It’s been a crazy week in WWE. AJ Styles won the WWE Championship outside of the United States—the first time ever that the title has changed hands overseas.
It came on the heels of a monster push for Jinder Mahal, and it came before WWE’s tour of India in December, where Mahal would have been received as a conquering hero.
Why did it happen? And what’s going on with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn this week? Here are the most interesting WWE rumors that we’ve heard.
The #UnderSiege attack on Raw, perpetrated by the SmackDown locker room, was one of the more thrilling endings to Raw in recent months. And since then, fans have been waiting for the other shoe to drop. When would Raw attack SmackDown and even up the score?
According to Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats, there are actually two more invasions planned. The first will be on Raw, where the SmackDown locker room will invade Raw again, and the second will be the following day, when Raw finally invades SmackDown. That will leave the score 2 to 1 and establish Raw as the underdogs headed into Survivor Series.
It should be fun. The more locker-room clearing brawls, the better.
Poor Hideo Itami. Injuries kept him on the sidelines for months at a time, while all of his NXT contemporaries were promoted to the main roster. Now, rumors are that Itami will be promoted to Raw finally, although his fans might not like the fine print.
According to Mike Johnson of PWInsider, Itami will be a part of the brand’s floundering cruiserweight division. This is disappointing, but sadly expected.
Itami has lost much of his buzz over the past couple of years, and unless he can keep himself healthy and stay off the injured list, WWE will not have enough confidence in him to carry any important storylines.
AJ Styles’ WWE championship win in Manchester was a shock. It’s rare that a world title changes hands on a non-pay-per-view. It’s rarer for it to change hands at a house show. But it’s most rare for it to change overseas. In fact, it’s the first time it’s ever happened.
According to David Meltzer, who was speaking on Wrestler Observer Radio (h/t Jeremy Bennett of Sportskeeda), a likely factor to the title change was the recent, low SmackDown ratings. The October 31 SmackDown episode had the third lowest rating of any episode since the brand split.
Mahal, despite being the WWE champion, rarely closed the show and settled for a mid-segment instead. But Styles is a future Hall of Famer, and the ratings should get a nice boost for the title celebration next week.
It seems that, after much delay, the stars have finally aligned.
According to Mike Johnson of PWInsider, Roman Reigns is officially cleared to compete. It’s expected that WWE will announce a Survivor Series match between The New Day and The Shield on the November 19 episode of Raw.
For weeks, WWE fans have been deprived of a proper Shield reunion. Kurt Angle and Triple H make good temporary substitutes to Reigns, but there’s nothing like seeing all three original Hounds of Justice in the same ring at the same time.
And finally, there’s a rumor going around that both Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn have been sent home from WWE’s European tour.
Multiple sources confirmed to Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated that the decision was made by Vince McMahon himself, in response to them “going into business for themselves.” Now, we may have a few more details as to what that conduct was.
According to Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet, Owens and Zayn did not follow a scripted creative decision during Zayn’s recent match against Kofi Kingston. The two of them were supposed to get beaten down by The New Day after the match, but instead, Zayn and Owens both rolled out of the ring. You can see the moment in question in the clip above at around the 1:50 mark.
If true, the two of them should know better. WWE does not take well to anyone who puts him or herself before the company. It wouldn’t be surprising if this little act of rebellion had long-term booking consequences down the line.