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23 championships held in the WWE. 9 time intercontinental champion, and a 6 time World Champion in his professional wrestling career, most notably as one of the most intelligent, soft spoken, and devious superstar during his memorable feud with Shawn Michaels in 2008. Chris Jericho, in many people’s opinion, can make any wrestler look great between the ropes. That is such a drastic understatement, almost to the point of absolute ignorance. Paul Levesque once spoke of Jericho as a guy who didn’t have the makings of a WrestleMania main event superstar. His track record has proven otherwise, along with his ability to drastically change characters on a moments notice, and succeed. Let me be upfront, this is not a “mark” type column, but more of a wake up call to people who take certain superstars for granted.
When the arrival of Jericho in 1999 came, there was a buzz, not one you get from drinking six Bud Lights in a few hours, or a few Goose and Sprite drinks, but this one felt more realistic. One of the biggest jumping of ships, from WCW to WWE, was the arrival of Y2J. Going from a “dog collar match” between Saturn, who was nothing more than a lower mid card talent who had no charisma, to interrupting the most electrifying man in sports entertainment, The Rock, Jericho immediately became relevant. He would quickly become the topic of conversation in chat rooms, on instant messenger, and in the classroom the next day. (Remember this was in 1999) He treaded the path of mid card success in WWE until his break came as he beat Austin and The Rock for the Undisputed Championship on December 9, 2001 at Vengeance in San Diego, California.
“Alright, alright, I remember what he has done in his career” is probably what you are saying, but lets not forget this is a time where WWE-created stars were dominating the television time (Austin, Undertaker, Rock, HHH, Kane, Angle) What Jericho did was not only leap into the category of these talented veterans who were already established, but he did it with a unique and different approach. Jericho made himself a character that was loved and hated. You saw the Y2J signs, you heard the booing after the clock ticked zero. He will be under a microscope at times because Austin and Rock were dominating Raw, but he was that second coming of a superstar where the ability to wrestle, actually wrestle, and cut promos like he was already an established champion in and out of the ring has not been seen in a long time. His transition into a main eventer was flawless.
There are always going to be arguments on who made more of an impact, and who was better in the ring, but the case for Jericho is always going to be a swinging door in a saloon; never to be stopped and never steady. The return of Jericho may or may not be upon us before Atlanta, but if it is, do not take him for granted anymore. Whether he becomes IC champ another time, or is immediately thrown into the World Title picture like his second coming was, he will immediately gain the respect and admiration of the WWE Universe. (I hate that term by the way.) With the lack of star power currently, Jericho is a guy who can come back, and not leave after a few months. He has the stability and health to perform for many years to come.
So why does the WWE need Chris Jericho? With the youth movement in full swing, and the plethora of heels, it could seem like a waste. Contrary to those thoughts, Jericho still can make people want to buy Pay per Views, and with the recent reports of WWE pay per view buys down in the 4th quarter of 2010, in which Jericho was not involved in, they need anything and everything to boost them back up this time of the year. The young talent still deserves the pushes that are given to them, and this will not stunt the growth of guys like Kofi, Del Rio, Miz, and Barrett. Jericho will be an added piece in a weak lineup of matches, and complete the resurrection of must buy PPV’s. He could be a missing piece that not many people understand, or even believe, but Jericho equals success, equals merchandise sales, and equals what we sometimes miss every Monday night, and that is storytelling and wrestling inside the squared circle.
CHRIS JERICHO INTERVIEW ON THE CHAIR SHOT REALITY COMES TO YOU THIS FRIDAY!
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