Kevin Owens spent the first four months of 2020 feuding with Seth Rollins, which led to their WrestleMania 36 match that Owens won. Since then, Owens has been on Raw, but he’s also been off TV due in part to an ankle injury and also concerns over Coronavirus testing in WWE. If you have been keeping up to date with our news updates then you know that WWE has had more thorough COVID-19 testing policies since they had some people on staff that tested positive in June. There were reports that a wrestler talked to Vince McMahon about how WWE needed to take this more seriously, which includes testing policies and to make sure that everybody wore masks as well. That wrestler was Owens.
Owens talked about it and more in an interview with Sports Illustrated, where he spoke about the issue.
“It’s been brought up—at first, the masks weren’t being taken seriously enough. Eventually, a fine system was implemented to make sure people took it seriously. That came from me. I thought that the masks weren’t being worn seriously enough, so I went and talked to the people in charge. They immediately did what they could to remedy the situation. I don’t blame anybody for the mask thing. It’s easy to forget how important those masks are. Some people just straight up believe that the masks don’t make a difference, and that’s their belief. But if we’re all going to work together and we’re all trying to keep each other safe, I think it matters.”
“If you’ve had somebody in your family affected by this the way my family was, it’s a lot easier to remember that these masks make a huge difference. These masks do make a difference, and I felt it was important for people to take that seriously. I was pleased that the company felt the same way and made sure to get the message out to everybody that this is a big deal. That’s why, in the end, I decided to come back. I feel comfortable going back to work, and I feel as safe as I can be there.”
It’s great that Owens spoke up about it and that WWE has taken action to ensure a safe working environment.
“I hurt my ankle at WrestleMania so I needed time off, and then I came back—and then I went away again. I just felt like it was the right move for my family and I to sit out a few of the tapings of Raw and assess the COVID outbreak. We live in Orlando, so it’s not just going to the Performance Center. It’s everywhere. We thought it was the right time to quarantine and practice safe guidelines. Last week, I saw the measures that the company was taking, from the testing to the splitting up the crews to make sure Raw and SmackDown wouldn’t be there the same day, and sending out very clear very indications that masks were required unless we were in the ring.”
“A big part of this is my wife lost her grandfather to COVID. We make these decisions together. I don’t want anything I do to make my wife uncomfortable when I get back home. I want to make sure that she feels safe and that my children are safe. Every decision I make, I make with her. She saw the efforts the company made, as well, and she said maybe it was time for me to go back to work because it’s what I love to do. The company depends on me and there are a lot of fans that look forward to seeing me on TV every week, so we’re just trying to juggle everything. The family being safe, of course, but I also want to contribute to the shows. With her blessing, I went back. And what I observed gave me hope and gave me a sense of security.”
Owens has been Universal Champion in his career, but not WWE Champion yet. Is that something he desired?
“Of course. I’ve never been WWE Champion, I was Universal Champion. I’d love to add the WWE title to the résumé. Drew McIntyre has never beaten me. We’ve had two matches together, and they were both pretty good. I think I won the first one and the second one ended when the NXT guys came and stuck their nose in our business. But I know this: Drew McIntyre is the champion, and Drew McIntyre has never beat me. So it would only seem logical at some point that I get one of those title shots he keeps handing out to other people. So we’ll see.”
— WWE (@WWE) April 5, 2020
Owens faces Seth Rollins tonight on Raw and he was asked for some thoughts on their history.
“There is a part of me, and Seth too, I’m sure, when you wrestle somebody so many times and then you hear you’re wrestling them again—like when they told me I was wrestling Seth on Monday—I had that exact reaction, which was, ‘Again?’ You know? I thought we did our business at WrestleMania and over the last six months [laughs].”
“Once you get past that initial reaction, you focus back on the fact that Seth is one of the best and we have great matches together, matches that I think are great. Some other people might disagree, but I really enjoy them. And then it goes back to, ‘How can we make this one stand out? How can we make this one good? How can we make sure people enjoy it?’ But there is that feeling, like, there’s 100 guys on the roster, but for one reason or another, me and Seth tend to find our way back to each other quite a bit.”
The interview with Sports Illustrated also covered the way he is very honest on social media, how much he enjoys working with Rey Mysterio and plenty more. It’s a good read, so check it out.