PRO WRESTLING: Kevin Owens fights, wins with ruthless aggression in WWE NXT

Kevin Owens defeated Sami Zayn to become the NXT champion in February during “NXT TakeOver: Rival” live on WWE Network from Full Sail Live at Full Sail University in Winter Park, near Orlando.
Kevin Owens defeated Sami Zayn to become the NXT champion in February during “NXT TakeOver: Rival” live on WWE Network from Full Sail Live at Full Sail University in Winter Park, near Orlando. Photo Courtesy WWE

Since his introduction to the WWE Universe in December, Kevin Owens has brought a new level of physicality and intensity to NXT.

Two months after his first match on the roster, he defeated friend and rival Sami Zayn to become the brand’s heavyweight champion.

Even though Owens is currently recovering from a partial meniscectomy on his knee, the Canadian still enjoyed his first WrestleMania week experience. This included meeting attendees of Axxess and enjoying NXT’s big show at San Jose University as a fan. He soaked in the atmosphere, proud of the effort from the superstars and divas.

“It was pretty amazing,” Owens said. “To see 4,500 people come out just for NXT without even knowing the matches, was amazing. They just knew who was going to be there. They came out for NXT and nobody else. So to be a part of that was really cool.

“I couldn’t wrestle because I’m recovering from surgery, but just to see everybody and how hyped the crowd was for everyone. It was just a really cool experience because we all go to the Performance Center every day. We are all like this family in a way. So to see everyone get such a reaction was something special. To see NXT grow I mean it’s our brand. We are building it. We are making it happen. It’s really cool.”

Every WWE moment has been surreal for Owens, who honed his skills and made a name for himself in promotions like Ring of Honor for almost 15 years. Every long road trip, flight, obstacle and accomplishment was another step to reaching his ultimate destination. Top names such as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin and The Rock can relate to his story because they took a similar journey. This is why they’ve been so supportive of Owens on social media.

“There is no doubt being in WWE is all a dream come true,” he said. “My parents saw me form the time I was 11 years old until now. This is all I ever wanted. Since I was 11, I have wanted to be here. So essentially this is a dream come true…The NXT show, at one point I was watching from the backstage monitor with Scott Hall, Shawn Michaels and X-Pac. It doesn’t get better than that. Shawn Michaels. He is a reason I am here. When I saw Shawn Michaels wrestle at WrestleMania 11. That is what made me want to become a wrestler. I got to tell him that in person. I got to talk to him for a half hour about wrestling, about life, about kids, about family. That is by far was a highlight of my weekend.”

The NXT champion remains driven to return from his knee injury and continue his career. Owens remains positive.

“It’s good,” he said. “I’m ahead of schedule from what the doctors are telling me. I think a couple of more weeks I’ll be good to go, 100 percent. It’s pretty cool because I actually haven’t been 100 percent since I started at NXT. This injury has been bothering me since before my debut. So when I come back, I’ll be better than ever, and I’ve been pretty good so far.”

Looking to the future the re-signing of Brock Lesnar and talk of Samoa Joe in WWE excites Owens. If you’ve followed his career, you know the KO is always up for new competition and any challenge.

“Brock Lesnar being here, I sent out a tweet when I heard he had re-signed saying how huge it is for it to happen as a fan and as a performer because it’s very motivating,” Owens said. “I’ve been a huge fan of his since the moment he made his debut. To be in the ring with him would be incredible. As far as Joe is concerned, if he comes, he comes. If he comes, I’m going to try to get him out as quickly as possible. Try to get rid of him. I don’t want him in my way.”

- Follow Owens on Twitter @FightOwensFight

- Catch NXT on WWE Network 8 p.m. EST Wednesdays and on-demand.

Visit for everything NXT and tour dates.

- NXT returns to Fort Pierce at the Havert L. Fenn Center on Saturday, April 11.

Bell time is 7:30 p.m. for this house show (no TV).

Tickets $10, $20. There will be a meet-n-greet before the show, which is included in the ticket price. First come, first served.

- Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN