Best Options For Kevin Owens At WrestleMania
On August 12, 2014, WWE announced that they had signed Kevin Steen to the NXT Developmental Brand. After being renamed Kevin Owens and making his debut at the NXT TakeOver: R Evolution show, the WWE put the proverbial rocket on his back and started making him look like a star. Following his debut, Owens defeated Sami Zayn to win the NXT Championship, defeated John Cena in his main roster debut, and defeated Ryback for the Intercontinental Championship.
All of these accomplishments after being with the WWE for just over a year shows that the WWE is invested in Owens and that he may be a future main eventer and world champion in the future. However, in order for that to become a reality, Owens needs to have a big WrestleMania moment this year.
While Owens did accomplish a lot in 2015, he still had a few setbacks that caused him to lose some momentum. After defeating John Cena in his debut match, he lost to Cena two more times which coincided with him losing the NXT Championship to Finn Balor. And after a short reign as the Intercontinental Champion, he lost it to Dean Ambrose at the TLC PPV.
The Last Man Standing Match both Owens and Ambrose engaged in seems like a great way to end their feud but leaves Owens’ WrestleMania future up in the air. WrestleMania is known for making wrestlers into superstars and with the roster as depleted as it is, WWE has an opportunity to take the void left by these absences and fill them with new stars who are ready for the next step, and Owens seems like one of the best candidates for this. If WWE wanted to make him a top star going forward, then their biggest concern for him would be who he faces at WrestleMania.
A feud with Brock Lesnar is one of the more desired matches for WrestleMania, but due to the timing and the likeliness of Lesnar fighting Wyatt, this match is more than likely a pipe dream for now. This match works in the interest of elevating talent, gives both men matches for WrestleMania, and gives Brock Lesnar a new opponent for the first time since last year’s WrestleMania. The buildup for this match could be as simple as Owens using the F-5 in a couple of his matches when the Popup Powerbomb isn’t enough, have Lesnar call out Owens for trying to steal his move, and the feud could continue from there. If this feud is built up as The Conqueror versus the New Next Big Thing, then this match would make more sense, but the best way to do that would be to have that match when Owens has more momentum on his side. Owens should be built up more as a devastating force within the WWE before facing a man who’s defeated some of the biggest names of all time like Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Triple H, John Cena, The Undertaker, CM Punk, and all the others. One day this will be an ideal WrestleMania match, but now really isn’t the time.
This is another possibility though it wouldn’t do much good for either superstar. Ambrose defeated Owens at the TLC Pay-Per-View and won the Intercontinental Championship. Ambrose would retain the Intercontinental Championship at the Royal Rumble in a Last Man Standing match in what seems like the end of their feud, but it wouldn’t be beyond WWE to do something to death by having the two resume their feud after the FastLane PPV. It would help to bring the Intercontinental Championship back to prominence by having a long feud that the fans would be invested in, but this option also comes with some setbacks. Considering that Ambrose hasn’t won a world title in his career yet, he would pretty much be on the same level as Owens so neither guy would be getting elevated. Also, these two men are among the WWE’s top stars and this feud may be revisited in the future for the World Title, and if too many matches take place before that point, it may go the route of Cena-Orton. While it wouldn’t do much to help elevate Owens, it would still result in an entertaining feud that the fans would enjoy.
Unlike any other feud on this list, this is a feud with a long-standing rivalry that extends further than their NXT feud. Stemming from the elimination at the Royal Rumble, it would be easy to slowly build to a Zayn-Owens match at WrestleMania. Sami Zayn last fought Kevin Owens at NXT TakeOver: Unstoppable, where Zayn would lose for the second time and would, had to have shoulder surgery that would keep him inactive until late last year. Given the history between these two wrestlers and their highly praised matches, there would be some interest in giving these two a match at WrestleMania, the biggest problem with this would be who would win the match. Both wrestlers would need the momentum as Zayn would have to become an official part of the main roster following the Royal Rumble, which could serve as his re-introduction to the audience where he could be built up from there with a match at FastLane against the former NXT superstars and then defeat Owens at WrestleMania which would give him a great match and a WrestleMania moment early on into his career. In the case of Owens, it would be more of the same if he won the match mostly because Owens has never lost to Zayn in the realm of WWE. This is another feud that can happen later on in their careers, but a loss for either superstar in their first WrestleMania match would cost one of the men some momentum. But if the match is handled right, it wouldn’t take too much to bring either wrestler back to prominence following any potential loss.
AJ Styles recently made his main roster debut at the 2016 Royal Rumble match as entrant #3. He would be in the match for around 20 minutes and would be eliminated by Owens. Given that these men have history and are of similar backgrounds, it seems like a no-brainer for these two men to have a WrestleMania match together. The match would be of two superstars who don’t have the prototypical physique of the WWE, but whose talents have provided the opportunity to prove themselves on the biggest stage. The feud could easily stem from the Rumble elimination on its own and then proceed to develop into a feud about respect. The feud would work best if Styles could be the aggressor trying to prove that he’s better than Owens and have Owens constantly rejecting him in the vain of being a “prize fighter.” At Fastlane, Owens could be involved in a match for the US Title, only to be robbed of it by AJ Styles. The setup for the Mania match would be easy. However, the momentum of either superstar would be diminished for their first WrestleMania appearance and their first lost. Owens just lost his rematch for the Intercontinental title and Styles needs to look good to maintain his momentum. The victor would be hard to predict, but that’s also what would make the match even better. A potential great match, a showcase from two indie wrestlers on the grandest stage of them all, and an unpredictable outcome would benefit the show, but would also hinder one of the men involved.
This would be an ideal feud in a lot of ways as both men are Canadian, have beaten high profile stars early on in their WWE careers, and take pride in being the Intercontinental Champion. This feud would work best if the IC Championship was put on the line as it would allow Chris Jericho to talk about wanting the next best thing to winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship and that would be becoming the 10-time IC Champion. While simultaneously Owens could talk about being better than Jericho ever was. The feud would work in a lot of ways because it could be started by Jericho having a podcast special on the WWE Network and have Owens as the IC Champion and the special guest. Owens could talk trash, Jericho gets riled up, and the feud carries on from there. This is probably the most realistic scenario on this list because Jericho typically comes back to put current talent over and Owens defeating one of the greatest Intercontinental Champions of all time on the Grandest Stage of them all would easily boost his stock in the company.
If WWE doctor’s clear him, then this will be an ideal match. At WrestleMania 31, Daniel Bryan defeated five other superstars to win the Intercontinental Championship in the opening match. A few months afterwards, Daniel Bryan would be stripped of the title due to injury and wouldn’t return to the ring for the remainder of 2015. If Daniel Bryan can get cleared by WWE doctors, this would be the best case scenario to use Bryan in. For one, WWE wants Roman Reigns to get over as a babyface, so throwing Bryan back into the main event to face Reigns would be counterproductive. Also, Bryan hasn’t had his rematch for the IC Championship so a match with Owens would fit perfectly. After possibly regaining the IC belt on Raw, Owens could defend the title at FastLane, and declare his greatness as the IC Champion during a promo only to be confronted by Bryan; the man who never got the chance to live up to the prestige of the title. This match would be perfect for elevating Owens because Bryan could afford to take the loss after three straight WrestleMania victories, it’s a match the crowd would love, and it’s a feud that could continue past WrestleMania. All this depends on if WWE doctors clear him. Even if Owens doesn’t have the title, the match would still serve to put him over in a big way.
This is the least likely option for WrestleMania, but could result in one of the biggest WrestleMania moments of all time. Recently, The Rock announced via Instagram that he would be at WrestleMania 32. If The Rock plans on wrestling, then Owens could serve as an ideal opponent for him. The main reason this match would work is because it would fix a problem that fans had with Rock at WrestleMania 29. While most people didn’t have a problem with Cena fighting The Rock, nothing was really gained from these feuds except a new WWE Champion. By the time The Rock made his return, John Cena at the top of the wrestling world and only gained another victory against another future Hall of Famer after their match ended. With Kevin Owens, this match would make him completely different than most of the active wrestlers on the roster including Ambrose and Roman Reigns. Owens would always be able to say “I beat the men who main evented two WrestleManias together all within two years of my arrival in the WWE” if he won the match. With The Rock, who has already transitioned out of wrestling, no one knows when his last match will be or if he’ll ever compete again. So having him fight someone who could hold his own weight in promo exchanges could make for some epic television. Even if WWE were to go the typical route and have The Rock beat Owens, it would still make Owens look like a star because very few people on the current roster can say they faced The Rock. And a loss here would be different then losing to someone around his level because it’ll be him actively taking steps towards greatness vs. fighting everyone in the mid card. This match could make another genuine star on the roster and make Owens career before he even reaches a world title. And with the roster suffering, even more, injuries, this match would only improve their situation.
Who do you want Kevin Owens to face at Wrestlemania?
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