Near the end of his last run in Ring of Honor, Kevin Owens (nee Steen) had turned babyface to break up the rebellion he had a hand in creating. Either as a face or heel, Owens/Steen has charisma to spare, and, with apologies to Enzo Amore, he has both the gifts of gab & jab. As I wrote when he won the ROH title 4 1/2 years ago, he was, to me, a regular guy.
It is the nature of regular guys, then, to be left vulnerable to deception. It happened with SCUM. It is happening now, but this time, it is a hungry veteran in Chris Jericho that could push Owens to the babyface side.
What's that, you say? They're looking to turn Jericho face? Not after what I saw on Monday.
You see, the previous week, "JeriKO" had a bit of a falling out, and Jericho didn't want or need Owens' help anymore. Feeling sorry or guilty, Owens lobbied with in absentia commissioner Stephanie McMahon to give Jericho a shot at the US title, the only belt that Jericho hasn't had either in WCW or WWE. Owens also arranged for Seth Rollins to be matched vs. Big Show.
Suffice to say, the gifts blew up in Owens' face. Show got tired of Owens' yelling at him throughout the match, and turned on Owens, leaving him for Rollins to hit a released pedigree. Then, Owens' well-meaning interference backfired, leading Jericho to lose to Roman Reigns. In between, Owens had enough energy reserves to beat old frenemy and countryman Sami Zayn.
This, of course, figures to blow up even further at Roadblock on December 18, when Owens faces Reigns for the Universal title, and Jericho is matched vs. Rollins.
So why am I making a case for Owens to be turned babyface? Because like it or not, the Prize Fighter, as I've said, is a regular guy, and if they could get by positing Steve Austin as a champion of the working class nearly 20 years ago, they can find lightning in a bottle again with Owens. Jericho's lame list is over, sure, but his act is already getting old. He's got Sean Penn's facial hair, and the attitude of a jackal, and the end game, obviously, is Jericho advancing to a title match vs. Owens, likely at the Royal Rumble next month in San Antonio, regardless of the result of his match with Rollins.
Owens, remember, gained some face points when, along with Tyler Breeze, he initiated a PSA for disaster relief in his native Canada earlier this year. He can and eventually will be a good ambassador for the WWE in much the same way John Cena and others before him have. Jericho has been the one manipulating Owens the entire time, not the other way around, but knowing Uncreative and their insane boss, Vince McMahon, they'll try to sell Jericho as the hero in this scenario, and that is destined to fail, especially in Montreal. Owens hails from the Montreal suburbs, and the fans would happily cheer for him in a Quebec second over Jericho and his dual citizenship (still billed as being from Winnipeg when you and I know he lives in Florida) any day of the week.
WWE Uncreative has tried to present Owens as a man who'd do whatever it took to put food on the table for his family. Regular guys do that, but the story is better told from a heroic perspective. It always has.