It’s been more than 48 hours since Kevin Owens’ six-month reign as WWE Universal Champion came to an end in 23 seconds at WWE Fastlane. His challenger, Goldberg, defeated the Prize Fighter in his second Singles match in over a decade and will move on to WrestleMania 33, where the 50-year-old part-time wrestler will defend his new championship against part-timer Brock Lesnar.
The fact that a man can come back after a decade-plus absence and defeat someone as talented and hard working as Owens is to the dismay of many, including myself at first reaction:
— Mark Whited (@MarkWhited215) March 6, 2017
But after an exhale and some reflection on the reality of this predetermined world, I’ll live. So will Kevin Owens.
I remember watching Owens wrestle at Viking Hall as a teenager. Then, I knew him as Kevin Steen. He’d put his body on the line to a much greater degree, often doing moves that WWE likely wouldn’t allow for the few hundred vocal fans that packed that building on a Saturday night. His pay was likely a couple hundred dollars, if that. The Internet wasn’t as big, nor did he have Pro Wrestling Tee’s as an option for another stream of revenue. So the financial payoff wasn’t quite what it could be for many independent wrestlers of his caliber today.
Fast forward 13 years and Owens made more money in 23 seconds to lose than many of us will make in a month. Not a bad gig.
The web many fans get tangled in is this false sense of reality. While pro wrestling may still “feel real” to you, the fact is it isn’t. Not to take away from the performers and their hard work in and outside of the ring — we should all respect and support that — but it’s all part of a show: the wins, the losses, the titles, and the title changes. When I exhaled, I realized this fact about Owens and every title change I hated prior. I had a pro wrestling breakthrough.
Like any form of entertainment, professional wrestling is an escape from daily life through the talented individuals that perform in the squared circle. Viewers get emotionally involved in the action, the classic themes that are presented, and the various stories being told.
While it’s understandable that the showdown between Goldberg and Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 33 isn’t a popular matchup with the majority, the reality is that these two are characters in a story that is being told and the WWE Universal Championship is simply a prop. Like any TV show, our opposable thumbs have the power to change the channel.
If WrestleMania 33 isn’t shaping up to be the annual spectacle that you hoped for, we all have the ability not to watch. If the current storylines don’t appeal to you, perhaps try watching an indy brand. We can make those choices, but the choice we can’t make is to change the story. We’re not the ones writing it.
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