There was a big angle to end this week’s edition of WWE Smackdown Live when Kevin Owens superkicked an unsuspecting Kofi Kingston, who is the WWE Champion. The actions from Owens, who was called the “Big O” as an honorary member of the New Day for the last two weeks, led to boos from the crowd in Lincoln, Nebraska because they thought Owens was genuine about wanting to support The New Day. Nope. KO was back to his evil ways.
Owens was supposed to be one of the top faces on the Smackdown brand behind Roman Reigns, but that’s not happening anymore according to the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer. There were a combination of a few things that led to KO’s turn including the rise of new WWE Champion Kofi Kingston and an injury to Daniel Bryan meaning WWE needed to fill a spot on the heel side. Remember, the original WrestleMania plan was for babyface Owens to challenge heel WWE Champion Bryan, but when Kingston got hot, they moved Owens to Fastlane against Bryan and Kingston got his big WrestleMania win over Bryan.
Owens was going to be portrayed as a regular guy that’s a dad that everybody knows, which is why they showed him bowling and going to the movies with his son. They also gave him the Stone Cold Stunner as a finishing move because it’s always going to get a good pop from the crowd.
The plan was for Bryan to get a WWE Title rematch against Kingston at Money in the Bank, but with Bryan injured (more on that shortly), somebody else had to face Kingston. There just weren’t a lot of heel choices on Smackdown other than Randy Orton or Rowan (who really isn’t a top heel) while Raw guys like Drew McIntyre, Baron Corbin and Samoa Joe all have plans. According to Meltzer, they made a decision a few days after WrestleMania to turn Owens heel and put him as Kingston’s opponent at Money in the Bank.
They set it up perfectly with Owens in a babyface role on the April 16 Smackdown in his hometown of Montreal with the crowd strongly behind him. That episode saw a “KO Show” segment with the New Day guys Kingston and Xavier Woods as the guests while Big E is home for 6-8 weeks recovering from knee surgery. Owens became a temporary member of The New Day with Owens doing the Big E intro promo for the group and Owens was also called “Big O” as well. It seemed like KO was really with them, but of course, Owens is known for turning people from Sami Zayn in NXT to Chris Jericho on Raw and now the New Day on Smackdown.
As for Daniel Bryan, there are comments from Brad Shepard (Ringside News wrote about it here) claiming that Bryan has some injury that is not a head injury, so it’s likely not a concussion or neck injury. It’s apparently a minor injury and he’s just out of the mix for now. Bryan wasn’t at Smackdown this week or last week. I don’t know what the injury is, but hopefully, they are right in saying it is not serious.
Here’s the Kevin Owens heel turn in case you missed it.
I thought it was really well done and the crowd reacting to it the way they did showed that they weren’t expecting it either. That makes it even better.
All three members of The New Day went on Twitter to vent about KO’s actions.
Sometimes you feel compelled believe in someone and give them a chance, even when no one else will. As unpopular a decision as it may seem at the time, you give them the benefit of the doubt…And Then that person proves everyone right. Mark my words, there will be Hell to pay.
— 🎅🏿 KOF’ KRINGLE 🎅🏿 (@TrueKofi) April 24, 2019
.@FightOwensFight is a trash human. Absolute and complete garbage human.
— Austin #Creed4G4 – Future King of The Ring (@XavierWoodsPhD) April 24, 2019
My greatest joy will be returning in time to stomp the life out of the already lifeless roach myself.
— Florida Man (@WWEBigE) April 24, 2019
Good job by them trying to continue the rivalry on Twitter.
Xavier Woods also posted a pic on a plane with Chris Jericho, which is funny because Owens famously turned on Jericho in their “Festival of Friendship” segment two years ago. Owens had a fun mix to the Woods pic this morning.
Money in the Bank takes place on May 19th, so I would expect the WWE Title match of Kingston vs. Owens to become official by next week’s edition of Smackdown.