According to current MLW talent and producer, Shawn Daivari, Kevin Owens was originally scheduled to face Daniel Bryan for the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 35.
On WrestleMania night in 2019, Kofi Kingston ended up defeated the leader of the yes movement to lift the company’s top prize. However, plans were very different for a long time until management saw the reaction to Kingston at that year’s 2019 Elimination Chamber.
Sitting down with Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast, Daivari, who served as WWE producer, talked about how the WrestleMania spot was meant to go to Kevin Owens and how he was beaten to it by Kingston and the request of the audience:
“The electricity from that, them being the last two in the Elimination Chamber [in] an arena in Houston. I literally couldn’t watch it on the monitor anymore. It was so electric. I walked out in the crowd, watched it from behind the curtain because I wanted to feel — you literally feel vibration when you’re standing in front of a speaker at a concert. You feel the vibration of the crowd reaction when something’s rumbling and I don’t get reactions like that anymore so I’m trying to steal pops from the other guys. I went out there. I wanted to get the goosebumps and feel that.”
The original plan was for a returning Kevin Owens to begin the road to WrestleMania with Bryan on the Friday Night SmackDown following the event, but like everything in wrestling, plans changed:
“The next SmackDown, Kevin Owens would’ve come back and Kevin Owens and Daniel Bryan would’ve wrestled at WrestleMania. It might’ve been good, it might’ve been bad, it might’ve been indifferent. Probably would’ve been great. The audience, that electricity made Kofi Mania happen and as we know, that turned out f**king amazing.”
Instead of vying for the WWE Championship in what would have been a moment of validation for Kevin Owens, the talent wasn’t even featured on the card and was made an honorary member of The New Day before turning heel on the group and challenging Kingston for the gold.
Credit for the interview: Two Man Power Trip of Wrestling Podcast
h/t for the transcription: WrestleZone