Tonight on SmackDownLive, Chris Jericho will defend the United States Championship, and there is a lot of speculation about someone else becoming the U.S. Champion by the time the show ends. Kevin Owens will be getting his rematch after losing the title to Jericho at WWE Payback on Sunday. Most people are expecting him to reclaim the championship on SmackDown tonight, but WWE could have a different plan in place.
The WWE Universe was surprised to see Jericho get the victory over Owens at WWE Payback because there had been rumors surrounding him for weeks that his run with WWE is about to end. Jericho is expected to take a month or a few months away from WWE to tour with Fozzy and do some other things. On paper, it seems obvious that Y2J will drop the title to Owens on SmackDown, but his title win wasn't obvious at all.
The card is always subject to change, but WWE has already started building the U.S. Title match between AJ Styles and Kevin Owens for WWE Backlash later this month. That's still roughly three weeks away, so WWE officials may be looking to include Chris Jericho in the match if his plans for a hiatus have changed recently.
Brock Lesnar is the current WWE Universal Champion, and he's not expected to be back on WWE television for several more weeks. It's a guarantee based on his current schedule that he will not defend the title before he passes the 30-day title defense rule that WWE officials sometimes choose to acknowledge. In fact, he may go three months without defending the title. Jericho may not need to drop the U.S. Title tonight after all.
His hiatus may only be for a month. Under the circumstances, WWE officials could let him keep the title on his hiatus to set up a bigger match down the line. The title change at WWE Payback moved Chris Jericho to SmackDown, which could have been a way to set up a Triple Threat match between Owens, Styles, and Y2J.
There are a lot of theories about what Chris Jericho reclaiming the U.S. Title means, but the likely outcome is for Kevin Owens to reclaim the U.S. Championship on SmackDown tonight and for the match with AJ Styles at WWE Backlash to continue as planned. If that's the case, WWE officials did a great job creating buzz for tonight's edition of SmackDown Live.
The powers that be are more interested in AJ Styles vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship when the time is right. Orton is busy with Jinder Mahal, and Styles is busy with Owens, but the truth is WWE officials are just buying time until they can pull the trigger on the Orton vs. Styles feud. Chris Jericho's U.S. Title win on Sunday was a swerve, but the WWE Universe will know the plan after tonight's edition of SmackDown.
The expectation is Jericho will be written off WWE television. As of right now, his WWE return is unknown, and any creative plans for that return are also a mystery. Most assumptions are that WWE officials delayed the end of Jericho's run by two days. It was a great way to finish off one of the best runs of his career, which is even more impressive considering his run lasted an entire year longer than Y2J was originally planning.
Jericho's first U.S. Title run wasn't memorable, but the buzz created by his second will give SmackDown Live and Kevin Owens a boost heading into WWE Backlash. Owens vs. Styles should be a strong rivalry and the United States Title will gain a lot of momentum. The WWE Universe should expect Chris Jericho to drop the U.S. Title to Kevin Owens tonight on SmackDown, but don't be surprised if WWE pulls off another swerve.
[Featured Image by WWE]