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The words ‘I quit’ mean absolutely nothing in WWE

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On this week’s (Sept. 3) episode of Raw, Kevin Owens interrupted Jinder Mahal’s meditation segment to attack Bobby Lashley and deliver a brutal apron powerbomb.

This was a frustrating and maddening booking decision considering that Kevin Owens uttered the words “I quit” just one week earlier on Raw. Therefore it makes no sense that Owens missed zero episodes of television. There are plenty of straightforward ways that WWE can try to logically explain his return. Maybe Baron Corbin or Stephanie McMahon just talked some sense into him or offered him an incentive to return. Perhaps KO wants to gain revenge on behalf of his best friend Sami Zayn. Maybe Jinder Mahal’s relaxation exercises actually helped KO regain his focus. The problem is that no matter how WWE explains it in the story, they have completely neutered the meaning of the words “I quit” on all of their television shows going forward.

When a wrestler of Owens’ stature quits, his return should occur as part of a major angle. There should be significant consequences for the direction of the story going forward. Showing up the very next week to beat up Bobby Lashley during a Jinder Mahal meditation segment is pretty much the exact opposite of the ideal return scenario. This meditation segment was thrown into a filler time slot featuring two wrestlers who are not a focal point of the product right now and are not running with any kind of surging momentum of fan support. KO’s attack on Lashley could have conceivably played out the same exact way if Owens never said the words “I quit” one week earlier. That’s the biggest indictment on the whole thing and is alarming evidence of WWE’s ineffective writing.

Bobby Lashley is a cold act right now; giving him an apron powerbomb doesn’t mean a thing other than Owens and Lashley will probably feud going forward. There’s no show-stopping jaw-dropping mark out moment here. There’s no excitement in wondering what incredible chapter might come next in the story. There’s no indication of any kind of urgent importance to KO’s return. It’s most likely just the start of a tepid mid-card angle. The words “I quit” should have far more weight than that as a story-telling tool in pro wrestling.

One week after quitting Raw, Kevin Owens returned as part of a run-of-the-mill mid-card angle. That’s a thing that actually happened. Even my jaded eyes figured WWE would wait at least a few weeks before bringing Owens back, but I guess I should have known better. Kevin Owens’ decision to quit Raw was the most pointless wrestling angle of the year. Sometimes Vince McMahon just can’t help himself, and now the words “I quit” will be completely meaningless the next time they are used on Raw or SmackDown.