World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Superstars Kevin Owens and Ali recently dropped by for a media roundtable interview. Kevin Owens debuted at WWE’s developmental system called NXT in 2014, while Owens has held multiple titles such as the WWE Universal Title, WWE United States Title, WWE Intercontinental Title, and the NXT title. Ali joined the WWE in 2016 as part of WWE’s Cruiserweight Classic which was won by Filipino-American TJ Perkins. Ali is currently in the SmackDown Live brand where he captivates the WWE fans with his high flying offense.
Owens and Ali were in Manila to join the rest of the SmackDown Live roster who were competing in the WWE Live in Manila tour at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. This was WWE’s return show in Manila since their WWE Live tour back in 2016. This would also be Kevin Owens’ return to the Philippines as he was part of the 2016 tour when he was still the WWE Universal Champion at that time. Here are some of the highlights from our media roundtable with the two WWE Superstars:Kevin Owens on his favorite Moment
Favorite Matches and Moments
Kevin Owens said his favorite moment was his first match at NXT against CJ Parker. Owens said that it was a “culmination of so many years of wanting to get here [in the WWE]…and it was with somebody I really liked a lot, a good friend of mine in Juice Robinson who was [called] CJ Parker at the time”. Kevin Owens joked that his friend broke his nose at the start of the match, but it would still be his favorite WWE moment.
On the topic of their favorite matches growing up, Ali answered that it would be the ladder match at Wrestlemania 2000 between Edge and Christian, The Hardy Boys, and The Dudleyz. For Ali, it was the match that made him fall in love with the style and the idea of being a daredevil in the ring.
On the question of rivalries, Kevin Owens immediately brought up his long-time rival and real life best friend Sami Zayn. Owens and Sami have been rivals for the past 15 years that started way before they entered the WWE.
Owens said that “every rivalry is special [and] there will be moments in the ring you’ll remember with that specific person for years to come.”
Ali, on his friendly rivalry with fellow 205 Live alum Cedric Alexander, said that if anyone could do “something that’s identifiable, people would react to it more.” He said he doesn’t know when they would face each other since they are on separate shows; but when they do, he’s sure that it’ll be amazing.
With NXT’s recent 2-hour debut for live television, we asked Kevin Owens and Ali if the NXT brand would be on par with the main shows RAW and SmackDown Live. Kevin Owens said that there is no doubt that NXT has a potential to eclipse RAW and SmackDown Live in due time “in terms of in-ring passion, talent, and hard work.“ Owens stated that “everybody on NXT feels like they have something to prove because it’s NXT…so I think it makes for a very interesting right now…and in a way it’s gonna drive people from RAW and SmackDown to be hungrier, so I think it’s good for everything in the WWE.“
Ali added that “passion is purpose and passion is power…and NXT has an opportunity to ignite the world and they’re gonna do it.”
Kevin Owens, a huge fan of country singer Shania Twain, was asked when the singer would perform his request. His request to the legendary Canadian singer was for her to sing her song “When” at his hometown in Montreal. Twain said she would do so IF Owens would defeat fellow WWE Superstar Braun Strowman. Kevin Owens answered that Shania Twain does owe him that song next time she performed in his home town because he DID defeat Strowman in a Steel Cage match.
Other topics that were discussed ranged from which legendary WWE wrestlers they want to face one-on-one in their prime (Owens chose the “Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels and Ali chose Bret “The Hitman” Hart) to interesting fan interactions. Later that day, the two would compete in separate matches. Kevin Owens would be victorious over Andrade. Ali put on a valiant effort but eventually lost to the WWE Intercontinental Champion, Shinsuke Nakamura.
Personally, this was one fun media roundtable. In fact, I heard about it at the last minute and since I had nearby the area for some family chores and saw a comfortable gap in my schedule, I had to take it. Well, I really would to because I’m a huge WWE fan since I was a kid. Please do read WheniManila.com’s writeup of the WWE Live in Manila 2019 show by Rudolph Rubago here. That said, we would like to thank the WWE and Centaur Marketing for giving us this opportunity to interview two of WWE’s popular Superstars.
WIM Photos by: Hub Pacheco