Tonight at Payback, WWE viewers were shocked to see Chris Jericho defeat Kevin Owens and become the United States Champion. So what’s next for Jericho on WWE programming?
Well, a stipulation of that match was that if Chris Jericho won, he would be going to SmackDown Live, and so Jericho is now a part of the SmackDown Live roster.
This is quite shocking because Chris Jericho was expected to take a hiatus in May. Off-screen, Jericho is in a band, Fozzy, which is about to go on tour; the band has tour dates scheduled beginning May 5th and ending on June 24th.
As far as we know, those dates are still scheduled, and so it’s possible that Jericho is going on hiatus anyway.
It would not be unprecedented, after all, for a champion to leave with the championship. He could also leave to go on tour while not vacating his title and only showing up every once in a blue moon. After all, Brock Lesnar, the Universal Champion, is expected to go a full three months without having a title match, so why not Jericho?
Another strong possibility is that Daniel Bryan will decide to give AJ Styles his shot at the United States Championship this Tuesday on SmackDown Live, and Styles will win, resulting in Jericho leaving for his hiatus. Jericho’s first tour date is not until May 5th, three days after SmackDown Live.
One piece of evidence suggesting that Jericho will drop the title this coming week is that Jericho’s band, Fozzy, has a tour date scheduled for the same night as Backlash. He obviously wouldn’t be able to defend the title that night, then, which implies that he’ll lose it before that pay-per-view.
We’ll get a better idea of Chris Jericho’s future in the WWE this Tuesday on SmackDown Live.
Some viewers left this match with the impression that the winner, whoever it was, would be going to SmackDown, and therefore Kevin Owens would be staying on Raw. That’s actually not the case; it was stated leading up to this match that if Jericho won, he would be joining Owens on SmackDown Live, and so both men are staying on the blue team.