Kevin Owens slams Logan Paul and claims 'weird' behaviour has entire WWE roster upset
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Kevin Owens has slammed Logan Paul’s United States title run ahead of their huge championship bout at this Saturday’s Royal Rumble event.
Owens earned the right to face 'The Maverick' after winning a United States title tournament, beating both Carmelo Hayes and Santos Escobar.
Owens has held just about every championship in the WWE since his main roster debut in 2015, including the US strap.
And he is not a fan of Paul’s run with the US belt so far and vies to "bring as much prestige back” to the title if he wins at Tropicana Field.
In an exclusive interview, Owens told SPORTbible: “Has he defended the title? I know he beat Rey in a certain way. I don't make much of his run so far. He's really good at trying trying to pawn the title or trade it for other stuff or just do weird stuff with the title belt.
“That doesn't really sit well with a lot of us. That's the thing, right? I think as a performer, he's earned some respect in the locker room, but that's his attitude and the way he approaches what we do. He's from a different world. He's made his name being controversial and shock value, stuff like that.
“And that's what he's been doing since he won the title. That's just that like, he's from a different world.
“If I win this title, I will treat it very differently than he does.
“If I were to become the champion, again I would try to bring as much prestige back to that title as I can. Because, as good as he is in the ring and as impressive as he's become, he’s not doing any favours for that title.”
Owens has history with Paul as he hit him with a stunner at WrestleMania 37 when he was in the corner of Sami Zayn for their singles match.
It’s clear that as someone who has dedicated their life to his industry, he does not approve of how Paul goes about his business.
Yet he struggles to find faults in Paul's in-ring performances, with the amateur wrestler making a seamless transition to professional wrestling and delivering some insane acrobatic stunts.
He added: “I think anybody would be kidding themselves, if they didn't say that as performer, he's really excelled and exceeded anybody's expectations of what he might be.
“When somebody that we consider an outsider, whatever you want to call them comes in. You know, there's a lot of scrutiny there and it's a big hill to climb for someone to win people over.
“I am not going to say that he won people over, he's still pretty disliked within the WWE Universe.
“But as far as in the ring goes, anybody with a working set of eyes can see that he works very hard. And he's willing to leave it all out there, which for me as a performer and as a wrestler, that's what I like to see.
“In the performance sense, I think he deserves some credit there.”
Celebrity involvement in WWE is nothing new, with Floyd Mayweather, Snoop Dogg and Shaquille O’Neal just a few to step into the ring.
But Paul, even with just eight matches under his belt, has surpassed all the above names and signed a multi-year deal in April 2023.
“I think it'd be hard to find another celebrity that took to it and also dedicated themselves as much as he has,” Owens admitted.
“There’s been other celebrities that have come by, and I've really enjoyed whatever they have done here and they have been pleasant.
“I think, as irritating as he may be as a personality, the work he's putting in, and the dedication he has to being a good wrestler, when the bell rings, I think that earns a lot of respect.”
Owens goes into this bout with an injured hand that has required a cast, while his right side is further hindered by a fracture in his foot suffered a few weeks ago.
Yet KO will fight through the pain as he always does in what is yet another high-profile title match going into WrestleMania season.
“For some reason, up until this year, it seemed like me and Roman Reigns were destined to face each other every Royal Rumble. Now, this year I'm still in a title match - it's just not against Roman.
“Royal Rumble always brings big things for me. Big opportunities, and it's validating in a way that when the road to WrestleMania kind of begins, I'm always in a situation where I'm doing well enough to be getting a title match or something like that. I think that's a testament to my longevity and my work as well.”
One of Owens' memorable matches at the Royal Rumble event was a brutal TLC match for the Intercontinental Championship against Dean Ambrose in 2016.
Later that night both men would enter the Royal Rumble match, pulling double duty.
'The Prizefighter' has done it before, so will history repeat itself irrespective of the outcome against Paul?
It appears as though he's got the connections to make it happen.
“Some years they allow people to do double duty and some years they don't.
“I'm not too sure where they landed this year, but I would certainly love to have a chance in the Royal Rumble as well if they'll let me in.
“But I also understand that there's a lot of people on this roster and a lot of people want opportunities
“And there's not that many spots. So, if they tell me, ‘You have a US title match then stick to that’ - I'll respect the decision.
“I'll have a talk with Nick Aldis, maybe I'll try to call Mickie James [Aldis' wife] and see if she can help me out or something. She's a friend.”
Earlier this week, WWE announced a major $5 billion deal with Netflix, who will become the new home of sports entertainment from 2025.
The game-changing ten-year arrangement means WrestleMania, SummerSlam and Royal Rumble will air on the streaming service for subscribers in the United Kingdom.
And Canadian Owens is enthralled about the possibilities going forward with Netflix.
“It’s very exciting. It's a huge platform. For you guys in the UK, it changes things. It changes things for us in Canada as well. For example, not everyone that I know has access to the channel where Raw or Smackdown airs on.
"But pretty much everybody has Netflix, you know what I mean? It's just exciting just the reach that this has and, the potential new eyes that ended up seeing what we do.
“It’s huge news and who knows beyond what it could mean, as far as Netflix shows and Netflix movies. It’s definitely very exciting.”
Royal Rumble 2024 is the 37th annual Royal Rumble Premium Live Event and will emanate from St. Petersburg, Florida on Jan. 27. Tune in on the WWE Network or TNT Sports Box Office.