Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn Punished and the 5 Most Controversial Stories of the Week
WWE was a whirlwind of controversy both in and out of the ring this past week as on-the-fly changes and disciplinary actions caused minute-by-minute shifts to the Nov. 19 Survivor Series pay-per-view.
After the well-received airing of ESPN's Nature Boy documentary, the drama surrounding WWE's 2017 tour of Europe could qualify as a 30 for 30 movie in and of itself.
SmackDown stars Jinder Mahal, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn seem to have gone from the penthouse to the outhouse in one way or another, but the only way to be sure what's going on is to stay tuned to whatever zany story breaks next.
Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn Sent Home from WWE's European Tour
Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens, initially aligned as a superteam to revitalize Zayn's career, were reportedly sent home from WWE's European tour for disciplinary reasons, per Mike Johnson of PWInsider.
Owens and Zayn were said to have gone into business for themselves during an in-ring segment with The New Day, which could be a result of anything from ego to simple miscommunication.
With little to report after their sudden dismissal, the statuses of both Zayn and Owens are up in the air.
While it would be a shock if WWE released the tandem, it is becoming increasingly difficult to be surprised by anything as 2017 roars to a close.
AJ Styles Defeats Jinder Mahal for WWE Championship on SmackDown Live
AJ Styles made history by defeating Jinder Mahal on SmackDown Live on Tuesday night. With his victory, Styles became the first WWE Superstar to win the WWE Championship on SmackDown Live since 2003 while also becoming the first man to win the title outside of North America.
The victory came out of nowhere and was part of a litany of changes to a malleable Survivor Series card that was originally scheduled to pit Mahal vs. Brock Lesnar with John Cena as a special guest referee, per Dave Meltzer (h/t Wrestling Inc).
Styles will now take on Lesnar at Survivor Series, while Cena is set to join Team SmackDown on the PPV. Mahal is the odd man out, with no plans for the show.
With Mahal vehement on social media that he will regain his crown and WWE's tour of India on the horizon, it's tough to imagine a situation where Mahal does not win the WWE Championship for the second time.
Chris Jericho to Take on Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12
Chris Jericho kick-started one of the more shocking news cycles of the year when he surprisingly challenged Kenny Omega to a match at New Japan Pro-Wrestling's Wrestle Kingdom 12.
The Renaissance man continues to reinvent himself and surprise in different ways as this will be his first match outside of WWE since debuting for the promotion in 1999.
Jericho and Omega had seemingly lighthearted banter on Twitter before their social media feud exploded into perhaps the most anticipated matchup of 2018.
There is said to be no friction between Jericho and WWE, per the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (h/t Wrestling Inc), as Jericho could return to the promotion as soon as the 25th anniversary of Raw.
Even at age 47, Jericho is shaping up to be the most talked-about wrestler of the new year.
Hulk Hogan Reportedly on the Comeback Trail to WWE
Straight from the "Hulkamania will not die" department, WWE officials have reportedly considered a return for the controversial WWE Hall of Famer, per Meltzer (h/t Wrestling Inc).
With the Raw 25th anniversary coming up, Hogan's presence would be fitting for what will be a WWE homecoming, although Raw's debut somewhat coincided with Hogan's departure for WCW.
Hogan has shown remorse for his otherwise egregious racial slurs against African-Americans. While these comments cannot be condoned, WWE's continued struggles with racial relations go far beyond a Hulk Hogan rant.
WWE perplexingly decided to hop in bed with the legacy of The Ultimate Warrior, a hatemonger per many accounts (including Kevin Pang of the AV Club), shortly after his death as his likeness is used to promote charitable efforts toward breast cancer.
While it's not fair to compare whose hateful tendencies are more sinister, Hogan's ability to show remorse and growth make him a candidate to once again rejoin WWE.
The New Day vs. The Shield All but Academic for Survivor Series
The New Day once again invaded Raw, costing The Shield its WWE Tag Team Championships. With Roman Reigns set to return Monday night in Atlanta, a Shield challenge of SmackDown Live's entertaining trio appears to be inevitable.
The New Day vs. The Shield has all the ingredients of a dream match as both groups are loaded with talent. The contrast in styles also makes for a compelling in-ring feud as The New Day's comedic disposition is a great foil for The Shield's all-business demeanor.
It'll be worth watching which faction is victorious at WWE Survivor Series, and with so little time to build such a big match, it would be disappointing if Survivor Series becomes the first and only time the match ever happens.