Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on Kofi Kingston, Shane McMahon and More
As the WWE product heats up with the arrivals of Paul Heyman and Eric Bischoff to the creative team, some of the company's most prominent stars are making headlines for a variety of reasons.
WWE champion Kofi Kingston, Shane McMahon and Randy Orton are at the forefront of this week's backstage WWE rumors and reports, two of whom are dealing with injuries.
Dive deeper into those stories to find out what they mean for the men involved ahead of WWE's Extreme Rules pay-per-view Sunday night.
Kofi Kingston Injury Update
Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com reported Kofi Kingston was held off recent house shows and out of the ring on Tuesday's episode of SmackDown because of back issues. Johnson went on to clarify that Kingston is expected to compete at Sunday's Extreme Rules pay-per-view, where he will defend his WWE Championship against Samoa Joe.
It's no surprise Kingston is dealing with back issues seeing as how he has been carrying the WWE product on his back since February.
In all seriousness, an increased workload and wear and tear from continuous bumping will affect even the most durable and reliable performers. Kingston is no Superman, and back issues are to be expected.
Hopefully, the injury is no worse than that because Kingston is in the midst of one of the best-booked title reigns we have seen in years. Having to end it prematurely because of injury would be a massive disappointment.
Shane McMahon to Be Phased out of Storylines?
Paul Davis of WrestlingNews.co reported the latest chapter in the rivalry between Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon will result in the gradual removal of the prodigal son from storylines.
McMahon has been overexposed on television since late 2018, when he began a program with The Miz that saw him defeat The Hollywood A-Lister in every one of their matches. From there, he saw his television time increase exponentially and even picked up a high-profile win over Roman Reigns in Saudi Arabia.
His presence on television drew harsh criticism from fans, which was reflected in Owens' pipebomb-esque promo on Tuesday's episode of SmackDown Live.
Shane still clearly loves performing or he would not allow himself to be put in the position he is in. Unfortunately, the days of McMahon family members dominating storylines are over. Fans demand a better product involving the wealth of Superstars the company has amassed over the past half-decade.
It looks like they are on their way to getting what they want, if the report proves accurate and Owens can finally drive McMahon off-screen.
Randy Orton Update
Remember that time Randy Orton pinned Triple H clean in the center of the ring in Saudi Arabia and WWE did nothing to follow up on it?
Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com reported The Viper has been sidelined with a neck injury since that contest in June:
"Fightful Select has learned that Randy Orton has been dealing with somewhat of a neck injury, which was evaluated last week. Orton jammed up his neck against Black, and already had vacation time coming up. He was given an additional two weeks prior in order to rest up accordingly."
Orton still has significant name value, and given the lack of genuine stars in WWE, he remains a valuable asset to the company. With SummerSlam and Survivor Series coming up, his availability will be important to WWE's marketing and booking efforts.
Whether he appears primarily on Raw or SmackDown, though, is the real question. At least taking into consideration the wild-card rule and the muddied waters of the brand extension.