In a battle between Kevin Owens' current and former best friends, Chris Jericho came out on top against Sami Zayn on Sunday at WWE Clash of Champions.
Zayn nearly picked up the victory after hitting a Blue Thunder Bomb. However, after kicking out, Jericho took advantage of a momentary lapse in concentration by Zayn and hit a Codebreaker for the win.
WWE shared a clip of the victorious Jericho raising his hand:
#CODEBREAKER by @IAmJericho!! ONE TWO THREE!! Jericho takes the victory over @ILikeSamiZayn at #WWEClash of Champions! https://t.co/rbwobj7EUx2016-9-26 01:29:52
Bleacher Report's Graham Matthews enjoyed the match:
Graham Matthews @WrestleRant
WHAT A CODEBREAKER! Chris Jericho wins!! Such a great match!!! Please let that be the first of many matches between them!! #WWEClash2016-9-26 01:29:41
WrestlingInc.com, on the other hand, felt underwhelmed:
Code Breaker out of almost nowhere and Jericho picks up the win. Good chemistry between those two, but match felt cold. #WWEClash2016-9-26 01:30:03
Since teaming up with KO to defeat Enzo Amore and Big Cass at SummerSlam on Aug. 21, Y2J and Owens have developed a strong bond. While they have teamed up less frequently since Owens became the WWE universal champion, the Superstars have continued to back each other up.
Owens defeated Zayn in a non-title match the week after securing the Universal Championship, and although that seemingly closed the book on their rivalry, Jericho wasn't ready to let it go.
Jericho invited Zayn as his guest on The Highlight Reel and proceeded to run down the former NXT champion on the mic, per WWE Universe:
WWE Universe @WWEUniverse
"You're just like everybody here. You're a taker, @iLikeSamiZayn!" - @IAmJericho #RAW #HighlightReel https://t.co/ckd2hp7wE02016-9-13 01:03:21
Zayn didn't sit idly by, however, as he got in some verbal barbs of his own and warned Jericho that his friendship with Owens was a farce, as WWE Universe shared:
WWE Universe @WWEUniverse
"If you think he's your best friend...then you truly are a stupid idiot!" - @iLikeSamiZayn to @IAmJericho #RAW https://t.co/qWHhCANY3Z2016-9-13 01:04:02
That enraged Jericho and resulted in his laying out The Underdog from the Underground with a shot to the side of the head with a cellphone.
While Owens was the common thread between Zayn and Jericho at the start of their rivalry, the personal animosity between them has become a different animal, ensuring that both men would go to great lengths to beat the other at Clash of Champions.
Zayn's tenure on the main roster has featured plenty of ups and downs, and he has struggled to gain traction as a featured player.
Jericho is a future Hall of Famer and one of the greatest all-around performers to ever step foot in a wrestling ring, and it was apparent entering Clash of Champions that a win over Y2J could go a long way toward establishing Zayn as a top guy.
Despite that, WWE decided to go with the veteran Jericho as it continues to build him up into arguably the No. 2 heel on the Raw brand behind Owens.
While having Zayn lose may have been a missed opportunity, WWE could be working toward an eventual feud between Owens and Jericho further down the line based on Zayn's Highlight Reel comments, and if that is the case, Jericho needed Sunday's win to make himself a title contender.
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