In May 2015, Kevin Owens responded to John Cena's 'United States Championship Open Challenge' on Raw and attacked him before the match could even take place. Two weeks later, the then NXT champion recorded a win over the 16-time world champion on his main roster debut at Elimination Chamber 2015.
Although the feud between KO and the leader of the 'Cenation' is remembered above all for the triumph of the Canadian on his debut, it was Cena who won the entire stake in the following months. John took his revenge in June of the same year at 'Money in the Bank', then retaining the belt at Battleground despite Owens’ latest desperate assault.
Speaking in the latest edition of 'Talking Smack', Kevin revealed that the atmosphere in the locker room was not exactly relaxed after his opening segment with Cena.
Kevin Owens on his storyline with John Cena
"I was traveling, there was great animosity, also because I didn't have many friends in the sector at that time," said Kevin Owens.
“When I joined the main roster, I had a past as an NXT champion. Having beaten John Cena in what was basically my debut had made many turn up their noses. They wondered how it was possible that a rookie had knocked out the symbolic face of the federation” - he added.
KO, who held the Universal title for 188 days between August 2016 and March 2017, intends to return to the race for the belt shortly. “My career took a turn when I became the Universal champion. I only say that - if Roman Reigns does not lose the title against Cesaro or with someone else - he will have to deal with myself.
Don't forget me. Do not make the mistake of thinking that he has pulled me back because I am always ready for the challenge." Over the past six months, Kevin has challenged Reigns for the title on three unsuccessful occasions.
Kevin Owens told the story during a conversation with Roman Reigns’ on-screen special counsel, Paul Heyman, about Jey Uso being “manipulated” in recent months. Highlighting how Jey has changed, he said that The Usos, Naomi and Tamina unexpectedly paid for his food on one occasion during his early days in WWE.
Cena won a non-title rematch in June 2015 at WWE Money in the Bank. Although the John Cena vs. Kevin Owens storyline is best remembered for Owens’ debut win, Cena ultimately won the rivalry between the two men. One month later, he retained the United States Championship against Owens at WWE Battleground.