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Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

Heel Turns: Owens making major impact

Posted by Achilles Heel On September 16

Achilles HeelThe shocking attack on Vince McMahon on Smackdown was the latest highlight in Kevin Owens’ awesome WWE career.

Owens has made a tremendous impact in less than 2½ years in WWE. He has held the United States, Intercontinental and WWE Universal championships. Upon entering WWE, he immediately became embroiled in a feud with John Cena. Owens and Chris Jericho were the most entertaining duo in WWE for nearly a year before Owens turned on him in a spectacular breakup. Owens was involved into a feud with A.J. Styles, which has led to his feud with Shane McMahon.

Perhaps Owens is making up for lost time. He wrestled professionally for 14 years before signing with WWE. After starting his career with former WWE star Jacques Rougeau’s promotion in Canada, Owens made his mark in Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling Guerilla, International Wrestling Syndicated and Combat Zone Wrestling.

Owens, wrestling as Kevin Steen, which is his real name, frequently crossed paths with El Generico, known to WWE fans as Sami Zayn. Owens wrestled against El Generico in IWS, CZW and Ring of Honor. He and El Generico formed a successful tag team, which dissolved after Steen turned on his partner, leading to a legendary feud in Ring of Honor.

Some thought that Steen, who certainly doesn’t possess the physique typical of most of WWE’s stars, was going to spend the rest of his career on the independent scene. But his hard work paid off in an opportunity with WWE.

Zayn/Generico preceded Owens in signing with WWE and arriving in NXT, which Owens, who changed his ring name from Steen, cited as motivation when, on his first night on television, he attacked Zayn after Zayn won the NXT Championship. Two months later, Owens won the NXT Championship from Zayn. Owens held the title for more than four months before losing it to Finn Balor, in full “Demon” mode, during a WWE Network special from Tokyo.

Owens was promoted to the WWE main roster while holding the NXT Championship. He defeated United States champion John Cena, with a clean pin, on his first pay-per-view match. He also defended the NXT Championship on Raw and Smackdown. Cena came out on top in their feud, but Owens earned a lot of respect by holding his own with Cena in some terrific matches.

Owens won the WWE Universal Championship one year later, with some assistance from Triple H. His successful title defenses often were aided by Jericho, who formed a friendship with the champion. But, after their breakup, Jericho turned the tables on Owens by distracting him at the start of his title defense against Goldberg, which led to an abrupt end to Owens’ six-month reign as champion. Goldberg’s title victory set up the WrestleMania match at which Brock Lesnar gained revenge on Goldberg by taking the title.

Rather than fade away after losing the Universal Championship, Owens, who was drafted to Smackdown, remained hot by feuding with Jericho, who had won the United States Championship. Owens captured that title from Jericho and then was drafted to Smackdown, where he traded the title back and forth with Styles.

The feud with Styles led to a SummerSlam match, with Shane McMahon as special guest referee. Styles won that match, as well as another match in which Shane inserted himself as guest referee when Baron Corbin, the original referee, walked out. Owens blamed Shane for his losses to Styles, which led to a confrontation on Smackdown in which Owens goaded Shane into attacking him. With Owens threatening to sue WWE, Vince McMahon appeared on this past week’s Smackdown and proclaimed that Owens would face Shane in a Hell in a Cell match. That prompted Owens to attack Mr. McMahon.

The attack on Mr. McMahon was a memorable segment. That shouldn’t be surprising. Owens has been involved in numerous memorable segments and matches in his relatively short time in WWE.

It took a long time for Owens to reach the top of the mountain. He’s given no indication that he will begin his descent any time soon.

*****

RING OF DISHONOR: Ring of Honor’s “Death Before Dishonor XV” pay-per-view takes place Friday in Las Vegas. In the main event, Cody Rhodes defends the Ring of Honor World Championship against Minoru Suzuki. Kushida defends the Ring of Honor World Television Championship against Kenny King.

Other matches include Marty Scurll vs. Chuck Taylor, a last man standing match between Silas Young and Jay Lethal, a Las Vegas street fight between Jay White and Punishment Martinez, and a six-man tag team match between The Kingdom (Matt Taven, T.K. O’Ryan and Vinny Marsegia) and Bully Ray and Mark and Jay Briscoe, with the winner to face Adam Page and The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) for the Ring of Honor Six-Man Tag Team Championship later that night.

*****

HAVE MERCY! “No Mercy,” which will take place on Sept. 24 and will be broadcast on WWE Network, is shaping up to be a pretty good card. The main event features Brock Lesnar defending the WWE Universal Championship against Braun Strowman, a match the crowd clearly was clamoring for at SummerSlam.

John Cena and Roman Reigns have quickly built heat for their grudge match at No Mercy. Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose will defend the Raw Tag Team Championship against former champions Sheamus and Cesaro. Alexa Bliss will defend the Raw Women’s Championship against Sasha Banks, Nia Jax and Emma in fatal four-way match. Finn Balor will face Bray Wyatt, and Neville will defend the WWE Cruiserweight Championship against Enzo Amore, who has been using heel tactics to win since joining the cruiserweights. Look for a complete preview of No Mercy in the next edition of Heel Turns.

*****

IN-SANE: Congratulations to Kairi Sane, who defeated the much larger Shayna Bazzler in the final of the Mae Young Classic. Expect to see more of Sane, and possibly Bazzler, in NXT or WWE in the near future. (There could have been a spoiler in there, but The Greek God of Wrestling detests spoilers.) 

*****

GLORY ON THE MOVE: Global Force Wrestling has announced that Bound for Glory, which will take place on Nov. 5, will take place somewhere other than the Impact Zone studio in Florida. Early rumors are that it will take place in Toronto. The “big” announcement is supposed to be made Monday.

*****

UNLUCKY IN VEGAS: There reportedly was a disappointing crowd in Las Vegas a loaded Smackdown show that included three title matches and Vince McMahon’s return to television. The New Day regained the Smackdown Tag Team Championship from Jimmy and Jey Uso in a Las Vegas street fight, but, apparently, that and title defense by United States champion A.J. Styles and Smackdown Women’s champion Natalya weren’t enough to attract a large audience.

*****

TRAVEL DILEMMA: Although the Greek God of Wrestling didn’t make it to Las Vegas, he had a difficult time deciding where to go during WWE’s overseas tours. Hawaii, Australia, Japan and China were all on WWE’s itinerary. Where I went is none of your business, but you can be certain that I traveled first class all the way.

Achilles Heel took advantage of the trip to make a few stops in other places in Southeast Asia. One hotel had a rooftop pool that went right to the edge of the building. Another hotel had the best fitness club I have ever seen that wasn’t associated with a professional or college sports team. Living in luxury is something you peons will never experience.

*****

MASADA CHALLENGES MJF: Combat Zone Wrestling legend Masada, who defeated Stockade last Saturday at “Down with the Sickness,” will challenge Maxwell Jacob Feinstein, now known as MJF, for the CZW Wired Championship on Oct. 14 at “The Wolf of Wrestling,” which will take place at CZW’s new home, Rastelli’s Complex in Sewell, N.J.

In some of the other matches at Down with the Sickness, Shane Strickland retained the CZW World Championship against Jason Cade; Connor Claxton defeated Matt Tremont, Sami Callihan beat Jimmy Lloyd; Jake and Dave Crist, who have been appearing in GFW, beat the Ugly Ducklings; and The Rep (Dave McCall and Nate Carter) beat The Private Party (Isaiah Kassidy and Marq Quen) in the Chri$ Ca$h Memorial Ladder match to become the top contenders for the CZW Tag Team Championship.

*****

CHIKARA IN PHILLY: With King of Trios, its biggest event of the year, behind it, CHIKARA returns to Philadelphia for a pair of shows. Fire Ant will battle Sloan Caprice on Sunday (3 p.m.) during an Hour of Power show at The Wrestle Factory.

CHIKARA will return to The Wrestle Factory on Sat., Sept. 30 for “Tooth and Claw,” featuring “Mr. Touchdown” Mark Angelosetti challenging Juan Francisco Coronado for the CHIKARA Grand Championship, Hallowicked battling Rory Gulak, and a pair of inter-gender matches.

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