After it was reported last week that a WWE talent tested positive for COVID-19, many were on high alert as to how they were going to proceed with their work. For Kevin Owens, he chose to step away from the company in order to protect himself and his family. In his interview on WWE’s The Bump, Owens explains in detail how he asked for time off, and the reception he received from WWE management about his request.

“Due to the circumstances that happened last week with the positive coronavirus test, I just thought it was wiser for me to stay with my family,” Owens stated. ” I told the people in charge my decision, and they were like, ‘Yeah, ok.’ I think they know that once I make my mind up on something, that’s the way it’s going to be. They were respectful of my decision. I’m glad I did it because I think this was the best decision for me to do for my family.”

It has been five years since Owens accepted John Cena’s open challenge for the United States Championship. Now that he’s an established main eventer, he believes that it’s important to have more open challenges similar to Cena’s. When asked by the panel who he would choose from NXT to challenge him in the future, it was hard for him to make a solid decision. After some thought, he chose Johnny Gargano because of their friendly, yet outstanding feud they’ve had within the indies.

“There’s obviously so many really, really talented people in NXT,” Owens started off saying. “It’s really hard to pinpoint one because there are so many answers. If I had to go with – well since there’s history there – I would have to go with Johnny Gargano.

“In 2013, William Regal came to a show in California. We knew he was there scouting talent. It turns out he was scouting me, but I didn’t know that. I didn’t find out until many years later. He came to the show and I wrestled Gargano that night. We really rocked it. We had an enjoyable match. The fans loved it, and I loved it too! It was the first time I wrestled Johnny. He’s made quite a career for himself. It would be great to have a moment like that with him again.”

Like many who began their career on the black and gold brand, at some point, they move on towards greener pastures. When it was time for Owens to venture off to the main roster, following his emotional match against Finn Balor at NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn Owens admits that it was the hardest career decision he’s had to make.

“After the match for some reason – since I knew that was my last match in NXT – I sat on the apron – I try to keep my emotions in check until I’m by myself – but for some reason that night, I broke down on the apron because I realized that was my last NXT match, and that made me really sad,” Owens recalls. “All of me wishes that I could’ve done both [work on the main roster and NXT]. I didn’t want to leave NXT. I didn’t want to leave the people that I was working with. I didn’t want to leave the talent. It was a really special feeling to be part of that. NXT will always be associated as a special moment for me.”

You can watch the Owens’ full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE’s The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.