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KawadaSmile

Kevin Owens

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When he first arrived into NXT, I was actually looking forward to his work. His debut match against CJ Parker - Lord rest his soul - was impressive, he was in good shape, and the visual of him bleeding hardway was a very good first impression.

 

With the Sami Zayn feud, he ended up looking like a monster, defeating his former best friend after referee stoppage. It was different, brutal, and made him look like a smart and brutal heel.

 

Then the Cena feud came along, and while the promos were nice, his aura started fading away, and after that program and his losses to Balor (in also underwhelming matches), he was pretty much dead.

 

His 2016, to me, has been the drizzling shits. Weak comedy skits with Jericho, weak matches with many different guys, and his Universal Title reign is being very, very bad. Not as bad as Rollins' reign of terror last year, but pretty damn bad.

 

 

However, I created this thread because it seemed some people still rated him very highly, and I wanted to know why exactly.

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Owens' best qualities are being unassumedly athletic and his creativity. He's also very polished mechanically, a good seller and his matches rarely feel the same, which along with his mid-spot banter, leads to fun house show work.

 

Unfortunately he's prone to undeliver in main events, which could be due to the current style of WWE big matches or just his opponents. Id say the latter since he has had really fun matches against top level workers like Zayn and Cena, but can't manage to get better stuff out of the likes of Rollins, Ambrose and Balor.

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He just doesn't work smart. He needs to learn the age old adage that less is more. Every match he has, whether it's on TV or WWE Network, he's throwing out a ton of stuff like the Top Rope Snowplow spot or the fat man Senton, and there's a ton of kickouts & finisher trading. Basically, regardless of whomever his opponent is, they keep throwing bombs & kicking out of shit until the marks start chanting "this is awesome!" This is a problem in a lot of WWE main events, not just those with Kevin Owens, but Owens to me embodies the ROH style that I loathe. The same shit that Davey Richards used to get killed online for. I don't buy him as a main eventer anyway, even with the brand split, and this run he's having with the belt feels like someone wanted to push him and someone wanted to sabotage him. Very reminiscent of how I felt when Chris Benoit finally had the belt but wasn't the focal point of the show. Sloppy look, overrated worker, pretty good promo. That's not a top guy.

 

I agree with KawadaSmile. Owens in 2016 is the drizzling shits.

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Kevin Owens as champion looks like a fan in the stands with a replica belt, so it's not a surprise that a literal list is more over than him during his title reign. Terrible gear and terrible beard. I've quoted this before in other discussions, but Phil Schneider gave the best possible description of Owens as an "ethnic babyface for Internet nerds".

 

His run in NXT was more hype than actual matches, although I'm not sure it was his fault. They built up the feud with Sami with the matches aborted due to brutality, and then they never delivered on the payoff. When Joe came in they started a feud, but it never actually happened. Owens was on the main roster for his two big matches with Balor, and they felt like faits accomplis.

 

He does chinlocks in his matches with the intent of trolling the fans for a brief moment, but then just goes right back to the same highspot excess and kickout spam that they eat right up. He's definitely athletic for his size, but he gets gassed near the end of matches and often just stands in place waiting for the next spot.

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If there's a better example of a guy whose best work was before he reached the biggest stage in the last few years then I'm not familiar with them.

 

KO'S allure on the indies, and ROH especially, was that he always stood out from the pack. He turned his gut into a character feature, would incessantly talk shit whether on offense or defense, and routinely stole the show by daring to actually engage the audience instead of solely following the planned spots. The career long feud with Generico stole the show in every company it was featured in, he was the 100% perfect foil for Cornette as ROH commissioner, and his honesty was outright refreshing.

 

In fact, I'd say that KO becoming just another part of the show, having his matches follow the same rigid formula as everybody else's, is what turned me off of WWE entirely. Steen saved my love for wrestling, and while I'm glad he's got more money now than ever before and is the champ in the world's largest wrestling company, the booking and obvious micro managing took his specialness away.

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I am sort of in the middle on this. I still like Owens a good bit and I generally like when he is on my TV, but I think he has been running against the wind in 2016.

 

I agree completely that he started hot in NXT and I think more or less his whole run there was pretty good. He probably even overachieved to be honest.

 

The Cena feud was fun and better than I would have imagined 1 month earlier. They probably went a bit heavy handed on the indy style. I bet those matches hold up better over time in a vacuum than they do in the moment. They bleed together a good bit in the moment, but I can imagine in a year or two scrolling through and enjoying some of them a lot. Still, it rubbed a lot of people the wrong way and - even in victory - he really couldn't work as the monster he was in NXT. Stylistically he became just another indy guy with big offense. Agreed that some of the luster came off.

 

My biggest problem was the stoogy stuff he did in the aftermath. They clearly had no idea what to do with him, but they wanted to use him. He felt lost, goofy, not at all an ass kicker for months. This whole period was more or less lost to me all the way up to the point where he wont the title and his relationship with Jericho hit its stride.

 

I loved his comedy stuff with Jericho. I thought the snarky heel champ and his buddy shtick was good. They were fairly nuanced in their promos an it was effective. The fans were eating it up (and I don't think that was all Jericho) and I really believe that a lot of people were invested in him losing the title. He has been a good heel champion that people legit want to see lose, but still want to see on their screens.

 

I also really liked the aesthetic change he took on after getting the title. He cleaned himself up and a lot of times he really did feel like a prize fighter, like a lot of MMA fighters who would clearly rather be wearing a T-Shirt, but they are professional badasses and now they have money so they clean up and they act like a champion. He was performing a champion that earned his glory but wasn't quite comfortable with it. In terms of putting together a character that was a little different and resonated with him as a person and a long time charicter, he was pretty well balanced and interesting.

 

Now, here are the two problems for me. First and foremost, those last two points didn't work well together. They could, but i do think there was some dissonance. Owens needs to be a heel that has a pretty prominent strand of ass kicker, a heel that wins clean and hurts people or at least hurts people and only cheats to get out at the absolute last minute in certain spots. The Jericho friendship, as fun as it has been, has overemphasized his need for help and under-emphasized Owens the ass kicker champion. The WWE wants the comedy from Owens (and they should) and they want the guy who makes himself stand out, the brutal, violent guy who is different (and they should), but I am not sure they are putting him in spots to do both very effectively at once.

 

The other problem is that he can - as discussed above - he can underperform in big matches and he does tend to throw everything into every match. I see flashes. The ass kicker is in there and Owens can bring it out at the right moment. For example, I though the HIAC match was really quite good and mostly because I thought he turned up the intensity and that match felt different to me. The Zayn match was fantastic, partially for the same reasons, but too often his Raw matches don't feel much different than his ppv matches. Personally, i would like it if he reigned in the in-ring trash talk and the offense for most matches. I would like it if he wasn't so cute about things all the time and if that was more for special occasions. I would like it if he focused more on ass kicker and sprinkled the goofy comedy in a little more strategically. All that would help differentiate matches and add layers. It all seems sort of jumbled to me right, but that stuff honestly is probably as much what the WWE is asking of him as anything.

 

Ultimately, hat is why i kind of think Owens has been pretty good, even when I am not crazy about what I am seeing. Maybe I am giving him the benefit of the doubt or even a pass because I have been a fan for a while (quite likely), but I see him overachieving given the context and what he is given. He is a guy who pays attention to details and I like that. I like the little things he does to try to be different, to try to push things forward. Moreover he is someone who thinks of wrestling as creating moments (heard him say this more than once on podcasts and what not) rather than creating great matches. You can see that when he is building and when he is in matches. He wants to create the moment when you invest or you say holy shit. Unfortunately, the WWE hasn't always been great at helping him do that with where they have put him and they have overexposed him with their model. It is hard to create moments when you are on TV as much as he is and that could explain his wrestling style and him going all in on RAW matches as much as PPV matches.

 

To me, many of my criticisms are more with the booking and I don't love they way he has adjusted to the WWE model, structurally, but I have generally enjoyed him on my TV and would rather see him evolve as champion a while longer than I would see them switch gears again.

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I think he gets the character part of wrestling, but I'm not sure he understands how to apply it to matches. His instincts tend to take him to comedy spots or making sure the fans can chant this is awesome. He's a natural on the mic, but also tends to go for comedy, which makes him kind of hard to take too seriously. It's not like he's a huge super athlete like Rock was, or the legitimate killer Kurt Angle could be when he flipped that switch. I don't think he's a main event type of guy, at least not in WWE, but he's very well suited to having a great mid carder career for many years.

 

I recall seeing some clip from his show/shoot thing he was doing I think for Highspots before WWE signed him where he was talking about a match in ROH where he had someone in a sharpshooter, and he was getting booted repeatedly in the head but just spat at his opponent. When he got to the back, people were saying he killed that boot for future matches (which was I guess a signature for whoever, but I don't recall more than that), and he was like "Who gives a shit, the crowd lost their shit". That seems to be the mentality that most of his generation of indie guys that are currently in WWE seem to have. As long as the crowd pops in the moment, that's all that matters to them. Compare KO and Seth's mentality in matches to AJ Styles'.

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Sounds like more of an issue with WWE throwing money around to get guys with a buzz...which is nothing new. Buying guys up, hoping that they fit rather than planning on having a spot for them and booking a year with 'em in mind.

 

Steen/Owens has long term potential but, is still kinda a poor man's Samoa Joe...

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Owens is an interesting case. He's a guy I still like because he's capable of having good matches, he just has a lot of bad habits. Late 2016 is a great example of that, as he was either lazily doing chinlocks for meta heat or having spotfests with Seth to try and pop the crowd. I think some blame deserves to fall on how his reign was booked because it was all about getting Jericho and the list over by having them do comedy, but he would either completely dog it or try and play to the crowd during matches. I feel like he's started to get away from that as he's been doing more heel banter during his matches. He just needs to do less chinlocks.

 

I'm still optimistic about him on SDL as his mic and character work is phenomenal as the cold, uncaring heel who claims his actions are driven by providing for his family when in reality he's just a bad person.

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He just doesn't work smart. He needs to learn the age old adage that less is more. Every match he has, whether it's on TV or WWE Network, he's throwing out a ton of stuff like the Top Rope Snowplow spot or the fat man Senton, and there's a ton of kickouts & finisher trading. Basically, regardless of whomever his opponent is, they keep throwing bombs & kicking out of shit until the marks start chanting "this is awesome!" This is a problem in a lot of WWE main events, not just those with Kevin Owens, but Owens to me embodies the ROH style that I loathe. The same shit that Davey Richards used to get killed online for. I don't buy him as a main eventer anyway, even with the brand split, and this run he's having with the belt feels like someone wanted to push him and someone wanted to sabotage him. Very reminiscent of how I felt when Chris Benoit finally had the belt but wasn't the focal point of the show. Sloppy look, overrated worker, pretty good promo. That's not a top guy.

 

I agree with KawadaSmile. Owens in 2016 is the drizzling shits.

Owens is easily one of the top 10 workers in the company, probably top 5.

 

Very good at many styles, especially brawling

Very athletic for a guy with his build

Great offense that looks like it hurts (he likely is stiff/snug)

Great psychology/storytelling (trash talking throughout his matches, his matches with Zayn at Battleground and Payback told GREAT stories)

Great pacing (moves are chained together very well and all serve a purpose)

 

And I disagree about his look, as like his wrestling style, it fits his character to a tee and really lets him stand out (not everybody needs to, or SHOULD, look like a bodybuilder... the lack of impressive physiques, which more often than not come from steroids and HGH considering the WWE style, is a good thing if it improves match quality and especially if it lengthens the wrestlers' lives). That along with the good in-ring work, mic skills, presence, and charisma is more than enough to make him main event material, especially since Jinder Mahal is the WWE champion. Owens is hardly a spot wrestler (if the big moves serve a purpose and are executed at the right times, then that wrestler isn't a "spot monkey").

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What's Owens' best non Sami Zayn match in WWE? The first Cena match got overshadowed(the next night I think) when Cena had a similar and better match with Cesaro on Raw. KO's title run got overshadowed by Charlotte and Sasha's feud. I loved his NXT run, but on the main roster it's been a mixed bag to say the least.

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I remember really liking one of the matches with Cesaro. It was sometime in the summer after the Cena feud. Can't recall if it was their SummerSlam match or just on a throwaway Raw. Either way, it was a fun sprint.

 

The Backlash match with AJ has to be up there.

 

And I dug the two PPV matches with Roman during his title reign. Didn't care at all for the Seth series or the endless Seth/Roman/KO/Jericho combinations that seemed to dominate every episode of Raw during that three or four months, but the two PPVs with Roman stood above all that for me.

 

The Roadblock match got a truckload of criticism, 'cause it had a slow start and some stalling with Owens' rest spots. But it picked up toward the end and really kicked into a high gear. Owens smothers Roman with plenty of splashes and fat-man specialty offense, but Reigns just keeps coming back for more. Felt like a rare case of the main event leaving me wanting to see more, which is precisely what that specific outing was designed to actually do.

 

And their Rumble rematch was a super fun gimmick match.

 

That's all I got.

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I guess I'm higher on the two PPV Jericho matches than most but I do think they're pretty damn good and for me his best non-Zayn matches in WWE. Wrestling about friendship is a soft-spot of mine for sure, and him being able to yell annoying shit like "we were never friends" and recreate paintings for rope breaks while being fairly violent is a perfect use of Owens. And I don't think the slightly comedic nature of that angle neuters his ability to be a threatening ass-kicker (though lots of other WWE booking has, to a certain extent, done that).

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I think it's safe to say that his 2017 has been pretty poor. Outside the Roman PPV matches and the post-shakeup Jericho match, there has been nothing really noteworthy.

 

He just isn't having compelling matches, even against guys like AJ Styles.

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It has been over a year since I made this thread, and we are almost in 2018. How much has changed? Is KO one of the least interesting acts in WWE right now? He's been put in prominent positions since his debut yet just cannot have engaging matches or promos.

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It has been over a year since I made this thread, and we are almost in 2018. How much has changed? Is KO one of the least interesting acts in WWE right now? He's been put in prominent positions since his debut yet just cannot have engaging matches or promos.

I thought he had a pretty hotstreak going into the Hell in a Cell match. He had some of those really cold vicious promos that got him so over in the indies. The attack on Vince was also a fantastic segment.

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It has been over a year since I made this thread, and we are almost in 2018. How much has changed? Is KO one of the least interesting acts in WWE right now? He's been put in prominent positions since his debut yet just cannot have engaging matches or promos.

 

For me, the answer to that question is an unequivocal yes. His character and promos become consistently insufferable while failing to generate the kind of heat you want from a heel. Its like he's a weekly, omnipresent version of Lin Manuel Miranda's character from this season of Curb. Add in the fact that his in ring hasn't exactly delivered in quite some time and it makes for some pretty poor television. What I don't quite get is why, at least on the work side. He can clearly go in the ring, as shown by his matches with the likes of Cena, Reigns and Zayn, but has seemingly settled into a certain schtick that doesn't lend itself to quality matches.

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Haven't been watching SDL, but I think the problem with Owens falls on both booking and the man himself. The guy can be a tremendous heel as evidenced by the start of the Shane feud and the stuff he did with Vince, but a lot of times he's saddled with poor gimmicks like "the new face of America" or being Jericho's sidekick. But at the same time, it seems like Owens is often content to go with the flow and have a little too much "fun" with what he's given (i.e. the comedy with Jericho and Zayn). I don't think he's a terrible wrestler (thought he had a very good year last year) but he does have a few bad habits like his over-reliance on the chinlock (although that move seems to be a prerequisite for almost every heel in WWE) and trying to do stuff to pop the crowd. The fact that he has zero chemistry with A.J. is also troubling.

 

All in all, I like Owens and want him to succeed based on the amount of potential he has, but he can be rather frustrating at times. That being said, I'll take him as a top heel in a heartbeat over guys like Jinder and Corbin.

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It has been over a year since I made this thread, and we are almost in 2018. How much has changed? Is KO one of the least interesting acts in WWE right now? He's been put in prominent positions since his debut yet just cannot have engaging matches or promos.

Raw was the inferior show to Smackdown when he was the top heel for months on end, now he's switched and Smackdown is the inforior show to Raw with him as the top heel for months on end. Can't be a coincidence. There are obviously other factors too but he's fundamentally uninteresting as a worker or a promo as far as I'm concerned.

 

He's also had AJ Styles worst series in WWE by some distance, only rivalled by the awkward Jericho stuff right at the start of his run that I blame entirely on Jericho. As far as I can see, Owens still living off the fumes of being put over big by Cena a couple of years ago as well as his tandem with Jericho in 2016. He doesn't have much else on his WWE resume outside of that.

 

He's been less effective in his role as the top heel of the brand this year than Jinder Mahal, and that is t an exaggeration.

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I had the same exact thoughts this morning when I watched Smackdown. I have enjoyed his character stuff since he got paired with Zayn (probably more from nostalgia than anything, TBH), but I can't remember the last good match he had. He is likely my favorite indy guy ever but he has been mostly sub-par in WWE.

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Kevin Owen's 2017 has been an incredibly mixed bag. He's shown flashes of greatness in some instances, but the majority of his performances this year have been flat to just plain bad.

 

His feud with AJ Styles this past summer was quite bad. It's shocking to see two wrestlers of their caliber have little to no chemistry together in the ring. Their series of matches were overall forgettable, with only their first match at Backlash being remotely good. His heel work in that series wasn't interesting at all and featured his more annoying tendencies such as the headlocks and emphasis on nearfalls over garnering heat from the crowd. Not to mention his whole "Face of America" run was some of his worst work on the main roster so far - a completely dull and uninspired foreign heel gimmick.

 

As of now, I'm not sure what to make of his pairing with Sami Zayn. I haven't seen enough of their segments because SmackDown as a whole has honestly been very uninteresting this year, but from what I've watched, they are leaning heavily on comedy and being obnoxious rather than actual engaging heel work. The comedy doesn't always land for me and I'm not looking forward to them getting their comeuppance just for being annoying. Now that their program with Shane is coming to a close, I think, it seems like Owens & Zayn are moving up to a feud with AJ for the Rumble, which I don't have high hopes for.

 

While he's had plenty of lows this year, he's had some really good moments. The break-up with Chris Jericho was very well done, along with his promo the following week. His first appearance on Talking Smack (Rest in Peace) after the Shake-Up was great. And the beginning of the Shane McMahon feud was very good, including the segment with Vince McMahon. Owens has the capability to produce some good work. He's definitely at his best as the sociopath who shows no remorse towards his actions, as the aforementioned moments above illustrate. But he's certainly been disappointing for a long time now and hasn't been delivering consistently good performance despite being featured prominently on television. Hopefully some thing will change in 2018.

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I remain a big KO fan. My opinion on most of the fundamental stuff hasn't changed from my post about a year ago. He has been part of some of the most compelling, long term story lines in the WWE since coming to the main roster. Even when they don't seem to have anything for him he still stands out as a personality to me. The Shane stuff was good, the Vince segment was next level great to me, and reuniting with Zayn was brilliant. The fall out has been the most must-see thing on WWE tv since it happened too (imo). I basically put SD from Hulu on in the morning just for them. His ability to create moments and tell stories that work long term set him apart, especially in a WWE universe where they often just abandon things mid stream and cut and paste narratives together.

 

As for his in-ring. I get it. I don't dislike him as much as most, but I dont think he benefits from the over-saturation of wwe tv. He is also best when he can be an ultra-violent, malice and mean motherfucker. That is why i think he has excelled in HIAC matches and other sort of blow off matches where the reigns are loosened. Those are just fewer and further between.

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When he first arrived into NXT, I was actually looking forward to his work. His debut match against CJ Parker - Lord rest his soul - was impressive, he was in good shape, and the visual of him bleeding hardway was a very good first impression.

 

With the Sami Zayn feud, he ended up looking like a monster, defeating his former best friend after referee stoppage. It was different, brutal, and made him look like a smart and brutal heel.

 

Then the Cena feud came along, and while the promos were nice, his aura started fading away, and after that program and his losses to Balor (in also underwhelming matches), he was pretty much dead.

 

His 2016, to me, has been the drizzling shits. Weak comedy skits with Jericho, weak matches with many different guys, and his Universal Title reign is being very, very bad. Not as bad as Rollins' reign of terror last year, but pretty damn bad.

 

 

However, I created this thread because it seemed some people still rated him very highly, and I wanted to know why exactly.

I have never liked him one bit at all ever, not in Canada, CZW, IWA/MS, PWG, ROH or any other indy before NXT & WWE, he has had a few stand out matches, however I credit those to the guys he was working with just as much if not more than I do him, no one can give me a 4+ star match against a mediocre opponent that he caries from start to finish. I think the guy is just a fat tub of goo & he is a pompous asshole in real life that thinks he is the know all end all of the wrestling business

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