On this week’s (Aug. 27) episode of Raw, Kevin Owens demonstrated that he is one of the very best performers on the roster during an Intercontinental Championship match against Seth Rollins. After he lost the match, KO abruptly offered the words “I quit” and then left the arena.
After months of being portrayed as a mid-card joke and a chew toy for Braun Strowman, this angle looks like it could finally be the start of something really cool for Kevin Owens. That’s why Kevin Owens needs to stay off television for the remainder of 2018.
How many times have we seen a superstar be fired or quit in kayfabe, only to return within a couple of weeks? The height of this absurdity probably occurred during the Summer of Punk in July 2011. John Cena was supposed to be fired from WWE after losing to Punk on July 17 at Money in the Bank. CM Punk walked out on WWE that very same night after winning the WWE Championship. Both guys should have been out of the picture for an extended period of time after that night. Yet there John was proudly hoisting up his newly-won WWE Championship just eight days later on July 25, and CM Punk returned that very same night to immediately confront him. In a later interview CM Punk explained that while it would have been nice to stay away longer to sell the story, WWE had a SummerSlam PPV coming up a few weeks later and needed him and John to be in the main event.
Looking at more recent kayfabe examples of stars being fired or quitting, there’s Dolph Ziggler walking out on SmackDown a couple days after winning the United States Championship at Clash of Champions 2017. Dolph returned one month later at Royal Rumble 2018 as the surprise 30th entrant…only to be eliminated in less than two minutes. What was the point of that?
Then there is the WrestleMania 34 storyline involving Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, where Daniel Bryan fired the best friends from SmackDown a couple weeks before the PPV. They failed to win their jobs back in a tag team match at WrestleMania 34, and then showed up on Raw the very next night begging Kurt Angle for a job. Owens and Zayn failed to earn a job that night, but then one week later they were simply added to the Raw roster by Stephanie McMahon. I don’t even know why WWE bothered to fire them in the storyline considering the only television they missed was the March 27 episode of SmackDown.
I’m a bit numb to kayfabe firings and stars quitting in WWE, because unless there is an injury situation, the superstar is usually back within a few weeks and continuing right from where they left off. It’s time for that to finally change.
WWE has a ridiculously deep and loaded roster. Even with WWE’s massive amount of TV time and content, it’s still somehow not enough time to properly showcase everyone’s talent. That’s why WWE can afford to be creative with this story and keep Owens off TV for a long time. They don’t need him to sell the next PPV. They don’t need him to fill TV time. After the way Owens has been booked for the last four months, what they need to do is let his body heal up and completely reboot his character. The best way to initiate that process is to actually make his decision to quit matter, and to keep him off TV until 2019.