Late in 2017 the WWE Network aired a special centered around Kevin Owens. The WWE 365 chronicled Owens’ career from SummerSlam 2016 through the following year’s event.
One moment during the special which really stood out was when it was revealed that Vince McMahon was unhappy with Owens’ WrestleMania 33 match against Chris Jericho. Owens joined Lilian Garcia’s podcast where he revealed if he ever got around to watching the special.
“Yeah. I think I wish we had more time to flesh out how weird that whole period was from the end of WrestleMania to I guess when 365 happened. That was a really weird couple of months for me because obviously people talk about that moment with Vince McMahon at WrestleMania when he wasn’t happy with my match,” said Owens. “And a lot of people tend to make fun of that moment on social media and stuff like that because what they show is me going up to Vince McMahon and asking if we’re good and him saying no, but there was a lot more to it than that.
“It wasn’t just that night, there was just so much over the months that happened after that that made me question myself as a performer; maybe question my place in WWE and then ultimately affected my life in every aspect because I am so passionate about this. I am lucky that I have a very supportive wife at home that would be able to deal with that stuff because that was a rough patch actually, but yeah, the 365 only gave a sample of it, which, you know I wouldn’t want it to be too negative either. But I wanted it to be real and ultimately I think the people that edited it found a good balance between everything but those couple of months were really rough.”
Owens said what made that moment even weirder was that everything was going great for him up to that point. He had feuds with the top Superstars and won the Intercontinental Title, but everything just flipped during that one night.
“I would always come back to positive feedback until that one night and then everything switched, and then it was like trying to play catch up. At one point it felt like – I’m not saying that other people or Vince McMahon or anybody else were making me feel this way – I just felt like I wasn’t doing anything right because I tried to find myself,” admitted Owens. “After that match I tried to kind of change things about my personality, or my character, or whatever; even how I wrestled to try to be more in line with what the company needed me to be. But it was hard because I wasn’t finding it and you know, if anything I still feel like I am struggling to find it because there’s a balance between what I was those first two years and then what I’ve been since and what I guess the show needs me to be for the people in charge but it’s been hard to find that balance.”
Owens also had to learn to not take his work home with him. If he had a bad day in the ring, he would stew about it all day, including at home, and that affected his wife and kids. He says he managed to compartmentalize and separate the two but is still getting used to receiving constructive criticism for his in-ring work.
“So, thankfully I have gotten a lot better on [the family] part but yeah it’s just been kind of rocky and a bit of an environment and a situation that I wasn’t used to because even before WWE I was always kind of used to getting somewhere where people wouldn’t expect me to succeed or do as well as I would and I was always pretty confident that I would do it and I always managed to do it. I had never faced that type of adversity where somebody told me that you’re not doing it right. It’s not working. It was challenging,” said Owens.
“I would like to say that it made me grow but I don’t think I can say that. I think if anything – I’ve tried to grow but I don’t think I did. The thing about me is that I always think about how I can contribute to the show as best as I can, and I guess that would be true on almost everyone else. I don’t know if anyone thinks of this business the way that I do but I think that the most passionate performers that we have think about how to contribute to the show and bring the best that they can to the product, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s what they need or their vision. The ideas that I have brought forward; some of them have worked and some of them weren’t used and stuff like that. But that’s all contingent on them seeing me the way that I see myself and in certain situations there’s so many factors that it can be something else is happening on the show, there’s another story that we’re telling now so we can’t tell that story because it’s too similar or that it takes elements from something we’re already doing or what we’re doing or that it’s not right for you. You know what I mean?
“There’s so much to contend with so I guess that part of the growth that I did achieve through the adversity and the stuff that happened is that I have learned to accept things better. It doesn’t mean that I have agreed with everything or whether it sits well with me, but I have learned to just get over it better. Again, my wife may be here to tell you the opposite. She may say that I can get better at getting over things like that, but I am getting better I believe.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chasing Glory with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.