biggest names in wrestling. He once appeared on Monday Night RAW when he presented a WWE title belt in the Redskins locker room.
Follow him on Twitter @ChuckCarrollWLC.
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