This was my thought at exactly 11:10pm ET Monday night, less than five minutes after Kevin Owens’ hand was raised as the new WWE Heavyweight Champion of the Universe.
Not the heavyweight champion of the world. THE CHAMPION OF THE UNIVERSE. That means, in WWE canon, at this moment, there’s no better wrestler on this or any other planet than Kevin Owens.
And you know what? Good for him. If anyone deserved to be the top man in the WWE, regardless of how he got there and the events that led to it, it’s the prizefighter from Marieville, Quebec, Canada.
No, it’s not the most shocking championship victory in RAW history. Not. Even. Close.
But I will tell you what it is: it’s a rehash, my friends.
I present the following tweet that came across my timeline late Monday night that was the inspiration for this post:
Welcome to Football Season pic.twitter.com/u2ZIc4DIgs— Big Class (@Wiretaup) August 30, 2016
If you include Brock Lesnar (not pictured), this will be the fourth consecutive year that the WWE’s #1 is backed by Triple H and/or the Authority at some point during football season. Four. Years. Running.
2013: Authority-backed WWE Champion Randy Orton chased by Daniel Bryan (and Big Show and John Cena for some reason).
2014: Authority-backed WWE Champion Brock Lesnar chased by… well, ghosts, really since Brock Lesnar was nowhere to be found after the Lesnar-Cena rematch from Summerslam.
2015: Authority-backed WWE Champion Seth Rollins chased by John Cena and Roman Reigns (and Kane for some reason) until he blew out his knee. Then Authority-backed WWE Champion Sheamus chasing Roman Reigns until just after the NFL regular season ends when Reigns won the WWE title…only to lose it to Authority-backed WWE Champion Triple H in the Royal Rumble.
2016: Unless he loses the title next week, Authority (probably)-backed WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens chased by Seth Rollins, probably Roman Reigns, and a cast of thousands until THEDEMONFINN returns… hopefully in time for Wrestlemania 33.
On the surface, it’s pretty much Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. Some of the bit players may change, but the story’s the same. Someone has to thwart the so-called “company-backed” champion… a champion backed by Mr. and Mrs. Stephanie McMahon.
Look deeper, and it appears this edition is not all that it seems. For now, it looks like at least Haitch and Stephanie aren’t on the right side. Who knew about what went down and when did they know about it (in a kayfabe sense, obviously)? Who will turn babyface?
- Probably Seth Rollins, but Seth was just a week prior mocking Finn Balor for being forced to relinquish the WWE Universal Championship.
- Maybe Kevin Owens, but Kevin was the beneficiary of Haitch twisting the knife in Rollins’ back.
- Maybe Triple H, but he stared a HOLE AND A HALF in Mick Foley (and barely looked at Stephanie) after he had a direct hand in the outcome of the match.
- Maybe… just maybe… nobody turns at all. The dream “smark” scenario, perhaps?
Don’t get me wrong; I’m all in on Kevin Owens being WWE Universal Champion, but I feel like I’ve seen this story before. Kevin will have a group of cronies watching his back—or Triple H and/or Stephanie will enlist some for him—and they’ll make sure that Kevin and his Universal title are safe so that Kevin can feed his wife and kids. Fine. Just tell it a different way. I guess that’s why I’m cautiously optimistic about The Kevin Owens Show. But more optimistic I would have been than if the champion were either ratings drain Seth Rollins or the recently-suspended Roman Reigns.
Is there a different way for WWE to tell what is essentially the same exact story? We’ll find out soon enough.