The WWE Universe is in mourning this week after the tragic demise of everyone’s favourite bromance, as Kevin Owens turned against his former best friend, Chris Jericho.
Although the implosion of Jeri-KO had been expected by many fans, not many were expecting it to occur prior to the Fastlane pay-per-view, and certainly didn’t see it transpiring the way that it did.
There have been many entertaining friendships in WWE over the years, but there’s never been one quite like Owens and Jericho. The chemistry between them was evident every time they performed together and both men have great comedic timing, which led to some of the most entertaining segments that WWE has produced in recent memory.
So with that being said, let’s take a retrospective look at how Jeri-KO became one of WWE’s most beloved acts.
#1 Owens & Jericho vs. Sami Zayn & Dean Ambrose
On a recent edition of Chris Jericho’s podcast, ‘Talk Is Jericho’, his guest was none other than his best friend, Kevin Owens. In this episode, both men told the story of how their budding bromance began. According to Kevin & Chris, it began way back in April of 2016 when they would team together on an episode of Smackdown to face their respective rivals at the time in Dean Ambrose and Sami Zayn.
After picking up the victory for his team, Kevin Owens was told to celebrate like he’d just won the Stanley Cup by Vince McMahon and did just that with an over the top celebration, where he ran and jumped into Jericho’s arms.
Vince reportedly loved this and was howling with laughter when Chris & Kevin returned backstage and all three men agreed then and there that they had something they could work with in regards to Owens & Jericho.
#2 Against Enzo & Cass - Summerslam 2016
Although their story began in April of 2016, it wasn’t until the build to August’s Summerslam event that Owens & Jericho really became their own entity when they teamed up in a match against Enzo & Cass.
Jeri-KO established their partnership in the lead up to this match in multiple backstage segments and interviews, where they continuously berated Tom Phillips by repeatedly getting his name wrong and making his job as difficult as possible.
Owens and Jericho would pick up the win in this match after hitting a pop-up codebreaker on Enzo, this victory was a sign that there was more to come from this team and was the beginning of something special.
#3 Owens vs. Seth Rollins - Clash of Champions
Shortly after Summerslam, Owens would become the WWE Universal Champion after winning a fatal-4-way match on Raw, with help from Triple H.
According to Kevin and Chris, this meant that they were now both the WWE Universal Champion and Chris would, therefore, have Owens’ back in his title match against Seth Rollins at Clash of Champions.
Jericho would get involved towards the end of this match and make his presence felt by distracting Rollins on multiple occasions and attacking him after the referee had been knocked down. Owens would get the win and retain his championship thanks to Jericho’s interference, something that became a running theme in the months following.
#4 Hell in a Cell 2016
A month after Clash of Champions, Owens would once again defend his Championship against Seth Rollins, this time in a Hell in a Cell match.
Once again, Jericho would get involved and lock himself inside the cell with Owens and Rollins, effectively making it a handicap match. Unsurprisingly, Rollins was unable to overcome the double team attack and Owens would walk out of Hell in a Cell still the WWE Universal Champion.
While this was a landmark victory for Owens, it was the post-Hell In A Cell edition of ‘Raw Talk’ that makes this a milestone in the story of Jeri-KO. In the video, which you can view below, Owens & Jericho were at their brilliant best and their quick-witted responses made for one of the most entertaining segments from them as a team.
#5 Survivor Series
At last year’s Survivor Series, Owens & Jericho were made co-captains of Team Raw in the 5-on-5 elimination match against Team Smackdown Live.
It was during this match that the first seeds of tension between the best friends were planted, as Owens used Jericho’s ‘list of Jericho’ to attack AJ Styles, destroying it in the process. This resulted in Owens being eliminated from the match due to disqualification and also led to Jericho’s elimination as he was distraught that his list had been ripped apart and walked straight into an RKO from Randy Orton before getting pinned.
The issues between Kevin and Chris were speculated on after this match and they would be played up upon the following night on Raw, as it was announced that Owens would be Jericho’s guest on ‘The Highlight Reel’.
#6 The Highlight Reel
When Owens appeared as a guest on The Highlight Reel, he and Jericho would speculate as to who was to blame for Team Raw’s loss at Survivor Series, seemingly blaming each other and bringing their friendship to an explosive end.
However, as tensions built and they got in each other’s face, both men promised to say who was to blame for the defeat, before saying in unison…”Roman Reigns”, and then embracing each other with a hug.
This was a classic moment from the duo which you can view below.
#7 Roadblock: End of the Line
This wouldn’t be the last time that the end of Jeri-KO was teased, as in the build up to Roadblock: End of the Line, both claimed they didn’t need each other in order to be successful. In an attempt to make amends with Jericho, Owens would interfere in his match against Rollins with the intention of helping Y2J secure the victory. However, his plans backfired, and he ended up distracting ‘Y2J’ and helping Rollins to victory.
This led to Jericho getting involved in Owens’ match against Roman Reigns later in the night, where he hit Owens with a codebreaker. This appeared to be the end of Jeri-KO until Jericho would then hand the Universal Title to Owens and reveal that he only did it so he would retain his Title on a disqualification.
#8 Jericho wins the US Title
After failing to capture the United States Title from Roman Reigns in multiple matches against the Champion, Jericho would then get the opportunity to do so as he and Owens teamed up in a handicap match against Reigns for the gold.
During this match, Owens would powerbomb Reigns against the ring apron before throwing him to Jericho to hit a codebreaker and pin him to become the new United States champion.
This was Jericho’s first ever US Title victory and with Owens and him now both holding Championship belts, their friendship was seemingly stronger than ever.
#9 Jericho in a shark cage
Due to Jericho’s multiple interferences in Kevin Owens’ matches, Raw General Manager, Mick Foley, would decide to suspend Jericho above the ring in a shark cage during Owens’ Universal Title defence against Reigns at Royal Rumble.
This was certainly an odd stipulation, but if anyone could make it work it would be Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho.
Despite Jericho being unable to help Owens, he would still retain the Championship due to interference from Braun Strowman. It seemed as though Jeri-KO were unbeatable and would continue to dominate the Raw roster in 2017.
#10 Festival of Friendship
However, everyone’s favourite bromance would come to a dramatic conclusion this past Monday during the ‘Festival of Friendship’ segment on Raw.
This was one of the best segments that WWE has ever produced and will be remembered for many years to come. It clearly drew inspiration from the likes of Mankind and The Rock’s ‘This is your life” segment and for me, it stands up alongside that as a classic Raw moment.
Jericho and Owens were at their entertaining best at the beginning of this segment, with the reveal of the ‘Creation of Kevin’ painting and the return of Gillberg getting genuine belly laughs from the audience.
The conclusion of the promo where Owens eventually turned on his best friend was genuinely heart-wrenching and brought to an end one of the greatest friendships in WWE History. You can savour the final moments of Jeri-KO in the video below. Drink it in, man.
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