Even though being the top champion on the brand would automatically make you the “top guy”, Kevin Owens didn’t feel like that at all.
He was a guest recently on the Edge and Christian Pod of Awesomeness, where he talked about his run as the Universal champion. Despite being the top champion on the Raw brand, he didn’t feel like a “top guy”.
"To me, I thought that was it” Owens said about his run. “I'm like, 'alright, I'm the Universal Champion, so, clearly, this was going to solidify me as the top guy that I've always wanted to be.’ But I don't think it really did. It didn't turn out to be what I was hoping. It didn't turn out to be this thing that would make me a top guy, the way like I felt that it would."
He felt that, in some ways, his career actually plateaued after the big feud between him and Chris Jericho ended. He talked about how his feud with AJ Styles wasn’t as great as everyone thought it would be:
“The whole storyline with Jericho helped me get near where I needed to go, but then I felt like I hit a little…I kind of plateaued in a way” he said. “[Edge] said [he] enjoyed that series of matches with AJ, and I'm glad you did, and, hopefully, a lot of people did as well, but I don't know if I did. I don't know if I can say that I did, to be honest. I don't know if I was putting out my best stuff at the time."
One of the more confusing finishes of the year had AJ Styles go over Kevin Owens at SummerSlam, with the execution leading to believe that it may have been a botch finished. Owens later regained the title on the following Smackdown.