Blog: KO! – What’s Next for this Prize Fighter
by Tom Raubenheimer
KO! – What’s Next for this Prize Fighter
TOMBA Pro-Wrestling – Blog 001
The day Kevin Owens walked into the NXT Arena at Full Sail University Florida, back in the fall of 2014 at NXT Takeover: R-Evolution, it was instantly obvious WWE had gained a future World Champion and one of the hottest talents on the market at that time.
In the short time that he signed within the ranks of World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), Owens has fought his way to the top becoming one of the company’s top draws. He prides himself as the “Ultimate Prizefighter”and in less than 3 Years he has become the Champion of NXT, held the Intercontinental Championship twice and now secured himself as the face of WWE Raw as their current Universal Champion. It is easy to see why he has gained such a reputable name. He is not the WWE’s typical Champion as we have seen in previous years but they have already showed their trust in his ability by throwing him in at the deep end and knowing he is capable of handling it. He has battled with the likes of John Cena, Chris Jericho and Roman Reigns and become one of the hottest heels in the business. He excels on the microphone and with 12 years in the wrestling industry dueling with the best stars the WWE and the Independent scene have to offer he has already cemented an in ring legacy worthy of being called one of the best in the business. But how did his journey take him to these great heights?
Let’s go back to before he became the superstar we know him as today.
Hailing out of Canada, a country known for producing some of the most technically sound wrestlers in the industry, Kevin Owens (previously known by his real name Kevin Steen) became a veteran on the independent scene. Whilst working shows for Indy giants Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW) and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) early on he went on to secure his name as one of the major players in Ring of Honor Wrestling (ROH) where his career truly began to pick up momentum. Having previously won the PWG Heavyweight Championship defeating AJ Styles in an epic encounter back in 2005, he continued to build on his legacy having unforgettable matches with the likes of future WWE/NXT stars such as Tyler Black (Seth Rollins), Kassius Ohno (Chris Hero), Pac (Adrian Neville), Roderick Strong and best friend, future tag team partner and fellow Canadian Sami Zayn who was then wrestling under the masked persona of El Generico. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn then went on to team up, starting their careers in ROH together in 2007 and they went on to claim 2 ROH Tag Team Championship reigns.
After a couple of years the best friends began to make better enemies and Owens ended the team by turning on Zayn. Owens went on to reach the top of Ring of Honor defeating Davey Richards for the ROH World Championship making history in becoming the first Canadian to win the company’s prestigious top championship. During his time in ROH, Owens competed in some of the greatest matches the company had ever witnessed going head to head with some of today’s biggest international stars such as Sami Zayn, The Briscoe Brothers, Jay Lethal, Claudio Castignoli (Antonio Cesaro) & The Young Bucks.
Fast forward to the final moments of NXT R-Evolution the freshly debuted Owens let history repeat itself and again turned on Zayn who had finally just won the NXT Championship. Owens proceeded to power bomb Zayn into the ring apron thus turning heel during his first night. For fans who didn’t know Owens back in his Kevin Steen days they were in for a big treat as he is easily one of the best heels in the industry. Amongst many attributes the way Owens can control a microphone is fascinating to watch, he can captivate a room and turn every single one of the audience against him with little to no ease. It never feels forced and always believable to his character. After claiming the NXT Championship from Zayn the NXT universe definitely got a brief taster of what was to come, following feuds with the likes of Finn Balor and Samoa Joe, he was very quick to jump straight up to the main roster.
Upon arriving on the main roster, he immediately went gunning straight for arguably the biggest name in Pro Wrestling and began a short feud with WWE’s golden boy John Cena. He also began to reignite old rivalries with the likes of Antonio Cesaro and Adrian Neville, stamping his name in the WWE Record books by becoming a 2-Time WWE Intercontinental Champion with some hard hitting matches with Dean Ambrose. He also competed in his first Wrestlemania match, however he unfortunately lost the Championship in a 7-Man Ladder match to Zack Ryder. Once WWE had split the rosters by bringing back the Brand Extension, this was the perfect opportunity to give WWE’s new influx of roster more time and space to shine on their own separate rosters.
With Owens on Raw and the WWE Champion Dean Ambrose drafted to Smackdown, Raw needed to introduce a new Heavyweight Championship exclusive to their brand, thus creating the WWE Universal Championship. The inaugural reign was originally set for Finn Balor who defeated Seth Rollins to become the first champion, but unfortunately due to an injury Balor suffered during their match at WWE Summerslam 2016 he had to vacate the belt the following night on Raw. Owens landed himself in a championship fatal-4 Way match in the weeks following and with some thanks to a helping hand from Triple H was given the biggest prize Raw had to offer with the blessing of the Authority. He has since aligned himself with Chris Jericho and it is comedy gold, they both have a great sense of humour and easily bounce off each other you can tell they enjoy cutting inring promos and backstage segments together and more to the fact even for “the bad guys” are probably getting more over with the fans than their “babyface” rivals Roman Reigns & Seth Rollins.
But as good as their relationship is, sooner or later Owens and Jericho will have to split as Jericho is expected to be touring with his band Fozzy outside WWE during the summer and Owens need to get his own story rolling again. But where is 2017 going to take him? I sure as hell can’t wait to find out.
I see the partnership of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho ending soon and I’m not sure what the WWE have planned for them both at Wrestlemania 33 but personally I would love to see Chris Jericho vs Kevin Owens. That could be either the main event for the Universal Championship or even a midcard contest for Chris Jericho’s United States Championship, thinking about it a match of this calibre doesn’t need a Championship belt to sell it. With the Royal Rumble PPV fast approaching anything can happen. Rumours have been circulating that Owens will not be walking out of the Rumble with the Universal Championship. If this is the case I would like to see Jericho cost Owens the Championship by accident then maybe later in the night have Owens enter the Rumble and end up eliminating Y2J to get the fire burning. Heaven forbid Owens should end up on “the list” again but even if this doesn’t happen maybe in the next couple of weeks a similar scenario could unfold with Owens costing Jericho the U.S Championship, thus turning Jericho back into the good guy and giving him the opportunity to take his leave from WWE as a fan favourite.
The only other person I think Owens could end up facing at mania could be a returning Finn Balor. I don’t want to see KO vs Roman Reigns continuing all the way until “The granddaddy of them all” and Seth Rollins is already set to face Triple H so it doesn’t leave a lot of possibilities for a top match for KO.
There is still a lot for Owens to do in WWE, I would still one day like to see a KO/AJ Styles conflict reignited at an event like Summerslam, not to mention a good run with Finn Balor but by the end of 2017. However I can see Owens being bigger than he’s ever been and becoming a multiple time Universal Champion. Coincidentally during me writing this article, Gerweck.Net posted a interview with Kevin Owens speaking to ForTheWin and when asked what his future goals in WWE consisted of, he replied he wanted to main event both Wrestlemania and Summerslam and would also like to win the U.S Championship and the Tag Team Championship… So maybe he has already hinted at what’s to come already. Trust me stay tuned, because “The Kevin Owens Show” is just getting started!
Thank you to whoever has taken the time to read my first post and thank you to Gerweck.Net for giving me the opportunity to contribute I feel extremely grateful to help contribute to this great site for wrestling fans all over the world. Any feedback or comments would be highly appreciated.
TOMBA Pro Wrestling – Twitter: @raubenheimertom