Kevin Owens may have been fired by Shane McMahon on SmackDown Live this week, but it looks like the former world champion already knows where he wants to go next. Thanks to that $100,000 fine McMahon put on Owens for attacking Elias at SummerSlam, the former world champion had no choice but to serve as the referee for McMahon's King of the Ring tournament match against Chad Gable. Owens tried to help McMahon win with fast counts, but had to call for the bell when Gable forced McMahon to tap with an Ankle Lock. McMahon attacked Owens from behind out of frustration, then grabbed a microphone and told him he was fired.
Owens took to Twitter shortly after the show with a coded message: 14-24-20. Replace those numbers with their respective letters in the alphabet and you get N-X-T.
14-24-20— Kevin (@FightOwensFight) September 11, 2019
Fans seemed to love the idea of Owens going back to his old stomping grounds just in time for the brand's move to USA Network, which starts on Sept. 18.
This is a huge move if true.
Honestly Kevin Owens could greatly give a huge spotlight to thr NXT Divison and under Undisputed Era would be fantastic https://t.co/g3MMgZol9o— Tranqulio LIJ ADIAOS (@tysonarnold97) September 11, 2019
"Kevin Owens fired!?!? Would be a shame if he showed back up on #NXT said no one ever...." one fan wrote, editing Owens into a group photo of the Undisputed Era.
If WWE/NXT is going to counter AEW with a Kevin Owens-Adam Cole feud, then good luck to AEW https://t.co/tOyMmjZtnC— Ben Axelrod (@BenAxelrod) September 11, 2019
After a lengthy career on the independent scene, Owens finally made his way to WWE via NXT back in late 2014. In one night he immediately inserted himself into the NXT Championship picture, as he attacked Sami Zayn moments after he'd won the title at NXT TakeOver: R Evolution. He quickly goaded Zayn into a match for the championship, then won via referee stoppage at NXT TakeOver: Rival in February 2015. He'd use his dominant championship reign to propel him up to the main roster, as he made his Raw debut while still champion and knocked out John Cena with a surprise Pop-Up Powerbomb. He then split time between the main roster and NXT, with his final match for the latter brand being a ladder match against Finn Balor at the first NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn.
NXT's live episode on USA already has a stacked lineup, including an NXT North American Championship match between Velveteen Dream and Roderick Strong and Matt Riddle vs. Killian Dain in a Street Fight.