wrestling / Columns

Csonka: Babyface Owens Babyface

March 3, 2019 | Posted by Larry Csonka
Kevin Owens Smackdown 2-26-19

Kill Steen Kill, for the longest time, this was the mantra and battle cry of top ROH star and indie talent Kevin Steen. Steen was an extremely talented performer; one who could talk you into a building and then deliver the goods once the bell rang. But for the longest time, he was also on the shortlist of guys WWE would seemingly never sign. Under the old regime, Steen was too short, too fat, not impressive enough, and “didn’t look like a star.” Thankfully when Triple H took the reigns as the man in charge of bringing in new talent and running NXT, his hiring/recruiting became more about talent over looks. To some degree, wrestling will always be a cosmetic business, and with TV making the company so much money these days, it’s completely understandable. With the company changing how they looked at potential talent, this finally opened the door for Steen to get a chance. He will never be an Adonis, but his talent is undeniable and he got a chance in NXT with no promises of a main roster slot. But talent and hard work are undeniable, and Steen became Owens, and got his shot on the main roster, and did so against John Cena; as long as he delivered with his chances and didn’t kill anyone, he was golden going forward.

Between his short NXT stint and main roster run, Owens has been a heel for his entire run, a role he thrives in and delivered in when fully given the chance. But to me, that’s the issue; I don’t feel he’s ever been given a real chance to deliver to his fullest. Sure he had secondary title runs, matches with Sami, and the throwaway Universal title run that should have been more when Triple H anointed him his chosen one. But it never happened like it should have. Owens had his moments, but never felt like the focus, he never felt like “the guy.” He was never portrayed like a Lesnar or Reigns; he was a transitional champion at best with some fun with Jericho, the awesome festival of friendship, but a lackluster feud that followed.

The career of Owens, to me, is a mixed bag. On one hand, I feel he’s underachieved due to booking, but on the other hand, he’s achieved more than I ever thought just by making the WWE main roster and at times getting featured spots. In that regard I have been thrilled with his success because it was never supposed to happen. Kevin Owens is coming back from injury, and unless he and WWE are working a big misdirection, he’s coming back as a family-loving babyface, motivated to fight for them like a good man. And if you’ve ever heard Owens speak about his family, that’s exactly what he is at his core. He loves his family and does everything for them. I’m not sure if this new Owens will lead to him becoming the man like I think he can be, but what I do know is that if he returns as a babyface like these videos lead us to believe, we’ll be seeing the purest Owens we’ve ever seen, and that is when performers are at their best. And when Owens is more comfortable and at his best, and if creative is with him, we may finally see the best Owens in WWE yet. I’m cautiously optimistic…

And then, seemingly out of nowhere, KO made his return to the Smackdown brand as Vince McMahon’s handpicked replacement for Kofi Kingston; I guess Vince is over that head butt incident. By all accounts, KO is still a babyface as this was Vince’s call and he came across as remorseful. The return was well received, but there was still a lot of support for Kofi. KO getting a title shot is a huge way to bring him back, but you’d have to think his chances of winning are slim, taking into account that New Day may have something to say about it.

And of course there’s the impeding return of one Sami Zayn…

– End scene.

– Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”