Jericho vs. Wyatt – Who cares now?
Warning: Spoilers to Follow
I have a cold. I’m in a bad mood and I’m going to take it out on the WWE. But honestly, even if I felt 100%, after catching this week’s WWE SmackDown spoilers, I’d still be in a bad mood.
Just over a week ago, Y2J Chris Jericho made his (usual) big return to the WWE. Chris Jericho’s routine over the past few years has been to do short to medium length run in WWE, put someone over on his way out, go on tour with his band or record an album or host a TV show who about remote control Rock’em Sock’em Robots, and then make a surprise return to the WWE for a short to medium length run where he puts someone over on his way out.
Jericho recently stated on his podcast that he had a desire to do a program with the Wyatt Family, specifically Bray Wyatt. So on Monday Night Raw Jericho made his latest surprise return. And to his credit, I really was pleasantly surprised this time. He came in and Codebroke the Miz, who himself had just made his big, though much less emphatic return, and was immediately confronted by the Wyatts who went on to beat down Jericho in a 3 on 1 attack. The Jericho/Wyatt feud had begun. And it was going to be wonderful. Yes, I said was. In less than a week, Jericho made the Miz look like a chump and himself look like the Jericho of old – a top guy who belongs in the main event scene. His house show matches with the Miz were said to be very good, and though their TV match was fairly standard stuff, the feeling was that when it came time to step in the ring with Bray Wyatt, we were going to see something special. If there’s one guy you can count on for a good match, it’s Chris Jericho. And Jericho was, and still is going to give Bray Wyatt the Jericho rub.
But then this week’s Smackdown happened. After less than 2 weeks into his current run, Jericho lost to an RKO from Randy Orton. An RKO. From Randy Orton. Not even a near fall on the first RKO, then finally falling valiantly to the second. Jericho lost to one RKO from Randy Orton. Yes, it was a distraction finish. Bray Wyatt appeared on the Titantron of doom, a very safe distance away from the ring. Jericho, because this is his first time in a professional wrestling match, was easily distracted by the shiny (dim?) images on the screen, lost focus of his opponent and walked into an RKO. Jericho, in under two weeks, before he’s faced any of the Wyatts, lost on TV. He lost on TV because a guy appeared on a screen. Thank you for destroying all the credibility Chris Jericho had left, WWE.
I was already trying my darndest to forget that Jericho’s last run resulted in him putting over Fandingo and Dolph “Where’s my push” Ziggler. After being gifted the Jericho rub, neither Fandango nor Ziggler have gone on to do anything memorable. With Fandango, well what did you expect with that type of gimmick? Ziggler on the other hand was actually going somewhere until a concussive kick to the head from Jack Swagger – WWE’s resident destroyer of guys who look like they are actually getting somewhere. My point is that after willingly forgetting about the lack of payoff to Jericho’s previous rubs, I was very excited about the potential of a Jericho vs. Wyatt feud. Two characters who are dynamite on the mic verbally sparring week to week, leading up to the big showdown in the ring where Jericho makes Wyatt look like a million bucks. With the end result (hopefully) being Wyatt going on to even bigger and better things in the future, while Jericho goes off on his next European Metal Music Tour of Metal with Fozzy. Jericho would go out giving a guy his trademark rub.
But why do I care now? What’s the point of a Jericho rub if Jericho isn’t positioned as a too guy? Sure, Jericho and Wyatt can still deliver some great promos and put on some fresh matches. But on SmackDown, WWE made it clear that Jericho is no longer on the level of main event guys like Randy Orton or John Cena. And if he’s not on that level, then who cares if Wyatt beats him? It’s just Wyatt being another wrestler. And it’s not that hard to do by the looks of it. Just put a picture on a big screen and you’ve got the match in the bag.
Two weeks into his run was way, way, way too early for Jericho to be losing matches. Losing is what Jericho should be doing on his way out of the WWE, not on the way in. Jericho vs. Bray Wyatt is nowhere near as big as it could have been. Bray beating Jericho should be a big deal. It should elevate Wyatt to that elusive next level. How can Wyatt be elevated by beating a guy who is on the same, or even lower level than he is? What a waste.
I get that Randy Orton is a main-eventer and that he’s in the main event match for the title at the next PPV, so he probably shouldn’t be losing right now either. But why put him over Y2J, another guy who shouldn’t be losing? As much as I hate DQ finishes, wouldn’t that have been a better option so as to protect both guys? Or better yet, DON’T BOOK THE MATCH. Give Randy Orton someone else to beat. There are plenty of guys on the roster who aren’t doing anything noteworthy at the moment who can have a good match with Orton. What’s another loss for Kofi Kingston or Dolph Ziggler at this point? In fact, they did the same thing with Dean Ambrose on RAW this week. Ambrose lost clean to Orton after an RKO. Why in the world is Dean Ambrose losing clean now? A guy on the way up isn’t going to get very high if you make it clear he doesn’t belong at the top.
I don’t get it. Maybe Jericho will get a big win on next Monday’s RAW and I’ll forget all about his little hiccup with Orton. Besides, it was only SmackDown. If it was supposed to be important, it would have been on RAW, right? Either way, my excitement for Jericho vs. Wyatt has taken a big hit. It’s clear that WWE booking isn’t going to do them any favours, but hopefully the combined talent of Jericho and Wyatt is enough to make this feud something memorable. And not another Fandango.
Please share your thoughts with me @TheKoalaMask.