Everyone knew it was coming. But that didn’t make it any less heartbreaking.
Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens have been together since SummerSlam. They teamed up in what seemed like an insignificant backstage segment in which Owens said he would have Jericho’s back as he feuded with Enzo and Big Cass.
It looked to be a temporary partnership formed for the sake of having a tag team match at SummerSlam. But as we know, it turned out to be so much more than that.
Owens and Jericho stayed together even after Finn Balor’s devastating injury led to WWE putting the Universal title on KO, and their friendship was nothing short of beautiful. Jericho was always there for Owens and the two of them were the undisputed anchors of Raw since the brand split. But here and there, cracks did begin to show.
More than once, Owens left Jericho out to dry, standing idly by while Seth Rollins delivered a pedigree to Y2J. And things came to a boil this past Monday on Raw when Team Kevin and Chris finally came to an end. But it wasn’t just a normal, everyday WWE breakup.
This was executed to perfection. It was the Red Wedding of WWE, a shining example of perfect booking from start to finish. Why? Let’s run through everything that went down Monday night.
The seeds were planted when Triple H pulled Owens aside to talk to him, leaving Jericho behind.
We knew the Festival of Friendship was set to start soon, and seeing Owens look dejected while Triple H lectured him made you think maybe, just maybe, Trips was telling Owens to leave his friend behind. Those suspicions were furthered when Owens came out to the ring looking irritated.
But what really made this segment stand out was how emotionally invested it made the fans, and that was all thanks to Chris Jericho. Fans have been dying to root for Jericho over the past few months, but since he was still technically a heel, they couldn’t fully commit.
His catchphrases and comedic talent made him the perfect candidate to turn face at some point, which is why even though he and Owens have both been thorns in the sides of many of the faces on the roster, fans still felt for Y2J as he poured his heart out to KO.
The sympathy for Y2J largely stems from his own ignorance. The fact that he thought Owens would appreciate the art he bought to commemorate their friendship made you feel bad for him.
He’s so committed to his friendship with Owens that you just wanted to see KO appreciate it even though it was clear he wouldn’t. Then we had the Gillberg appearance.
Aside from the sheer entertainment value of seeing Gillberg on WWE TV for the first time in nearly a decade, it added to Jericho’s ignorance and Owens’ frustration. Jericho seemed to actually think that bringing Gillberg out for Owens to decimate would make KO happy. But it did quite the opposite.
Then, of course, we had Friendship the magician who provided one of the most symbolic moments of the entire night.
After disappointing Owens by doing a mediocre magic trick, Jericho punished him by putting him on the list. But this wasn’t just any regular addition. Jericho literally added “friendship” to the list, foreshadowing the fact that his and Owens’ friendship was about to come to an end.
But perhaps the most heartbreaking part of all was Jericho telling Owens how much he meant to him. Jericho delved into a bit of a shoot when he talked about how Owens made his most recent WWE run so much fun and that despite all the partners he’s had through the years, he and Owens had the most chemistry.
It felt very real, and that’s why it was so sad when Owens gave Jericho his gift.
A lot of people figured the breakup of Jericho and Owens would come by one of them putting the other man’s name on the list. After all, that’s how Jericho indicates who he has a problem with, from Superstars to cameramen to entire cities.
But no one expected the swerve of Owens giving Jericho a new list, only to reveal that it was the list of KO and that Chris Jericho was the only name on it.
Then Owens attacked Jericho and brought back the persona that we all know and love (or hate) from NXT. The brutal KO that destroyed Sami Zayn the night he won the NXT title, the KO that doesn’t joke around and is nothing but business. And he returned by brutalising Jericho in the most upsetting way possible.
Everything about the segment was gold. We knew a turn was coming, but we didn’t know it would be executed as beautifully as it was. Now we have Jericho as one of the most sympathetic babyfaces in the company, and Owens is finally a proper heel that nearly every fan despises because of his actions.
It’s early in the year, but this may go down as the best overall segment of 2017.
Send us news tips at firstname.lastname@example.org
Find out the real reason why Sting came to WWE only to lose his debut match right here.