That’s all Kevin Owens tweeted last night after SmackDown. And in doing so, he lit the wrestling world on fire.
Owens was “fired” by Shane McMahon on last night’s episode. McMahon inserted himself into the King of the Ring semifinals against Chad Gable, essentially kicking Elias out of the tournament. Owens was picked as the special referee.
Earlier in the show, Owens and McMahon crossed paths in a backstage segment. McMahon had fined Owens $100,000 on a previous episode and McMahon said that he had an idea to make Owens’ fine go away instantly. He handed Owens a referee shirt and said, “if all went well,” his fine would be voided.
In the main event, McMahon charged Gable quickly but Gable hit him with a quick german suplex and a pin to win in less than a minute. Shane took the mic and said that the match was now a best-of-three falls match.
About eight minutes later, Gable locked an Ankle Lock on Shane and won the match via tapout.
After the match, Owens told Shane that he did everything he could, and began to leave the ring when Shane attacked him from behind and announced that Owens was fired.
Moments later, Owens tweeted those three numbers, which in the alphabet aligns with N-X-T.
NXT is moving to USA Network beginning next week (Sept. 18), and will go head-to-head with AEW‘s debuting show on TNT starting on Oct. 2. There have been rumblings that WWE would try to ramp up the NXT roster to compete against AEW, and Owens “firing” could be a way for him to transition to the NXT roster.
Owens would be a great fit for NXT. He’s been prominently featured on SmackDown for several months, but going to the NXT brand, assuming it doesn’t come with a pay cut, might be a wrestler’s dream. Owens lives in Florida, where NXT will continue to shoot television every week, and the brand doesn’t have anywhere near the same grueling road schedule the RAW and SmackDown rosters have to deal with.
At the same time, it gives NXT a legitimate star to feud with a budding talent roster.
Owens is also one of the talent’s in WWE that AEW fans will likely want to see. Owens was an indie wrestling darling when he was coming up through ROH and he was hugely popular as a heel in NXT, including his run as NXT champion. The softer schedule could also mean that Owens can wrestle a more aggressive style, which made him popular earlier in his career.
Moving Roman Reigns to NXT isn’t going to pull viewers away from AEW. The AEW crowd doesn’t care about Roman Reigns. But Kevin Owens? Especially a recharged and more ruthless Kevin Owens? That’s someone who could split the Wednesday night wrestling audience.