What you’re going to learn quickly about me as a wrestling fan is I tend to swarm to the underdogs and to the odd ball characters. Growing up as a kid I was absolutely entranced by Sting and Eddie Guerrero. One man who became more of a symbol rather than a wrestler and a small scrappy wrestler who fought until his heart literally gave out. I love characters and there is no character that I love right now more than Kevin Owens.
Kevin Owens by no means should be as good of a wrestler as he is right now. He’s cowardly, brash, turns on everyone, is not the right shape of a wrestler, and is constantly victimizing himself when he’s not brutalizing an opponent.
And I love every single moment of it. Kevin Owens is everything that makes a great heel in my opinion. He is Kevin Owens both in the ring and on twitter, he never drops the Owens character. He is always in kayfabe ( an industry term for the reality of all of the performances during your favorite wrestling program.)
Kevin is on all the time even when he doesn’t talk. Just flip to any promo and look at his face, even if he’s in the background. I guarantee he is more entertaining than who’s speaking. All eyes are on Kevin even when the most electrifying wrestler on the show is in the ring!
But anyone can make a smarmy face, be sarcastic, and win the crowd over. What did it for me was Kevin’s “final” match with Sami Zayn at Battleground. Within that 20 minute match, both men were able to tell the long history between the two up until that bout.
Sami and Kevin were best friends on the indie circuit. Kevin is literally the first person Sami embraces in NXT when Sami won the coveted title. But that same night Kevin betrayed Sami, just like he always does. Rewatching everything with Sami and Jericho it becomes abundantly clear what kind of character Kevin is.
He’s a scared little boy.
He uses his family as both his drive and excuse to turn on his friends become all of these champions but in all honesty, he’s scared. He’s scared of someone getting close to him. He’s afraid that if he lets his guard down maybe someone will do this to him. A kind of karma or worse compromise what he’s been building for his family. As well as in an ironic turn of events he’s abandoned the family he loves so much to chase these titles for them!
It’s apparent in his 2016 Battleground match, that he feels nothing but remorse and regret. That he has to bury what he’s feeling for his best friend and brother Sami, while he’s continuously slapping Sammi in the face.
The moment that solidified Kevin in my eyes a wonderful character was in a simple sentence he said, “Don’t make me do this, stay down!” In one simple sentence of anguish during a grueling match, Kevin cemented himself as my favorite current wrestler.
Kevin repeated this same feeling when he turned on his best friend, Chris Jericho.
Chris and Kevin had been the main reason to watch RAW for most of 2016 and the beginning of 2017. They had fun banter together, they made fun of everyone, and had an amazing bromance including a shark cage! Fans of Jericho could easily say his most recent run was his best and a big part of that is because of Jeri-KO. But like with Sami, Kevin follows a formula. Someone got too close and cost him the “source” of what was feeding his family by feeding his title to Goldberg.
At the celebration of their friendship, there would be no banter and only one list, with one name, Chris Jericho.
Kevin cemented his brutal attack and heart-wrenching decision with a reluctant and poisonous,“I hate you!” Right before slamming Y2J’s head into his new Jeritron model. Kevin would eventually lose his Universal title and go after his best friend Chris Jericho’s United States title. The title would change hands between the two of them before Kevin got rid of Chris “for good”.
The fact that Kevin feels constant remorse that you can visually see it tearing him up inside, is gut wrenching and makes him so fascinating to me. Add the fact that Kevin Owens embraces the US Title like an old lover, and his title reign reveals even more about him. It may be the last memory he has of his best friend Chris Jericho and maybe the last piece of his humanity.