Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on Daniel Bryan's Heel Turn, Nia Jax Heat and MoreNovember 14, 2018
WWE presents Survivor Series live from Staples Center in Los Angeles this Sunday night, and the card is full of inter-promotional dream matches fans only get to see on occasion in this era of its brand extension.
Ahead of that show, and with several events occurring that forced changes to the card, let's visit this week's WWE rumor mill and find out everything that led to the explosive week in WWE television and how it may affect the programming going forward.
Daniel Bryan Heel Turn and WWE Title Win News
Tuesday's episode of WWE SmackDown Live saw Daniel Bryan defeat AJ Styles to end his year-plus long WWE Championship reign. It also saw a heel turn for The Beard, and Dave Meltzer from Wrestling Observer Radio broke news regarding the abrupt booking decision.
Meltzer reported Bryan had been pitching the idea of a heel turn for weeks. The Becky Lynch injury expedited that on Tuesday, even though the title change had been decided sometime over the weekend.
The decision to hotshot the heel turn paid off in that the injury to Lynch and her withdrawal from her scheduled Survivor Series match against Ronda Rousey could have been a major downer for the brand, particularly given how hot Lynch has been.
Turning Bryan heel and giving him the title ended the show in jaw-dropping fashion and built excitement not only for Sunday's pay-per-view but also the eventual explanation of his actions.
Whether fans are willing to boo Bryan as desired, or if his character becomes a mirror image of Lynch, who fans embraced despite her heel turn, is a question that bears watching in the first few weeks of the new champion's journey.
Heat on Nia Jax
Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com reported Nia Jax has heat on her following the hard right hand that broke Lynch's nose and gave her a concussion Monday on Raw.
The result of her strike on The Irish Lass Kicker?
The hottest star in WWE was taken out of her Survivor Series bout with Rousey which necessitated a change to the card just five days before it was slated to hit the WWE Network.
It is easy to assign blame to Jax for the injury, but in the heat of the moment—when intensity is at a high and everyone is trying to make the hugely important segment look good for the television cameras—it was likely an accident.
With that said, Jax has had issues in the past with sloppiness, particularly a moment in which she dropped to the wrong knee while executing a backbreaker on Asuka, nearly hurting The Empress of Tomorrow in the process.
Shoring up her work will prevent accidents like that from happening and spare her the type of heat she currently has on her.
Shinsuke Nakamura Update
On Sunday night, United States champion Shinsuke Nakamura will represent SmackDown Live against Raw's intercontinental champion Seth Rollins in a dream match of sorts.
Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats noted advertising for next spring's European tour suggests Nakamura will be sticking with the company when his contract runs out.
This is a welcome report in that, for as long as he has been on the main roster at this point, it still feels as though WWE Creative has not even scratched the surface with what Nakamura is capable of.
Yes, the language barrier is probably holding him back from achieving sustained greatness as a main event star, but The King of Strong Style has such natural charisma about him that he does not have to say much to connect with audiences.
Yet here he is, struggling to remain relevant despite being an internationally recognized star with fans across the globe.
His match with Rollins at Survivor Series is his first opportunity since his series with AJ Styles to show a skeptical WWE audience what the big deal is with Nakamura. Hopefully, he can silence critics, turn in that one performance fans know he is capable of and begin rewriting his WWE legacy.