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Chris Jericho wins U.S. title as road to WrestleMania takes a turn

Aaron Oster
Contact ReporterFor The Baltimore Sun
Could Chris Jericho be in line for a major match at WrestleMania?

Chris Jericho has won almost every title he could over his storied career. However, one that he had never won was the U.S. Championship, in WWE or WCW. That all changed Monday night as he ended the show by pinning Roman Reigns to win the title. 

In the main event, once again Roman Reigns clashed with Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens, this time in a handicap match. While Reigns tried his best to overcome the odds, almost succeeding on several occasions, eventually he fell victim to the double-teams, including a powerbomb to the apron on the outside. Owens rolled him back in the ring, Jericho hit him with a codebreaker, and the match ended, with Jericho winning the title, as whoever ended up recording the fall would be the one to win the title.

First things first, it's good to see Jericho win the title. You could make a case that he was the top performer in WWE in 2016, so to get a title run, of any type, is good to see. Yes, it would have been nice to see him win in a cleaner fashion, but a title reign of any type is great. The last time Jericho held any belt in WWE was in 2010, so it has been a long time coming for him, even when you take his absences into account. Owens and Jericho should have some great segments now that they are both champions. Unfortunately, I think Monday telegraphed that those segments won't last too long.

If Monday night did anything, I think it made it quite clear that Roman Reigns is going to win the Universal title at the Royal Rumble. That's the biggest logical reason to pull the belt off of Reigns right now. It sets a clear course toward WrestleMania that includes Roman Reigns as the Universal champ, and probably sets Jericho on a course to defend his title against his best friend, Kevin Owens.

After all, Kevin Owens was the one who really hit the fatal blow on Roman, that powerbomb into the apron. People had been speculating Owens/Jericho at Mania for a while, however, now it seems that if it happens it will be for the U.S. title, not the Universal title. Which is a shame, because they've danced around the Universal title for so long that it seems that Jericho should be getting that shot.

So Jericho won Monday, which was a great thing to see. Will fans be happy at the end of all this? Well, that's the unanswered question.

The rest of RAW:

>> A pair of legends returned on RAW. First, Shawn Michaels returned to hype up the Royal Rumble (in his hometown) and of course promote his new movie. Rusev and Jinder Mahal ended up confronting him, which brought out Enzo and Cass. That led to a match between Cass and Jinder, which Cass won. Shawn Michaels did hit Rusev with Sweet Chin Music on the outside. The next legend to come out was The Undertaker. He returned to announce that he was entering the Royal Rumble. Some people expected a little bit more from this. However, he was in town to be part of WWE's press conference the next morning, so it made sense to use him, particularly at halftime of the national championship game.

>> Braun Strowman and Seth Rollins, who also announced his entry into the Royal Rumble, fought to a double-countout. More and more it seems like Strowman is on a collision course with somebody big at WrestleMania, possibly even Roman Reigns if he wins the Universal title. That isn't locked into stone by any stretch, and there was also an odd moment where they connected Strowman with The Undertaker, but it definitely seems at this point that Strowman will get a major match at Mania.

>> Nia Jax and Charlotte beat Bayley and Sasha Banks in a tag match that was set up by Stephanie McMahon, who knew that Sasha wasn't 100 percent. It seems like Stephanie is going to get involved with a major storyline toward WrestleMania, possibly against Sasha if Bayley gets the title shot against Charlotte?

>> Sheamus beat Luke Gallows in a one-on-one match. Karl Anderson and Cesaro were on commentary, where Anderson kept referring to Japan and how big they were there. It's an interesting route to take for The Club, almost making them out to be foreign heels (or maybe just taking advantage of the buzz around New Japan right now?).

>> Neville beat Lince Dorado via submission. It's a good heel tactic to go away from the Red Arrow as a finisher, as that would always get a pop from the crowd.

>> Jack Gallagher beat Drew Gulak, before offering a parley to Ariya Daivari on 205 Live.

>> Kofi beat Titus as Titus once again tried to join the New Day. 

Questions? Thoughts? Leave them in the comment section here, email me, or find me on Twitter: @TheAOster. You can also hear my podcast, Jobbing Out, at https://soundcloud.com/jobbingout

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