Fellow Sportskeeda featured writer Tom Clark might have said it best when he explained how the Universal Heavyweight Title is what it was supposed to be when it was first revealed after the WWE Draft on July 19.
“The Universal Championship meant nothing upon its inception because it had no foundation. It was a new concept, so WWE had the task of building it from the ground up. With the right booking and full focus from the company behind it, the title would quickly grow into a coveted championship.”
While Clark wrote about this for another wrestling website, it might be the truest statement of how WWE has dropped the ball in promoting this title and hence, has hurt Kevin Owens’ rise to the top of the company food chain.
Fans were ready for the former NXT champion to become the leader of a new era in this company. They wanted to see him dominate the main event picture. Despite the fact that he was “handed” the red team’s new title, everything was in place for him to rise above and conquer.
Since taking over the spot held by Finn Balor, WWE has done the worst thing it could do to help the Canadian superstar. It gave him Chris Jericho as a running mate, and in doing so has diminished the importance of Owens as a champion and has reduced him to being the lead dog on the dark side of Monday night programming.
It’s unfortunate because Owens is still a solid worker, a great mouthpiece and a villain if there ever was one in this business. Only problem is that Jericho is doing it better – without a title to call his own.
After watching Owens stand toe to toe with John Cena, push back the advances of Cesaro and put on a solid show with Dean Ambrose, walking around with Jericho has done the opposite for his title run.
Is it possible a babyface turn could not only help him in his run as brand champion, it might help salvage a program that could explode in WWE’s face if Roman Reigns is, in fact, the heir apparent to the red throne once more?
Following Hell in a Cell, WWE took a decided turn toward an Owens-Reigns confrontation with Jericho and Seth Rollins as supporting actors. Once again, Reigns is the apple of the McMahon family’s eye while Owens is left twisting in the wind – the man who cannot win without his BFF.
It used to be that Seth Rollins couldn’t win without the help of the Authority and J & J Security. Now, Owens has that stigma bestowed upon him. Something must change because the Universal Heavyweight Title is a decided second best on the totem pole as of now.
While I like Owens as a heel champion, he is not as effective a performer with a sidekick. Jericho is stealing the show.
Hollywood Hulk Hogan could not keep the WCW World Title without the help of members of the New World Order. Ric Flair could not keep all his 16 world titles without the help of the Four Horsemen from time to time.
The difference in those situations is both Hogan and Flair had already proven they could stand on their own with a world title in their hands. Owens has not
Owens has to prove once and for all that he is a worthy champion – one who deserves what was given to him. While Jericho takes away from his title run, a swerve and turn on his best friend would make Owens a better champion.
In years past a promotional champion was a great competitor, talked a great game and was slightly better than the competition.
Owens is all those things – except for being better than Jericho and for now, he isn’t better than Reigns either. The babyface turn makes him a stronger presence in the ring, challenging Jericho, Brock Lesnar, Rusev and potentially Samoa Joe when he makes his move to the main roster.
It’s worth a try. WWE has nothing to lose in this equation. If the Universal Title is to become the biggest prize for the Raw brand, it needs a champion that has proven that he is better than the rest. Right now, Jericho and Reigns, and to some extent Rusev and Rollins are proving that theory wrong.
Make Owens a fan-favourite and watch what happens. It might be the best move the company can make in 2017 – both for the brand and for the man currently holding the belt.
For latest WWE News, live coverage and rumours visit our Sportskeeda WWE section. Also if you are attending a WWE Live event or have a news tip for us drop us an email at fightclub (at) sportskeeda (dot) com.