Tonight at WWE Roadblock: End of the Line, Roman Reigns and Kevin Owens will be fighting one another in a match to determine the new Universal Champion. But as is always the case with professional wrestling, this feud goes back several months, and it can sometimes be difficult to keep track of the storyline leading up to a main event like this. So what is the history behind the Reigns vs. Owens feud? Here’s what you need to know.
Kevin Owens is the current WWE Universal Champion, having won the title at the end of August. The title match occurred on an episode of Monday Night Raw immediately following SummerSlam, as Finn Balor was forced to relinquish his championship due to a legitimate injury. Kevin Owens did not win the title because of his own efforts, but instead because Triple H suddenly appeared at the end of the match, beating up all of Owens’ opponents and handing him the victory.
Ever since, pretty much every single time Owens has defended the title, he only won the match in question because of some sort of shenanigans, and so he has earned himself a reputation of being the guy who isn’t actually worthy of his title and who is willing to cheat his way to stay at the top. In particular, Owens on numerous occasions has been helped out by Chris Jericho. A few months ago, Owens and Jericho suddenly decided that they are best friends, and so Jericho is constantly running out during Owens’ matches to make sure his friend wins.
But there’s a problem for Owens going into Roadblock: End of the Line. Jericho and Owens recently had a falling out, and as of the most recent episode of Monday Night Raw, the two of them are no longer friends. Jericho feels that he’s always there for Owens but that Owens doesn’t ever return the favor, simply taking advantage of him and bossing him around constantly. Owens keeps insisting that this is only a temporary fight, but Jericho disagrees, saying things are permanently over. On last week’s Raw, Owens and Jericho had to try to work together again when they were paired up in a tag team match, but they lost to The New Day, and they argued in the ring afterward. This argument gave Roman Reigns time to swoop in and beat up Kevin Owens.
Speaking of Roman Reigns, where does he factor into this? Well, it has been established that Regins personally dislikes Kevin Owens because he doesn’t feel that Owens deserves to be the Universal Champion. Reigns says that Owens holding this title makes the Universal Championship look like a joke, citing the fact that Owens is only in his current position because he is always cheating. Reigns also feels that Owens would have lost his title months ago if not for Chris Jericho. Besides, Roman Reigns was one of those people to be beaten up by Triple H during that Universal Championship match in August, and so theoretically, Reigns might have been the champion right now if the match was allowed to proceed without any interruptions.
Meanwhile, Owens holds a grudge against Roman Reigns because he feels that Reigns is at fault for Team Raw losing at Survivor Series last month. After all, it was Reigns who was pinned by Bray Wyatt at the end of a five-on-five elimination match, which allowed Team SmackDown to defeat Team Raw.
And that’s essentially what this feud comes down to: Reigns feels that Owens is not worthy of the title, and Owens wants to defend his championship against a competitor who he feels is responsible for a major Raw loss in November. Reigns, of course, is already the United States Champion, and so if he wins tonight, he’ll walk out of Pittsburgh with two titles. The big question going into the match is, will Chris Jericho interfere to help Kevin Owens? Is Owens right that the two have just been going through a break in their friendship and that Jericho will change his mind? If not, can Owens actually win on his own?
We’ll find out in a few hours, as Roadblock: End of the Line airs at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time on the WWE Network.