During the latest episode of WWE After the Bell with Corey Graves, WWE superstar Kevin Owens talked about signing a multi-year deal with the WWE in December and how directly dealing with Vince McMahon impacted his decision to stay.

Given his relationship with many talents in AEW including The Young Bucks and others, Owens spoke about deciding to stay in WWE and how there was an appeal to go to AEW to work with the talent he had not seen in a long time.

“I love all those guys, we know who we’re talking about,” Owens said. “I’m so close to them still, I talk to them fairly regularly. I haven’t seen those guys in a long time and obviously, I haven’t been in the ring with them in forever. I had a blast when I was in the ring with those guys all the time when I was on the independents.

“So there was definitely an appeal there to go back and hang out with those guys and get in the ring with those guys, that would’ve been sweet. But ultimately the thing that really sealed the deal was Vince McMahon made it clear that he wanted me to stay. A part of me almost felt like it was going to be corny, but this place is like a family.

“Just like AEW is probably like a family for those guys as well and it’s not just the other wrestlers and performers. It’s the crew, it’s everybody backstage, it’s everybody that works behind the scenes. Like some of my best friends in this company aren’t people you see on camera.

“It was just really hard not picturing myself coming to work on Monday or Friday and seeing those people. Obviously WWE made me an offer, they wanted me to stay and that sealed the deal altogether. It wasn’t style or anything like that, it just felt like the best decision and it just made the most sense.”

Continuing to talk about his relationship with talent directly responsible for AEWs success, Kevin Owens spoke about Cody Rhodes and recalled how he was integral in establishing Rhodes’ relationship with The Young Bucks.

The former WWE Universal Champion also talked about Cody returning to WWE and why he believes Rhodes hit a point where he knew he had to come back to WWE while having success with AEW.

“I’ve told him this before but I’m so proud of Cody,” Owens said. “When he was here, he and I got close pretty quickly and then he left and that really sucked for me because I felt like I was really losing [a friend]. I have people in this business that are really more like brothers to me than friends, it’s not everybody but there are a few people out there that I consider more like family. Cody is one of them, so when he left, it was a blow to me.

“Cause I figured, look, we’re going to be so busy, we’re barely going to see each other, which is true, we saw each other once, maybe twice the whole time he was gone. When he was going out on his own, he was doing it because he felt this was best for him. He didn’t feel like he was being given the chance to be what he could be in WWE, so he decided to bet on himself and leave.

“And the only thing I did, he asked me for some sort of guidance because he had never been on the independent scene before, and I gave him The Young Bucks’ numbers and I told them ‘can you guys take care of this guy?’ And look what happened. They really changed the industry, they did, there’s no denying it. Cody went out and did that, he didn’t do it himself, he had a lot of help and a lot of people but he was an integral part of that.

“Then he came back here, which I don’t know about as much, but I think that was always his ultimate goal. As he was doing it, as things were progressing, his mindset might have changed at some point and seen himself coming back at some point because he was doing so well.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE After the Bell with Corey Graves with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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