At Fastlane 2017, Kevin Owens saw his Universal Title reign come to a very sudden and shocking reign. The “longest reigning Universal Champion” lost his title after 188 days to a 50-year old part-timer. While it was a sudden end, it seemed fitting to the failure that was the entire reign in the last few months.
Kevin Owens arrived with such fanfare on the main roster. As the then current NXT champion, he surprised then US Champion John Cena in May of 2015. It was a shocking debut and the crowd loved it. His credibility grew in feuds with the likes of John Cena, Dolph Ziggler, Cesaro, Sami Zayn and Dean Ambrose. When he won Raw’s biggest title in August 2016 it seemed that WWE had finally gotten behind Owens. Alas, it was not meant to be.
With that in mind, here are five reasons why Kevin Owens’ WWE Universal Championship run was a failure:
#5 He lost his Prize Fighter gimmick
When Kevin Owens debuted and attacked John Cena it made a quick impact. Here was a heel that didn’t care what the fans thought and went after the biggest star in the company. His reasoning was simple: he was willing to fight everyone at any time to feed his family. When he backed it up with a win against John Cena at Elimination Chamber 2015, the prize fighter gimmick was validated.
A heel that can back up his words makes a compelling villain. Nothing is better than a cocky heel that can back it up. The Kevin Owens who was the Universal Champion was anything but that man. He was cowardly, whiny and was always running away from a fight. It was a far cry from his prize fighter days and was not a heel you could support.