The two have faced off dozens of times since 2015, and will have their tenth televised one on one match at WWE TLC. Never has a more creative situation predicated a match of theirs. They've competed with special referees, inside cages, for a bevy of championships across Raw, Smackdown and PPV. Owens isn't lost on the fact that Reigns is a white-hot character, and admits that it pushes him creatively.
When speaking with Fightful, Owens was outspoken about his foe's streak of acclaimed performances.
"Roman's never been better, pretty sure we can agree on that. He's showing a side that a lot of people, ironically, have been waiting for him to show for a long time because the crowd reactions he used to get. Everyone wondered why they wouldn't just embrace that. Now, he's embracing it at a time where crowds can't react, which is ironic as well. He's doing really well in the new attitude and way of carrying himself and it's awesome to see. Of course, it makes me want to match it. That's really true of anytime I've worked with Roman, even when the roles were reversed because he's very passionate about what we do and so am I. There's different levels of passion in different people. When you work with somebody as passionate as you to create good and memorable moments and stories, it naturally brings your level up as well. It's been really enjoyable. It's not just him. [Paul] Heyman and Jey Uso have been so great in their roles as well. It's really cool to do something fresh. It's very refreshing for me to be involved with those guys and the way we're doing it now. I hope it continues," Owens said.
The two have never faced off in a ladder match of any kind, but Owens has competed in a ladder match every full year he's been in WWE. Though it has become an annual tradition, Owens doesn't get too ahead of himself as it relates to what he'll pull off in those kind of matches.
"I just like to adapt the match to the situation and the story we're having. I don't think of things to do beforehand, it kind of comes to me as we go and the match gets closer. You can get ideas for stuff you'd like to do, but if it doesn't fit through the framework of the match you're trying to have, sometimes forcing it just doesn't help and makes things worse. I try to go into every match with a clean slate and open mind and take it from there. There's never been a ladder match or tables match or any stipulation match where I haven't pulled out something kind of nuts so I wouldn't expect Sunday to be any different," said Owens.
In addition to TLC, Owens will be the subject of the newest episode of Chronicle on the WWE Network. This time was a little bit different than most features that he's been a part of. In fact, this one was barely even noticeable to him.
"Usually when they work on something like that for the Network, you're followed for months and they condense it into an hour or 40 minutes. This time, they were only filming with me for two SmackDowns and then they came to my house for a day. They really weren't filming with me for very much. They didn't have time because they decided they wanted to put this Chronicle out before TLC. We did what we could, but basically, the whole crew that works on the Network documentary and the stuff you see on YouTube and all the behind the scenes footage, the crew is so incredible. Even though they are filming me and following me around or at my house, unless I'm sitting down with them to do an actual interview, I almost don't know they are there. In this case, Joey, the guy who filmed it and put it together, he's good at being like a ghost in the background. There was a time when he was in my house and I was getting my daughter ready for school and I forgot he was there. She started talking to him and I turned around like, 'Oh, she's talking to Joey.' He was off to the side just shooting us and I was doing what I do every morning. They definitely get a glimpse of what we are before we go to work and how, in a way for me, how work has influenced my life outside the ring because I'm pretty consumed by work at all times. That's a big part of this Chronicle, trying not to let this story with Roman and TLC match just bleed too much into my everyday life. It's obviously a big opportunity. Anytime you get to be part of Chronicle or 24, it's neat because it gives people something to be excited about and gives people a reason to care about the match they're going to see. People are going to get to watch what it's like to prepare for a match like that," Owens said.
You can see Kevin Owens in action this Sunday at WWE TLC when he takes on Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship. He's the subject of the latest episode of WWE Chronicle, both of which can be seen on the WWE Network.
Check out our full interview with Owens above.