I’m not sure whose fingerprints are all over the story of Kevin Owens, and to a lesser extent John Cena, but this “takeover” of the main roster heels by Owens is what the WWE needed right now & we barely even realized it.
With the coming-of-age of new WWE World Heavyweight Championship Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns, Dean Ambrose & Bray Wyatt, WWE is on the verge of one of their biggest youth movements in the company’s history. And that doesn’t even take into account the incredible phenomenon that NXT has grown in to. Finn Bálor, Hideo Itami, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens and now Samoa Joe are all former world or heavyweight champions in numerous different organizations around the world & yet they are now working in a developmental brand to earn a “spot” on the main roster of the biggest wrestling organization in the world.
In other words, the talent pool is deep.
In 2012, the multiple year feud between Kevin Steen & El Generico (Sami Zayn) seemingly came to a bloody end when Steen drove Generico thru numerous steel ladders in a Ladder War at Ring of Honor’s Final Battle. The viciousness of the match effectively killed off the character of El Generico but it also cemented the name of Kevin Steen into the consciousness of every “internet-savvy” wrestling fan in the world.
While Steen and the newly-christened Sami Zayn were becoming hot properties, John Cena was preparing for the most-hyped WrestleMania main event of all-time against The Rock at WrestleMania 28. John Cena was sitting on top of the WWE as the biggest Superstar in WWE history facing one of the biggest stars in entertainment, The Rock. And Kevin Steen was arguably the most popular, unsigned independent wrestler as the reigning ROH World Heavyweight Champion. Both men were at the summits of their respective mountains and the “dream match” debates began. 3 years later and that dream match is a reality. Not only are we seeing John Cena versus Kevin (Steen) Owens weekly on RAW but Owens is being to positioned as one of the very top heels in the entire WWE.
What I’m trying to get at is that for the first time since the vaunted 2002 OVW class of Brock Lesnar, Batista, Shelton Benjamin, Randy Orton & John Cena, the WWE is looking a group of young standouts who are able and willing to carry the company into a whole new era. You can’t get much more excited about the future of the WWE than this.
When the teams were announced for the WWE Tag Team Championship Elimination Chamber match, the teams names weren’t particularly “groundbreaking”. But the teams made it work and both The Ascension & Prime Time Players left the giant Elimination Chamber structure looking like threats to The New Day’s run as tag team champions. Ad while the Lucha Dragons impressed with a few of their death-defying stunts, Sin Cara and Kalisto may be better off attacking the single’s divisions. I’m really looking forward to seeing what Kalisto can accomplish on his own.
Ryback was barely on my radar going into Elimination Chamber and that’s my fault. The “Big Guy” has been consistently over as a babyface since his return from injury & his own special hell nicknamed RybAxel. While he may never win over a lot of fans with his promo abilities, his recent humanization in front of a live audience did a lot to earn favor with the WWE Universe and it’s carrying over into his matches. The loss of Daniel Bryan is a big blow for the Intercontinental Championship and the potential revitalization of the division but it was time to move forward and Ryback is a different (and new) choice to carry the white leather.
Dean Ambrose & Seth Rollins are firing on all cylinders as the World Championship storyline and the “Dusty finish” used at the Chamber event was the perfect call for these two characters. Seth Rollins needed a way to lose without losing face and Ambrose found a way to get even MORE over by the end of the night. Stealing the championship & holding it hostage until Money In The Bank hasn’t been done in a while and is perfectly Dean Ambrose. Demanding a ladder match was the icing on the cake for this feud between two former Shield members. The last month or so could have been disastrous considering the WWE was producing Payback, a NXT Takeover special and Elimination Chamber with tight turnarounds but instead the Money In The Bank show is almost upon us & every storyline has the potential to be just as entertaining as the annual briefcase ladder match.
That’s it! Let me know what you think of this new featured post. I had fun writing it and it definitely made me watch the WWE in a whole different way. Leave me your feedback here, on Twitter @mattharrak or email me at MattHarrak@HTCwrestling.com.