It’s official: The latter half of Jeri-KO has been knocked out of Raw’s United States Title clash. In a bout that could have potentially ensured Chris Jericho a 2-on-1 advantage over Roman Reigns, Kevin Owens’ brash temper got the better of him and it’s Seth Rollins who will have a free pass to ringside when his former brother goes to battle. Rollins was sitting pretty in the driver’s seat, taking the fight to the timekeeper’s area when he found himself on the verge of a double count-out. The Architect sprinted back to the ring to break the count, only Owens was lying in wait with ring bell in hand. The Prizefighter’s subsequent attack of Rollins’ ribs with said bell cost him the match, but given that Rollins was too banged-up to Pedigree KO after the match, The Architect’s assistance of Reigns may well not amount to much.
For the second time, Chris Jericho came after Roman Reigns’ United States Championship. And for the second time, Reigns retained. That being said, Jericho came pretty darn close, thanks in no small part to exploiting Reigns’ lack of a champion’s advantage. When going blow-for-blow with The Big Dog left Jericho at an impasse, he pulled “an Eddie” and framed Reigns for attacking him with the U.S. Title in an attempt to get the champion disqualified. (Conspicuous by his absence was Seth Rollins, who didn’t take advantage of his earlier victory and post up at ringside.)
The official didn’t quite buy Jericho’s subterfuge. But it was enough to give The Ayatollah of Rock ’n’ Rolla a brief second wind that, perhaps, carried a little too much momentum with it. When Reigns dodged Jericho’s charge into the corner, the nine-time Intercontinental Champion went face-first into the turnbuckle, then staggered unwittingly into a match-ending Spear.
It may have been called “The Kevin Owens Show,” but thanks to an escalating series of events, Kevin Owens was quickly forced out of the spotlight. First, Chris Jericho took the opportunity to announce hisown entrance into the Royal Rumble Match, potentially setting the best friends on a collision course for WrestleMania. Owens wasn’t wild about that.
Then, Goldberg showed up and went nose-to-nose with Owens, who was even less wild about that. Then, Paul Heyman showed up to trumpet Brock Lesnar’s supposedly inevitable Royal Rumble Match win. Goldberg, who defeated Lesnar in 1:26 at Survivor Series, was unimpressed at best. Then, Roman Reigns showed up and went nose-to-nose with Goldberg. This brought out Braun Strowman, who announced (via a mic stolen from a cowering Heyman) his own participation in the Rumble Match and was promptly cut down with a double Spear from Goldberg and Reigns. Jeri-KO, meanwhile, made themselves scarce. As any talk show host knows, just because your name’s on the sign doesn’t mean you need to be struck along with the set.
In other action ... Raw General Manager Mick Foley announced the premiere of “The Kevin Owens Show” ... Karl Anderson def. Raw Tag Team Champion Cesaro ... Braun Strowman def. Sami Zayn in a Last Man Standing Match ... Xavier Woods def. Titus O’Neil ... Drew Gulak def. Cedric Alexander ... TJ Perkins def. The Brian Kendrick ... Rusev & Jinder Mahal def. Big Cass ... and Bayley def. Nia Jax to become No. 1 Contender to the Raw Women’s Championship.