During Raw, Randy Orton took what was seen as a cheap shot at Kevin Owens, poking fun at his weight in front of the WWE Universe.
According to Wrestling Observer Newsletter editor Dave Meltzer, that line was completely deliberate, as certain WWE officials still have a problem with the way Owens looks. Booking him to fail may even be their way of proving that Owens can’t succeed on the big stage.
During an edition of Wrestling Observer Radio followingBattleground, Meltzer noted how there are two groups of people in the company: those who are rooting for Owens and those who are against his push.
“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.”
Although Meltzer protects the name of the individuals out to get Owens, it’s not hard to join the dots together to know who he’s likely talking about.
Last year, there were rumors that WWE’s Executive Vice President of Television Production Kevin Dunn was using McMahon’s ear to bury recent NXT call-ups like Adam Rose, Bo Dallas and Paige. Dunn’s reputation is that he’ll bury anyone who is a threat to his position, and it is believed that Paul “Triple H” Levesque and Stephanie McMahon would replace him as soon as they gain complete control of WWE. Thus, it wouldn’t be surprising if Owens is caught in the crossfires of the constant political battle for McMahon’s affection between his son-in-law and his long-time confidante.
Owens is scheduled to challenge Finn Balor for the NXT Championship at NXT Takeover: Brooklyn on Aug. 22, with a non-confirmed bout against Cesaro awaiting him the following night at SummerSlam.