Despite earlier incorrect reports that claimed Chris Jericho and AJ Styles would face off on SmackDown Live tonight, the WWE officially announced that Chris Jericho would, in fact, fight Kevin Owens on the show for the United States Championship. This makes the most sense because even though AJ Styles is owed a U.S. title shot, Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho need to finish their feud before Jericho leaves the WWE to tour with his band, Fozzy.
Other events taking place on SmackDown Live tonight include Naomi and Charlotte teaming up to fight Carmella and Natalya, Randy Orton looking for revenge against Jinder Mahal for his interference at Payback on Sunday night, and Breezango attempting to keep their momentum going after winning the number one contenders spot for the WWE SmackDown Live tag team titles.
When discussing the actual Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho match, the WWE pointed out their long-standing heated rivalry. Interestingly, nothing was mentioned about AJ Styles in the preview.
"Jericho's first night on Team Blue will be a tough one, as he will defend his newly won title against Owens in a rematch from WWE Payback. The story of Jericho and Owens' friends-turned-enemies is long and bitter. What will happen when the latest chapter is written on SmackDown LIVE?"
The reason for Chris Jericho winning the United States Championship at Payback on Sunday night is a mystery. One thought is that the WWE wanted to move Jericho to SmackDown Live, where he will wrestle after his tour with Fozzy ends. The other reason might be because the WWE wanted a title change to increase the importance of a Raw pay-per-view that didn't include the WWE Universal Champion Brock Lesnar in action.
However, Chris Jericho can't keep the United States Championship and will almost surely drop it tonight in his match against Kevin Owens. The reason for Jericho leaving the WWE is because he has a tour with Fozzy set up and won't be able to appear on hardly any televised shows over the next month.
For one thing, the United States Championship is scheduled to be defended at Backlash on May 21 in Chicago. The match has been booked as Kevin Owens vs. AJ Styles, and that is probably what the match will remain. Chris Jericho and Fozzy are booked to play in Morgantown, West Virginia, on May 21 and won't even be in the same state as Backlash.
Other matches on the Backlash show include Randy Orton defending his WWE world title against Jinder Mahal, Breezango battling The Usos for the SmackDown Live tag team titles, and a women's match that might be a multi-person match with Charlotte Flair, Carmella, Naomi, and Natalya.
Chris Jericho is also scheduled to play with Fozzy on four Tuesdays in different states than SmackDown Live tapes in. On May 9, Fozzy plays in Tennessee while SmackDown Live is actually overseas in London. May 16, May 23, and June 13 also sees Fozzy playing live while SmackDown Live is airing.
That means Chris Jericho will be unavailable for the next four SmackDown Live events, including three Tuesday night shows and the next pay-per-view, where the United States Championship is advertised to be defended.
Where the false rumors and stories of AJ Styles getting the United States title shot against Chris Jericho on SmackDown Live tonight came from is unknown. While Styles might get involved in the title match tonight, the title is almost surely changing hands, and it is Kevin Owens booked in the match with Chris Jericho.
There is always the chance that Chris Jericho returns to the WWE later in June to continue entertaining his fans on a new night. However, Jericho also said that this current tour with Fozzy is the first leg of the tour with his new album, which is coming out this summer.
[Featured Image by WWE]