In what may have been the final match of his current WWE run, Chris Jericho fell to Randy Orton Sunday at Night of Champions.
WrestlingInc.com had the news:
Count WWE Diva Nattie among the fans of the match:
Despite the losing effort, Jericho thanked the fans via his Twitter account:
Jericho and Orton have been rivals for many years, but the friction between them heated up in the weeks leading up to Sunday night's pay-per-view. The Viper was miffed by Jericho questioning his credentials on an episode of The Highlight Reel, which resulted in a backstage confrontation.
Following a physical steel cage match against Bray Wyatt on Raw, Jericho had his knee tended to. Orton then proceeded to jump The Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rolla and cause even more damage.
That led to a grudge match between two surefire Hall of Famers being booked for Night of Champions. Although no titles were on the line and the build was mediocre at best, there was plenty of excitement surrounding the bout from an in-ring perspective.
Jericho and Orton are two of the best in-ring workers in the business today, and they certainly lived up to that billing with a solid, technical affair.
The performance was made even more impressive due to the fact that Jericho was a bit banged up heading into Sunday. There was some speculation about Y2J suffering a serious foot injury in the aforementioned cage match against Wyatt, but Jericho downplayed it on Twitter:
Jericho did suffer a legitimate injury one week later on Raw, however. His chin got busted open in a match against Kane, which resulted in Fozzy's lead singer having to get stitches, as seen in this photo courtesy of WWE's Instagram account:
None of that was able to slow Jericho down, though, as he turned in yet another fantastic effort. Based on his recent comments as well as Fozzy's touring schedule, it seems likely that his Night of Champions match against Orton was his last for a while.
According to Marc Middleton of WrestlingInc.com, Jericho revealed on Twitter recently that he is not booked for October's Hell in a Cell pay-per-view or scheduled to be a part of WWE's European tour in November.
With that in mind, it wasn't particularly surprising that Jericho took the loss on Sunday. Over the course of his career, it has become clear that Jericho has no problem putting over his opponents. He almost always does so at the end of his stints, and this time was no exception.
Orton hadn't won a pay-per-view match since dropping the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX, and Night of Champions seemed like a logical spot for him to turn it around. Orton has basically been walking in quicksand and struggling to elicit big reactions from the crowd. Perhaps this win is just what the doctor ordered in terms of picking up momentum.
Whatever the case, Night of Champions needs to be a turning point for Orton in order to re-establish him as a viable contender at the top of the card. There is some degree of uncertainty surrounding the WWE World Heavyweight Championship scene, and it would be great to see a rejuvenated Viper in the mix.
Jericho has been extremely beneficial to younger Superstars in recent years, but his performance on Sunday may ultimately prove to be a big help to a fellow veteran moving forward.
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