Kevin Owens helped Sami Zayn ‘refocus’ for WrestleMania after Montreal title match disappointment

Photo Courtesy: TNT Sport

Kevin Owens helped Sami Zayn refocus after not winning his title match against Roman Reigns at Elimination Chamber in Montreal.

Owens talked about relating to Zayn’s disappointment during a 36-minute interview with Ariel Helwani for the WWE’s UK broadcast partner, TNT Sports.

Helwani said that he still believed it had been a mistake not to make Zayn champion at the Montreal PLE on February 18th. He asked Owens whether he had tried to help Zayn keep perspective that weekend.

Owens said:

No, I didn’t do that. I wouldn’t say I did it that weekend ’cause I really understood whatever frustration there might have been there.

We’d have to talk like that a few weeks before WrestleMania, though, because he was still hung up on what could have been, what should have been, whatever it might be, right? Not hung up on it, but you know.

He added:

I can’t even imagine what he was going through, because I have been at times in WWE pretty popular and there are times where I felt like, “Oh, I could be the guy if they just give me a little nudge,” but never like him.

At some point before WrestleMania…Sami was their guy everywhere. So, to know that, and to know that you’re pretty much the guy, but you can’t be the guy, must be so — God, forget what I felt before — it must be so frustrating. And I can’t pretend to ever have felt that, because the crowd never got behind me that way.

So it’s for sure hard to let go or whatever. And like I said, he wasn’t harping on it. I just felt like at one point we had to have a talk and go, “Look, man, this tag team stuff, the WrestleMania thing, the Usos, this is huge.”

All it took was for me to say that for him to go, “Yeah, you’re right. You’re right.” And then just kind of like, Montreal was done. Now it’s, you know, LA is a huge city for us as well. It’s going to be a huge moment and we just kind of refocus. That’s all.

However, Owens said he understood his friend’s frustration:

Man, it’s got to be, you know, it’s got to be very frustrating to be in that spot because obviously everybody in that spot would think, “Just give me a shot. Just let’s go,” and they just won’t.

Elsewhere in the interview, Owens spoke about a shift in his own attitude, admitting that he used to worry too much about what would happen next.

I think the last two years have just been so incredible, but I’ve learned to kind of just — I used to always worry when I was Universal Champion, for example, I used to worry what’s going to happen next week; what’s going to happen next month.

Every night I’d be worried about what’s the next thing instead of worrying about what I was doing and trying to enjoy it.

I got to team with Chris Jericho for a long time and I’m ashamed to say that I didn’t enjoy that as much as I should have. Looking back at it now, I’ll see clips online. Chris and I will text about them, and reminisce on stuff we did together.

That was a great time but, in that moment, I can tell you I was not feeling that at all, because I was always worried about what’s next: “Are we gonna make this better?”

So now I don’t do that anymore. I really do just try to focus on what I’m doing from day to day. You could ask me what I wanna do next week right now and I won’t have an answer for you ’cause I haven’t thought about it.

It’s just a different approach and in a way it may be counterproductive ’cause you wanna always have a drive to go forward and get bigger and get better. But I don’t know, I think that was for me, that’s in the past now. I just want to have a good time and enjoy the moments that I get to live. In the last two years, the last two WrestleManias were moments I tried to soak in as much as I could. And I think that also helps me enjoy just what I do a lot more.

Even so, Owens admitted that not being on the card for Elimination Chamber in Montreal was frustrating:

I will admit that one hurt for sure. It’s a sold out pay-per-view in my hometown and up until that point, I just constantly asked WWE officials, like higher ups, “When are we doing pay-per-views in Montreal?” And then we got one and I wasn’t even on it. So of course that sucked.

Pushed by Helwani as to whether that “killed him a little inside,” he answered:

It didn’t. It would have in the past. But now it didn’t. I was just like, “Well, this sucks”.

But then, also it’s hard to be annoyed because, on the other side of it, it was a huge night for Sami and he deserved every bit of it. So I was very happy to see that happen. Happy is not even the word.

Owens contrasted that feeling with how he felt about being left off WrestleMania 35:

I did not understand why. I understood plans that changed, I was completely fine with it. But I kept trying, “Okay, but what else am I gonna do? I can do something else on the show.” And they’re like, “Nah, just doesn’t fit there, doesn’t fit there, it doesn’t make sense”. And it was driving me insane.

I remember having to talk with Paul Heyman at a show, I think it was Raw, might have been a SmackDown, whatever. And I’m near gorilla and I was losing my mind. I’m like, “Paul, I can’t believe I’m not on WrestleMania”. He’s like, “I can’t believe it either”. I’m like, “What do I do? What do I do?” He’s like, “Just walk in there and threaten to quit”. I’m like, “That’s not how I’m gonna handle this.” But like, he’s like, “Yeah, but that’s how you feel.” And it was driving me crazy.

When asked about which of the two past WrestleManias were top for Owens, he said they were neck-and-neck. However, he added:

The Stone Cold one gets the nod a little bit over this past one, which surprised me to a degree, but obviously, I mean, it’s freaking so cool. I mean in the scope of just how unlikely it was. Me and Sami winning the tag team titles together in WWE was always something people kind of assumed would happen. Winning in the main event of WrestleMania, as unlikely as it may seem, it still seems more possible than, “Hey, Stone Cold’s gonna come back after 19 years at WrestleMania.” What? You know what I mean?

In those terms, it edges out the other one. But as far as special moments and enjoying the night, they’re neck and neck. There’s no, you know, I can’t pick one, can’t pick one over the other. I just feel like one of them was almost unimaginable. And the other one, as unlikely as it was, was still something that was in the realm of possibility. You know what I mean? That’s all, that’s all I meant.

Turning to Owens’ renewal of his contract around 18 months ago, he said that none of the talks elsewhere went very far because Vince McMahon had made it clear that he wanted him to stay. He added that he couldn’t imagine not seeing the production crew every week.

I remember I can’t imagine leaving and not seeing these people every week. Because the other wrestlers I can probably run into down the road or whatever. Just through the independents the last 20 years, there’s guys I haven’t seen in 10 years, but I’m still friends with them somehow just through the bond of wrestling.

But for crew people, it’s different. I probably wouldn’t ever get back in touch with one of our sound guys or anything just because it’s different. different relationship. I just see them at work. But even though I just see them at work, I know them personally, I care about them, and we have a relationship. But I couldn’t imagine, it’s where I couldn’t imagine leaving these people behind and not never seeing them again. So part of me always felt like I don’t think I can leave.

Turning to the future, Owens said that he did not have a long-term plan for his wrestling career. He added that he had begun to think about pivoting into other roles in the business.

I wonder if there’s not a place for me somewhere else in another role as opposed to being in the ring. I definitely don’t see myself away from the wrestling business anytime soon, but I get more, I don’t know, man, I get such enjoyment of doing commentary. I get so much enjoyment out of helping other people with their stuff and seeing it work or trying to analyze why it didn’t work and trying to figure out how to do it better. And I could probably do both for a while, but I don’t know.

I love wrestling, I love being in the ring. But again, part of it is also, the last two years have been so amazing. How am I gonna top it? Well, I don’t really have to top it, right?  

I say this now and I might still be doing this in five years, I don’t know. I really have no clue.

About Neal Flanagan 745 Articles
Based in Northern Ireland, Neal Flanagan is a former newspaper journalist and copy editor. In addition to reporting for POST Wrestling, he co-hosts The Wellness Policy podcast with Wai Ting and Jordan Goodman.