Backstage WWE Rumors: Latest on Kevin Owens, Eric Bischoff and More
The road to WWE's summertime spectacular, SummerSlam, is upon us, and the rumor mill is churning out reports on some of the higher-profile wrestlers and personalities under the company's umbrella.
Kevin Owens is in the midst of a breakout run, thanks to a pipebomb promo and a few stunners. It is the promo and the natural feel to it that landed him in this week's collection of backstage rumors.
Joining him? New SmackDown Executive Director Eric Bischoff and former universal and intercontinental champion Finn Balor.
What did industry insiders have to reveal about those two?
Find out now.
Kevin Owens Unscripted
Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated reported Kevin Owens has gone unscripted of late, instead working off bullet points for his recent promos.
Given the highly scripted nature of WWE, and the control freak that is Vince McMahon, Owens being given that much leeway is a testament to the trust the company has in him to get the point across while remaining true to his own character.
It is a shift in philosophy that should be allowed to permeate throughout the rest of the show.
The only way today's crop of Superstars will ever truly be over with audiences is to be allowed to express themselves in a way that is real, natural and unhindered by scripted words they would never say. Imagine a scenario where someone like Apollo Crews can freely express himself without having to force words handed to him by a creative writer fresh off the set of The Big Bang Theory.
Owens is a gifted talker and has repeatedly gotten subpar material over with the masses, so it is likely McMahon and Co. trust him to get the point over without needing it painstakingly laid out for him.
Hopefully, Owens' success drums up enough faith in the young stars of today's WWE to speak their minds while remaining on-point so that Raw and SmackDown feel a hell of a lot more fresh and engaging than the mindless, creatively-bankrupt nonsense that grew stale a long time ago.
Eric Bischoff Update
Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline.com reported Eric Bischoff was not at all involved in Tuesday's SmackDown Live, despite expectations that the post-Extreme Rules show would be his first night on the job.
Despite Bischoff's absence, the show still felt different from weeks past as new rivalries and Superstars were highlighted.
The question now is when Bischoff will finally assume his role as executive director of the blue brand, particularly since SummerSlam is so rapidly approaching.
Considering Kofi Kingston vs. Randy Orton appears poised to take place at the annual extravaganza, and Ember Moon vs. Bayley is already announced, it would appear as though he is best served to debut in the role sometime after SummerSlam.
After all, why would he jump in after the current crop of writers has already laid out the plans for the show leading into the event?
Bischoff uprooted his family and moved across the country, so he has a valid excuse for not taking the reigns of the brand to this point.
The waiting game, and the desire for a fresher product, will fuel speculation and excitement for his backstage debut. Until that happens, expect reports and rumors surrounding his status to run roughshod over the internet.
Finn Balor's Hiatus
Mike Johnson of PWInsider.com reported Finn Balor is back home in Ireland after Monday's attack by Bray Wyatt.
This comes on the heels of Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet's exclusive report that Balor had requested two months off to "recharge."
Balor has been one of the workhorses of WWE over the last two years, appearing on television and house shows, both domestically and internationally.
He has done media appearances in Europe and Asia to promote WWE events, too. The hectic road schedule and in-ring wear and tear almost assuredly has something to do with Balor's hiatus.
One has to assume his frustrating place on the card makes it easier to request said time.
Balor started his main roster run with a universal title victory over Seth Rollins at SummerSlam 2016. An injury sidelined him for months, and upon his return, he was never allowed to reach the same heights he did on that fateful August night three years ago.
Consistent midcard work, and the occasional flirtation with a high-profile program he ultimately loses has been par for the course. Had he been involved in something more significant, perhaps he would be more inclined to stick around.
As it is, it appears as though The Fiend's attack has written Balor off for the immediate future.