Backstage WWE and AEW Rumors: Latest on Kevin Owens, William Regal and More
Kevin Owens may be gearing up to battle Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship if recent creative is any indication, but that does not mean the company's resident Prizefighter is healthy.
The status of KO's injured knee is at the forefront of this week's collection of rumors, which also features the latest on William Regal's status with All Elite Wrestling, a potential return to the ring for Booker T and an update on the next WWE draft.
Kevin Owens Still Battling Injury
Kevin Owens may have been a focal point of Saturday's Survivor Series War Games main event, and he may have gone on to defeat Jey Uso on Monday's Raw, but he is still nursing a knee injury, per Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio.
Owens suffered the injury during a live event in Madison, Wisconsin on November 13, and despite initial concerns that it was a significant MCL sprain, he has continued to work through it.
So much so that he should be expected to challenge Roman Reigns for the Undisputed WWE Universal Championship at the Royal Rumble on January 28 if recent creative decisions are any indication.
The 38-year-old is still hurt but will continue to work through things as he assumes a larger role in best friend Sami Zayn's ongoing storyline with The Tribal Chief and The Bloodline.
Owens was also in the headlines this week for an in-match exchange with Reigns that left the biggest star in the industry infuriated following the Survivor Series main event, per Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select (h/t Colin Tessier of WrestleZone).
However, Meltzer added that the entire ordeal was overblown and was resolved within 20 minutes.
Either way, it's clear Owens recognizes the significance of his role in the storyline and what it means to both him and Zayn professionally.
It's not every day that a performer gets to work with the top star in the industry, in a story as layered and engaging as theirs is. It is a critically acclaimed program that has managed to engage even the most jaded of WWE fans.
Barring a significant aggravation of the injury, expect Owens to deliver another banger of a match against Reigns at the Royal Rumble, the third time they have fought at that specific PPV.
What Is Going on with William Regal?
Something is going on with William Regal.
At least that's what Meltzer noted in regard to the future Hall of Famer's deal with All Elite Wrestling:
After reporting that his contract was a short-lived one, he claimed the deal was actually for three years, but there may be a provision that serves as an early out. Whatever the case may be, there has been buzz dating back as far as the November 23 episode of Dynamite that Regal may, or may not, be headed back to WWE.
The event of the November 30 episode of Dynamite certainly did not help to temper speculation as MJF blasted Regal with his trademark Dynamite Diamond Ring, leaving the legendary competitor unconscious and to be stretchered out of the arena.
It felt very much like a write-off, as if Tony Khan and AEW were scripting Regal off the show for the foreseeable future.
If that is the case, and Regal is indeed done with AEW despite still having time left on his contract, it would be a change in stance from Khan, who has not yet allowed anyone to voluntarily allow anyone the opportunity to leave the company while still under a deal, something Meltzer places emphasis on.
The timing is interesting, though, given a peculiar Tweet by Triple H prior to last Saturday's Survivor Series: War Games premium live event:
Yes, Regal's growling utterance of "War Games" had become a staple of that match and was sorely missed, so he may have just been appeasing an audience that missed that element of the build to the show.
Or, he may have been sending a subliminal message.
Whatever the case may have been on the part of The Game, history dictates that where there is smoke, there is fire. Given his relationship with AEW, Meltzer probably would not have even suggested something was up without there being something to it. The angle Wednesday night only will only heighten speculation surrounding Regal's status with the promotion and fan the flames of a potential return to WWE.
Update on Booker T Returning to Squared Circle
Booker T has made the occasional return to the squared circle in recent years, including a 2020 match for his Houston-based Reality of Wrestling promotion, but there are no current plans for him to set foot back inside a WWE ring at this time, per Sapp for Fightful Select.
The 57-year-old last competed for the company in 2012, working a house show tag team match with Drew McIntyre against Christian and Mark Henry in Glasgow, Scotland. Since then, he has competed in five matches, four of which have been for Reality of Wrestling.
Booker is clearly still in fantastic shape and looks like he could go at a moment's notice. That doesn't mean he should, though.
The former world heavyweight champion has accomplished all that there is to in wrestling, breaking through the glass ceiling in 2000 to achieve the goal of winning the WCW world title in the main event of the infamous Bash at the Beach pay-per-view.
Why risk diminishing his reputation and legacy by way of a disappointing performance? There is, after all, a big difference between performing in one's own promotion and in front of millions watching on WWE TV.
If the opportunity arises for Booker to share the ring with some of the young competitors in NXT, maybe it's worth exploring, if only because the experience would be invaluable to someone like Grayson Waller.
If that's not the case, though, it is probably best for Booker to continue influencing the future of the product by staying alongside Vic Joseph at the commentary position and telling the stories of the next generation.
WWE Planning a Post-WrestleMania Draft?
Meltzer also reported there is still discussion backstage about a WWE draft occurring after WrestleMania 39 this spring.
Thus far, Triple H has been content to make do with the rosters as they are, but it makes sense that the new head of creative would want to situate them as he sees fit.
With the Royal Rumble and WrestleMania 39 approaching, it may not make sense to do that now and muddy the waters.
Holding the hotly anticipated event after the biggest show of the year, and reshuffling rosters in his vision, makes the most sense and would provide the company with that post-Mania spark it sometimes lacks.
More importantly, it would presumably freshen things up because there are only so many combinations of the same stars that one can promote before it grows stale, especially given the amount of television WWE produces on a monthly basis.