Wrestling has been littered with memorable tag teams such as: the Legion of Doom, The Rockers, Demolition, The Dudleys and Edge & Christian. But not all partnerships in wrestling are tag teams. There’s also Randy Savage and Miss Elizabeth, The Undertaker and Paul Bearer and more recently, Brock Lesnar and Paul Hayman. The concept of partners or friends is sometimes an overlooked tactic in WWE. Yes there’s been a drop in the use of valets for some stars (with the exception of Miz & Maryse), but a partnership, a friendship is different and can bring about something rarely seen on our screens. Such is the case with the terrific partnership of Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho.
I’ve sung Jericho’s praises before here, and I’ll always be the first to stand up in a room and declare myself a Jerichoholic, but as stellar as his career has been over the years, I find his friendship with Owens yet another time he’s found a different niche in his character that has been extremely well-received from the fans. Without sounding pompous, Jericho really doesn’t need to partner with Owens. He is experienced and talented enough to go alone in WWE, and by the same token, Owens doesn’t necessarily need Jericho – his talent and attitude alone would be enough to carry him to the top of the mountain. But to have them separate entities on the roster would deny us something truly special, and often unseen.
This is no Billy & Chuck storyline, this isn’t a Zach Ryder bromance, no it’s played straight down the middle as two friends who help each other out, and it works. No innuendo, no pantomime, just two good friends. I completely buy into both guys and I buy into their story. It hasn’t waned over the months, it hasn’t bored me or the fans one bit. That is purely testament to both guys and how hard they dedicate themselves to their craft and their characters.
I’ll admit I didn’t know much about Kevin Owens pre-WWE, and I’m sad about that. Here’s another guy who travelled the indie scene and grafted his way to the ‘big leagues’, he has a similar story to Jericho who walked the same path, but many years earlier. Owens’ impact both on NXT and on WWE’s main roster was hard-hitting and loud. His rivalry with Cena, although brief, was must-see television. The attitude, charisma and (my personal favourite) ability to back up what he’s said, gave him a quick rise up the ladder. Take a look back at Jericho’s WWE debut and it probably ranks as one of the best. His very loud mouth going toe to toe with the Rock live on Monday Night Raw. While he may not have been fighting for the top titles right away, he certainly rose to the top of the mountain on many an occasion and was extremely successful in doing so.
This era of professional wrestling is a different beast from the giant, musclemen of the 90s. Back then, two ‘smaller’ guys with different looks wouldn’t have been seen as main eventers. Jericho tells us in his books how his talent and hard work got him to the top in the land of giants. The same can be said about Owens who may not have the ‘traditional’ look of a wrestler, but boy can he wrestle and more. Their talent on the microphone cannot be overlooked. The trash talking, in-ring taunting of both opponents and fans alike is so good. Even away from the TV cameras, their active presence on social media gives another dynamic to both men and their characters, something not all WWE talent have.
Perhaps it was this similarity in both men that drew them together on screen. They both hail from the same country (Canada), love wrestling and both go about it with the same attitude. They both perceive themselves as better than their opponents, so it makes sense they’d gravitate towards one another. Since the friends began their partnership, it’s proved beneficial for both parties. Owens has become the longest reigning WWE Universal Champion of all time (as he likes to remind us). Laugh all you want, but it’s a lot longer than some thought he’d last. While some of that longevity can be credited to his friend’s assistance now and again, you can’t take it away from Owens that he’s been a very good champion. My only gripe would be I like to see champions defend their titles a little more, but that’s just me and overall, I can’t complain too much about his defences. They’ haven’t all been cheap swerves or count outs. Owens has fought with the top guys on Raw and come out on top. I like his wily, sneaky methodical matches. He’s different in that he gets away with what he can, whilst still delivering heavy punishment.
Jericho on the side-lines gives him that extra help if and when he needs it. This isn’t a one way street, however. Owens will reciprocate and have his friend’s back – well, most of the time. And here’s where it gets interesting. If, as many are suggesting, that recent mistakes and errors between the friends are leading us to a face-off and breakup of the partnership, then I believe we’ll be in for something truly special.
As much as I’d like to see Owens hold the belt until Mania, I get the feeling one Bill Goldberg may put an end to his record-breaking run. If that means we get Owens vs Jericho at Mania, I’m telling you now, that match will have the potential to steal the show. Two men who work and travel together. Two friends in and out of the ring. Two men who know how to put on stellar matches. If we have to suffer the breakup of one of the best partnerships WWE has had in recent years, then to see them have a match on the grandest stage of them all, will be one hell of a consolation.
We’ll miss this friendship if it breaks down. What other team gave us so many great matches, so many wonderful long storylines, a shark cage above the ring, $200 dollar scarves, the List of Jericho, the longest reigning WWE Universal Champion? I think this is one of those times where the old adage of ‘you don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone’ will ring true. I’ll miss the Chris & Kevin / Kevin & Chris partnership. I’ll miss the story, I’ll miss the comedy and I’ll miss the segments. Hopefully WWE will give both of these men the match the final act this epic story deserves. A match at Wrestlemania. And if they don’t? You know what happens? Huh? You know what happens to people who don’t give Kevin and Chris what they deserve? Huh? You know what happens WWE? You might just find yourselves on The List!!!
What do you think? Should the friendship of Owens and Jericho break up? Have they been one of the best partnerships in WWE? Should they be given a match at Wrestlemania and will it be a classic? I’d love to hear your thoughts. As always, thanks for reading.