Just one year after making his main roster debut, Kevin Owens captured the Universal Championship on Raw after some assistance from Triple H.
The company put their faith in Owens as the top heel on the red brand after Finn Balor’s unfortunate injury forced him to relinquish the Universal Champion he won at SummerSlam 2016 in a match over Seth Rollins.
You’d think this would have filled Owens with complete joy. However, KO revealed to Lillian Garcia on her “Chasing Glory” podcast that he didn’t really enjoy his 188 days as Universal Champion:
“It’s hard to value or realize the impact we have on fans in the moment. I barely appreciate the moments as they go by. My wife would tell me, ‘You are the Universal Champion, and I’ve never seen you more stressed.’ I look back and think, ‘I would have done things different as Universal Champion if it were up to me.’ But ultimately, I was still the Universal Champion. But I honestly don’t remember enjoying it, which sucks.”
Towards the end of 2018, Kevin Owens was written off TV to have knee surgery. He would return just before Fastlane March of 2019 for a WWE Championship match with Daniel Bryan.
During the interview, the former NXT Champion also relayed a conversation he had with WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels about not only needing time off to heal his body, but also to heal his mind:
“I spoke with Shawn Michaels the night after Bobby Lashley took me out on TV and I was going in for surgery. I was telling him how I was looking forward to the time off, not really to heal my knees, but to heal my head, mentally.”
“He told me, ‘I was kinda like you where I took everything home, and I was obsessed with this stuff. Trust me now when I tell you, I wish it wasn’t that way.’ During those five months off, I tried to assess how I’m going to come back and enjoy the moments I get. I had a talk with Vince around that period too and I told him, ‘I’m never happy because I always want more.’ He said, ‘It’s okay to want more but you’ve got to find a way to be happy.'”
Thanks to Fightful for the transcription.