At last Sunday’s TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view event, A.J. Styles had to come over from SmackDown to face Finn Balor in a singles match. Bray Wyatt — who was originally set to face off with Balor — was ill with the mumps and had to be pulled from the card. He has missed the last two episodes of Monday Night Raw as well.
Balor beat Styles in what was considered to be one of the better matches of the year thus far. Despite the excellent show these two put on, it doesn’t appear as though Styles was the first choice to face Balor.
According to Wrestling Observer (via The Sun), WWE reached out to Chris Jericho in hopes that he would fill in quickly and face Balor. However, he’s occupied on tour with Fozzy, so Jericho had to turn it down.
Jericho last appeared on WWE programming during an episode of SmackDown on July 25, where he faced Styles and Kevin Owens in a United States Championship match. Jericho has since been touring, and it’s unknown if there are any future plans for a return.
In his most recent run, Y2J created “The List of Jericho”, and formed a friendship with Owens. But for his year-and-a-half return to the company, Jericho mainly helped put younger talent over by losing to guys like Owens, Styles, Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns.
There’s no denying Jericho would have been a good opponent for Balor, as both are fan favorites and two of the better all-around ring performers. Jericho has made countless sporadic appearances for WWE over the past decade, but it simply didn’t work out this time around.
Jericho continues to appear on podcasts to talk about the past and present product of WWE, so he remains an active wrestling voice even if he’s on the road.
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