After going head to head against John Cena in a stellar segment on Raw, Kevin Owens made it clear that he is on the same level as the United States Champion. Owens is an imposing force within NXT, and plays his heel character to perfection. By securing a victory over Cena at the upcoming Elimination Chamber event, the NXT Champion could prove to the mainstream WWE audience that he is one of the best performers in the company today.
John Cena is coming off of his third straight pay-per-view event victory against Rusev. Another win isn’t necessary for Cena to be taken seriously by the audience, nor will it assist him in gaining any momentum moving forward. If Kevin Owens defeats John Cena in his inaugural WWE match, however, it would skyrocket him towards the top of the company.
While he’s no longer in the main event scene, John Cena is still the most popular performer in WWE, and is arguably most famous superstar of his era. Securing a victory over the man who has been the face of WWE for more than a decade would undoubtedly give Owens the credibility he needs to become an upper echelon performer on WWE’s main roster.
Kevin Owens retained his NXT Championship title in a match against Sami Zayn at NXT’s special event, Unstoppable, on Wednesday night, and subsequently began a feud with new NXT star, Samoa Joe. It’s more than likely that this feud will continue in NXT, which makes it seem as though Owens’ match with John Cena at Elimination Chamber will be a one-and-done type of event. Cena defeating such an overwhelmingly popular NXT star in a meaningless match would be an awful move, as it would stall Owens’ momentum and make him appear to be less of a threat when he does make the move to the main roster on a full time basis.
From a storytelling standpoint, John Cena losing to Kevin Owens simply makes the most sense. Not only has he been consistently battling challengers in the weekly “John Cena United States Open Challenge” on Raw, but he was also recently involved in several hard-fought matches against Rusev. All of the physical and psychological damage that he has sustained over the past few weeks should be taking its toll on the United States Champion, and as a result, he gets defeated by an amateur. If any character could possibly exploit that and use it to their advantage, it would be Kevin Owens without a doubt. Cena could then seek his revenge on Owens when he becomes a full time member of the roster, setting up a meaningful feud that could potentially benefit both performers.
The roadblock that could possibly prevent a Kevin Owens victory from actually happening is WWE’s dedication to John Cena. Allowing their most prominent performer to lose a match against an unproven main roster rookie such as Owens would be a tough sell. Cena has become notorious amongst the WWE Universe as a performer that always emerges victorious in the end, even against his toughest opponents. Three things in life are guaranteed to WWE fans; death, taxes, and John Cena winning. Cena taking a loss to a debuting performer just seems too out of the ordinary for fans to believe that it could actually happen.
NXT, however, seems to have that same level of dedication for Kevin Owens. He was inserted into the main event scene the same night that he made his NXT debut in December, and won the NXT Championship just two months later. Owens has the support of Triple H, on screen and off, and is presented as the next big thing in the company as a whole. He has the support of the audience, puts on stellar matches on a regular basis, and is always furthering the development his character. If there was ever a time for a rookie to make an enormous impact on WWE’s main roster, it’s now, and Kevin Owens is the character who could pull it off flawlessly.
A win over the United States Champion also presents an opportunity for Kevin Owens to continue paving the way for more NXT performers to make the jump to WWE’s main roster. From Tyler Breeze to Bayley, there are countless performers anxiously awaiting their chance to play in the big leagues, and Owens being booked properly would give the audience hope that their favorite NXT stars will be properly utilized upon their arrival.
Kevin Owens is just one of several NXT performers that have recently made their main roster debuts; Neville and Sami Zayn both appeared on Raw in recent weeks to accept John Cena’s open challenge, but both failed to defeat the United States Champion. The success of WWE’s developmental brand is seen throughout the main roster, from Roman Reigns, to Rusev, to Paige. The hope now is that the people in charge see what this victory could potentially mean for Owens in the long run and execute the booking of this match accordingly.