We’ll long be talking about the ramifications of this week on WWE storytelling, and rumors & reports about what was decided when have already started to spread.
The injuries suffered by Becky Lynch on Monday’s Raw forced the company to audible on one of the biggest matches scheduled for Survivor Series, moving Charlotte Flair to replace the red-hot Lynch as Ronda Rousey’s opponent in Los Angeles this Sunday. On the same show where that change was made, Daniel Bryan not only beat AJ Styles to win the WWE title and take AJ’s place in a showdown with Brock Lesnar on the pay-per-view (PPV), but he turned heel in the process.
A lot of us assumed the changes in the men’s title vs. title match were more ripples from the change in the women’s one. According to the latest Wrestling Observer Radio (subscription required but recommended), one of them might have been... but maybe not the one you think.
The decision to put the belt on Bryan and therefore change one of Survivor Series’ biggest matches (and allegedly one of only a handful that Lesnar is contracted for) came over the weekend - prior to Lynch’s injury.
DB has apparently been advocating a heel turn for his character for longer, and Vince McMahon gave him the greenlight for that yesterday afternoon - so if a change happened as a result of Nia Jax’s face-breaking right hand, it was making Bryan a bad guy for the first time since 2012 (or 2014, if you count his brief time in the Wyatt Family).
Dave Meltzer says he doesn’t know why either decision was made, but speculated:
“Vince decided to do it all at once, let’s shake things up, maybe the big audience drop... you know, who knows what makes Vince make these moves? Maybe it was Becky Lynch being hurt? It’s like, ‘Well make a big move today that everybody talks about’.”
Reading McMahon’s mind is a tricky business, but it’s a game a lot of us love playing. Let us know how these reports factor into your mind-reading, along with whether you think his latest “big move” worked and where you think we go from here, in the comments below.