WWE Universal Champion Kevin Owens recently appeared on his best friend's podcast, Talk Is Jericho. Chris talked to him about his past in Ring of Honor and on the independent circuit and how the French Canadian learned to speak English from watching wrestling. Here are some highlights
On how he learned English from a tape of Wrestlemania and a little help from his 'Friends':
“I was always exposed to the English language. My dad always watched TV in English. I just grew up around it but never understood anything they said, eventually he rented a tape of WrestleMania 11 and I watched it with him, and that was when I decided that eventually I wanted to become a professional wrestler, so I started watching wrestling religiously then. I guess it was in 4th grade that I started learning English because we would have trivia during lunch time as an activity, and apparently I was a nerd who liked to have trivia during lunch, so I set up my trivia team and they asked what the word ‘Elbow’ was in English, because they would be saying it in French, and I remember Vader specifically having that mental image of Vader crushing somebody with that Elbow, and Jim Ross just yelling ‘Elbow Drop’ and I said, oh, ‘Elbow?’ Then I said, see, wrestling is useful, and then after that I started watching ‘Friends’ with my Dad, so wrestling and Friends is what taught me to speak English right now. If you asked my friends right now, they would tell you that I would always use Jim Ross terminology because I thought that was proper English, like ‘Slobberknocker’ was just a word for me.”
On the things he learned in ROH that prepared him for WWE:
“We obviously have NXT, that provides people for the main roster, and it seems like we have Ring of Honor that prepares people for NXT. When I was a kid growing up wanting to be a wrestler, I didn’t know how I was going to make it here. I just had to find my way, and in time, you wrestle here, you wrestle there, it becomes a snowball effect. I knew that I had to get to Ring of Honor in order to ever make it to WWE because that is where most of the eyes are. At the time, in 2006-2007, if you are not a huge bodybuilder guy that looks like a typical WWE star then you would have to fight your way in and that is what Ring of Honor was there for. Daniel Bryan came from there, and when Bryan got signed by WWE, Niguel McGuinness was going to sign there as well, but due to medical reasons he couldn’t sign, but they were both coming to WWE. Nigel was great; whenever I do talk to him, I tell him that he should come back to wrestling, but he just won’t do it. I think he’s made peace that when he couldn’t sign with WWE that was a big blow for him, and eventually he decided to hang up his boots, he is a commentator, doing great [author note: this interview took place before Nigel eventually signed on with WWE as a commentator]. My favorite match was with him in Toronto against Nigel McGuinness.”
What are his Independent promotions:
“The two independent promotions that I miss now–not that I would want to go back honestly. As good of a time I had on the Indy’s, I don’t want to go back. When I left the Indy’s, I was just done and over with living life as an Indy wrestler. I said that was it, but the ones I do miss are obviously Pro Wrestling Guerrilla in Southern California. That was my home for a very long time. I know people think that Ring of Honor is what got me to this position–and of course it helped, the notoriety I got from Ring of Honor, but Pro Wrestling Guerrilla I think was just as important, if not more, and then there’s a company in Cleveland in AIW, which I only started wrestling for maybe two years or a year before I came to WWE, but had a blast there. So, those two in particular are my favorite. I was just talking to some guys in Germany, they would love to go to a Pro Wrestling Guerrilla show, but they can’t because the tickets literally sell out in minutes, because it’s 450 tickets, packed every show, and have celebrities trying to get into the show. Super Dragon runs the company and he won’t let people in if you don’t have a ticket. The other day they had a celebrity come in, he’s not a huge celebrity now but was for many years–I believe it was Jerry O’Connell, he tried coming in and said that he wanted to buy a ticket, they said, I’m sorry but tickets are sold out, so he looked at them like, okay well..thinking he was going to get in because he’s a celebrity, so a few months ago saying that he finally got in this time, but like celebrities go to the shows, and it’s doing really well. He keeps hearing from people that he should move into a bigger building, but Super Dragon just won’t, he likes it the way it is. They tell him to release his shows on live Pay Per Views, he doesn’t even like to release the shows, his business model has always been DVD’s, his business model is that way. He doesn’t want to get bigger because he likes the way things are now. That’s part of the charm; a lot of companies would try to get bigger, but you never know what is going to happen, so he likes it the way it is.”
You can listen to the entire show in the video above or by clicking this link.