Ezekiel vs. Kevin Owens
This is the dumbest thing.
When Elias returned* after WrestleMania saying he was actually Ezekiel, Elias’s younger brother, many eyes rolled.
It had been just a little less than a year that WWE opted to move on from Elias’s musician character, a character that seemed to still have legs to it, with a series of vignettes showing the man walking away from the persona. Since those... nothing. Nothing at all. Clearly, creative had nothing for the man after they ended a pretty successful gimmick.
So when the same man walked out without the beard, a shorter haircut, and wearing 80’s inspired gear, pretending to be the younger brother of Elias, it all felt like a waste. This was the best they came up with?
But with time, this comedy bit became the best thing going.
The main reason for this? Utter and complete commitment from the major players involved, those being Ezekiel and Kevin Owens.
Given it was obvious that this was actually Elias, it made sense that someone saw right through it. And that someone was Owens. The fact that everyone around him believed this ridiculous lie, causing Kevin to think he was taking the same pills as Jacobim Mugatu, anchored the story.
It surely helps that Kevin Owens is wildly entertaining and one of WWE’s best promos. He can make anything work, and being extremely frustrated about some ridiculous shenanigans is in his comedic wheelhouse. No one in the promotion does it better.
In fact he was so good at losing his mind over this, it made fans want to play along just to watch him lose it further.
Of course, Elias/Ezekiel himself is doing great work really leaning into it. He plays it completely straight on television, which is perfect for the comedy duo he and KO has become. But it’s the digit videos they put together that really nail it. The performer made the Elias gimmick work very well given his dedication. (The man even released an album!) He brings that same commitment to this role.
The supporting cast of Alpha Academy, who are also very good at comedy, helped bring this entire act home. (Chad Gable sending Ezekiel’s hair to the DNA Lab only to have Otis get BBQ sauce on the sample to mess with the results was a favorite bit of mine.)
It’s dumb. But it’s dumb fun.
Sure, there are questions about where we go from here. Should Kevin Owens, who just main evented WrestleMania night one with Stone Cold Steve Austin, take a loss to Zeke? Probably not. Will the comedy bits that have propped this story up thus far translate to a match? Maybe/maybe not. Does creative have a long term plan to all of this? Assuredly, they do not. And that risks this floundering eventually.
But as long as they have someone as dedicated as Zeke selling this angle and someone opposite him who is willing to play the one sane man in a madhouse, this will remain better than expected.
*To be clear, I fully believe Ezekiel is the younger brother of Elias, but Sean Rueter is an Ezekiel Denier and insisted I write this piece under the premise that Ezekiel and Elias are the same person or ‘suffer the consequences.’
Kevin Owens will try to expose Ezekiel when they face off tonight at Hell in a Cell, airing at 8 PM ET on Peacock in the United States and WWE Network everyone else. Keep it here to CagesideSeats.com for all your Hell in a Cell coverage.
Who will win this match?
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