Kevin Owens' recent blue brand return saw him walking along a red carpet rolled out by Vince McMahon himself as 'The Prizefighter' strolled off the injured list and into a WWE Championship match. Weeks of presenting him as an everyman didn't exactly prepare fans for such esteemed recommendation from the deluded Chairman, but it's the closest Owens has come to feeling as relevant since he first strode onto a main roster stage back in 2015.
There, he bantered John Cena for daring to big-league him, then brutalised 'The Champ' ahead of a heated and shocking victory over the industry icon in his very first pay-per-view match. As NXT Champion at the time, Owens presented himself on the United States Champion's level regardless of the implied status gulf between them. In backing up his words with a win, he was theoretically made. But like a lot of modern era WWE, it was all better in theory.
In spite of 'KO's best efforts, everything slid south after entering at such a height. Owens lost rematches and the actual feud to John Cena, bounced around the midcard for a year and wasn't even received as a true heel threat when he became Raw's figurehead and Universal Champion just a year after his main roster arrival.
Headbutting and bloodying Vince McMahon a year after that was another false dawn, so forgive the cynicism about this latest reemergence. His fall from grace won't be the last, nor was it the first...
Square eyes on a square head, trained almost exclusively to Pro Wrestling, Sunderland AFC & Paul Rudd films. Responsible for 'Shocking Plans You Won't Believe Actually Happened', some of the words in our amazing Wrestling bookazines (both available at shop.whatculture.com), and probably every website list you read that praised Kevin Nash.