Examining Why Kevin Owens, WWE Universal Title Isn't Receiving Proper Booking

Tom ClarkFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2016

Kevin Owens
Kevin Owenscredit: wwe.com

Kevin Owens and Seth Rollins arguably had the best match the WWE Universal Championship has ever seen at Hell in a Cell on October 30. KO did everything in his power to prevent Rollins from becoming champion, as the two men added another chapter to their rivalry inside Satan's Structure.

But this story is far from over, because no matter how good the match was, there are more issues at play here. WWE did not fix any of the booking problems surrounding Owens or his title.

This is surely not what fans were expecting.

The Universal Championship was supposed to be a top title, second only to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. In fact, it had the potential to become just as important thanks to its placement on Monday Night Raw.

This championship was to be the top prize on WWE's flagship program.

Fans hated it in the beginning, which was understandable. The title's name sounded silly, and the belt itself did not go over too well on TV. But the company seemed committed to it, which was enough for many fans who just wanted to see where it was going to go.

Simply put, the onus was on WWE to set the tone for the title. 

But WWE's best intentions were seemingly in vain when the first man to hold the championship went down with injury. Finn Balor would likely have made a great champion, but in his absence the company had to move on.

Why not put the strap on Owens?

KO is a great heel, he's a hard worker in the ring and he has the experience behind him to handle the responsibility of being a top guy. He was the best candidate, and his supporters were surely happy to see him get the nod.

But in the two months since Owens won the championship, there has been very little progress made.

Despite Owens' best efforts in the ring and on the mic, the Universal Championship seems to have taken a secondary role on Raw. The title that should be the most important on the program and that deserves a proper presentation is falling behind dramatically. 

The problem is the lack of history behind the belt.

The Universal Championship meant nothing upon its inception because it had no foundation. It was a new concept, so WWE had the task of building it from the ground up. With the right booking and full focus from the company behind it, the title would quickly grow into a coveted championship.

However, that has not happened yet.

Instead of being the top title, it's become an afterthought. KO's matches could have happened with no title on the line, and the impact would have been the same. His friendship with Chris Jericho is a fun storyline, and the two are extremely entertaining together, but the title is standing still.

Now Roman Reigns may be stepping up against Owens, which could mean the end of KO's run as universal champion. Has all of this been for nothing?

Even the Raw Women's Championship has had more spotlight than Owens' title, especially at Hell in a Cell. For the first time ever, two women stepped inside The Cell and worked the main event of a pay-per-view.

Sasha Banks and Charlotte earned that spot and delivered an epic match. The fact that they overshadowed Owens and Rollins is not a negative indictment on women's wrestling as much as it is on the lack of commitment to the Universal Championship.

The two belts can compete with each other, but the Universal Championship was meant to be the second-most important title in WWE. Every male Superstar in the Raw locker room should be fighting for that title, and no other strap should get in the way of that.

The title should be as revered as the WWE World Heavyweight Championship itself, and by now those two belts should be competing for the fans' respect. But that is not the case.

WWE is not developing the title the way it should, and that is the problem. While the Raw Women's Championship has never been more important, the Universal Championship has never seemed less important. The company has not found a way to properly build Owens' title the way it should, and that must change.

If it doesn't, then there's just no need for the Universal Championship.

It's merely an unnecessary placeholder at the top of Raw. The program could likely function just fine without it, and many fans would probably be happy to see it go. But if it fails, then WWE fails, something that Vince McMahon will surely not allow to happen.

Of course, merely believing the title is important is not enough; WWE must prove it. 

That means the booking has to change here. Rather than keep presenting KO in one backstage spot and in-ring promo after another, he must get into action. He must become a fighting champion, booked in title defenses against the top competition.

Though his character is a cowardly heel, Owens should still be presented as the prizefighter who is cocky enough to defend his title against all challengers. The more he defends the title, the more it will mean to WWE and, more importantly, the fans.

This is the key for WWE, because it's ultimately the fans who will decide just how important the Universal Championship is. Without the proper booking behind it, the title will mean nothing.

Is this truly what WWE had in mind for the title? Was it perhaps meant to be nothing more than a frivolous trophy to fill a spot on Raw?

As long as the WWE Universal Championship is being booked as an afterthought, that's what it will be. It's up to WWE to change all that. Whether or not that will happen is anyone's guess.

               

Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Bleacher Report. His podcast, Tom Clark's Main Event, is available on iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Android, Windows Phone and online here