There was some sad news this week in the world of wrestling. Kevin Owens has been working through a knee injury for some time now and will require surgery. There is no timetable for his return, as he is yet to be assessed, but the ballpark of four to eight months has been the general consensus.
Owens has never taken time off due to injury in his four plus years with WWE. This is a testament to the man’s dedication to the craft of pro wrestling. Owens is a safe, reliable pair of hands who presents immeasurable value to the company. While seeing him disappear from our TV screens is a tough pill to swallow, this could be a blessing in disguise for KO. Owens has not exactly been presented as well as he could have been this year. The last time he truly felt like a threat was during his blood rivalry with Shane McMahon at the tail end of last year. That particular feud overstayed its welcome, and Owens has been the punching bag for the likes of Braun Strowman and Bobby Lashley ever since.
With this in mind, we have come up with five potential scenarios that could facilitate Kevin’s return. Time away could really go a long way in refreshing the Kevin Owens character, hopefully resulting in a renewed push once he’s back.
1. A Royal Rumble Return
As previously stated, we don’t know precisely just how long Owens will be gone. The most logical return if it’s only a short-term injury is of course the Royal Rumble. Around three months out would be more than enough time to make us miss old Kev, thus meaning he’d get a hell of a pop if he came out and laid waste to the field of 30 men populating the ring. Though he’d have to pull off a John Cena-level, genetic freak healing process to make such a tight window, assuming four months is the low end.
An even better sub-scenario would be a monster heel Lashley clearing the ring and having nobody be able to stop him. As Lashley is standing alone, the familiar shredding guitar of KO’s music would hit to a thunderous ovation, whereby the two men proceed to beat the crap out of each other. Winning the Rumble isn’t very likely in this scenario, but Owens could still make a big splash and be protected if his brawl with Lashley caused both men to send each other over the top rope. The fight could continue all the way up to the ramp and there you have it, Kevin’s already got a ready-made storyline upon his return that follows up on his last appearance.
2. As a Paul Heyman Guy
This one was tossed around after Owens appeared to have quit, following a losing effort against Seth Rollins about a month ago. The Internet set ablaze with rumours that Owens was going to be repackaged as a dominant monster, Paul Heyman at his side, without Brock Lesnar weighing him down. Problem there was that Kevin came back on the next episode of Raw to kick off his feud with Lashley. Him “quitting” was never brought up again and the whole thing was a colossal waste of time.
Or was it? This is a story that can still be told. With Brock Lesnar set to return to the UFC at some point next year, there’s no telling when or if we’ll see him back in the WWE. Heyman needs a running buddy and to see him reintroduce a healed-up Kevin Owens on Raw would be a magical moment. Owens doesn’t need an orator, he’s one of the best talkers of his generation. However, the mere presence of Heyman in his corner would bolster his legitimacy, christening him as the next “Next Big Thing.”
3. With Sami Zayn
There’s the chance to kill two birds with one stone here. Sami Zayn hasn’t been seen since Money in the Bank, where he lost in convincing fashion to Bobby Lashley (what does Bobby have against these two?). It was later reported that he’d torn both rotator cuffs, an injury that he’s unfortunately familiar with, as it saw him miss the bulk of 2015 after an acclaimed match with John Cena.
Sami’s proposed recovery time was about a year, so we should be seeing him back in action around June. One would hope that Owens won’t be away for nine months, but there would be a massive reaction if one guy came out after the other by surprise. Better yet, have them return as babyfaces. They’d receive a great pop on the night and you could capitalise on that momentum. To see Sami and Kevin pursuing championship gold would be a nice way to reintegrate them into the main roster. Not to mention, it would net Owens the Grand Slam.
4. As a SmackDown Superstar
A change of scenery might be what’s best for Kevin. He hasn’t done a whole lot of note on Raw in 2018, and with new surroundings comes new opportunities. Whenever next year’s Superstar Shake-Up takes place is where this one could happen. A newly drafted Raw superstar could come out and be ready for their big match, only for Paige to announce that they’re not the only recent acquisition for the blue brand.
An enraged Kevin Owens then storms the ring and puts on a clinic. Think his NXT debut against CJ Parker. A merciless beat-down to let us all know that KO is back and means business. Obviously, this spells bad news for the other schmuck who’s being fed to Owens, so let’s make it someone who sadly doesn’t have much upside. Sorry, Mojo Rawley.
5. As a Pissed Off Babyface
This is more of a general scenario with no attached timeframe. Kevin Owens has been a babyface in WWE for about an hour and a half, give or take. He debuted as a babyface in NXT and would go on to beat the ever-living shit out of Sami Zayn to end the night. Four years is a long time to maintain a single alignment. Owens, however, is such a strong character worker that he can make it so he doesn’t get stale.
Many would argue that Owens is a natural heel. I think he has an inner babyface that just wants to break out. Owens has a character that is malleable and feels realistic. He is a family man who wants to fight to feed his wife and kids. If you were to play down his more villainous traits – namely his distrust of every friend he’s ever had – he could be a badass who fights for noble reasons. It’s just a simple case of giving him heels as dance partners. This circles back to my Lashley scenario, whereby you have a monster on one side and an underdog tough guy on the other. Owens is no stranger to portraying a babyface in ROH. We’re all cheering him anyway, so we’d simply be enabled in that love. His gaining righteous vengeance on the man who injured him in storyline would be logical and cathartic.
How would you bring Kevin Owens back to the WWE? Let us know in the comments below.