Kevin Owens spoke with Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated about his return to WWE and about helping usher in WWE’s mask-wearing policy.
“I hurt my ankle at WrestleMania so I needed time off, and then I came back—and then I went away again. I just felt like it was the right move for my family and I to sit out a few of the tapings of Raw and assess the COVID outbreak,” said Owens. “We live in Orlando, so it’s not just going to the Performance Center. It’s everywhere. We thought it was the right time to quarantine and practice safe guidelines. Last week, I saw the measures that the company was taking, from the testing to the splitting up the crews to make sure Raw and SmackDown wouldn’t be there the same day, and sending out very clear very indications that masks were required unless we were in the ring.”
Owens returned to Raw on last week’s episode where he teamed with Rey Mysterio to beat Murphy and Seth Rollins when Aleister Black and Dominick provided enough distractions
“A big part of this is my wife lost her grandfather to COVID. We make these decisions together. I don’t want anything I do to make my wife uncomfortable when I get back home. I want to make sure that she feels safe and that my children are safe. Every decision I make, I make with her. She saw the efforts the company made, as well, and she said maybe it was time for me to go back to work because it’s what I love to do. The company depends on me and there are a lot of fans that look forward to seeing me on TV every week, so we’re just trying to juggle everything. The family being safe, of course, but I also want to contribute to the shows. With her blessing, I went back. And what I observed gave me hope and gave me a sense of security.”
“It’s been brought up—at first, the masks weren’t being taken seriously enough,” Owens explained. “Eventually, a fine system was implemented to make sure people took it seriously. That came from me. I thought that the masks weren’t being worn seriously enough, so I went and talked to the people in charge. They immediately did what they could to remedy the situation. I don’t blame anybody for the mask thing. It’s easy to forget how important those masks are. Some people just straight up believe that the masks don’t make a difference, and that’s their belief. But if we’re all going to work together and we’re all trying to keep each other safe, I think it matters. If you’ve had somebody in your family affected by this the way my family was, it’s a lot easier to remember that these masks make a huge difference. These masks do make a difference, and I felt it was important for people to take that seriously. I was pleased that the company felt the same way and made sure to get the message out to everybody that this is a big deal. That’s why, in the end, I decided to come back. I feel comfortable going back to work, and I feel as safe as I can be there.”
As reported here at WrestlingNews.com, Owens went to Vince McMahon and reportedly threatened to go home at the July 3rd televisoin tapings over concerns about contracting COVID-19 if stricter safety measures were not taken.
You can read his complete interview with Sports Illustrated at this link.