The Miz. Alexa Bliss. Razor Ramon. Ted DiBiase. Vince McMahon. Some people in WWE were just meant to be evil, and Kevin Owens is most certainly one of those guys. However, what would happen if the unthinkable transpired and “The Prizefighter” turned face?
The short answer to the question posited in the title is that pigs would fly, Emma would be a women’s champion, and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin would mercifully unfreeze hell. Kevin Owens is the perfect smarmy heel who can use any kind of mental gymnastics to justify his latest shenanigans. Whether it was bargaining with Mick Foley, calling out Shane McMahon for “screwing him over”, or antagonizing Renee Young, KO has done it all in WWE when it comes to making life miserable for others.
Ever since joining WWE SmackDown Live, Owens has been doing his finest heel work, which means he’s broken a bar that was already high to begin with. As the Universal Champion on Raw, Owens, along with Chris Jericho, pretty much carried the men’s division, and his break-up with Jericho at the “Festival of Friendship” will live on as one of the greatest moments in the history of the WWE.
But on SmackDown Live, Owens’s character work has been simply sublime. He started things off as a clean-shaven, well-dressed heel who proclaimed himself “The Face of America” and would go out of his way to walk around his face on the ramp during his entrance. He set Talking Smack ablaze and used it to sow the seeds of a feud with Shane – a feud that is starting to blossom and could culminate in a Hell in a Cell match.
Personally, I would never imagine turning Owens heel, because his menacing in-ring work and slimy persona in promos are both nearly impossible to top. But the WWE has made unadvisable babyface turns in the past. The Miz, for example, is supposed to be a “heel for life”, but he briefly had a face run that fell flat. On a less extreme note, the WWE likes to turn Randy Orton face out of convenience for whatever program they are trying to run, but Orton is always far better as a heel.
In the near future, the idea of Owens turning face will never materialize, because he’s destined to remain heel for this program with Shane. Unlike AJ Styles, I can’t see him turning babyface after this feud, because the plan was to turn Styles face all along. Owens continues to get amazing reactions as a heel, whereas the fans couldn’t help but cheer Styles at every turn.
If the WWE were to turn Owens face at some point in his career, I’m sure he could pull it off, especially if it’s to transition into him turning against yet another wrestler. After all, he’s already turned on Jericho and Sami Zayn during his time in the WWE, and he could easily do so again.
What kind of babyface character would Owens have? Well, he could be a relatable, down-to-earth guy who just wants to fight in the ring without saying too much. It would be a strange change-of-pace from his normal character, but we’ve seen a kinder side of Owens even as a heel. Remember when he said that he would be Jericho’s partner when “Y2J” had nobody to team up with? (Well, OK, he did have “Jimmen Marvin Luder” in mind.) Another admirable trait of Owens’s? He never taps out. Ever. (Except once to John Cena’s STF, but let’s all agree forget about that egregious booking error.)
As insane as it would be to even contemplate the notion of Owens being a good guy in WWE, stranger things have happened in this calendar year alone (like Bayley getting booed months after being too afraid to use a “Kendo Stick” on Alexa Bliss…and yes, I’m still bitter about that). The WWE isn’t afraid to experiment, especially with their most talented superstars, and it would be interesting to see if they ever pull the trigger on this in the distant future if they really feel like mixing things up.