We’re one week into the reign of Kevin Owens as the WWE Universal champion and the wheels are starting to turn in setting up the next few weeks of storylines. Seth Rollins looks to be on the road to a face turn (or at least turning into a guy who fights the heels now), Roman Reigns is still in the championship mix, and everyone else has yet to reveal their motives. We got a title match coming up between Owens and Rollins in three weeks at Clash of the Champions that may be a three way if Reigns beats Owens this coming Monday on RAW. I imagine that Owens will get through that and remain the champion for at least a little while, so the real question is whether or not this is a quick fix or the beginning of something larger.
KO definitely has the in ring ability and the mic skills to carry the load as champ all the way to Wrestlemania, but will he get the chance? As talented and deserving of the chance as he is, in reality he’s the latest contestant in Operation Life After John Cena, and to become the one that sticks he’s going to need some help, from the WWE itself and the fans.
First, the company. Are they willing to go all in on pushing a heel champion a year after trying that with Seth? Rollins did his part, delivering great matches and good promo work right up until he got hurt, but the ratings and box office results weren’t good enough to crown him the face of the company for the next ten years.
To succeed with Owens where they did not with Rollins, I think there are a few things they need to do. For one, don’t make him a tool of Triple H or Stephanie. He needs to be his own guy who does cheat to win but isn’t a second fiddle to anyone. That hurt Rollins a lot over time. Second, don’t do the 20 minute monologues Seth was doing last year. Even though he was capable of them they got monotonous after a while and people were chanting ‘boring!’
Now for the fans. It’s real simple. You gotta support it. Buy house show tickets, watch the pay per views, watch the video clips on the wwe website, buy his merchandise. Money talks more than anything here; by the time he got hurt Seth wasn’t main eventing anymore even though he was the world champion, with the exception of matches with Cena where Cena’s U.S. Title was on the line. If you want KO to get a real shot here and not lose the title before Christmas to either Reigns or Rollins you better pony up the cash. The first batch of house shows are crucial; if they don’t do well with him on top of the card the front office will get real antsy.
Owens has got the ball now, and I think he’ll hold up his end of the bargain. The real mystery is whether everyone else will. We’ve been down this road before. You ask for something different, they relent and give it to you, but you don’t support it enough to satisfy the bean counters. And then the tried and true get pushed again because even with diminishing returns it works better than the alternative you asked for. At the end of the day it’s on you to make it work if you want to get more.