Kevin Owens has had one of the most interesting years of any WWE superstar.
The one-time Universal Champion started the year in a triple threat match for the WWE Championship with Brock Lesnar and Bobby Lashley at Day 1 and nearly captured the Raw Tag-Team Championship with Seth Rollins in March in a match against RK-Bro and Alpha Academy.
By April, Owens was going head-to-head with one of the greatest WWE superstars of all time in “Stone Cold” Steve Austin at WrestleMania and got into a summer feud with Ezekiel. In recent weeks, Owens has gotten caught up with The Bloodline, who have reigned supreme across the brand all year.
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Owens now finds himself ending the year in a tag-team match with John Cena on the last SmackDown show of 2022. The duo will join forces to take on Roman Reigns and Owens’ longtime friend Sami Zayn.
“Anytime I’m in the ring with Roman and Sami it’s pretty great and special because they’re both tremendous performers,” Owens told Fox News Digital in a recent interview. “And then getting to team with John Cena is a helluva way to close out the year. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Cena was already announced for the final SmackDown show of the year and Owens said he did not need much convincing to pull the 16-time WWE champion onto his side to go up against Reigns and Zayn. Cena has not appeared on a WWE show all year, and his last live match in the ring came against Reigns for the Universal Championship at SummerSlam 2021.
“You know it doesn’t really take much convincing,” Owens said. “Any time John has a chance to come by and do this, he jumps at it. The big thing is that if he didn’t have a match before the end of the year, he would’ve broken his 20-year streak of having a match every single year. And I think that’s really near and dear to him. I think that’s something he really wanted to do and as soon as he saw the chance and he jumped at it.”
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One of the bigger sticking points for Owens is the opportunity to perform in the ring with Zayn again. The two Quebec natives have been friends since before they started wrestling on the indie circuit in the Canadian province. Owens said he and Zayn would ride everywhere together to do shows and connected on their long journeys and eventually wound up in WWE.
“I often say, and you know I’ve said on TV, he’s more like a brother than a friend, and it’s really true because you don’t get to pick your family,” Owens explained to Fox News Digital. “You’re born into a family and whoever’s your brother, your brother, or whatever sibling is your sibling. That’s kind of what happened. We met, and at the time on the Quebec independent wrestling scene, we were pretty much the top talent that people wanted to see everywhere, and we started getting booked everywhere together.
“And we got to know each other, and we’re very different people. That’s why I say he’s really more than a brother than a friend because we’ve had our ups and downs, and we’ve gone through s—. Ultimately, I’d take a bullet for the guy and I think he’d say the same. Now, we’re in the ring on opposite sides and which has happened many times before, will probably happen many times again. It’s an interesting dynamic now because there’s other people involved. It’s kind of the first time that he’s got people on his side and all that stuff. It’s just been a lot of fun to spend the last 20 years of our careers chasing each other or be partners or fighting each other, and now we get to do it in WWE.”
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Being best friends in the pro wrestling industry also comes with wild tales, and Owens shared with Fox News Digital one of the nights the two needed to sleep in Zayn’s car because an axle broke. They were in a Walmart parking lot and were woken up at 3 a.m. by a security guard.
“We got woken up at 3 a.m. by like flashing lights around us because we’re not supposed to be sleeping in this parking lot. And for some reason, (Zayn) wakes up and asks me, ‘Are we being abducted?’ I’m like, ‘What are you talking about it? Just talk to the security girl.’ But the security girl is just asking us, ‘Hey you guys can’t sleep here’ and then we leave. I asked him, ‘What do you mean abducted?’ (He said) ‘I woke up all the lights, I thought maybe this was a spaceship.’
“We park somewhere else, and I got to sleep, and then I can hear that he’s rustling. Like what is this? He goes, ‘Do you think she likes me?’ Like, who? ‘The girl.’ What girl? ‘The security girl! The girl who told us to leave.’ Like what? What do you mean? You talked for 30 seconds! It’s just little stories like that. Too many little stories that I remember now that to other people might not make sense. But me, they’re like, they saved our lives.”
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With the year ending, Owens is trying to get a grasp on what 2023 will bring even though getting in the ring with Austin at WrestleMania may never be topped.
“I don’t have a whole lot on my radar,” he told Fox News Digital. “I just learned to let things come to me. That ‘Stone Cold’ match at WrestleMania, I would have never imagined that would happen, and I didn’t pursue that really. It just fell on my lap.
“But the one thing that I did want to do for a long time is get in the ring with Roman Reigns in front of an audience, because the last time he and I were in the ring together was during the pandemic in front of a bunch of screens and empty buildings. And I remember thinking back then, if we had a crowd in this arena, it’d be rocking. And I wanted to get a chance to do that and now it kind of circled back around. Here we are. Who knows what’s going to happen from here on out.
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“In Tampa, it’s me and John against him and Sammy. Then who knows from there. For the immediate future, my only goal is to give the ‘Tribal Chief’ everything I’ve got in front of an audience and let’s see where we can take people with that.”
The last SmackDown show of the year will take place on Friday. The show starts at 8 p.m. ET on FOX.