After one of the Performance Center trainees tested positive for COVID-19, WWE had to shake up its taping schedule this week by canceling all of its plans for Tuesday and taping a boatload of shows on Wednesday. But according to both Fightful and the Wrestling Observer, Kevin Owens opted out of the taping and will miss next week's Raw as a result. WWE was reportedly fine with Owens' decision, but it's unclear if he'll the next round of Raw tapings on Monday (where two episodes will be recorded).
After popping up at NXT TakeOver: WarGames last November, Owens turned his full attention back towards Raw and kicked off a feud with a now-heel Seth Rollins, which culminated in Owens beating the "Monday Night Messiah" at WrestleMania 36 after diving off the WrestleMania sign. He then took some time off to heal from an injury and be with family and recently returned to television for a storyline involving Angel Garza and United States Champion Apollo Crews.
Between travel restrictions keeping certain overseas wrestlers from returning to the United States and certain wrestlers opting out of tapings since the start of the pandemic, WWE has been forced to change up plans frequently over the past few months. Roman Reigns backed out of a WWE Universal Championship match with Goldberg at WrestleMania and was quickly replaced by Braun Strowman (who has held onto the Universal title ever since). Sami Zayn has been gone from WWE television since Mania was eventually stripped of the Intercontinental Championship, which AJ Styles won this past Friday.
Meanwhile down in NXT the inability to travel has kept then-champions Pete Dunne and Jordan Devlin from flying overseas to defend their respective titles. Imperium and Santos Escobar now hold their respective tag team and cruiserweight championships.
"The NXT Title is the top title on NXT and just the way that NXT handles itself and the way people view NXT I think that title is just as prestigious as the WWE one, the Universal one. If I were given a chance — like if tomorrow they came tome and they said 'you're going back to NXT, but you're going to be competing for the NXT Title' — first of all, if they came to me and said 'you're going back to NXT' without the NXT Title part I'd be 'Okay.' But if the NXT Title was on the line as well I would jump on that offer," Owens said while on The Bump.