Kevin Owens is a heel. Heels don’t kiss babies and pose for pictures.
On Saturday night in Lowell, Mass., Kevin Owens interacted with a young fan wearing a Roman Reigns t-shirt. Owens, the heel character, said the following:
“Go buy this shirt,” he said, pointing at the shirt he had on.
“Actually,” he continued, you know what? Don’t go buy this shirt. I don’t want you to wear a Kevin Owens shirt, ever. Don’t you ever try to touch me.”
Owens then walked down the aisle for his match against … Roman Reigns.
The child’s mother was not thrilled with this interaction and took to social media to complain about Owens’ actions.
“He has a drawer full of everyone’s shirts but he chose to wear a Roman Reigns shirt since he has been a fan of his ever since he started watching,” she wrote. “All night he was getting high fives from other wrestlers and was all smiles but for some reason when Kevin Owens came out he singled out my son and commented on who’s shirt he was wearing then told him ‘you should get this shirt. Actually don’t get this shirt, I don’t want you to ever wear my shirt. Don’t you ever try to touch me.’ All because my 7 year old wanted a high-five and wasn’t wearing his shirt. My heart sank.”
As a parent, I totally get it. I have a son who turns seven on Wednesday. I know the age, I know how sensitive a kid that age can be. Kevin Steen has a young son as well, who became somewhat Internet famous after his dad was called up to the WWE roster and when he won the Universal Championship.
By all indications, Kevin Steen is a great father. If you follow Steen on Twitter, he has taken his son on road trips and has the type of pride in his son that every parent has for their kid. In that respect, I totally get this mom’s reaction to seeing her kid get upset. And if someone made Steen’s son upset, I’d guess that he would have a similar reaction.
But Kevin Owens is a heel, and Kevin Owens is a character. This fan wasn’t interacting with Kevin Steen, he was interacting with Kevin Owens.
Kevin Owens, the heel character, is abrasive. He’s not warm and fuzzy and he’s not going to give out high fives to young adoring fans. Within the confines of the arena, during the show, there should be no issue whatsoever with what Kevin Owens did or said. None.
I don’t think Owens will face disciplinary action from WWE, despite the ordeal being caught on camera. If he is, it would be equivalent to punishing a painter for painting.
I’m even okay suggesting that outside the show, heels are held to a different standard. Perhaps in 2016, with everyone being “real” on social media, it’s less acceptable to act like a heel outside of the show itself, but he’s a heel after all!
Chris Jericho getting crowded in Vancouver outside of a show, punching a male fan who went after him, and spitting at a female fan … he was a heel.
Jericho desecrating the Brazilian flag in the ring at a show… he was heel.
When Vader grabbed a reporter from Kuwait by the shirt for asking if wrestling was fake… he was being a heel.
There are countless examples.
What Kevin Owens did was make that kid, and that family, hate him. And Kevin Owens is supposed to be hated. The big moment for that kid should have been watching the bully get his comeuppance a few minutes later, when Reigns beat Owens to retain the U.S. Title, closing out the show.
Ideally, Reigns knew what Owens said to the kid before the match, and he made sure to single the kid out on his way back to the locker room with a high five, or something. Whether or not that happened, I have no idea, but even if it didn’t, it doesn’t change the fact that Kevin Owens is a heel and people are supposed to hate him.
“For a show that is supposed to be family-friendly, Kevin Owens really crushed a huge fans spirits last night,” the mom went on to write. “My son is 7, not 15 or 16 where they can take someone they idolize talking to them like that. But 7? We have been to many events: TLC, Smackdown, Hell in a Cell, NXT, and the draft. He doesn’t want to go anymore. He had previously asked me if the wrestlers who appear mean would ever do or say something to a kid and I said, ‘Absolutely not, they know better.’ Kevin Owens made me a liar and just showed everyone last night how much of a jerk he really is.”
No offense to this mom and her child, but Kevin Owens did his job.
Last year, my wife and I took our kids to Disney World in Orlando. We visited the Star Wars portion of the park, and they had characters available to take photos with. My son was six at the time and he was thrilled. We walked in, saw Chewbacca, and they growled at each other. Then we walked into the next room where Darth Vader was waiting for us with a Storm Trooper. As we talked in, the photographer told us not to look directly at Darth Vader or touch him, because he’s not very friendly.
As any six-year-old kid would do, my son immediately clung to me. We walked in the room, Darth Vader glared in our direction one time, then looked back up. We took a quick picture and my kid couldn’t have run out of that room fast enough. Afterwards, he told his mom how awesome Chewbacca was, and how he hated seeing Darth Vader.
Disney World is the most family-friendly place on the planet! But within the context of the story, Darth Vader wasn’t going to get down on one knee and make sure this trembling kid was alright. Darth Vader is a heel, Kevin Owens is a heel. In both of these stories, the heels did what heels do.
(PWTorch contributor Mike McMahon covers TNA Impact Wrestling every Thursday night live on PWTorch. Follow him on Twitter @MikeMcMahonPW)