With the Road to WrestleMania heating up, and fans getting a closer view of the creative plans WWE has in store for them, the WWE rumor mill is working hard.
How long has the writing team been planning to make Charlotte Flair the hand-picked challenger of Vince McMahon to the women's title at WrestleMania?
Which championships, if any, might change hands and set up hotly anticipated rematches for the weeks and months to come?
How might Kevin Owens return to television when he is ready for the magical, mystical comeback?
These questions are answered in this week's roundup of WWE backstage rumors.
Charlotte Flair-WrestleMania Plans
Dave Meltzer reported on Wrestling Observer Live that Vince McMahon pushing Charlotte Flair into the main event of WrestleMania is not a new storyline development but, rather, has been the plan for quite some time.
Considering all signs originally pointed to Flair squaring off with Ronda Rousey, and Rowdy's treatment of Stephanie McMahon a year ago at The Showcase of the Immortals, it makes sense that the WWE chairman would recruit The Queen to try to end the Raw women's champion's winning streak much in the same way she did Asuka's.
The social media world erupted Monday after Raw, when McMahon announced it would be Flair vs. Rousey at the biggest event of the year and that 2019 Royal Rumble winner Becky Lynch would be suspended for 60 days, missing out on her opportunity to headline The Grandaddy of Them All.
Flair's involvement created a backlash from fans who wished to see Lynch battle Rousey in a singles bout. Though that pairing is an attractive match that could easily headline the spectacular, Flair has been as big a part of the story heading into WrestleMania 35 as anyone.
It was she who endured the wrath of Lynch upon The Man's heel turn last August. It was Flair who dug deep within herself and found a sadistic side at Survivor Series, battering Rousey and leaving the UFC Hall of Famer a beaten-down, marked mess. It was The Queen who continued to make Lynch's life a living hell.
There is sure to be criticism of Flair's involvement—suggestions she is only being entered into the match because of who her father is—but the fact of the matter is she has been an integral part of the story that has been told over the span of the last four months, and her placement in the main event is justified.
And it will likely lead to a better match because, like her or not, she is one of the best in-ring performers in the entire company.
Elimination Chamber PPV Plans
Randall Ortman of Cageside Seats reported there are no plans for any championship changes Sunday at Elimination Chamber—the crowning of the first women's tag team champions notwithstanding.
This should be of no real surprise to anyone as none of the title bouts look primed to feature a switch.
Ronda Rousey is not dropping her Raw Women's Championship to Ruby Riott, WWE champion Daniel Bryan has been too good to lose the title this early in his run, and Akira Tozawa feels like a placeholder challenger for cruiserweight champion Buddy Murphy rather than a genuine contender to dethrone him.
That leaves Finn Balor vs. Lio Rush and Bobby Lashley for the Intercontinental Championship in a Handicap match or The Usos challenging Shane McMahon and The Miz for the SmackDown Tag Team Championships that could feature title changes.
Like Bryan, Lashley is so early into his run that losing feels wrong, no matter how hot Balor has been of late.
McMahon and Miz will inevitably break up, leading to a WrestleMania match between the two of them. Though the event is on the horizon, it feels like the team is still in its honeymoon phase and breaking them up Sunday feels like a month too early.
So, with the exception of the women's tag titles, expect the same Superstars who entered with gold to leave with it and prove the report correct.
Kevin Owens Returning As....
Meltzer also reported on another edition of Wrestling Observer Live that Kevin Owens will return as a babyface when he comes back to WWE television this spring.
A turn for The Prizefighter would mark the first time in his WWE career that he has played a face role.
Owens had run his course as a heel, working against every major star available, almost excessively so. Factor in the idea fans will be so excited to have him back that they will likely greet his return with a thunderous ovation and you have the perfect storm.
KO could use a change of character, especially after the lackluster returns fans were forced to watch him through in 2018.
Will it help? Absolutely. Owens has a sharp wit and incredible personality that would help him immensely as a babyface. It will be up to WWE Creative not to let him stray too far off the path of common sense and character recognition.