Kevin Owens and Paul Heyman have partaken in another war of words following their first confrontation prior to WWE Tables, Ladders and Chairs 2020.
On the January 15 edition of Friday Night SmackDown, authority figure Adam Pearce outsmarted WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns when, after ‘The Tribal Chief’ had signed their Royal Rumble contract, Pearce feigned an injured and introduced Kevin Owens as his replacement for January 31.
The revelation came after Reigns and Jey Uso incapacitated the host of The Kevin Owens Show weeks earlier by pitching him from the WWE ThunderDome set.
Now, following the announcement that Owens and Roman will do battle one last time at the Royal Rumble, both the challenger and the Special Counsel to ‘The Head of the Table’ took to Talking Smack to air their differences. Beginning proceedings, Paul Heyman gave his client’s foe credit for pulling the wool over their eyes:
“You outsmarted us. I gotta hand it to ya; thirty-something years in this industry [and] not a lot of people have pulled one over on me. But you, you outmanoeuvred us. Well played, Kevin. It’s so devious. It was so straightforward. It was in plain sight. Subject to change. [A] suitable replacement is at the sole discretion of WWE management. It’s right in front of us. You were hiding in plain sight, and we didn’t see it coming. It’s brilliant in its simplicity. I admire the hell out of it. I’m envious. I wish I came up with something like that.
But now comes the consequences. And the consequences are the Last Man Standing Match at the Royal Rumble against Roman Reigns. I am the ‘Special Counsel’ to Roman Reigns. And in that capacity, when he plucked me from the ocean of obscurity, and he rescued me from the island of relevancy, my contribution to his greatness is civility on the surface and the explosiveness that only he can bring when the time is right when he gets into the ring to defend the championship that seats him at the head of the table. I cannot control his rage right now. There is no civility. He’s going to explode.”
After Paul Heyman carried on, telling the number one contender to the WWE Universal Championship that he would leave Tropicana Field in an ambulance and Roman would, “beat you fugly”, Kevin Owens took to the microphone in order to state that there was poetic justice in the ‘card subject to change’ clause:
“Man, Paul, card’s subject to change. When I was a kid, I would go to WWE shows, and that ‘card subject to change’ thing really pissed me off,” Owens said with a chuckle. “Do you know how badly I wanted to see Razor Ramon versus Jeff Jarrett? My very first WWE show, but no, card subject to change. It was Goldust versus Henry Godwinn instead. It was a great match, but it wasn’t Razor Ramon versus Jeff Jarrett. But man, more than 20 years later, the card subject to change works out in my favour. There’s some poetic justice there.
Paul, I heard most of what you said. I listened, and I paid attention. I would never disrespect you by not paying attention to what you said. But when you’re talking about hell, the only hell I’m in is when I have to listen to you. I’m sitting here at this table, Paul, [and] you say you saved me out of a bunch of jams when you were Executive Director of Raw. I don’t remember things the same way; I remember saving you from plenty of jams when you were Executive Director of Raw. When the show wasn’t going exactly how you wanted it to, and it wasn’t compelling enough, you needed someone to go out there and create magic. Who would you run to and beg? How many times did I let you down?”
When the godfather of ECW admitted that Owens had never let him down after some harsh home truths, ‘The Prizefighter’ admitted that he may have always been a ‘Paul Heyman Guy’ and the mastermind has helped him over the years. However, his chilling final words left the former ‘Advocate’ with something to think about:
“I have been a ‘Paul Heyman Guy’ since 1998 when I first discovered ECW. And just because you never worked for me, you know, within those parameters the way you have for other people, you’ve helped me more than you’ll ever know, and I’ll always be grateful for that. But when you’re telling me that you like me, you’re telling me what’s going to happen to me at the Royal Rumble, and you can’t contain Roman’s anger, I know it’s about as sincere as you were every single time I would go to you these past four or five years. It’s like when I told you that I wanted to fight ‘The Beast Incarnate,’ and you would say, ‘Oh, I’ll talk to him about it.’ It never happened. Just like you don’t care what happens to me at the Royal Rumble, and that’s ok.
Because at the Royal Rumble, it’s Last Man Standing. You see over there [points to the ring]? I was thrown off that platform. I wasn’t at SmackDown last week, not because I didn’t get back up again, because I did. They wouldn’t let me. I rarely listen to people, but this time I did because an extra night at home is never a bad thing for me. But I’m done with the nights off. Paul, I don’t want to be a hero. I just want to be the Universal Champion.”
After their hellacious TLC Match at WWE Tables, Ladders and Chairs and their thrilling Steel Cage Match on the New Year’s Day edition of the blue brand, Kevin Owens will challenge Roman Reigns for the final time at the Royal Rumble on January 31 in a Last Man Standing Match.