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Cell stipulation leaves Rollins-Owens without desired Jericho payoff

(Courtesy of WWE.com)

Speaking from a kayfabe point of view, it’s safe to say that if not for Chris Jericho’s interference in the WWE Universal Championship match at Clash of Champions, Seth Rollins would be wearing the strap heading into Hell in a Cell next Sunday night – as opposed to Kevin Owens.

As such, the decision to focus this rivalry on Rollins’ efforts to drive a wedge in the friendship of Owens and Jericho is a logical one, considering how all evidence suggests that “The Architect” should be more than capable of pulling out a victory once he removes Y2J from the equation.

Normally, this kind of a development would be expected to result in a huge pay-off in which Jericho’s self-doubt causes him to play a contributing factor in Owens’ eventual loss of the title, or at least the degradation of their friendship with one another. After all, having spent so much time in the build-up, and given the fact that he’s not yet scheduled in any other match-ups on the night of the pay-per-view, it’s certainly justified for Chris Jericho to play a role in this bout.

Plus, the man has been performing at the very top of his game during his current run – finding new ways to freshen up the Jericho character and do justice to the already Hall of Fame-worthy career that “the ayatollah of rock ‘n’ rolla” has amassed over seventeen years with the WWE.

Despite his status as one of the veterans of the WWE roster – which typically calls for conversation about whether or not his role would be better suited to an up-and-coming star, it’s doubtful that many fans would take issue with Jericho participating in at least one more top-level championship rivalry if he were to turn on his best friend and set his sights on the WWE Universal Title.

The thing preventing that from happening organically, however, is the Hell in a Cell structure.

There has been a whole lot of effort put into making Chris Jericho the wildcard in this championship match, despite the stipulation all but eliminating him as a threat when it comes the time to dance. Even if Jericho was to turn on Owens in the triple threat match on this upcoming week’s Raw – which is more than likely considering the circumstances – it seriously negates all the work that’s been done since Clash of Champions to have the payoff play out on the go-home show.

If Jericho does happen to turn his back on “The Prizefighter” when they go face-to-face-to-face alongside Seth Rollins on Monday, does it really impact the proceedings at the PPV? No.

Now of course, where there’s a will, there’s a way, and if they want to get Chris Jericho in the midst of that Hell in a Cell match – either through bolt cutters, hiding under the ring or some snazzy costume work as a cameraman, they’re going to get him in there come hell or high water.

But if Jericho does rear his head at the Raw-exclusive pay-per-view next weekend, particularly if it involves a lengthy process of breaking into the fortress that is Hell in a Cell, it would be clear from the get-go that Jericho was heading into that structure with ulterior motives.

Not only that, but haven’t we seen enough of people breaking into the cell and further diminishing its integrity as an impenetrable fortress? The only scenario in which someone should be allowed to leave – and in turn, enter – the cell mid-match is when the action is too hot to be contained and the competitors spill to the outside, and even then, that can be done way too much.

Even so, with the rumors that Sasha and Charlotte will be main-eventing, it’s unlikely that the cell will undergo any irredeemable reconstruction during the earlier encounters within it.

With all of this in account, it definitely feels like no matter what route they go down with Chris Jericho at Hell in a Cell – whether he interferes or not, or whether he double-crosses Kevin Owens or not, it’s almost inevitable that the terrific character work he’s done over the past number of weeks will be put to waste as a result of the cell structure getting in his way.

This isn’t to say that the match being booked to take place inside the cell was a bad idea – although the jury’s still out on three cell matches in one night being a good idea – but the way Seth Rollins has been subtly trying to separate Owens from his right hand man would have been far more suitable if the eventual championship match was a traditional singles encounter.

With the cell thrown in there, why bother with Jericho?

Why not focus all your attention on preparing for one of the most gruelling structures in WWE history, knowing all the while that things will be one-on-one when the cell door closes?

It’s a questionable decision for sure, and after their last contest – which was a solid physical affair that just lacked a certain quality – it’s unknown if Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens will be able to weave together a tale good enough to give the WWE Universal Championship a great image without a worthwhile pay-off for the Jericho storyline.

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