We now enter the era of the Kevin Owens Show, and it would seem that most fans couldn’t be happier. There have been a lot of surprise twists lately, so Kevin Owens winning the WWE Universal Championship didn’t exactly make me spit out my beer, but it was almost a feeling of relief. I was overcome with the sensation that things were going to get pretty entertaining, and it would seem that my intuition wasn’t wrong.
There has not yet been any sort of public statement made by Triple H explaining his actions, but the fact that he was always pretty high on Kevin Owens was mentioned by Seth Rollins. I wouldn’t go as far to say that Kevin’s hand was held the whole way, but he did get a big old ACME rocket strapped to his back. Owens very quickly became NXT champion, was soon after brought up to the main roster, and holds the distinction of being one of the two men to participate on every payperview event in his first year. That other man was The Undertaker. An interesting statistic, considering that meant only four annual events when Taker debuted, compared to the dozen or so events that are held now.
A lot of people might wonder what the difference is between Kevin Owens’ rise to the top and Roman Reigns’. Both were given a lot of opportunities early on, but the fans rejected one being shoved down their throats and not the other. A simple answer to this is that Owens is simply more talented. All around in every which way, Owens is a superior superstar, except for one. KO doesn’t have the WWE look. He doesn’t fit the mold. This is partly what makes Owens an underdog, at least subconsciously, in the eyes of fans. On the surface, he looks like a guy who might work a backhoe on a construction site. He’s not tall enough to really be considered a big man; he doesn’t have much in the way of muscle tone; no interesting facial features; a respectable gut; and on top of that, he wrestles in shorts and a sleeveless tee. He’s everything that isn’t the WWE model superstar. And that’s why...
He’s the total package, everything that Lex Luger tried to be and more. He can work the mic with the best of them. He’s a powerhouse while being as nimble as a cruiserweight. And I hate to say I told you so, but last week, I kinda called it. On the subject of Daniel Bryan and the Miz, I talked about the advantages of being built like a dishwasher like Kevin Owens. He’s not as prone to injury as a guy like Bryan or even Finn Balor. Durability. That’s what you need in a champion. That, combined with that everyman look and a heel edge will consistently have the fans on your side. Kevin Owens simply does not LOOK like a guy who was coddled and primped to be the face of the company; but in a backwards way, that’s why he’s ideal for it. The same way Stone Cold Steve Austin was a generic looking, beer drinking, blue collar symbol who hated his boss.
More accurately, Kevin Owens winning the title the way he did, with outside interference, was akin to that legendary moment when Mick Foley won the title. That moment that Tony Schiavone notoriously and sarcastically spoiled that would, “put butts in the seats.”
Much like Mick, Owens is brutal in the ring and comical outside of it. The combination of Chris Jericho with Kevin Owens and their sudden best-friendship is comedy gold. The best champions were guys who could make you laugh, from Ric Flair to Randy Savage, to the Rock and Austin. Additionally, Mick Foley was both comical and an unsuspecting main eventer. A beautiful monster.
Mick Foley’s Mankind was the unsightly, resilient punching bag of the WWE who would now hold the vacated Universal Championship on the outside of the ring during last week’s four way title match. Kevin Owens would point to Foley and deliver an elbow from the ring apron to the outside and onto Big Cass. Foley’s signature move. Nearby, Mick gives Owens his “Bang! Bang!” to accept the homage. This could have been just a simple, funny moment. But it was also a dramatic tool rarely seen in a wrestling match: foreshadowing.
Mick Foley gave Kevin Owens his blessing to have his own Mankind moment. The schlubby guy who doesn’t have the pretty, bodybuilder image. The sympathetic everyman for a new era. And considering the warm reception that Kevin Owens received from the WWE Universe upon winning their Universal championship, with a look of shock on his mug, the Kevin Owens Show is sure to put plenty of butts in the seats.