A recent incident at a WWE live event involving Kevin Owens has pro wrestling fans talking. The current WWE Universal Champion is known for his heelish role, recently trash talked one of the younger fans after leaving the ring. After the event, the child’s mother went on a rant about how Owens acted toward her son. This has plenty of fans talking about whether the “bad guy” went too far, or was just doing his job and performing. It also has fans wondering if the mother is attempting to gain something more from the experience.
According to Wrestling News Source, Owens is at the center of the recent controversy for his trash talk toward a youngster at a WWE event in Lowell, Massachusetts. In an Instagram video clip, the young fan is seen wearing a Roman Reigns T-shirt with “Believe That,” Reigns’ trademark phrase, printed on the back. In the clip, Owens is heard telling the child to go buy his (Owens’) shirt, but then stops that train of thought. Instead, Owens tells the kid not to buy his shirt because he doesn’t want him ever wearing it. A female is heard saying “Aww” as the kid turns around and looks at her.
The child is clearly a bigger fan of Roman Reigns, who has mostly been in the “good guy” role lately. According to Cageside Seats, Reigns will be Owens’ opponent at Sunday’s latest WWE pay-per-view Roadblock: End of the Line. At the event, Reigns will challenge for Owens’ Universal Championship. It makes sense that Owens plays up his dislike of Reigns and the current United States Champion’s fanbase. However, the 7-year-old child’s mother and other individuals feel Owens may have gone a bit too far in chastising a young child like that. Others feel it was simply great heel work to generate controversy.
The mother had plenty to say after the incident. An excerpt from the mother’s online post over Owens’ actions talks about her son’s love of wrestling as well as how the incident made her and her son feel.
“My heart is shattered. What started off as an amazingly awesome night ended in my 7 year old being completely heartbroken. My son is a huge WWE fan and a fan of just about every wrestler on the roster. 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. 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.”
When it comes to entertainment, there is no form of it that really compares to WWE in terms of reality and scripted aspects getting blurred. In the case of Owens, it’s clear he was playing up his scripted bad-guy character to the maximum level. It’s also unclear if the child said anything to him, but that may be a moot point here. It can only be assumed from the video that Owens did all the talking. He even issued a response online in typical Owens’ fashion, continuing to play the snarky heel role.
"A wrestler told my son not to not to touch him. I'm completely heartbroken...Well, not really but if I complain maybe I'll get free stuff!" pic.twitter.com/VbXjLzLYOg— Kevin Owens (@FightOwensFight) December 12, 2016
It should be noted that Owens seems like he’s generally a good guy in unscripted interviews apart from WWE heel work. He also has a son. In fact, Owens has even indicated before that his own son was a fan and thought it was great his dad was able to defeat John Cena, another good guy. Owens has always been a huge wrestling fan since he was younger, and it’s possible he wanted the child at this live event to have an experience he wouldn’t ever forget. He may also have gotten carried away, but that’s up for debate.
There’s always that protective nature parents feel towards their children. In addition, parents who bring their youngsters to see their favorite wrestlers perform want them to have a great experience. For the most part, WWE live events can provide some fun entertainment, but there’s also been incidents with fans getting involved in the action, wrestlers going off script, and things happening that generally weren’t planned. The line between what’s real and not real can often be tough to distinguish, and there are fans who take things extra far. Just check out comments that some WWE fans hurl at people playing the wrestler characters online.
One also has to wonder if this child was seriously damaged by what Owens said to him, or if the parent is attempting to gain some sympathy and viral recognition from WWE. It’s unlikely WWE wants that sort of bad publicity as they want good turnouts for their live events. One thing is for certain, Owens has been portrayed on camera and in the ring mostly as a snarky heel and off-camera as a hard worker, loving father, and family man. In this recent incident, it appears he’s really sticking to his in-ring heel role as part of the job, while also getting a child and his mother to root extra hard for Roman Reigns this Sunday.
Wrestling fans, what do you think about the incident that happened at the live event? Do wrestlers who portray “bad guys” for the sports entertainment business take it too far, or is the mother crying foul for nothing? Should WWE and Owens do something as an apology or leave it alone?
[Featured Image by WWE]