WWE officials originally had plans for Daniel Bryan to wrestle WWE Champion Kofi Kingston at the May 19 Money In the Bank pay-per-view, according to Dave Meltzer on Wrestling Observer Radio. This would have been the rematch for their WrestleMania 35 title change, but as we’ve noted, Bryan suffered some sort of injury at WrestleMania and the nature of the injury is being closely guarded by the company.
There’s no word on when Bryan might be back in the ring or if they will pick back up on the Bryan vs. Kofi storyline, but Bryan’s injury is the why they turned Kevin Owens heel on SmackDown this week. As noted, Owens turned on Kofi and Xavier Woods after spending a week as an honorary member of The New Day due to Big E’s injury. The quick turn by Owens surprised a lot of fans, but Meltzer noted that WWE decided on the Owens heel turn a few days after WrestleMania 35 when Bryan was put on the shelf.
WWE went with Owens vs. Kofi after considering Randy Orton and Rowan, according to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. They also talked about bringing Drew McIntyre or Baron Corbin from RAW to feud with Kofi, or have WWE United States Champion Samoa Joe stay on the blue brand for the feud. They ultimately went with Owens.
WWE aired babyfaces vignettes for Owens that featured his son back in February and the plan was for Owens to return to work as a babyface, not for him to return and then turn heel. The original plan was for Owens to return as a “guy next door” who ate junk food, had the same problems as everyone else, and had kids, but could beat people up, according to the Observer. Owens was even given the Stone Cold Stunner as a finisher to help with the babyface gimmick. It was noted that WWE tested the Stunner out with RAW & SmackDown Women’s Champion Becky Lynch at live events, before giving it to Owens.
Source: Wrestling Observer Newsletter
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