Ever since making his return from injury on the February 26th, 2019 edition of SmackDown LIVE, Kevin Owens has once again positioned himself as one of the company’s top names. Although he would go on a brief heel run not long after against WWE Champion Kofi Kingston, it didn’t take long for Owens to establish himself as the biggest babyface on the brand when he turned his attention towards Shane McMahon, going on a tirade against The Best in the World that put them on a collision course towards SummerSlam.
This one really took off on the July 2nd episode of SmackDown LIVE as Shane McMahon and Drew McIntyre were guests on The Kevin Owens Show. During the interview, Owens made repeated claims that McMahon was afraid of The Undertaker as he and McIntyre prepared to face ‘Taker and Roman Reigns at the Extreme Rules pay-per-view. Obviously, the World Cup winner wasn’t having any of it – after Dolph Ziggler decided to crash the show, McMahon ordered him to team with the former Universal Champion to battle Heavy Machinery (Otis and Tucker) to decide who would be the third team in an upcoming SmackDown Tag Team Championship match. The pair, as expected, would lose that bout to Heavy Machinery, with Owens cementing his babyface turn post-match by delivering a Stunner to The Showoff.
One week later saw KO do what he does better than most – cut a damn good promo. Despite being banned from the building on this night, he went off on one here, claiming that he sat back and watched the McMahon family announce they would be listening to the WWE Universe at all times to bring change to the company, but the only thing that actually changed was how much additional TV time Shane was now receiving. As a result, it took time away from some of the more deserving talents in the locker room, some who perhaps are the real best in the world as he name-dropped Buddy Murphy, Liv Morgan, Ali, Apollo Crews, The Kabuki Warriors (Asuka and Kairi Sane), the list goes on. Security was eventually able to make Owens scarper into the crowd at the request of McMahon, but the point had been made loud and clear. Kevin Owens wasn’t going to rest until he taught Shane McMahon a lesson.
After defeating Dolph Ziggler in incredibly short fashion at Extreme Rules, Kevin Owens was given the night off from the following installment of SmackDown LIVE but as we’ve come to expect from him, this wouldn’t stop him whatsoever. Following Shane McMahon’s Town Hall meeting with the rest of the roster, Owens appeared behind him, dishing out a Stunner to his arch-nemesis. Following this, he issued a risky challenge to the former SmackDown Tag Team Champion – if Shane could defeat him at SummerSlam, then he would voluntarily quit WWE. Owens wanted McMahon to realize every wrong move he was making, even if it meant putting his own career on the line. Although Owens has demanded Shane put his career on the line as well, McMahon responded with a strong ‘no chance in hell would that be happening’ remark.
Even though he’s clearly the better wrestler in this situation, that doesn’t exactly mean anything when you don’t have the numbers advantage. McMahon has had a handful of henchmen to help him out in recent months, namely Drew McIntyre, Elias, and Raw‘s The Revival (Scott Dawson and Dash Wilder). We saw that on this past Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown LIVE, as Elias helped Shane beat down Kevin, which included Shane dropkicking a steel chair into Owens’ head while he was trapped underneath the announcer’s table. KO was already heading into the match at a disadvantage in terms of the numbers but now, he’s surely not at 100% either.
Of course, this isn’t actually the first time Kevin Owens and Shane McMahon have been at each other’s throats. If you recall back to late 2017 into early 2018, Kevin blamed Shane (who was then SmackDown Commissioner) for many of his misfortunes, including the loss of his United States Championship to AJ Styles. It led them on quite the collision course, which included a Hell in a Cell match that saw Sami Zayn save Owens from a Shane McMahon diving elbow drop off the top of the cell. The reunited pals were then victorious over Randy Orton and Shinsuke Nakamura at the Clash of Champions pay-per-view to retain their positions within WWE after a fast count from guest referee Daniel Bryan (who, at the time, was Shane’s colleague as the SmackDown General Manager). They would permanently lose their spots on the SmackDown roster after losing to Shane and Daniel at WrestleMania 34 in April 2018, before finding a new home as part of Monday Night Raw.
This is one of the most anticipated matches on the entire SummerSlam card. Will Kevin Owens be the one to finally make Shane McMahon realize he’s not The Best in the World, or will he lose his contract as a WWE performer?
Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world, as well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world. You can catch SummerSlam this Sunday on the WWE Network.