30 Day Wrestling Challenge: Day Nineteen = Favourite Storyline

Today’s is one a lot of you will remember fondly, as it wasn’t all that long ago… but given the people’s involved, it certainly was a time (even just a few years ago) that pro-wrestling and WWE was a different place. And this era of WWE was GREAT, and this storyline was incredbile. Honestly one of the finest long term storylines WWE have told in recent years. Credit to everyone involved with it, my only minor complaint was the ending… not that it wasn’t good, but it should have been SO SO much more and bigger given the incredible build up it had to that point.

Today I will be recapping the story of my favourite storyline in recent WWE history… The story of Chris Jericho and his ‘best friend’ Kevin Owens.


The story of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho really began at SummerSlam in 2016, when they teamed up to win a tag team match. It seemed just a random grouping of two heels together, but it quickly blossomed into something more than just a tag team match… the alliance began gloriously for Owens… in fact the night after SummerSlam KO booked his place in a fatal 4 way match to decide the new Universal Champion. The next week on the August 29th 2016 episode of Raw, Owens not only cut one of his most iconic promos, but also had his biggest win to date…

(2.10 onwards is when Owens absolutely SHINES)

AND THEN…

After one of the greatest endings of a Raw main event we’ve seen, KEVIN OWENS was suddenly the top dog on Monday Night’s. The next week the new Universal Champion Owens was picking up a win against long term rival Sami Zayn. Meanwhile on the same show Chris Jericho was beaten by Seth Rollins, who was the number one contender… at the end of Zayn vs Owens, The Big Dog would look to come to pick a fight with KO himself…

So Roman had a chance to get a spot in challenging Owens himself… but… Rollins came out and beat up Owens, so the match was restarted by then Raw GM Mick Foley, but then Roman would be beaten after all after interference from Rusev… so Roman vs Rusev was a thing going forward, leaving the path clear for Seth Rollins to get his shot against the Universal Champion Kevin Owens… the next week on Raw though, it wasn’t the champ who had a career night, but his best friend, who debuted a gimmick which would galvanise the whole business and kick-start one of the finest runs of his career…

So at the Clash of Champions PPV, Owens did indeed beat Rollins… but only after interference from Jericho… the next night they wanted to celebrate…

So Owens and Jericho were a team in every sense now… and they wanted more…

The next couple of weeks saw Jericho twice face off against Rollins, and lose… and for the first time, tension brewed…

The next week, in the final Raw before Hell in a Cell where Owens would defend his title once again against Seth Rollins, Chris Jericho had… an eventful night… and it went a little something like this…

Just LISTEN to how mad that crowd was about The List being missing…

And finally in the main event of the go-home show…

So, guess what… at Hell in a Cell Owens retained again… and Jericho helped again!!!

The next month was all about the build for Survivor Series, where Owens and Jericho spreaheaded Team Raw against SmackDown. I wont say too much about that as there’s every chance I may review it at some stage during lockdown, as it was one of the best WWE PPVs of that year.

But after Survivor Series, normal service resumed, as Owens and Jericho led the inquest into Team Raw’s defeat…

Honestly the start of this is so fucking GREAT! ….

After Owens managed to keep his title once again via Jericho’s ‘help’… the next week Rollins took out his anger… as the dissension between Owens and Y2J was teased once again…

KO the next week went on the charm offensive after their lover’s tiff the week before…

So… how did KO’s ‘gift’ to Jericho go???

So at the Roadblock PPV that Sunday, Seth Rollins beat Chris Jericho once more. And in the main event Kevin Owens defended his Universal Championship against Roman Reigns, but this time with NO Y2J by his side… the finish of the match was really creative… Owens tried to hit Roman with his title belt, only for Reigns to hit a spear! Chris Jericho then came out… and hit OWENS with a Codebreaker… this of course caused the ref to call for the DQ… but of course also KO retained! After Jericho handed the belt to a shocked Owens and revealed how it was his plan all along! But as the two tried to leave Rollins and then Reigns stopped them and Roman hit a Spear to Owens and Rollins hit a Pedigree to Jericho, before they put them both through commentary tables with double powerbombs each.

The build then began for the Royal Rumble PPV. Where Owens would once again take on Reigns, only this time Jericho wouldn’t be able to interfere…

Jericho would be able to get one over Reigns at long last though, as on the January 9th Raw, Roman would defend his US title under unique circumstances…

So eventually we would go to the Royal Rumble… Owens would retain his Universal Championship against Reigns after help from Braun Strowman, whilst Jericho would have a strong showing in the Rumble match itself… but after that Kevin Owens would be faced with a much bigger problem…

So it seemed we were destined for Goldberg vs Brock again… and it looked like we could be seeing it for the Universal Championship… suddenly, to the fury of many and pretty much ALL… Kevin Owens was seemingly being shafted just before WrestleMania, just to prop up a huge match that just didn’t need a title attached to it… the next week on Raw, to try and cheer up his best friend Kevin Owens ahead of his championship match with Goldberg… Chris Jericho proclaimed he would bring him a gift, his own celebration…

On the February 13th 2017 edition of Raw, one of the finest WWE segments of ALL TIME took place; The Festival of Friendship…

An absolute triumph of a segment if ever there has been one. Owens and particularly Jericho here absolutely shone. Just listen to the crowd reaction the moment the penny drops… incredible stuff. The next week KO would explain himself…

At Fastlane… Jericho got his revenge…

The next night on Raw, Jericho made the inevitable clear…

Over the next couple of weeks, both men would give their thoughts on their Mania opponent…

(TAKEN FROM MY REVIEW OF WRESTLEMANIA 33)

Kevin Owens defeated Chris Jericho (C) to win the United States Championship 

Owens got a big pop coming out before they aired the video package telling how their feud began at the incredible Festival of Friendship and Owen’s turn after which to me is still one of the better Raw segments there’s ever been. Less good things I have to say about Owens dropping the red belt to Goldberg in seconds… Jericho came out with a big entrance with full use of the stage lights and a GIANT ‘List of Jericho’ on the rampway. He also had a light up scarf that unsurprisingly was very well received by the crowd. They basically had a fight early on, Owens dominated with a couple of Cannonballs, and a running senton to get a couple of nearfalls, Jericho briefly got back into it with a dropkick to the outside as Owens tried for a Popup Powerbomb on the apron but Jericho hit  backbody drop to counter, Jericho got a nearfall and proceeded to call Owens a ‘”Son of a Bitch” (LEGIT), Owens appeared to have a cut on his head and then Jericho hit a Hurricanrana off the top rope for a nearfall and it looked really impressive. There was later an exchange where Owens went for the Frog Splash off the top but Jericho got his knees up, Jericho went for a Lionsault but Owens got his knees up, then Owens went for a SWANTON BOMB but Jericho got his knees up and both men were down exhausted. That was something else. Jericho got a nearfall, Owens went for the Popup Powerbomb again but Jericho jumped over him and then hit the Lionsault for a 2 count. Owens then got the Walls of Jericho on Y2J, and later Jericho returned the favour, but Owens got to the ropes. Then finally he hit the Popup Powerbomb but only got a nearfall to the delight of the crowd, and then in a brilliant spot Owens went for his finisher again but Jericho turned it into a Codebreaker. Ref counted 1, 2, and then Kevin Owens got ONE FINGER on the bottom rope to stop the pinfall… exceptional stuff! And finally the finish came when both were on the outside and Owens hit the Popup Powerbomb to Jericho on the ring apron, rolled him in the ring and pins him. Kevin Owens wins his 1st (of what to date is now 3) United States Championship. The crowd was kind of flat for the finish, and the match was FINE but I couldn’t help but be underwhelmed by it. I very much recall at the time that the feeling was this should (and legitimately at one stage was going to be) for the UNIVERSAL championship instead of the US title… but… Goldberg so… yeah… It was almost as if both men performed and the crowd treated as if these two guys had MADE Raw for the last 8 months and yet there payoff was to be an afterthought at WrestleMania… *sigh*.

***

So they would actually do more stuff after what looked to be the blow off… they switched back and forth the US title again… until Jericho rode off into the sunset of WWE with Fozzy, although he did make a brief shock return some months later on an edition of SmackDown to take part in a triple threat match that saw Owens lose the US title to AJ Styles.

Chris Jericho’s final WWE appearance took place during the Greatest Royal Rumble match, where he entered last and went right at it once again with KO… And that was the actual end of a storyline that was the main theme of the flagship show for about 8 months, but then was relegated to the mid-card title match at WrestleMania… and that for me is the only sad part about it. Chris Jericho should have faced Kevin Owens at WreslteMania for the Universal Championship. Either winner would have been fine, Owens to send Jericho off to the rockstar sunset and being rewarded for a great job as champion with a huge Mania win, or… my preferred option… you give Chris Jericho after all this time, a babyface world title win for real, at WrestleMania… and then the next show you have him drop it right back to Owens…

We can dream…

Josh.

 

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