Former best friends come to blows at WrestleMania 33 as Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho finally go head-to-head with the United States Championship on the line.
Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens formed an unlikely team back in the late summer and would rule Raw for over six months, but as they old saying goes “don’t trust anyone,” Chris Jericho found that out the hard way.
The Canadians joined forces due to their shared dislike of loud-mouth Enzo Amore and Big Cass and after picking up an impressive win over the former NXT tag team at SummerSlam, it looked like this partnership was not just a one-off.
When Finn Balor was forced to relinquish the Universal Championship through injury, the Irishman’s loss was Kevin Owens gain as he outlasted Big Cass, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns in a Fatal 4 Way to become the new Universal Champion.
Owens had to defend his title against an angry Seth Rollins at Clash of Champions after Triple H played a big part in Owens becoming champion, but Jericho had his fellow Canadian’s back to help him retain the title.
The bond between Owens and Y2J was getting stronger and stronger and to prove they were the best team on Raw, Jericho had a gift for Owens in the form of a Raw Tag Team Championship match in a bid to help Owens become a double champion.
However, Rollins would not be done with the duo and cost Jeri-KO their chance to become the Raw Tag Team Champions against New Day, before Owens left Jericho all alone to suffer a pedigree from the Architect.
This marked the beginning of some tension between the Universal Champion and Jericho and after Owens accidentally cost his friend a match against Seth Rollins, it led to a heated confrontation between the two men.
However, Jericho and Owens would manage to sort out their differences and Y2J once again helped his friend retain the Universal title at Hell in a Cell, after Jericho locked himself inside the Cell to make it a 2-on-1 affair to help KO once again defeat Seth Rollins.
Universal Champion Owens and Jericho looked to lead Team Raw to victory over Smackdown at Survivor Series, but when Owens destroyed ‘The List’ using it as a weapon to take out AJ Styles, Jericho became infuriated over what his best friend had done.
This led to a tense showdown on the Highlight Reel the next night on Raw and although it appeared they had sorted out their differences, seven days later Jericho decided he had enough of Kevin Owens.
This left KO on his own to face Roman Reigns at Roadblock: End of the Line but what had transpired in the previous weeks was actually a cunning plan by Jeri-KO, as Jericho got Owens disqualified to once again help him retain the Universal title.
Jericho and Owens now looked stronger than ever, but Roman Reigns was far from done with a duo. Raw general manager Mick Foley granted him a rematch at the Royal Rumble but in order to make it a fair fight, he decided to have Jericho locked inside a shark cage.
Luckily for Owens, Braun Strowman attacked the Big Dog to help Owens once again retain the title by the skin of his teeth but when Jericho booked his best friend in a title match against Goldberg at FastLane, it would set something off inside of Owens.
However Jericho accepting that match against Goldberg would be the final straw for Owens, as he turned on his best friend powerbombing him on the ring apron and throwing him face first into the screen.
After helping Owens to retain the Universal title so many times, Jericho would be the man to cost him the gold as his distraction at FastLane allowed Goldberg to beat Owens in just 25 seconds to win the Universal Championship.
24 hours later, Jericho searched for answers and when Owens proclaimed that Jericho was never his friend and used him as a tool to get to the top, Jericho issued the challenge to KO for a match at WrestleMania.
After accepting Owens counter offer to put his United States Championship on the line at the show of shows. Jericho fell to a 2-on-1 attack at the hands of Samoa Joe and Owens until Sami Zayn made the save.
Despite a DQ loss to Jericho and Zayn in tag team action the next week on Raw, Owens had the last laugh on the United States Champion by nailing him with a pop-up powerbomb after another 2-on-1 attack by Samoa Joe and KO.
Jericho would expose real Kevin Owens on the Highlight Reel on the 20 March edition of Raw, showing a photo exposing Owens as a Y2J fan when he was younger and revealed Twitter messages of Owens asking him for advice when he signed for WWE in 2014.
However, none of this would affect the former Universal Champion as he blindsided Jericho from behind and had Y2J on his back for the second week running after the pop-up powerbomb, before he added insult to injury by tearing up the list.
After back-to-back beatdowns, Jericho would respond by costing KO a No DQ match against old rival Sami Zayn just six days before WrestleMania and finally added his former friend to the ‘List of Jericho.’
This is without a doubt one of the best fueds coming into WrestleMania 33 and I believe that they will follow up on this great rivalry by putting on one of the matches of the night in Orlando.
While a lot of fans – including myself – would have liked to see this match be for the Universal Championship, Owens and Jericho will no doubt be out to prove that they should have been the main event.
The past seven months has seen some of Jericho’s best work in his career forming an entertaining partnership with Owens, but it was always inevitable that Owens would turn on Jericho and he did it in a big way at the Festival of Friendship.
I don’t think WrestleMania will be the last we see of this rivalry between the former two best friends and while I expect them to put on a great match, it could very well be the match of the night.
I think Kevin Owens needs this win more than Jericho to bag his first win on the grandest stage. Jericho and Owens will hope to put on a show stealing match and at the end of this one, I think Owens will have Y2J’s number to crown a new United States Champion.
Winner: Kevin Owens