Wednesday, December 10, 2014
The Evolution of Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens from a Fan's Perspective
Tonight, I sat down to re-watch the PWG farewell's of both Kevin Steen and El Generico in order to prepare for tomorrow night's NXT special. Needless to say it brought back many memories and got me even more excited about what the future holds for both men. However, before I get too deeply into this article, I'd like to give you all a little backstory.
I began watch Independent Wrestling and PWG in particular back in 2013 right around the time that Generico signed with WWE. The first show I got was All Star Weekend 9 which took place directly after Generico's farewell. Since I was knew to the Indy Wrestling world, I had no idea who he was although I heard his name repeatedly so I did my research on him & the history of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla. That combined with my instant addiction to PWG led me to going back and watching Generico's rise to superstardom along with Kevin Steen's.
The first two DVD's I picked up to accomplish this were "Steen Wolf" which featured the classic Ladder Match between Steen & Generico and "The Many Adventures of El Generico" which chronicles Generico's entire career in PWG. Between those and the other PWG & ROH DVD's I bought to catch up, I instantly became a huge fan of both Steen & Generico. By the end of 2013, I owned all the landmark shows in both men's careers as well as obscure ones simply because I loved both guys and PWG so much.
I purposely left out Generico's final show, DDT4 2013, so I could watch it only after I had relived his entire career so I could realize the importance of him leaving the company. Needless to say, it was worth the wait because to this day, I get chills when watching that event which ends with his farewell speech where he states "This has been the best time of my life, you have no idea. This place will always be home, you will always be my family, I will never forget what you did for me, you made me. I love you so much, thank you." It's moment like that which remind me of why I loved wrestling in the first place.
While I didn't watch Generico's rise as it happened, I went back and watched it, so this final farewell had the same effect on me as it did most other long time fans of his. Beyond that, I didn't watch any of Generico (Sami Zayn)'s matches in NXT until I had finished reliving his PWG career. While that was mostly because I have shitty internet and don't have the WWE Network so I couldn't watch NXT without having to go through a bunch of stuff, I'm glad I didn't watch because now when I see him on WWE TV, it feels special because I've watched his work from as far back as 2004 and saw him grow into the performer he is today.
As for Mr. Steen, he's a guy that I was actually able to watch during his hottest period for nearly 2 years although I did go back and watch his previous stuff as well. In the process, I became a huge fan of his. I remember the evening that I realized how awesome he was. It was just after I had finished watching the Generico DVD and I recieved Night 2 of the 2013 Battle of Los Angeles in the mail. On that night, Steen shocked the world by aligning with The Young Bucks, the team that he & Generico feuded with years and the team that screwed him out of the World Title multiple times. After the event, he cut a promo that I've listened to multiple times since because of how awesome and passionate it is.
That's the one thing that always stood out to me about Steen. You could always tell how much he loved wrestling because he put everything into it. None the less, I watched him through 2013 and into 2014 up to his farewell at ELEVEN. Just like with Generico, this was a pretty sad one to watch simply because during all the PWG shows I've watched, he's been at the center of most of them. And to see him leave the company that he's been at the forefront of for many years brought alot of mixed emotions. It wasn't quite as tear jerking as Generico's, but there's one line that stood out to me tonight when I re-watched it. If you're a fan of Generico, Steen, & PWG, you know that the joke is that Generico went to Mexico to take care of orphans and that Steen went there to join him so basically when Steen says "the orphanage" and "orphan care takers", he basically means "WWE" and "Wrestlers". None the less, Steen said "I'm going to go help Generico show the world that the best orphan care takers in the world come from P W G!" As the crowd erupted, I thought to myself, man this is really going to come full circle pretty soon isn't it?
Speaking of coming full circle, let's get to the point of this post. The point of all this is that tomorrow night/tonight, depending on when you're reading this, Kevin Steen & El Generico are going to be main parts of a WWE show along with PAC (Adrian Neville) who is another guy I watched progress before checking out his WWE work. For someone who's seen these men wrestle in companies that not many people know about, it's beyond exciting to know that they are going to be out there for the whole world to see how talented they are.
I know that Zayn & Neville have been on NXT for awhile, but it still is crazy to think about for me. The main reason I wrote this is because of Kevin's debut tomorrow however I couldn't go through this without mentioning the other two, especially Generico/Zayn.
The main reason I went back and watched the farewell's of both men was because of two reasons. The first being obvious - because they're gonna be on a WWE show together. The second being the potential for tomorrow night to also be the start of their feud being reignited on a whole new level.
In the weeks leading up to this event, I've heard ramblings of Steen debuting to feud with Zayn by attacking him after the NXT Title match and honestly, if that happens, I'll probably mark out more than ever before. The Steen/Generico feud is probably one of the best feuds in pro wrestling history as it is, but just imagine how many more layers could/will be added to it if WWE decides to play into it throughout both men's careers? Especially if it begins in their debut.
I'm sure some of you are saying "You're giving WWE too much credit, they won't do that."
Yeah, it's doubtful however I'm not here to be negative. I'm sure no one expected Daniel Bryan to ever main event WrestleMania yet it happened. I'm sure no one expected CM Punk to become a top superstar, but it happened. With that being said, I think that Sami Zayn & Kevin Owens will be the next two guys to make it big. No, I take that back. Not big. HUGE.
The story that Steen & Generico told across the Independent circuit over the course of the past decade was amazing. Pair that already successful rivalry with the biggest sports entertainment company in the world and you've got potential for a feud that could reach the heights of Austin/Rock.
Regardless of whether or not they end up working together, we are witnessing the evolution of Kevin Steen & El Generico into Kevin Owens & Sami Zayn. The fact that they are both going to potentially have the biggest moments of their respective careers (Steen debuting in WWE & Zayn winning the NXT Title) on the same night in the same company - scratch that, THE company is completely mindblowing.
If you're a fellow fan of these guys' pre-WWE work, you probably feel the same way. If you're new to both men, there's no shame. Don't let anyone tell you that you're a fake fan because you started liking them now. The whole point of them being on WWE TV is to introduce them to a whole new audience and the only thing I'm more excited about than seeing them reach this success is the fact that the world is going to get to see one of the best talents in the world do what he does best.
None the less, thanks for taking the time to read this. Feel free to share it with your friends and get pumped about the event that is only hours away. It's almost time for the Takeover!
Follow me on Twitter @EthanPWT and this blog @ThePWTruth!