…If you thought Kane’s surprise return was out of left field, a viral Meningitis outbreak just changed TLC’s Main Event: WWE Hall of Famer Kurt Angle will step into a WWE Ring for the first time in 11 Years.
Angle will join Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose, replacing Roman Reigns. When I first heard the news I assumed he violated the Wellness Policy again (LOL!). Turns out the reason is much more serious: There is a viral outbreak of Meningitis in the RAW locker room. Reigns was showing the sympthoms so he was pulled from the match.
Angle replacing Reigns is BRILLIANT since he already was involved in a feud with The Miz leading up to TLC. Kane’s surprise return on RAW is expected to be short since Glenn Jacobs–the man who plays Kane in WWE–is running for mayor in his hometown.
His return is being treated as a one-off and likely could be his last WWE run should he win the election. According to the latest polls, he is the favorite to win.
Speaking of one-offs:
Smackdown’s AJ Styles will replace Bray Wyatt and face “The Demon King” Finn Balor at TLC on Sunday. This will be a one-off matchup but one many have been looking forward to seeing for some time now: Styles and Balor were both part of The Bullet Club in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) along with Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson. So, yeah there is history.
Bray Wyatt’s real-life brother Bo Dallas has been out for the last few weeks. According to the latest reports, both Bray and his girlfriend have come down with Meningitis. WWE is obviously taking the outbreak very seriously and it’s probably another reason why they both granted Nia Jax a Personal Leave of Absence and booked Alicia Fox vs. Sasha Banks. One can’t help but wonder if WWE was trying to head things off in case more talent got taken down due to illness.
In the shadow of TLC is an intriguing Champion vs. Champion match being set up for Survivor Series involving RAW’s Brock Lesnar and Smackdown’s Jinder Mahal. Obviously this will be a non-title match but you can’t help but ask certain questions. LOL.
Come on, we all know WWE was just waiting for the crowd to get behind Reigns again. It took Reigns being put over by John Cena at No Mercy last week but now things are set and primed. In comparison, Dean Ambrose and Seth Rollins had a more straightforward path to this point:
- Dean Ambrose was the only one of the three who remained a babyface after The Shield split up back in 2014. He is also the only one of the three who didn’t miss time de to injury (Rollins) or suspension (Reigns). Ambrose teamed with Reigns at first during their feud with Rollins and The Authority through the rest of 2014 before he went solo. He would be involved in the Ladder Match at Wrestlemania 31 (which Daniel Bryan won) for the Intercontinental Championship but would win the title himself later that year. Ambrose would win the Money in the Bank briefcase and cash it in on the same night to become the WWE Champion. He would retain the title before being sent to Smackdown after the brand split later that year. Ambrose, alongside AJ Styles would carry the Blue Brand untii Ambrose was sent to RAW with the Intercontinental Championship earlier this year. Ambrose recently made up with Seth Rollins and the two are now the current RAW Tag Team Champions.
- Seth Rollins Heel turned after he turned on Ambrose and Rollins, He became the first superstar to be WWE Champion and U.S. Champion at the same time after beating John Cena for the latter title in 2015. He would later defend both championships in the same night a month later, also a first. Rollins was forced to vacate the WWE Championship after suffering a devastating knee injury that sidelined him for 9 months. When he came back, his benefactor–Triple H–turned on him and gave the new Universal Championship to Kevin Owens. This also marked the beginnig of his Face Turn. Brock Lesnar winning the Universal Tile effectively took him out of the title picture for the forseeable future. So, WWE piulled the trigger on having him make amends with Ambrose. The two are now the current RAW Tag Team Champions.
…As of this week’s episode of RAW, The Shield is officially back together. All 3 men became WWE Champions after they split. Reigns won gold 3 times, Rollins twice and Ambrose twice, having quite the impressive run on Smackdown Live. On one night, all 3 of them was the WWE Champion: Reigns went in Champion, Rollins won the title and then Ambrose won the title from Rollins by cashing in the Money in the Bank briefcase. It was quite the night!
We know the reformed Shield will have their sights set on The Miz, Sheamus and Cesaro going into TLC. Beyond that, we could see The more experienced Shield cut a path of destruction through the RAW roster leading into the Royal Rumble.