I have to say I popped when Kevin Owens won the Universal title on Raw last week. As a fan, it was just one of them moments that you enjoy and you get lost in the moment because you know it’s special and the guys on the Pro Wrestling Index podcast covered it so well.
I can’t pretend to be a long-time fan of Owens, I’d never seen him as Kevin Steen, even though I’d heard about him and was aware he was quite special. My first time of actually watching him was his NXT debut when I’d only just started to watch NXT regularly and the way that crowd popped for him at the Takeover special was pretty damn cool. The way he turned on Sami Zayn later the same night, equally incredible. The way he won the NXT title by the referee being forced to stop the match really rubber stamped his character.
He is so convincing and that’s KO, he may not have the archetypal look, but he can work and talk and convince you he means every bit of it. When Seth Rollins got injured, Kevin Owens was who I said I’d like to see win the vacant title at that time. He was as ready then as he is now.
I wrote recently about the Miz promo on Talking Smack, where I applauded it because it was excellently delivered, but I cannot agree with some calling it the best promo in years. No, the Kevin Owens sit-down interview promo before his match with Sami Zayn at Payback was a better wrestling promo. It crossed into reality, was delivered with such nonchalant believability and was ultimate heel: despite stabbing his friend in the back, he had his own justification that it was in fact him that had been wronged. Classic stuff, beautifully dead-pan delivered by the consummate heel.
“if this is personal, it’s because he’s making it personal. I’m a victim”
Owens has the ability to be so bad that it’s cool and people want to like him, but he can immediately and believably turn on a crowd that cheers him to get boos.
He’s funny, but not goofy, so still has the seriousness to his character. His work with Jericho recently has been testament to that and like classic Jericho, Owens has got himself a cool new t-shirt with Kevin Owens show on it in the style of the old school Raw logo. Love it.
I enjoyed his coronation speech, again managing to get fans to boo him by scolding them for cheering him and helped facilitate the beginnings of a Seth Rollins face turn, despite Rollins whining at Stephanie.
Sadly, the rest of Raw wasn’t too great and this whole protracted Dana and Charlotte thing is not good. It will be interesting to see what effect Sasha has on her return to the ring and if they maybe have her turn heel after failing to win back the title. I’m a huge fan of Bayley, in fact, I’d say she’s the best female wrestler in the company, but I hope they don’t have her win the title too soon – her character invokes empathy and story of her battling the odds added to that for her in NXT. A Sasha turn on Bayley could just help that and elevate both women on this main roster. I’d also love to see more of those incredible matches they had last year.
Elsewhere on Raw, the New Day still need to lose the titles and Gallows & Anderson need to stop the crappy comedy routine.
Are we suddenly supposed to take Bo Dallas seriously?
The Alicia Fox and Nia Jax backstage segment was awful. Stupid and awful.
Darren Young and Titus O’Neil: a crap storyline that nobody cares about.
On the plus side, Jericho helped Rollins continue his babyface transition and a main event of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Now, as much as they always have really good matches, I’ve long said that these two should be on separate shows to preserve their feud for the future and Zayn would benefit from moving to Smackdown at this point. As expected, their match was good and told a nice story with the Zayn injury and the ruthlessness of Owens. I’m not sure about the interjection of Roman Reigns, maybe that’s because I’m looking forward to seeing Owens and Rollins have a one on one match. Perhaps they’ll surprise us in some way with a change in Reigns character, but I very much doubt that.
For now, and hopefully for quite some time to come, Raw is the Kevin Owens show and it’s long overdue.