Owens Says His Injury Time Off Helped Him Mentally Recharge

– Kevin Owens spoke with Sporting News’ Brian Fritz for a new interview discussing King of the Ring, his babyface turn and more. Highlights are below:

On being on SummerSlam in Toronto: “It was great. I thought it was great because SummerSlam, obviously, is one of our big shows of the year, especially with me missing WrestleMania. And SummerSlam being in Toronto, it meant even more to have a big role in the show.”

On if he’s surprised his feud with Shane McMahon is continuing: “I kind of expected it to keep going just because Shane, he’s obviously not going anywhere because of who he is. I’m not surprised that we’re going to keep going. I feel like there’s still avenues to go. There’s still stuff we can do together, so we’ll see what happens.”

On his babyface turn: “It feels good just because it’s different. I was doing the same thing for a long time and it was great, but change is always good, I think. And trying to keep things different and interesting in wrestling is pretty important. I’m just glad to be doing something that feels different and is more stimulating for me and I think the fans, the audience, is reacting very well to it so we’re doing something right and hopefully it keeps going that way.”

On his time off due to injury letting him recharge mentally: “Yeah, it was as important for my mental state as it was for my body, for sure. I had been going nonstop for four years at that time and I think everybody needed it. Me, my family, everyone. Obviously, my knees needed it, but I think it’s also good for the show sometimes. Look at Bray Wyatt as an example. He went away for a long time, not because he was injured, but just because it was time for a reset and while he was away, he put a lot of thought into the new thing he’s doing and people seem to be enjoying it. It’s hard for us as performers to step away from the ring but we come back better than we were when we left. It’s good for the audience to miss us a little too. It’s good for the show with fresher elements when we come back. There’s always a silver lining.”

On if he completely unplugged from WWE during his time off: “I can’t. I can’t unplug completely. I definitely have to stay on top of what’s happening and watch. I don’t know if it’s just to have knowledge of what’s going on or if it’s … I’ve never, in my life since I was 11 years old, went more than a day or two without watching wrestling. That’s just how I am. That’s probably a bit of it too, but it’s also trying to stay in the game even if you’re not around. Just trying to keep your mind where it needs to be. Some people might have a different answer. Some people might unplug completely, but I personally can’t really do that.”

On the King of the Ring returning: “I was always a huge fan of the King of the Ring tournament just because that concept is really interesting to me, especially when it was a one-night tournament. I just felt that was great. Tournaments themselves, I’m always interested in them and the King of the Ring was the best one for me. Obviously, all the winners and how many tournaments I was able to watch as a fan and all the guys that won it, most of them went on to become big deals in WWE whether it was Steve Austin or Kurt Angle or Triple H or Owen Hart, Bret (Hart), all those guys. I’m really excited to be in it. I’m excited that it’s back. In a way, it’s kind of cool because I remember when I was on the independent scene and I’d get to the Battle of Los Angeles in PWG (Pro Wrestling Guerrilla), that was like our own little version of King of the Ring, for me. Now I get to be in the actual thing, in the real King of the Ring tournament, so that’s pretty great. It’s like my first Royal Rumble match. Those are things I grew up watching and now I get to be a part of it. It’s thrilling.”

On his use of the Stunner: “You know, it’s actually, I don’t know how to describe it. Obviously, it’s big shoes to fill, right? Not that I’m trying to be in Steve’s shoes, but when you’re doing a move that’s been so iconic for so long, it’s hitting right and it’s working well. The crowd reaction is always really cool to it. It’s nice to almost be able to bring it back just because I remember how it used to make me feel when he’d hit it and how exciting it was visually and all that stuff. I’m just trying to do right by it, I guess.”


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