At NXT TakeOver: WarGames, Kevin Owens made a one night only return to the yellow brand. He appeared as the fourth member of Team Ciampa, helping them emerge victorious over The Undisputed ERA. Owens was also a guest on the After The Bell podcast with Corey Graves. He discussed his return, as well as using the Stunner as his finisher.
On his return, K.O. said: “Throughout the last few years, anytime I hear of anybody at NXT getting injured or for some reason not being able to make a show […] whether it’s a storyline or not, I always send Triple H the same text, which says “Hey, if you need somebody I’m here hahahaha.” We always have that kind of little insider joke, so the same thing happened when I heard Gargano was off TakeOver. I immediately texted him saying “I hear Johnny’s out, I’m available”. And then this time the answer was “Well that’s actually a possibility, I’m looking into it.”
He explained he then received a call from Triple H, telling him he would be in the WarGames match.
Owens added that he was amazed that his surprise appearance didn’t leak. While normally Superstars would be secretly smuggled into the venue, the former Universal champion was just wandering around the arena “like I was one of the NXT guys.”
Graves then asked Owens if he had ever had a conversation with Stone Cold Steve Austin about using the Stunner. He explained he spoke to him back in 2016, but was just waiting for the right time to use it. He elaborated: “I went to Steve and I asked him if I could use it, and he was very happy that I asked him […] me giving him the respect of it. But more than anything, he was happy that somebody asked him, because he’s like “You want to use it as your finisher? […] God, it’s about time. I can’t believe nobody has tried this yet.”
The inspiration behind using the Stunner, however, was that he believed everyone was using a variation of the Powerbomb, and felt like he needed a more unique finisher. He elaborated: “I remember thinking if I was to start doing the Stunner, some people might love it and some people might really hate it. But nobody would be indifferent to it.”