Bleacher Report catches you up on the latest news from the WWE Universe.
Reported Plan for Royal Rumble Matches
With Raw, SmackDown and NXT now being presented on equal footing, it could have a major impact on this year's Royal Rumble pay-per-view.
According to Bryan Alvarez of Wrestling Observer Live (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Marc Middleton), WWE is planning to equally split the men's and women's Royal Rumble matches with 10 Superstars from Raw, 10 from SmackDown and 10 from NXT in each match.
Over the past couple of years, NXT Superstars have appeared in the Rumble as surprise entrants. While they were never expected to win, many acquitted themselves well and were introduced to a wider audience in a positive way.
Survivor Series helped establish the fact that NXT is on par with Raw and SmackDown since it won four matches, which was the most of any brand. To continue with that theme, having an NXT star win the men's or women's Rumble would further boost the brand's credibility.
The men's Rumble has some clear front-runners such as Roman Reigns, Daniel Bryan and Kevin Owens, but the women's Rumble is far more wide open. After she beat Becky Lynch and Bayley in a Triple Threat match, NXT women's champion Shayna Baszler may be the odds-on favorite.
WWE arguably has a deeper and more talented roster than ever before, so allowing wrestlers from all three brands to shine in the Rumble match could go a long way toward showcasing the impressive roster at a high level.
Rollins vs. Owens Reportedly Not Happening at TLC
Despite the fact that their rivalry reached the next level on Monday's episode of Raw, Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens reportedly won't have a match at TLC.
According to Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer Radio (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Raj Giri), Rollins vs. Owens was originally scheduled to happen at TLC, but that is no longer the case. Meltzer noted that Rollins suffering a broken pinky finger at a live event last week may have played a role in the decision.
Rollins was wearing a wrap on his pinky Monday, and it reportedly led to the cancellation of a scheduled match against Cedric Alexander on Raw.
Instead, Rollins revealed that he was working with AOP, and the trio proceeded to beat down Owens. Rollins then cut a scathing promo in which he called out the fans for not appreciating everything he did for them previously.
Rollins vs. KO is a feud that likely has no shortage of staying power, and since both Superstars are contenders to win the Royal Rumble, their rivalry figures to be a key storyline in the match.
If neither of them wins, it is also possible that their program could stretch all the way to WrestleMania and culminate with a match on the Grandest Stage of Them All.
Regardless of when the feud ends, the fact that they aren't wrestling at TLC could be a blessing in disguise in terms of allowing the storyline to play out over a longer period of time.
Styles vs. Orton Reportedly Set for TLC
While Rollins vs. Owens may not be in the cards for TLC, AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton reportedly will happen on Sunday.
Per Meltzer (h/t Giri), Styles and Orton are expected to clash at TLC after WWE ran an angle between them to close Raw. As of now, the match as yet to be announced.
Styles closed Raw in a United States Championship match against Rey Mysterio, and just when it looked like Styles was about to potentially recapture the title, Orton slithered into the ring to distract him.
That allowed Mysterio to catch The Phenomenal One in a small package to retain the U.S. title. Orton also played a role in Mysterio winning the championship two weeks earlier as payback for The OC costing him a title shot.
Orton and Styles faced off at WrestleMania earlier this year, but the roles were reversed since Orton was the face and Styles was the heel.
The Viper isn't a traditional face by any means, but fans love what he is doing currently and are always on the lookout for his RKO out of nowhere.
It can be argued that the TLC card leaves something to be desired as curiously constructed, but Styles and Orton have the ability to put on a killer match and could steal the show if given the opportunity.
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