In an interview with Slam Magazine, Kevin Owens discussed the WWE Universe’s pitchfork witch hunt reactions to him losing two out of the three matches to John Cena, but unlike those upset, the French-Canadian seems to believe that the feud had a positive impact on his WWE career.
“It definitely helped me working with Cena and anybody who thinks the opposite is delusional. When you worked with him on Raw and on PPV, how this can be bad? Whatever people said about me losing two matches out of three, at the end of the year, fans will remember the quality of the matches and how great these matches were way more than who won and who lost.”
Owens makes a good point; much of the negative reactions are spur of the moment meltdowns because as longtime fans we do get frustrated with Cena consistently winning important matches, but in hindsight working with the poster-boy of WWE can only serve as a launching pad for bigger things. It shows that the company trusts you to put on a quality match and story with their golden child, and in-turn gives you a nice popularity rub regardless of winning or losing.
My only complaint to this day (and I would be interested in seeing Owens explain the logic behind this) is why he was allowed to be the first person ever to kick out of Cena’s middle rope Attitude Adjustment only to tap out in the STF literally seconds later. For a character like Owens, passing out in submission seems to be the way to go after continuously showing extreme feats of defiance. Maybe WWE was worried a situation like that would instantly turn him face similar to Steve Austin at WrestleMania 13. Either way, my personal belief is that Owens should never lose by submission.
With that quibble aside, I strongly enjoyed this feud and felt that all three matches were legitimate Match of the Year contenders. Cena has been doing the best work of his career this year, but these matches in particular were truly special and will be remembered. The quality of the matches alone should be enough to keep WWE management high on Kevin Owens.