This week’s episode of Monday Night Raw saw Bobby Lashley turn heel with the help of his new manager, Lio Rush, as he continued attacking the defeated Kevin Owens even after their match ended. Although this appeared to be little more than a double-turn meant to establish Owens as a heroic character for the first time in his WWE career, a new report suggests that WWE had Lashley attack “KO” after their match for another reason — to write Owens off television so he could undergo knee surgery.
On Tuesday, John Pollock of Post Wrestling was first to report that the ostensible double-turn angle featuring Lashley and Owens was WWE’s way of justifying the latter’s absence while he undergoes knee surgery. While Pollock’s sources believe that Owens is not suffering from a major injury, he added that there’s also a chance the injury could actually be a serious one, which could require the 34-year-old Monday Night Raw mainstay to sit out for a longer period of time while he recovers.
Separately, WrestlingNews.co wrote that it had independently confirmed Kevin Owens’ injury with an unnamed WWE source, but added that it remains unclear how much time he may have to miss. The publication noted how WWE’s website seemed to mix real-life and storyline elements in its report on the injury, which succinctly described how Lashley attacked Owens post-match and confirmed that the latter “sustained injuries to both knees” and will be undergoing “further evaluation [on Tuesday] to determine the full extent of the damage.”
Regarding the belief that the Lashley/Owens angle on Monday Night Raw represented a double-turn for both men, Post Wrestling wrote that Owens got a strong babyface reaction from the live audience at the Allstate Arena in Chicago. However, the publication added that it remains unsure if WWE will indeed be booking him as a heroic character upon his return, or if the company will continue booking him in his usual villainous role.
As noted by Ringside News, it isn’t unusual for WWE to book angles where attacks on a wrestler focus on a body part that requires surgery. As an example, the publication mentioned the instance when Roman Reigns launched a similar attack on Braun Strowman’s elbow in 2017, right before Strowman underwent elbow surgery and missed several weeks of television. However, Ringside News also cited a recent comment from Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, where the longtime wrestling journalist suggested that Kevin Owens’ injury had “all the classic signs” of being purely storyline-related.