'Don’t make me do this!' - How a single line of dialogue revealed the depth of Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn's epic story

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"Don’t make me do this!"


A simple plea framed within a tremendous wrestling match.

Just a single line of dialogue. But it’s so loaded, replete with pain, sacrifice, and the very relatable, all too familiar tale, of man falling short regardless of his best efforts. I thought it was a great addition to a storied tale between two wonderful performers.

If you’ll humor me for a moment, I’d like to put some more shine on it before we all move on to the next bit of 2016 pro wrestling craziness.

So, why was this tiny bit of the storytelling so good?

Let’s dive in, and have a look.


Enter Kevin Owens.

Kevin Owens the character, borders on being a caricature wrestling villain; petty, cowardly, selfish, a borderline sociopath. In that vein, he’s cut from the cloth of literally thousands of heels before him, and thousands yet to come. What sets him apart? Why does anyone care when we’ve seen so many of his ilk before?

Well, he’s one hell of an in ring worker, and joy on the mic. However, as many others can tell you, that isn’t always enough. To be truly successful, and memorable in the business of pro wrestling you have to have a character fans can invest in. So why invest in Kevin Owens? Is it because he plays a really great ‘cool heel’? Yeah... but no.

It is in fact because he portrays the best kind of villain. Not the faceless, cosmic world beating ‘monster heel’. Not the sniveling cowardly ‘puppet master’ type villain, with proclivities to unseemly to mention. No, Kevin Owens is the villain we can all relate to. He’s the archetypal ‘there but for the grace of god go I’ character. Kevin Owens is the villain with humanity.

His goals are so desperately similar to our own. Get ahead to provide for your family. Prove you are worth a damn in this life. Show the people you care about that you are worthy of their love and respect. We all feel that pain. That journey is universal, and inherently noble. So despite all the horrible stuff he does we can still relate to him.

So Kevin Owens’ family is the link to a good man buried under a mountain of shortcuts and misdeeds. Kevin Owens’ family is his humanity, right?

Yeah… not so much.

Despite what he says, and how he portrays himself, Kevin Owens has actually left his family behind in his mad quest ‘to provide for them’. Kevin Owens the wrestling character has become a terrible example of what a good human being is not just to the audience, but more importantly, to his children. He has littered his path of good intentions with brow beatings, cowardice, cheating, backstabbing, and unprovoked physical violence.

When KO was set to wrestle his son’s hero John Cena, what followed wasn’t a handshake, and a classic let’s-see-who-the-better-man-really-is affair. No, Kevin Owens gleefully tried to destroy Cena in what was nearly palpable, jealous rage. For how dare his son idolize anyone but he? After all he’s sacrificed? Unthinkable. He’ll destroy his son’s hero right in front of him, then of course the boy will see who is truly worth adulation. Kevin Owens is a narcissistic monster lurking just beneath the veneer of ‘family man’.

No, family isn’t the waning link to Kevin Owens’ humanity. They have become the excuse for him to enact violence upon the world to cover up his own failures, and inadequacies as a man. So, if they aren’t what separates Owens from being one dimensional cartoon villain, if they aren’t his humanity, then whom or what is?

Enter Sami Zayn.

Sami Zayn, that loser.

That fucking loser.

That fucking lovable loser.

The truth is, that in Zayn, Owens sees himself. After all, as they stand across the ring from each other the similarities are glaring. Both aren’t ‘typical’ WWE superstars from a physical perspective, both men came up after a grueling road through the indies, and perhaps most importantly both share an undeniable passion for the business of pro wrestling. They are in the same general spot on the card. Their in ring work is on a similarly high level of skill as well. Hell, they even work for the same damn promotion.

Therein lies the problem, you see, for all their similarities there is one very important difference. To achieve a similar level of success to Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens has had to debase himself. He has had to betray the principles, and ideals of being a ‘good man’ and father. He has had to become a villain to get by, and he loathes himself for it. Sure he takes it out on everyone else, but it’s the man in the mirror he really wishes he could block on Twitter.

There is a deep remorse that lingers within him, buried way, way down,

hidden almost even from himself. It is the loss of the man he once was. The kind of man he still sees in Sami Zayn, and he fucking hates him for it. The perseverance Sami shows is an insult to everything Kevin Owens has become. KO has done every vile thing he can muster, and despite all of it, he still isn't 'the man'. He's stuck in a godforsaken wrestling ring alongside a loser he left for dead back in NXT.

Kevin’s secret truth is that Sami is everything KO is, but he didn't sell his soul to get there. Sami is everything KO is but he isn’t tethered down by the responsibility of a family he will always disappoint. Sami is everything KO is.... but… ya’know… just a little bit better. That’s his secret truth, and it’s killing him.

How can KO not want to destroy him? How can he not HAVE to destroy him?

He must. It is the only option left. As long as Sami Zayn is walking around upright, then everything that is Kevin Owens is just… lesser.

So, at the culmination of this chapter of their fight forever story, Battleground 2016, Kevin Owens has Sami Zayn on his knees. Now is the time. Beaten, and battered his mortal enemy waits for the death blow, but it doesn’t come.

Instead Owens practically begs him to just lay down, and go away.


Is it because KO can’t perpetrate enough violence upon him to get the job done?

No, I think perhaps it was in that moment the ‘Prize Fighter’ realized that if he destroys Sami Zayn then there is nothing left of Kevin Owens.

The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Cageside Seats readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Cageside Seats editors or staff.