WWE Rumors: Buzz on Road to WWE Royal Rumble 2017 for Week of Jan. 19

Aaron Bower@@aaronbowerFeatured ColumnistJanuary 19, 2017

WWE Rumors: Buzz on Road to WWE Royal Rumble 2017 for Week of Jan. 19

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    Credit: WWE.com

    Whether it's a surprise appearance, a big return or a major storyline in the works, it seems that WWE fans have plenty to discuss right now as the biggest period of the company's year begins.

    With WWE Royal Rumble 2017 just a couple of weeks away on Jan. 29, plans are beginning to piece together for that event and WrestleMania 33 later in the year.

    This week's rumor roundup features a number of speculative stories dominating the internet that could offer a few hints as to what may be in store for WWE fans.

    In addition, there's a surprise note about one on-screen talent who isn't a wrestler, with the company perhaps casting one eye on the long-term future.

    Here are the latest WWE rumors.

Michael Cole Transitioning into Offscreen Role?

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    Regardless of what people think about him, Michael Cole has been one of the most pivotal parts of WWE's broadcast experience for the last two decades, but could that be about to change?

    PWInsider.com (h/t Marc Middleton of Lords of Pain) reported earlier this week that there's been talk recently about Cole's future on WWE TV, with the announcer apparently becoming interested in working in an off-camera role with the company.

    The report said there is no guarantee if or when Cole will move away from on-screen announcing, but it seems like a rumor that is growing in momentum.

    Cole has done a great job of holding up the announce teams for so long now. But with Nigel McGuinness, Corey Graves and Mauro Ranallo among the fresh, exciting talent WWE possesses when it comes to on-screen commentators, perhaps the time is right for Cole to move on.

    He would pass on a wealth of knowledge and help educate the next batch of commentators coming through the ranks.

Kurt Angle Reportedly Set for On-Screen Work with WWE

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    The news that Kurt Angle will be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame at WrestleMania this year immediately had WWE fans questioning whether the former star has an in-ring future with the company once again.

    After all, if any time of the year is right for stars to make their returns to the company, WrestleMania season is that time.

    And interestingly, rumors that have surfaced online this week suggest Angle could be set to work some on-screen segments with the company, even if his in-ring future isn't totally clear.

    Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats reported Angle is likely to get involved with some "on-screen stories" for WWE moving forward, which will please plenty of wrestling fans.

    Angle always seemed capable of having one more significant run with the company, and whether it's as an authority figure, a wrestler, a manager or a combination of them all, it would be great to see him back in a WWE ring.

Brock Lesnar's In-Ring Schedule

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    WWE fans are set to see more of Brock Lesnar following his destructive return to Raw on Monday night, but they may not see as much of him in the ring as they first thought.

    Ortman reported earlier this week that, despite him likely appearing on plenty of episodes of Raw between now and WrestleMania to hype the big show, in-ring appearances are unlikely.

    Instead, Lesnar is set to wrestle only at WrestleMania, ruling out a match at Fastlane, according to Ortman's report.

    Incidentally, that is still scheduled to be against Goldberg as the two giants wage war against one another once again.

    However, anyone looking to see Lesnar plug The Show of Shows by wrestling more than usual is going to be left disappointed.