It’s been a while hasn’t it? I’ve had a lot to do over the past couple of weeks, but there’s nothing that I like more than writing on this site, and what better way than to write about the Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla?
Yeah, he’s not the Undisputed Champion who beat Stone Cold and The Rock on the same night wearing a world title on each shoulder, he’s not the man who won Superstar of the Year in 2008, and this isn’t even the Jericho who initially returned to WWE part-time in 2012. However, he’s still the same at his core. I think it would suffice to say that since Chris Jericho has started coming back sporadically since making his return four years ago, this has been his best stretch. It’s no secret that Jericho is best suited as a heel, but his veteran presence, I believe, has to be appreciated this year.
In 2016, when he returned before the Royal Rumble, it would appear as though this would be another one-shot deal where he would just come at an event and we wouldn’t hear from him for another 8-12 months. However, after the Rumble, he showed that he would be in this for the long haul, at least for the time being. He was the one who gave AJ Styles his first ever WWE singles match, as well as his first major feud. Albeit, the purpose of them feuding was sort of stupid because they were basically going back and forth about who the fans liked, but it didn’t matter because it resulted in what was best for Jericho, a heel turn. While he’s not at the level he was during his peak in the company, he still served his heel status well. He gave AJ his first PPV victory at Fastlane, and while he went over at WrestleMania (A decision not many liked), he was still involved in getting AJ adjusted to WWE. In addition, in a great fatal four way match, he took the loss to AJ to make him the number one contender. He then moved on to a program with Dean Ambrose that lasted through Extreme Rules, allowing him to rebound from his WrestleMania loss to Brock Lesnar, and finally he was involved in the Money In The Bank Ladder match just three weeks ago.
What I admire about Chris is that he knows how to adjust to the times. He acknowledges that he’s 46, it’s 2016 and there’s a new generation of superstars, but Jericho is still working at a high level and putting his body on the line. He worked the Ladder Match this year and had some good spots in that match, but I was also very impressed with the beating he took in the Asylym Match with Dean Ambrose when he was impaled with over 50 thumb tacks. You need a serious set to take a bump like that, and a lot of guys that are much younger than him wouldn’t take that spot, yet Jericho still took it willingly to put Ambrose over. He did his job, and he did his job well. I’m not certain what brand Jericho will be drafted to, but he’ll be sure to make an impact after the brand split, even if it’s not in the main event.
I am a firm believer that far too many people appreciate superstars in WWE more when they are gone as opposed to when they are currently working. Jericho is one of the best pure heel workers of all time, bar none. The man just knows how to get the crowd to hate them, his ring presence invites you to boo him and his taunting of his opponents, calling them and the crowd stupid idiots, make him all the more slimy, but he still does it in a way that doesn’t seem old. It’s still a refreshing thing to see about his progression over the years. He keeps the same formula and it works, and in doing so, he’s able to teach and help build up younger stars to carry the load when Jericho finally decides to hang it up for good. It’s likely that Jericho won’t hold a belt again, will never have that huge, big moment again, save his WrestleMania win, but as long as he is on the roster, there is no doubt that his veteran experience will bear fruit and more good than bad. There’s going to be a supposed raid of the NXT talent to help balance out both of the rosters. I don’t think it gets likely that Jericho gets lost in the shuffle, because while he isn’t going to be main eventing PPV’s, he still provides qualities in a WWE veteran that is valuable. That is why we need to appreciate him while he’s still here. I mean, when Ric Flair returned in 2002 and started wrestling again for WWE, it was a far cry from where he was at his prime. While he had some good moments, it was clear he wasn’t the same. Aside from his new tattoos and attire, I can’t say he has changed much. He obviously isn’t as nimble as before, but he finds a style that works and sticks to his gun.
It’s easy to forget the level Jericho was once at because he is past his physical prime and is in the twilight years of his career. We don’t know when Jericho will retire for good, and he himself has said that he’s having fun and can still go for a while, so only time will tell in that regard, but while he’s still here, while we all watch a first ballot future Hall of Famer and one of the best WWE could have offered, let us appreciate the gift that is Chris Jericho. Why? Because he gives us what he wants. He gives us what he needs. Drink it in mannnnnnnn. (I’ve dranken so much of Jericho I’ve become a……*takes off shades*……Jericholic).
Until next time. Deuces.