Though Kevin Owens is a staple of WWE programming and often a highlight of shows, most fans would probably agree his biggest main roster success so far was a couple years ago: the period when he held the Universal Championship and was part of the JeriKO and Festival of Friendship storylines, and a run with the United States Championship. In the autumn of 2017, fans learned from a WWE 365 documentary about Owens that during this time, Vince McMahon was not pleased with Owens’ match with Chris Jericho at WrestleMania 33. On the latest episode of Lilian Garcia’s podcast, Owens talked about how that moment and the aftermath of that match has impacted him since.
First, Owens revealed that that famous “No” wasn’t the only difficult moment in him and McMahon’s relationship around that time (transcript via 411Mania):
I think a lot of it needs to stay between Vince and I actually, to be honest, but it wasn’t just that night. There was so much over the months that happened after that that made me question myself as a performer, maybe question my place in WWE, and then ultimately affected my life in every aspect because I’m so passionate about this…
I guess the weirdest part of it was that up until that point, everything was going great for those two first years there, or whatever, year and a half. I started in WWE, I was working with John Cena right away and we were killing it, and then I kept going up and then I went from that to the Intercontinental Title to working with Dean Ambrose to my first WrestleMania and then me and Sami [Zayn] had our story together and then the Universal Title, so it was like everything seemed to be going up and up and up, just like anybody in this industry would want it to. And I would always come back to positive, literally always come back to positive feedback, until that one night, and then everything switched.
Owens said that’s been playing “catch up” in his career since that moment.
I’m not saying that other people or Vince or anybody else were making me feel this way…. It felt like I wasn’t doing anything right. Because I was trying to myself, after WrestleMania, after that match, I tried to kind of change things about my personality or my character or whatever and even the way I wrestled to be more in line with what the company needed me to be or the show needed me to be, but it was hard because I wasn’t finding it… It’s been a struggle since that moment, I’d say.
Could continuing to ether Dolph Ziggler like he did on last night’s Smackdown help Owens get out of this years-long funk? We’ll have to wait and see, or wait until he does another shoot interview.