MCMAHON’S TAKE: Kevin Owens did his job in interaction with a young fan in Reigns t-shirt

By Mike McMahon, PWTorch contributor


Kevin Owens (Photo credit Scott Lunn - @ScottLunn © PWTorch)

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)

14 Comments on MCMAHON’S TAKE: Kevin Owens did his job in interaction with a young fan in Reigns t-shirt

  1. Mike, you are completely wrong. You are looking at this through the eyes of an adult. Try seeing it through the eyes of a small child. A child that might believe Owens was not acting. Unless the parent and the child were in on what was going to happen it should not have happened. In fact if it had happened I would have told Owens to back off. If he didn’t then I probably would have been arrested. Yeah, I know he, more-than-likely, would have kicked my azz but that would not have stopped me. You DO NOT fcuk with my family. We are not being paid to be part of the show.

    • What Owens did is part of the show. Whether he calls the crowd stupid while on the mic, or insults someone at ringside, this has been part of wrestling culture since the beginning of the sport. You probably believe the kid’s mother should sue WWE for emotional distress. Welcome to 2016. No wonder Trump got elected.

      • No Don, I do not feel the woman should sue. I do feel that no one, especially a child should be made part of a story line without the approval of a parent.

        I stand by what I said before. If Owens, or anyone else, tried to make my child part of his act without me saying it is alright I would have handled it man to man, even if it meant getting my azz kicked.

        • I understand that you might not like this situation to happen to your child because your child might not know that Owens was pretending and he or she might feel hurt. However, you’re letting your child watch a show where grown men and women are technically beating the pulp out of one another and hurting one another (which the child believes if he or she doesn’t know it’s fake yet), and then you threaten to physically attack the wrestler, who right or wrong, is telling your child not to buy his shirt, not touching him or calling him names, and you don’t seem to mind if you are arrested for assault. Wow, what a great role model and stable parent you are. But Owens is the one acting out of place here. Too bad we can’t look in the mirror and see that the bigger issue is in our mindset than in a comment some actor made.

          • Rick:

            First I want to apologize not replying to your comment before this. The Christmas season had me very busy. I hope you had a Merry Christmas. Happy New Year to you as well.

            You seen to has misconstrued what I said or maybe I did not explain it well. I will try again.

            What I am trying to say is, it is immaterial whether my child knows wrestling is real or just a show. He is not being paid to be part of the show nor have I given permission to whoever allowing him to be part of it. For example Bill Goldberg has had his son at matches and he has been part of the ‘act’. That’s fine. I have no problem with that. He obviously knew ahead of time something was going to happen. Goldberg may have even laid down some rules on what he would allow involving his child.

            A decision involving my child in something that should come from me, or his mother. No one, and I mean no one, in WWE (I only use WWE because that is what we are talking about) has the right to involve my child without asking me first and getting my permission. Owens, McMahon, etc. do not have that right.

            When I said I would have told Owens to back off I meant it. Once again he does not have my permission to interact with my son. It seems you have a problem with me telling Owens to back off. If so I ask you why?

            If Owens decided to continue, against my wishes, I would ask him again to stop. If he did not stop I would do what I had to do.

            I ask you, what would you do in a situation where this were happening to your child and you wanted it to stop? What would you do if you requested it stop but that does not happen? Would you be the type of parent that your child cannot look to in a situation he is to small/young to know how to handle himself knowing he cannot count on you for help? Or would you be the parent your child knows he will be protected by?

            As far as being a role model I will say I would rather be known as someone who will stand up for my family than being known as a wuss. If you do not like the name calling maybe you should not start it.

  2. Well done Kevin Owens (Steen). The whole point of wrestling is hate the bad guy and be scared of him! He’s carrying the belt and although kayfabe has gone, he has a character to portray. If he gets caught on camera being nice it diminishes his character, especially on the way to the ring. If it was a meet and greet then yeah, be nicer than normal if the kid is a fan. The whole idea is to make it believable no matter how old/young you are. Maybe that kid will hate Kevin and use that to become a future wrestler, who knows.? Mini-rant over

  3. Kevin Owens, the heel character, displayed some bullying (no personal comments were made about the kid other than the babyface shirt he had on). This is to enhance the desire to see him get his bell rung, and when it happened shortly thereafter the kid and his mom (and everyone else who saw the interaction) should have been elated that the mean bully got what was coming to him.

  4. It’s the same as when Sasha made Izzy cry during the Ironman match last year. Sasha was a heel, and did a heel thing. So did Kevin Owens. I would suggest that this mother needs to take a moment to explain to her young son that wrestling is entertainment, and that Kevin Steen is playing a character named Kevin Owens. Would Steen hate her kid? No, of course not. But in playing his character, he did exactly what he should, which is critique a fan of his opponent. The mom took it completely the wrong way; she could have made this an amazing opportunity to brag about the fact that her kid became part of a WWE storyline. Instead, like everyone with an ax to grind does, she took to social media and complained, possibly with the thought of free WWE swag in mind. When it comes to modern parenting, its always someone else’s fault, and instead of creating teachable moments, parents are way too quick to hover and blame.

    And, yes, I am a parent, of two teen boys who occasionally watch with me but who also have known from a very young age that John Cena is a character. Randy Orton is a character. The Undertaker is a character. And so on.

    There is a difference between being kayfabe and being mean; Owens was doing his job perfectly.

    • Yeah sure, tell the 7 year old that Wrestling is fake, so are the easter bunny, santa Claus and so on. Have a nice childhood, kiddo.

      • Well, to be honest, telling kids that wrestling is basically acting lets them know that in the real world, if you hit someone with a chair or bounce their head off the pavement, it hurts and there are physical consequences. My wife is a school principal and I’m a police officer and we’ve both seen this, and worse, through ‘play fighting.’ Letting your kids know that wrestlers are playing characters doesn’t have to dispel any of the magic of live shows, or even TV. The Star Wars and Marvel movies are still major events, even though its just characters on a screen. Why shouldn’t pro wrestling be treated the same way?

        I’m certainly not one to crush any kid’s childhood; I’m simply someone who believes in turning negatives into teachable moments.

  5. Does “doing your job” mean being a bully?

    Whilst I was never bullied by celebs I admired, I was bullied by security personnel who were “doing their job”.

    One incident that’s burned in my memory was May 20, 2004, after a spectacular Who concert at the XFinity Center in Mansfield, MA. A couple friends attempted to sneak me backstage to meet Roger Daltrey, but as they made their way in, I got caught by this bouncer who repeatedly told me to step aside as I tried to explain that I was with the two that went backstage. He refused to believe me, called me a pathological liar and reduced me to tears. He then laughed as I wept and called me “pathetic”.

  6. Mister Steen/Owens ,
    During the show , sure the show must go on
    And you can call everyone (adults) names
    But let’s be a little real here…. The boy was seven
    And okay he was wearin a Reigns shirt… That’s
    His prerogative to if he wishes. No one including
    You Fat Boy should be allowed to get in a child’s
    Face the way you did… If you didn’t like the shirt
    Or who it represents then you should of maybe
    Said your thing about Reigns and left the child
    Alone….there is no comparison to a painter
    Painting and a painting … Maybe that’s how
    They do things in Canada but remembers
    This is not your hometown or the country
    You live in … You are a guest here and not
    A citizen … You’d do a lot better if you stopped
    Acting like a Damn Fool !!! Act your age not
    Your intelligence … STOP BULLYING Children !!!
    As for other wrestlers… They might be hated but
    At least they don’t stop and make kids cry !!!
    You’re an ASSHOLE !!!

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