As someone’s who’s been following his career since fans were chanting “Kill Steen Kill” in bingo halls instead of “Fight Owens Fight” in arenas & stadiums, I was slow to accept Kevin Owens’ honorably family man character turn of the last couple years.
He’d been a babyface before in Ring of Honor, but it was always with more of an edge. He was still basically being a jerk and doing violent things, but he was doing them to worse people (plus, wrestling fans will cheer a homicidal a-hole if he’s entertaining enough, and Steen was never not entertaining).
Eventually I did accept WWE’s version of KO as a face. And overall I think it worked quite well, especially his main event run with Roman Reigns during the ThunderDome era. But every time it seemed like he might take his version of a fan favorite everyman character to the next level, he was cooled off again.
It’s not clear if Vince McMahon will ever make Owens the top star of Raw or SmackDown ever again, but it definitely didn’t seem like it was ever going to happen while he was playing a good guy. Which is part of why it was great when KO turned rudo a couple weeks ago on Raw.
But mostly it’s just because he’s SO GREAT as a heel.
Outside of his on-screen work, we’ve had a couple reminders of that this week. On Twitter, he’s been messing with fans (a heel Steen/Owens staple) - particularly on the topic of whether or not he should continue to use Stone Cold Steve Austin’s Stunner:
It’s mine now. I’ll never stop. Ever. https://t.co/ImaGQ7QnRq— Kevin (@FightOwensFight) November 17, 2021
How will I ever sleep again?!?!? https://t.co/VYtlIMhI5T— Kevin (@FightOwensFight) November 17, 2021
KO was a guest on The Bump today (Nov. 17), which gave him another chance to explain his turn - and the fact his feud with Reigns didn’t lead to anything plays nicely into that. He also got to do some work with Austin Theory. It’s really entertaining, which that and the fact Theory is an annoying heel might get him so cheers, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it...
With a chip on his shoulder, @FightOwensFight is not looking for acceptance or a nod of approval from anyone right now.— WWE (@WWE) November 17, 2021
There's #SurvivorSeries this Sunday and #WWEChampion @WWEBigE over on #WWERaw.
... right now, I’m just glad heel Kevin Owens is back.