The WrestleMania 33 card is filling out solidly after Monday’s WWE Raw. WWE wasted little time in making official the long-expected Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho match for WrestleMania 33 after the events of WWE Fastlane and the bitter end to their long-standing friendship last month. And, what’s more, Jericho’s WWE United States Championship will be on the line.
Kevin Owens was defending the WWE Universal Championship at Fastlane against Goldberg and was convinced that he had the match in the bag, with a surefire gameplan to counter Goldberg’s smash-and-grab approach. If Goldberg could beat Brock Lesnar in under 90 seconds, it seemed clear to all that he would make quick work of Owens, but Owens knew how to nullify Goldberg’s plan of attack.
Owens’ approach was to outsmart Goldberg, thinking that by drawing out the match as long as possible, he would gain the upper hand over the far-older Goldberg. Before the title match started, Owens ducked out to ringside several times. But just as it seemed he was finally ready to start the match and urged the referee to ring the bell, Jericho’s music distracted Jericho, leading to Goldberg spearing Owens and hitting him with the Jackhammer to win the title in just 22 seconds. Goldberg will now defend the championship against Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 33.
Jericho kicked off WWE Raw Monday by hitting the ring and demanding to know why Owens turned his back on him three weeks ago. After playing best friends for around eight months, the pair held a Festival of Friendship to commemorate their relationship. However, Owens memorably turned his back on Jericho, beating him down severely. WWE wrote the United States Champion off television for three weeks to sell his injuries.
Owens soon appeared, and confessed that Jericho was never actually his best friend. Instead, he recalled the night last summer when he won the WWE Universal Championship. Triple H interfered in that title match, gifting Owens the championship. Owens said Triple H told him that night to do whatever he had to in order to hang onto the title since everyone would be gunning for him and his gold.
So he decided to recruit someone experienced, knowledgeable, and, most importantly, gullible to watch his back. Jericho fit the bill for Owens, and so he brought him into his camp as his best buddy. Jericho seemed to trust Owens completely, and helped him retain his title on many occasions over the last several months. But there came a point when Jericho proved a liability, according to Owens, and that’s when he accepted Goldberg’s challenge on Owens’ behalf.
It was then that Kevin Owens decided to take out Jericho and distance himself from the multi-time world champion, choosing to once again go it alone. That decision came back to bite Owens in the tail on Sunday when Jericho caused the distraction that gave Goldberg an opening to snatch Owens’ title.
Jericho eventually laid down a challenge to Owens for WrestleMania 33. Owens said that he had been promised an opportunity to win back the Universal Championship whenever he wanted, but said he’d put that on hold. He wanted to take away Jericho’s United States title just as Y2J had cost Owens the Universal Championship. Jericho agreed to put the title on the line at WrestleMania 33, and the match was made official: Kevin Owens vs. Chris Jericho for the WWE United States Championship.
Jericho didn’t want to waste time, however, and invited Owens down to the ring for a fight. Owens did, but Samoa Joe quickly interjected on his behalf. That led to Sami Zayn running to the ring with a steel chair to even the odds, setting up Kevin Owens vs. Zayn and Chris Jericho vs. Samoa Joe for later in the show.
But the main headline from the start of Raw was a clear one: Kevin Owens will challenge Chris Jericho for the United States Championship at WrestleMania 33.
[Featured Image by WWE]