Just seven weeks ago, Kevin Owens looked on the verge of being the next big breakthrough WWE Superstar having shocked the world by cleanly defeating John Cena at Elimination Chamber and then trolling him afterwards by giving Cena some "veteran advice" that his time is up and KO's time is now.
Now, it looks like WWE is well on course to blowing Owens' momentum, just like Rusev's and many other hot acts before him, after scripting him to lose cleanly on three straight Network specials, including a humbling tapout loss to Cena at Battleground last night. How can WWE make such a glaringly obvious mistake in cooling off a performer who could have easily been a strong headliner for many months to come off the first Cena win in the space of just a few weeks?
Even though Dave Meltzer was "at a loss for words" over the shortsightedness of Owens losing at Battleground in that manner on his latest subscriber only radio show, he still could explain why it happened. Partially it was a panic move over Cena's merchandise selling at a noticeably slower pace immediately after his Elimination Chamber defeat, which explains why he got his win back over Owens so quickly at Money In The Bank. More disturbingly, Meltzer talked about Machiavellian forces within WWE that are salivating at the prospect of Owens failing and was helping to give him enough rope to hang himself with:
"To again explain this: there were two schools of thought on Kevin Owens from the start and the basic gist was that some people thought that he was going to make it and some people thought he wasn't going to make it, and those who thought he wasn't going to make it made sure that he got every opportunity to make it or else they would be wrong. You know what I mean? I shouldn't say they would be wrong, they wouldn't prove that they were right. So now whether he makes it or he doesn't make it, there is a game going on and we're in the middle of the game."
Although Meltzer protects the name of the devious party out to get Owens, it's not hard to join the dots together to know who he's likely talking about.
Last year, there were rumours that WWE's Executive Vice President of Television Production Kevin Dunn was using Vince McMahon's ear to bury recent NXT call ups like Adam Rose, Bo Dallas and Paige. Dunn's reputation is that he'll bury anyone who is a threat to his position, and it is believed that Paul "Triple H" Levesque and Stephanie McMahon would replace him as soon as they gain complete control of WWE. Thus, it wouldn't be surprising if Kevin Owens is caught in the crossfires of the constant political battle for Vince McMahon's affection between his son-in-law and his long-time confidante.
We'll have more on the corporate games Kevin Dunn has been playing later this week, Cagesiders, so look out for that.