Kevin Owens: The last true heel
Some people think Owens crossed a line by talking down to a child. Here's why Kevin Owens' actions weren't actually bad at all...
There has been something of a minor controversy erupting on social media and among wrestling fans over the last twenty-four hours. During a live event in Lowell, MA, Kevin Owens confronted a 7-year-old child seated at ringside.
That child had, apparently, been high-fived by virtually all of the other wrestlers that had come and gone that night, and was expecting Owens to do the same. Instead, Owens talked down to the kid, telling him he didn’t want him to buy one of Owens’ shirts. He also said something along the lines of, ‘I am your father’ to shock the child because Owens is awesome.
The child’s mother took to Instagram to criticise Owens, saying that he had ‘ruined their night’. She claimed her son collected WWE merchandise and expected all WWE Superstars to be heroes to the children that attend their shows.
Except Kevin Owens isn’t a hero. Kevin Owens is a bad guy; and a very good one at that. In fact, Owens might be the last true heel WWE has, which makes him a diamond in the rough of sorts for the promotion.
In an era of hypersensitivity and bending over backwards in order to prevent lawsuits and complaints, Kevin Owens is a breath of fresh air. Remember almost two years ago when Triple H broke character after making a child cry? Footage of ‘The Game’ consoling a child he upset because he was doing his job surfaced, and made him look like a fool.
He was doing a great job of telling a convincing story but had to stop because one person in the audience didn’t like that the bad guy was being a bad guy. Way to sell the story, Hunter.
So, in other words, it’s totally acceptable for a major on-screen character to break the fourth wall because one child is crying, but booing Roman Reigns gets censored on live TV. Gotcha.
This is why Owens’ actions are so important. Despite being at a live event, where the cameras aren’t rolling, Owens doesn’t turn off his character because it’s a different environment. He keeps the same mindset and approach to character work at live events as he does on the major TV shows.
Small things like this, are why Owens has so many fans: he doesn’t destroy the illusion of his craft because one person got upset. To the contrary, he stirs the pot even more by commenting on it:
"A wrestler told my son not to not to touch him. I'm completely heartbroken...Well, not really but if I complain maybe I'll get free stuff!" pic.twitter.com/VbXjLzLYOg— Kevin Owens (@FightOwensFight) December 12, 2016
Some people are inevitably going to criticise Owens for going too far, attacking a child. They’ll argue that, even though Owens is a character, there are some things that you don’t do to a young fan. To those people, I say, look back to wrestling’s past. When the Undertaker debuted, young fans were either awestruck or terrified of this zombie-like figure.
‘Taker never broke character because his gimmick made a young fan cry.
Countless heels from wrestling history made their name by getting audiences to hate them. That’s the whole point of what a bad guy does, he getting the audience to boo them. Sometimes, doing something cheap, like insulting the local sports team or calling the fans in attendance isn’t enough, especially when those acts are done to death.
Instead, heels resort to more ‘despicable’ acts to get more of a reaction from the fans, and when they do, they should be thanked for doing their job.
Kevin Owens talked down to a child, and his mother said he cried afterwards, all because Kevin Owens didn’t give him what he wanted. In all likelihood, when this kid grows up, he’ll look back at this story and think, ‘Damn, Kevin Owens got me good’, and he’ll be a bigger wrestling fan because of it.
If you want more proof of this, consider Izzy, Bayley’s biggest fan. When Sasha made her cry during her match with Bayley, it added an extra layer of drama to the match and made Sasha look more badass. It did wonders for the match, and further increased sympathy for Bayley.
The next day, Izzy was all smiles, aware that Sasha’s actions were part of a greater story being told. Why can’t people grasp these basic concepts that have been a part of wrestling since it began?
Kevin Owens is arguably the last true heel in WWE. He plays an arrogant jerk on TV, and maintains that persona as much as he can, even when WWE’s cameras aren’t rolling. He’s one of the few people left in WWE that are fully committed to storyline continuity and preserving their character progression.
If only everyone else would follow in Owens’ example, maybe wrestling wouldn’t be perceived as so overly childish and nonsensical.
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