Making it to the WWE level makes you question a lot of the things that brought you there.
Kevin Owens was recently a guest on the Edge and Christian's Pod of Awesomeness where he talked about going into the Preformance Center for his tryout. He didn't know what WWE wanted from when when he went in for his tryout, which was a few months after William Regal attended a PWG show and gave him the oppertuntiy to try out.
I got to the Performance Center a couple of months later and I still wasn't sure who they wanted me to be, in a way, because I did the tryout, I cut the promo the way I talk, I didn't try to be anybody different when I was cutting the promo, and as far as, like, I did a little match there and I wrestled the match my way except for some reason they had me, at the time, I was always pretty much a heel and they had me work as a babyface, so that kind of felt weird.
Owens continued to second guess what he should do at the tryout, enough that he got new gear in order to fit in with what he thought WWE wanted.
So even in the match, I wrestled my own style, but I wasn't being myself. And I had, like, this is WWE in my head and I can't go in my shorts and my cutoff t-shirt. I had a nice singlet made. I wrestled in the singlet, which was completely not me at that time because I wrestled in a singlet 15 years ago, 10 years ago, whatever it was, 12 years ago, on the independents. But then, eventually, I transitioned into the more street fight-looking gear and that was definitely more me. But in my head, I can't wrestle in WWE in street fight-looking gear, so I wasn't sure which parts of the tryout they had liked. Was it the promo that was entirely me or if they were they like, no, it's the way he wrestled?
He said his mind constantly played tricks on him during the tryout, but two people eventually came up to him and gave him advice that gave him the confidence needed in order to just be himself: Christian and Dusty Rhodes.
(Christian) kind of told me, look, you've just got to be you and that resonated with me. And then, over time, I got to know Dusty Rhodes better. And Dusty and I got closer and closer and Dusty echoed the same thing, so that definitely went a long way in me getting the confidence to just be me. And it's exactly like (Christian) said, if you go too far, they'll pull you back, but you don't want to (not go far enough). Yeah, exactly. You don't want to be too hesitant and not give everything you could give. Then, you might be holding back something that they could love.
Owens eventually made it to NXT, quickly becoming the main focus of the brand as its champion. He made his way to the main roster in 2015, where he's since then won the Intercontinental, United States and Universal titles.