Alignment can be hard to tell with Kevin Owens. His heel character is always so sure his actions are justified, and right, that he almost convinces you they are. Whenever he tells his story, KO is definitely the hero.
But on the July 2 episode of SmackDown, it did feel like Owens was leaning babyface. Maybe not to the “gyrating with The New Day” extent he was after WrestleMania 35, an over adjustment which was necessary to really sell his feud with Kofi Kingston for the WWE title. But perhaps he was settling in to the anti-hero fan favorite role most famously played by wrestlers like Steve Austin or CM Punk?
We’ll see if his calling bull$#!+ on Dolph Ziggler’s schtick was the start of an alignment tweak, or just a situation where one heel’s issue with another heel aligned with what a lot of fans were already thinking. But we do know that Owens himself is ready to play a good guy, or at least his version of one.
He said so himself while chatting with Lillian Garcia on an excellent edition of her Chasing Glory podcast:
“I’ve been a heel for so long now, I personally am ready for something different. And I also would love to see how successful I can be as a babyface. My ego tells me I’d be great. But, you know, I got a tiny taste of it and then for reasons beyond my control, because of what the show needed, I had to go the other way. And I’m trying to make that as good as I can, but I still have that need to find out if I’m right.”
As someone who’s been following the Prizefighter’s career for a while, I remember when he went along with the cheers in Ring of Honor toward the end of his run with the company (and feuded with people who followed him to WWE like Steve Corino, Matt Hardy, Adam Cole, and Mike Bennett & Maria Kanellis). I definitely think KO can be successful as a good guy, and I hope he gets a chance to try.
Let us know what you think, and give Owens entire talk with Garcia a listen here. His story of struggling to feel good about his place in WWE after Vince McMahon panned his WrestleMania 33 match with Chris Jericho not only provides insight in KO. It’s also another perspective on being passionate about wrestling while being a cog in the WWE machine - one that’s not quite as negative as the last one we heard.