The feud between Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens will be in full force whenever the former returns to WWE television, but WWE may be forced to strip him of the United States Championship soon. Jericho has been absent from Raw since Owens betrayed and injured him during the Festival of Friendship segment. He did make an appearance during a WWE live event in Germany on crutches and in a neck brace, but that’s all.
At WWE FastLane this Sunday, Owens will defend the WWE Universal Championship against Goldberg. It has been reported that Goldberg is extremely likely to win the title and carry it into Wrestlemania 33. It has not been confirmed that Jericho will be involved in the title match this Sunday, but his return to television is imminent, and the expectation is Jericho vs. Owens would be for the United States Title at Wrestlemania.
Unfortunately, WWE officials have recently established a precedent that a WWE title needs to be defended at least once every thirty days. Jericho has been the United States Champion since the January 9 edition of Raw. While he’s not at the thirty-day limit yet, his absence from WWE television may force WWE to pull the plug on his reign and strip him of the US Title during an upcoming edition of Raw if he doesn’t return.
Admittedly, WWE hasn’t been focusing on Chris Jericho’s US Title reign as much as they should. The Royal Rumble match and needing to push the feud with Kevin Owens has been more important to the powers that be. Jericho winning the US Title put him in an elite class of WWE history, but it hasn’t done much for him to this point. On paper, Jericho vs. Owens at Wrestlemania 33 was meant to bring prestige to the US Title.
Chris Jericho hasn’t defended the championship since a WWE live event during the Road to Wrestlemania tour on February 11. Sami Zayn won that match by disqualification, which means the title stayed with him as a result. Since then, Y2J has not defended it. He hasn’t been seen on WWE television since the February 13 edition of Raw. Technically, WWE should strip Jericho of the title if he doesn’t defend it by March 11.
Of course, WWE may choose to ignore the thirty-day rule for Chris Jericho. It’s not the first time that WWE officials have done that, but they just stripped Naomi of the SmackDown Women’s Title on SmackDown. It would be hypocritical of WWE not to do the same with Jericho. If WWE does strip him of the US Title, that could be an opening for a huge ladder match or another gimmick match for the Wrestlemania 33 card.
The WWE Universe will be invested in the feud between Jericho and Owens because their “friendship” and their split was done really well. Neither the US or the WWE Universal Title are necessary for their feud to be successful on the grandest stage of them all. However, it seemed like the direction their rivalry was heading.
The subtle goal of the partnership between them was to get Kevin Owens over with the WWE Universe as a top guy on Raw. A lot of people believe Owens has been stealing the show for some time now, so the goal is successful. However, Chris Jericho will be leaving WWE shortly after Wrestlemania. The expectation was he’d be done immediately afterward, but he may stick around through WWE Payback at the end of April.
Whether Jericho is done at Wrestlemania or WWE Payback, the last thing he’s going to do is put over Kevin Owens before WWE officials write him off television. His run was originally meant to last four months, and he stayed for over a year. It’s been one of the best runs of his career, and he was even able to win the United States Title. The immediate question is how WWE will choose for that reign to end over the coming weeks.
[Featured Image by WWE]