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Time for Kevin Owens to Ditch Shane McMahon, Return to WWE SmackDown Title Scene

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistAugust 20, 2019

Despite Kevin Owens' win over Shane McMahon at SummerSlam, their rivalry rolls on.
Despite Kevin Owens' win over Shane McMahon at SummerSlam, their rivalry rolls on.Credit: WWE.com

Although Kevin Owens has gradually become a bigger star throughout his recent rivalry with Shane McMahon, it's time he ditches the self-proclaimed son of the McMahon family and returns to the WWE Championship scene on SmackDown Live where he belongs.

Of course, Owens is no stranger to vying for the WWE title. It was only a few months ago that he was in hot pursuit of the prestigious prize, trying to beat Kofi Kingston for it at the Money in the Bank pay-per-view.

The feud wasn't nearly as exciting as it should have been, because of Owens' ill-defined character at the time. However, to his credit, Shane has been a fantastic foil for Owens as of late and has helped him achieve superstardom as a babyface.

Owens has shown signs of being a breakout babyface at various points in his career, but WWE never seemed interested in pulling the trigger. His face run earlier this year was cut short before because officials needed him as a heel for a feud with Kingston.

Then again, The Prizefighter has gotten over with the audience quicker than anyone could have expected in the last month alone. His "shoot" promo, where he went off on Shane's incompetence as an authority figure and all the talent being held down by management, served as a significant turning point for his stagnant character.

The WWE Universe wanted nothing more than for him to be the one to silence Shane once and for all at SummerSlam by beating him in a straight-up singles match. Surprisingly enough, they got what they wanted, yet WWE remains adamant about dragging this storyline on for as long as possible.

You could almost see (if not at least hear) the air being sucked out the crowd when Shane interrupted Owens last week on SmackDown. Fans were hopeful that Owens was ready to move on to bigger and better things on the blue brand since there wasn't anything more for him to accomplish against Shane.

In typical WWE fashion, the company has taken something that was once compelling and has slowly started to shove it down the throats of viewers, who will eventually cease caring altogether. In other words, when Owens inevitably defeats Shane for a second time, it won't mean anything because the fans will no longer be interested.

At SummerSlam, the faithful fans in Toronto reacted huge to Owens' victory versus Shane. The program peaked there and thus the WWE brass should have known better than to further drive it into the ground and risk doing damage to Owens' hot momentum.

If Owens is involved in the King of the Ring tournament until Clash of Champions, it's safe to assume that he and Shane will wrap up their rivalry at Hell in a Cell at the earliest. That means fans will, unfortunately, have to endure another two months of this nonsensical story with Shane.

Regardless of when the rematch goes down, Owens must emerge victorious again and advance to the WWE Championship picture. With Kingston running out of opponents to defend against, Owens would be the perfect person to succeed him as champion given his current level of popularity.

Even if Shane weren't still around, Owens couldn't have set his sights back on the belt coming out of SummerSlam with Kingston and Orton having unfinished business. That said, there's no reason Owens can't be feuding with someone else right now (specifically someone toward the top of the card) instead of Shane.

It's clear WWE has used the Stone Cold Steve Austin blueprint with Owens in an effort to get him over as a rebellious babyface and endear him to the audience. While that worked initially, there's a decent chance it will wear thin soon since this sort of storyline has been done to death before.

Owens has proved in the past that he can be a believable babyface even when he isn't defying authority, which is what he should get back to. Providing he has engaging opposition (such as Orton, Daniel Bryan or Buddy Murphy), Owens will continue to thrive as a man of the people.

Shane, on the other hand, would be better off taking an indefinite leave of absence from WWE TV and giving the spotlight back to Owens, Kingston and the rest of the Superstars on SmackDown Live.

   

Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.