Mark for War: Owen You Nothing
After years of hard work in the indie scene, Kevin Owens debuted on Raw this week (which is the reason I’m avoiding talking about the mediocre Payback PPV). Unlike the majority of NXT stars that appear on Raw for the first time, Owens didn’t get a three-minute match mid-program. WWE rolled out the red carpet for Owens and had him bust up a Cena promo. It wasn’t exactly Jericho interrupting The Rock in ’99, but it was enough to send minor shockwaves through the wrestling world.
Is an immediate big push in order for Owens? I’d say no. The Cena segment came across as a tease to me. They’re hinting at a later conflict, with gradual run-ins leading up to it. The obvious thing would be to have Owens eventually be the one to take Cena’s US Title. I initially thought that was meant for Daniel Bryan with a unification match later this year, but sadly who knows what the immediate future holds for DB.
Kevin Owens (or Kevin Steen) is a wrestler I’ve watched for years (as I’m sure many of you have). I make a consistent point of saying on here that I dislike when mainstream superstars have any sort of an indie look. I don’t like guys wrestling in t-shirts and gym shorts. Owens has always been this sort of a guy. What sucks is that Owens is much more talented in the ring than the average indie star that embraces said look. He’s technical. He’s calculated. And although he CAN brawl, he’s on the workhorse level of guys like Bryan or Rollins. He’s easily comparable to a guy like Bray Wyatt, both in the ring, and obviously look-wise. They actually look TOO similar, which will ultimately hurt Owens. If you compare Owens to Wyatt straight up, Wyatt easily gets the rub. Owens may be better in the ring (though not by much), but Wyatt’s mic skills combined with his character are untouchable. I’m fairly confident in saying I know what the essence of Owens’ character will be his whole career: an in-control badass who writes checks his ass can cash. Basically, a hybrid of a Triple H/Steve Austin. Long story short, nothing we haven’t seen before.
WWE has already done some slight modifications on the indie Owens we knew and loved.
Owens is from Canada. Honestly, you wouldn’t have been able to tell that from his promos in the indies. You can tell know that WWE is telling Owens to lean in to his accent. It makes sense, because Owens is set to be the flagship Canadian superstar. WWE has always loved Canadians metaphorically waving their maple leafed flag, because they become instant lightning rods. When a Canadian star gains massive heat in the US (which appears to be what they are looking to do with Owens), the heat gets flipped when the do shows in Canada. Consequently, the heat grows when they come back to the US. WWE took advantage of this for years during the Attitude post-Attitude eras, but have left said heat on the table for years, without a viable Canadian dude in the company. Now they have one, and will be making it known. Case in point: Owens stepping on the US Belt on night one.
Curbing of Humor
Those not familiar with Owens: just so you know, he has the ability to be insanely funny during promos, and in the ring. This is going to sound weird, but when cut loose, he reminds me of an anti-ECW era RVD. RVD had this obnoxious entrance during his big run in ECW. “Walk” played. He walked down and gave literally everyone high fives. Bill Alfonso blew his whistle, so on and so forth. It was hilarious, but also unbelievably badass. Very David Lee Roth. Once the crowd got used to it, they responded heavily! RVD’s ECW pop in ’99-’00 was like nothing ever. It was Hogan 80s levels.
Owens in the indies had similar RVD qualities, but reversed. He’d rip fans’ signs, blow snot rockets on the way down, point and laugh at fans, you name it. But again, once the fans became used to it, they responded. I was at an ROH show once where a kid (35 year old man) had a sign that said, “RIP MY SIGN, STEEN.” So guess what Steen did? He DIDN’T rip his sign. He went up to him like he was going to, but ultimately teased the ripping, and laughed at the fan. Owens’s humor push will come a good two years in to his career. But for now, they are keeping him serious as a heart attack, which is a good move. Fans will jump on his bandwagon once they find him funny, which is not what WWE wants right now.
Curbing of Moves
I don’t care what anyone says, Owens’ finisher (elevated power bomb) is terrible. His long time finisher, The Package Pildriver, was a disaster waiting to happen. But damn, did it look cool. WWE obviously wasn’t willing to take that risk. Owens falls in to the category of up-in-comers who need to go back to the drawing board with their finishers. Owens needs something better than that bullcrap powerbomb.
Removal of Horrible Skin Tags Under Armpit?
Owens has always notoriously had the worst skin tags under his armpit. They are disgusting. You can see them flap in the wind every time he puts a poor guy in a headlock. I’ve been looking lately. It may be possible that WWE has began the removal process for those things (can’t tell for sure). If so, thank God; or should I say “Thank Lemmy” (another skin aberration enthusiast)?
Making him the Bizzaro-Cena
I know that they started off Owens with a Cena feud. Honestly, I think this was a call made on the fly. Owens should have broken in with a Daniel Bryan feud, but obviously that isn’t possible at this point. It seems overdone to have Cena yet again feud with an up-and-comer after a six month feud with Rusev. We’re essentially on the verge of seeing the same feud.
If you would have told me six years ago that the WWE would have all these indie workers (mainly ROH talent) on their roster peaking as main event talent, I wouldn’t have said you we’re crazy, but would have been apprehensive about an over-saturation of said guys.
A year ago, Cesaro was being hinted at getting a main event push. He’s done nothing but kill it in the ring since then, but man, has that cooled off. Does anyone in their right mind see him getting a main event push this century?
WWE seemingly wants to keep an equal mix of their “guys” and indie guys in the main event mix. Not a bad idea. I personally can tell a WWE from an indie guy a mile away. When two good ones from both respective sides clash, it works better than two guys from the same pedigree going at it. What I’m getting at is: there are only a certain amount of spots on the roster for superstars coming from a particular background. When one comes up, often guys already waiting for their push get put on the backburner.
Sorry to close on a down note.
Match of the Week: Kevin Steen vs. Jay Lethal, ROH World Title, Saturday, Oct 6th, 2012, Rahway, NJ
God, I’m so glad KO is no longer in ROH. The final year of his ROH run he was booked in a horrible feud with Jim Cornette (the companies GM), because obviously two a-holes can’t breathe the same air or something? It was unbearable. Anywho, Owens was ROH champ at the time, had a lot of great matches during his reign. His battle with Jay Lethal at an event called “Killer Instinct” comes to mind. I can’t show you it here because ROH has an intern of theirs police and report all illegally uploaded streams of their matches. But it was a great brawl which ended with Owens spitting on Lethal’s parents, who were sitting in the front row. Find the match on your own time, if you can. Here’s footage of the aftermath of the incident. We get to see Cornette’s fat ass take a bump, which is cool.