There was a time when the idea of Kevin Steen holding the top prize in WWE was considered by many to be a pipedream. It wasn't a question of ability or talent. The general feeling is that Kevin Steen wasn't what WWE officials were looking for in a WWE Superstar, especially not in a WWE World Champion.
That perception completely changed once Kevin Owens emerged on Monday Night Raw and defeated John Cena clean in his first match on the main roster. After that night, Owens continued on despite taking big losses along the way, which is a huge testament to his ability as a wrestler. When the brand extension came to pass, the question wasn't if, but when Kevin Owens would become a WWE World Champion.
A few weeks ago, Owens became the WWE Universal Champion thanks to interference from Triple H during the Fatal Four Way match on Raw. As Kevin Steen held the WWE World title for the first time, the WWE crowd in Detroit chanted "you deserve it" as Raw went off the air. At that moment, the dream came true.
Unfortunately, it seems to be that Kevin Owens won't be the WWE Universal Champion for very long. WWE Clash of Champions is a week from tonight, and he'll be putting the title on the line against Seth Rollins. It's possible that Triple H returns to save Owens' title reign, but going into WWE Clash of Champions, there are a lot of factors going against Kevin Owens retaining the WWE Universal Championship against Seth Rollins.
First and foremost, there has been a lot of criticism about the way Kevin Owens won the title. Since he didn't technically win it on his own and won the championship thanks to Triple H, many people argue that he has not earned his spot as a main event player and WWE Universal Champion. That's debatable, and there will always be critics, but one thing you can't argue against is results.
Recently, WWE hasn't been doing well in their television ratings or their live event numbers, especially in attendance. For example, SmackDown's number fell in both areas and then AJ Styles became the WWE Champion after defeating Dean Ambrose at WWE Backlash.
The return of Monday Night Football takes a lot of the blame, but the last episode of Raw took a major hit in the ratings with Kevin Owens at the helm. Low attendance was also reported for WWE's live event on Friday from Louisville, Kentucky. Too much emphasis can be put on the shoulder's of the champion, but that's how this business works.
The point is that there are a lot of people expecting Kevin Owens to lose the WWE Universal Championship to Seth Rollins at WWE Clash of Champions. Ultimately, WWE officials are going to need to make a choice when it comes to Kevin Owens as the WWE Universal Champion.
If Owens loses the strap that quickly after winning it, the chances of him becoming the WWE Universal Champion again are going to be very low in the future. That doesn't show a lot of faith in his ability to lead the locker room and help pick up Raw's numbers, which is something WWE knows Seth Rollins can do well.
On the other hand, WWE officials made the choice to put the WWE Universal Championship on Owens, so they may be looking to ride the wave for awhile. There is also no way to know that Raw wouldn't wouldn't have seen the same results with Finn Balor as the WWE Universal Champion. It's important to keep a sharp eye because if Kevin Owens loses the title at WWE Clash of Champions on Sunday, we'll know exactly why.
[Image via WWE.com]