There are few men who can bring legitimacy back to the Intercontinental Championship, and Kevin Owens is definitely one of those Superstars.
When Owens squares off against Ryback for the IC title at the 2015 edition of WWE’s Night of Champions pay-per-view, wrestling fans should be pulling for the heel to win the championship and begin the process of rebuilding its reputation.
Daniel Bryan was originally tasked with bringing prestige back to the Intercontinental Championship when he won at WrestleMania, but an injury derailed that process. Now, Ryback is doing his best to make the title worth something, but he admittedly isn’t on Owens’ level.
Owens is the top pure heel in the wrestling business today, and it’s not even close.
One of the lost arts in wrestling is being a despicable heel. Instead of trying to be the cool heel who smarks like, Owens is liked by smart wrestling fans because he is not catering to anyone and is doing the things that made past heels like Ric Flair and Roddy Piper so hated. From low blows to rest holds, there are few men who know how to draw heat better than Owens.
The key is working the crowd. Using his intellect, Owens knows what the crowd wants from a segment, and he tries to give them the opposite by insulting the WWE Universe and the top faces on the roster. What separates Owens from other Superstars, though, is that he can back up everything he says when he steps into the ring for a match.
There were many fans who were concerned Owens would not translate well to the WWE style, but he hasn’t changed up his game. For over a decade, Owens was one of the best workers on the independent wrestling scene, and he has carried that over to the main roster.
From his matches in NXT against Finn Balor to his classic series of matches against John Cena, Owens has shown time and time again that he deserves his place on the main roster and that few men can stand toe-to-toe with him in the ring. He has the ability to make anyone he wrestles—including Ryback—look like a star, and he will do it once again Sunday.
The Intercontinental Championship was always known as the workhorse title, and it will be considered that once again when Owens is victorious at Night of Champions. Owens is already one of the most entertaining parts of Raw and SmackDown every week, and the addition of the IC title to his character will only increase his ego.
The Intercontinental Championship needs Owens, and Owens needs the title right now.
The best possible booking of the Night of Champions matchup is for Owens to control the pace of the match. As the face, Ryback will be in distress for most of the bout before making his comeback toward the end. Thanks to Owens' expansive offense and deceptive power, Ryback should take the clean pinfall loss and hand the belt over to the new champion.
The feud would likely continue on to Hell in a Cell, where Ryback would try unsuccessfully to get the IC title back, but the focus should be on Owens bringing prestige back to the championship by defending it by any means necessary.
It will be nice to have a traditional heel champion. Hopefully he’s booked strongly, not like Seth Rollins.
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