Sunday night at WWE Battleground, Kevin Owens lost his second-straight bout to John Cena, seemingly ending his run as No. 1 contender for the United States Championship. Owens tapped to Cena’s “STF,” surprising many fans, given Owens initial strong booking in the feud.
On F4WOnline.com’s Wrestling Observer Radio on Monday, Dave Meltzer went in-depth on a possible reason Owens may have been booked to lose two in a row against Cena. And he points fingers at a potential backstage riff between some upper brass in WWE:
To again explain this: there were two schools of thought on Kevin Owens from the start and the basic gist was that some people thought that he was going to make it and some people thought he wasn’t going to make it, and those who thought he wasn’t going to make it made sure that he got every opportunity to make it or else they would be wrong. You know what I mean? I shouldn’t say they would be wrong, they wouldn’t prove that they were right. So now whether he makes it or he doesn’t make it, there is a game going on and we’re in the middle of the game.
Many will recall, Owens triumphantly debuted on WWE television not long before Elimination Chamber, where he promptly beat Cena in a clean finish. This was viewed, per Meltzer, as Owens first opportunity to make it.
As has been reported in the past, Vince McMahon has not always been sold on some of the talent coming out of NXT. The developmental system is largely viewed as Triple H’s project, with few of those who have succeeded in NXT actually finding main roster success. This can be evidenced by those such as Bo Dallas, The Ascension and Adam Rose, among others.
Last year, it was reported one of the reasons McMahon was not behind some call-ups was because of his right-hand man, Kevin Dunn. Dunn, who has been one of WWE’s primary producers for more than two decades, was reportedly not big on some of the talent’s looks, which would seemingly fit the bill for the unconventional Owens.
It is yet to be seen where Owens booking will go from here, as he has no clear match set in stone for SummerSlam on WWE television.