Kevin Owens, the former Kevin Steen, made his debut in NXT almost exactly 6 months ago. His character’s gimmick is that he’s a prize fighter. He wrestles, to make lots of money for his family. He’s a prick and a bully who backs up his words with violence. He brutally won the NXT title from longtime rival Sami Zayn almost immediately after his debut and cemented himself as one of the top heels in the company.
Flash forward to the middle of May. On an episode of Raw, John Cena issued his weekly open challenge for his United States Championship and Kevin Owens answered the call with his NXT belt in hand. Most fans’ first thought was that Owens would be fed to Cena right off the bat. Instead, Owens went toe to toe with Cena on the microphone and a pay per view match was signed for Elimination Chamber at the end of May. Off screen, Owens was officially signed to the main WWE roster and a buzz started to grow. He was immediately placed into a high-profile feud with one of the WWE’s biggest stars, while still being the top champion of the NXT brand. Kevin Owens is awfully busy.
At the Elimination Chamber show after a fantastic match, Kevin Owens beat John Cena clean in the middle of the ring. Nobody expected this result to happen in Owens’ first match. After the pinfall they cut to members of the live audience looking stunned and shocked, and honestly, my face looked pretty similar. WWE just doesn’t book John Cena to lose matches like this. Kids would be devastated. John Cena merchandise might stop selling. The world might stop turning. Yet here we were, with a victorious Kevin Owens having his hand raised. The story of the match was that Owens overpowered Cena, beat him up and won fair and square. Usually when Cena has to lose a match it is through some kind of controversy and shenanigans. In Owens’ first WWE match, he joins the ranks of the other couple of guys who have beaten John Cena clean such as Brock Lesnar and The Rock. The WWE is very high on Owens, and having him beat John Cena was one of the biggest things they could have done to skyrocket his character.
Owens takes flight before defeating John Cena.
Cena and Owens were signed for a rematch at Money in the Bank, which took place on Sunday. These two pulled out all of the stops to top their previous affair, like so:
John Cena doesn’t do this every night.
After another great match, John Cena pulled out the victory and got his revenge. I guess you could be disappointed in Owens losing his second pay per view match, but I’m looking at the big picture. Cena and Owens are tied, 1 and 1. We’re getting a rubber match at some point and obviously I’m hoping Kevin Owens comes out on top.
After this match, Kevin Owens made it to his feet and powerbombed John Cena on the apron.
Owens leaves on his own feet while John Cena gets tended to by the referees. Younger kids have got to hate this guy the same way I hated Triple H and Vince McMahon when I was a kid.
The next night on Raw, John Cena actually sold his injuries and didn’t make an appearance. Kevin Owens did though, and crashed the party of Machine Gun Kelly performing live that night:
Raw took place in Cleveland, Ohio, Machine Gun Kelly’s hometown. To the live crowd he came off as a big dumb bad guy, but to Kevin Owens’ fan base he looked like a hero for shutting down MGK’s act. MGK actually played John Cena out to the ring at Wrestlemania 28 for his match against The Rock, so I wonder if they’ll somehow tie that in to their feud. Cena and MGK are both white rappers, you see.
Someone chimed in that night with their thoughts about KO’s despicable act:
When you’ve upset Sabrina, you’re doing your job as a heel. I’d go so far as to say that he’s doing such a good job as a heel right now, his inevitable babyface turn in the future will be huge.
Currently, Kevin Owens is my favorite active wrestler. His theme song rules, he puts on excellent and compelling matches and can cut a good promo. He’s one of the few characters that make me put down my phone and actively pay attention to what is happening when his music hits. I’ve been a fan of Kevin’s since he was on the indie circuit and it’s crazy to think of how far he has come in just a year. I’m very glad Owens is joining the ranks of Seth Rollins and Bray Wyatt for building the future of the WWE.
They’re doing something right with Kevin Owens. Being a wrestling fan on the internet makes me pessimistic enough to think they’re going to screw it up eventually, but either way, I’ll be watching.
by Nathan Dean Dimit (@ndimit)