Kevin Owens made an immediate impact on WWE Raw this week, but what happens next holds even more importance.
As I mentioned in a column last week, John Cena’s U.S. Open has created stars since its inception the night after WrestleMania 31. Never was that more evident than it was on Monday’s Raw during the debut of Kevin Owens.
NXT is filled the future of WWE at the moment; Finn Balor, Sami Zayn and Hideo Itami all included. But Owens is his own entity and needs to be booked properly in order to become the world championship caliber Superstar he’s destined to be on the main roster.
For those who haven’t been regular viewers of the Wednesday night program, Owens is arguably NXT’s hottest star at the moment. He debuted at December’s “R Evolution” special and exactly two months later, he beat Sami Zayn in dominant fashion to capture the NXT Championship.
He’s been taking on (and knocking off) all comers from Balor to Neville to Alex Riley. That said, it’s obvious his NXT tenure won’t last much longer; he was ready to be promoted to the main roster the day he was signed by the company last August.
On Raw this week, Owens made his long awaited debut on the flagship show, accepting the open challenge of United States champion John Cena to the surprise of everyone. However, instead of going one-on-one with The Champ, he decided to leave a lasting impression in a different way.
Owens berated Cena on the mic before laying him out with a vicious powerbomb, standing over his motionless body with his foot on the U.S. Championship belt and his NXT title belt held high above his head. It was symbolism at its finest, and immediately fans took notice of Kevin Owens.
As great of a debut as that was for him, now the question is how they will follow it up.
Aftermath is essential in booking any Superstar as a success in WWE. For example: Rusev’s initial loss to John Cena at WrestleMania didn’t kill his career, but having him come up short an additional two times in the months that followed all but ruined any momentum he had going.
It’s already been confirmed that Owens will be facing Cena for the first time ever at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view on May 31, apparently in a non-title match. This is a make-or-brake scenario for him, and if this match is done the right way, it could serve as a major boost to Owens straight out of the gate.
Of course, the primary concern is whether Owens will go over Cena. The NXT champ has yet to lose a singles match since arriving in WWE, so it would be asinine for Cena be the one to hand him his first loss.WWE 2015
You can make the argument that Owens would look “strong in defeat” in a match against Cena, and while that may be true, it’d be a poor way or kicking off Owen’s main roster run. It may have worked for Zayn, but Owens is a completely different character, and a win for him over Cena would undoubtedly cement him as a star.
Make no mistake about it: Owens is something special. From his unique abilities in the ring and on the mic to his awesome attributes as a heel, he is unlike anyone WWE fans have seen before, and it’d be foolish of WWE to squander his main event potential right away.
I commend WWE for getting Owens’ WWE run off to a strong start, but the key is what follows. These next few weeks, if Owens is indeed the newest member of the Raw roster, are crucial for his career, meaning there is little room for error when it comes to how he’s handled.
Not that it’s always his fault, but let’s just say that most people who feud with Cena don’t often come out on top (i.e. Bray Wyatt, Rusev, Dolph Ziggler, Ryback, etc). Owens is different from those aforementioned names and doesn’t deserve to be fed to The Champ like the rest of them.
If WWE can play their cards correctly, they’ll have a bona fide future world champion on their hands in Kevin Owens. His excellent debut was a step in the right direction, but now it’s time to follow through and go full throttle with his mega push.
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