See Why Kevin Owens Is The Best Bad Guy In WWE

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In just three minutes, Kevin Owens lays down the hate on his fans, showing why he’s the best at being bad…

You all know me, Henry Gilbert, as a mega-nerd of the highest order. I host the comic book podcast Cape Crisis (via the support on the Laser Time Patreon), and I’m an unrepentant wrestling fan, which listeners of Cheap Popcast know. I watch just about everything I can get my hands on, and it’s always nice to see the most mainstream wrasslin’ corporation around host something new that truly stirs some passion in weathered fans like myself.

Kevin Owens (aka Kevin Steen) has had an incredible run at NXT, quickly becoming my new favorite employee of Vince McMahon. And it’s not just because Owens has tremendous in-ring talent. It’s because he so good at being bad, and getting the audience to hate him in spite of his obvious superiority. The most recent example happened on the August 19 episode of NXT, and it must be watched by anyone who loves wrestling and/or fantastic oratory skills…

What’s so great about it? Well, first off it’s that Owens knows the fans all too well, and is attacking them (myself included) with our own hypocrisy. We love that NXT is the smaller scale, smarter written, better performed antidote to shitty editions of Raw, and Owens is the cover boy of that. So, to get us to hate him, he hits us where it hurts, saying we’d rather inhibit the careers of NXT performers just to keep things in a cozy, safe Florida studio. NXT selling out shows in Brooklyn is what we seemingly wanted, so why are we so mad about it? Here’s Kevin Owens to ask that question in the most snide way possible.

In general, he’s attacking the same niche wrestling fans that helped make him an indie star, letting them know he’s bigger than that now. He even calls out the fans in attendance for not booing with any consistency, saying they’re the crappy fanboys, not the thousands of kids wearing U Can’t C Me shirts. He goes as far to call the NXT crowd “the John Cena of wrestling fans,” which is pretty much the meanest thing you can say in the Internet Wrestling Community. It’s BRILLIANT!

I also adore that clip because it’s another moment of Owens being the reverse Sami Zayn. The two are near the same level of skill and popularity, but Owens shapes that adoration into a sharpened edge he can stab in the fan’s backs. Meanwhile, Sami turns his wins into their wins, making the crowd part of his lovably dorky group, Sami Zayn and the Zayniacs.

Lastly, I love that promo because this version of Owens is what you get when you trust him to go off script a little. Owens is such a canny talker that he can put NXT fans in their place without it sounding overly rehearsed. It’s the opposite of most folks on Raw, Owens included, where it seems like there is very little room for additions, improvisation, or spontaneity. Compare the above moment to Owens talking on a random Raw…

Quality work to be sure, but Owens feels verbally handcuffed compared to when he stands in front of the fans in Florida. Perhaps, though, that’s because Owens is still special in NXT, while on Raw, Kevin is now just another guy who lost to John Cena. You know, the type who are the second most important guy to Sheamus in a tag team main event. It’s all a real bummer when you see Owens is capable of SO much more.

This weekend Owens has two bouts that have Match of the Year potential – a ladder match against Finn Balor, and a battle of the net favorites with Cesaro. Knowing the skill of everyone involved I can’t wait for either. I just wish that this Kevin Owens, the one expertly talking shit to get hated by those who love him most, got handed a microphone more often. That guy is a future WrestleMania main eventer.

3 thoughts on “See Why Kevin Owens Is The Best Bad Guy In WWE

  1. I’ve seen this promo being posted around on the internet, and I haven’t gotten a chance to check it out yet. I’ve been taking a little break from wrestling after Money in the Bank, just for the summer months. But after seeing an article poster here on Laser Time, I just had to check it out.

    There’s just something so gratifying about hearing Kevin Owens call you out. As a (for better or worse) self-proclaimed smark, I’m partially what Owens is talking about. But hearing him dish it out in an improvised promo had me applauding for him, and against myself. Of course there’s a hypocrisy when it comes to cheers from a wrestling audience. Even a heel can bring out a cheap pop if they mention the name of the city in which they’re performing. We know what we’re cheering for, and we’re cheering on purpose. But sometimes, even the most self-aware wrestling fan will get caught up in the moment and participate in an obvious pop. There’s just something so great to hear a heel point that out. Of course, from the kayfabe perspective this makes him look bad, and from the perspective of a viewer, this just makes him look like a great bad guy.

    Great commentary, Henry. I’m glad you got me to listen to this quick little promo. I really gotta get back into NXT in time for Takeover.

  2. I’ve seen this promo being posted around on the internet, and I haven’t gotten a chance to check it out yet. I’ve been taking a little break from wrestling after Money in the Bank, just for the summer months. But after seeing an article poster here on Laser Time, I just had to check it out.

    There’s just something so gratifying about hearing Kevin Owens call you out. As a (for better or worse) self-proclaimed smark, I’m partially what Owens is talking about. But hearing him dish it out in an improvised promo had me applauding for him, and against myself. Of course there’s a hypocrisy when it comes to cheers from a wrestling audience. Even a heel can bring out a cheap pop if they mention the name of the city in which they’re performing. We know what we’re cheering for, and we’re cheering on purpose. But sometimes, even the most self-aware wrestling fan will get caught up in the moment and participate in an obvious pop. There’s just something so great to hear a heel point that out. Of course, from the kayfabe perspective this makes him look bad, and from the perspective of a viewer, this just makes him look like a great bad guy.

    Great commentary, Henry. I’m glad you got me to listen to this quick little promo. I really gotta get back into NXT in time for Takeover

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