Why Chris Jericho’s Current WWE Run Is The Best Of His Career
Why has this been Chris Jericho's best WWE run? Let's make a list.
When you think of storied careers in professional wrestling these days many names can come to mind. But there is one name in particular who has yet to write his final chapter, even after almost three decades in the industry. Chris Jericho, Y2J, The Greatest In The World At What He Does, or The Ayatollah of Rocknrolla. No matter what name you know him by Chris Jericho is a living legend who is still entertaining wrestling fans across the world.
At the age of 46 one would usually think a superstar would be coming to the end of their career, and if not usually we as fans are hoping they step aside before they end up starting to show their age. This does not seem to be the case when it comes to Chris Jericho, who on his current run in the WWE is moving around the ring like a guy in his late 20s. Many fans have said the current run of Chris Jericho is quite possibly one of the greatest of his already decorated career; a run that has not been all about championships and been more focused on helping young stars in the industry get over. I am going to take a look at why we the fans feel this current run of Chris Jericho is the best of his career. So go ahead, sit back, grab your beverage, and prepare to Drink It In Maaaaannn.
Jericho officially made a return to the WWE in 2014 by attacking a returning Miz. This return was then met by an attack from the Wyatt Family, who would then see themselves involved in the first official feud of the returning Chris Jericho. The feud with Bray Wyatt was underwhelming for the most part, with the exception of the steel cage match the two had where Jericho paid homage to HBK Shawn Michaels when he gave the infamous shoulder shrug before jumping off the top of the steel cage. Jericho would then have matches with other members of the active roster, but nothing that was yet to capture the imagination of the WWE Universe just yet.
The real return to the roster we the WWE Universe remember about Chris Jericho came when he returned to full time action by confronting The New Day. Jericho then proceeded to announce his entry into the 2016 Royal Rumble match, a match where Jericho entered in the number 6 position and lasted over 50 minutes. It was a testament to the in ring work of Chris Jericho that he had the stamina and lasting ability to hang with guys some of which are almost half of his age. Chris Jericho has been very vocal about DDP Yoga being the way he trains these days. DDP Yoga is a program that has helped out many former professional wrestlers get their lives back on track. It has given a new meaning to life for many everyday people, and in this particular case it has been somewhat of a fountain of youth for Chris Jericho.
After the Royal Rumble Chris Jericho then found himself locked in a feud with AJ Styles, who had just made his way to the WWE. AJ Styles and Chris Jericho always was a dream match in the making for the WWE Universe. Two men who have been praised for their in ring work would finally get the chance to show us what they could do in a WWE ring together. We were treated to three matches between the two superstars prior to them forming an alliance, which Chris Jericho would officially dub Y2AJ. The two would be a team only for a short period of time though, after suffering a loss to the longest reigning WWE Tag Team Champions The New Day.
After the match was finished Chris Jericho would attack and turn on AJ Styles claiming it was all because the fans were cheering for AJ Styles when they should be cheering for Y2J. The feud would escalate to a match between the two at the showcase of the immortals Wrestlemania 32. Jericho has come to be known as a guy who can steal the show at Wrestlemania, having had classics with such superstars as William Regal, Kurt Angle, Chris (aka he who should not be named), Christian, Edge, Triple H, HBK Shawn Michaels, and then his amazing work in the Money In The Bank ladder matches as well. The match with AJ Styles was sure to only add to the great collection of Wrestlemania performances, plus AJ Styles can always deliver a classic with anyone he steps in the ring with. The two did not disappoint. The Wrestlemania card that night was quite a weak one but one match that stood out above the rest was the one between Chris Jericho and AJ Styles that ended surprisingly with a Y2J win. The feud with AJ Styles would come to a end when Styles picked up a pinball win over Jericho in a fatal four way match to determine the new number one contender for the World Heavyweight Championship.
Jericho’s next feud came about when his Highlight Reel was interrupted by Dean Ambrose. Ambrose came out to give Y2J a note from Shane McMahon stating the Highlight Reel was to be replaced that evening by the Ambrose Asylum. This feud saw Jericho have his signature jacket ruined by Dean Ambrose, so a new look for Y2J came about when he started wearing his new signature scarfs. This feud also was when Chris Jericho would begin referring to the fans and his opponents as stupid idiots, and would tell us about the Gift Of Jericho and to drink it in maaaannnnn.
Jericho and Ambrose would take their feud in to a match at the Extreme Rules PPV in an Asylum Match. Jericho put over Dean Ambrose by taking a spot where Ambrose hit Jericho into a bed of thumbtacks, 69 thumb tacks that Jericho would forever remind us that he had to remove one by one from his body. The feud ended, and then Chris Jericho next lost out in a fatal four way match on Raw to determine who would go on to Summerslam to compete for the newly introduced WWE Universal Championship.
At this point in time the WWE Universe, especially those of us who follow closely Internet based news stories, kept wondering when Chris Jericho would be taking his next break from the WWE. Not because we wanted to see Y2J gone from the WWE, but simply because we knew he had plans to return to his band Fozzy to put out a new album. Chris Jericho started to sign a month by month contract extension with the WWE, extending his current run far beyond the original plans. This would then allow Chris Jericho to get himself involved in a storyline that really pushed him far beyond any expectations that we the WWE Universe would have for him.
Chris Jericho found himself first locked in a sparing battle with recent NXT call up Enzo Amore. Big Cass, the Tag Team partner of Enzo Amore, was there to have the back of Amore during this time, even costing Amore a match against Jericho by DQ when he interfered. Kevin Owens would then begin to partner with Chris Jericho and the two of them would go on to be known as Jeri-KO. The two would defeat Enzo and Cass in a tag team match at Summerslam. Jericho then assisted Kevin Owens in a match to qualify for a fatal four way to determine the new Universal Champion on RAW, a match Kevin Owens would end up winning to become the new Universal Champion.
Chris Jericho soon found himself interrupted by Sami Zayn during a Highlight Reel segment on Raw where Zayn questioned the alliance between Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens. Jericho used this moment, and the way he felt he was being treated by then Raw General Manager Mick Foley, to bring out what we now know and love as the List of Jericho. The List of Jericho was a clipboard of paper where Chris Jericho would write down the names of people in and out of the WWE who annoyed him or crossed him. If you did then Jericho would pull out his pen and let each and every stupid idiot know that “You Just Made The List”.
The List Of Jericho quickly became the most over thing in the WWE at the time, something that at times became more popular and talked about then the in ring action itself. Jericho during this time would follow around Universal Champion Kevin Owens referring to him as his best friend. Jericho was instrumental in the wins Owens was picking to retain his Universal Championship. This friendship became a memorable pairing that often teased us with a split between the two. But often, the split was nothing more then Jericho and Owens trolling us fans and leaving us waiting in anticipation for the time where the two would split and feud with one another.
The split did not come about until Chris Jericho accepted a Universal Championship match on behalf of Kevin Owens, where Owens would have to defend his Championship against Goldberg at the Fastlane PPV. Jericho wanted to make it all up to Kevin Owens, so he would host a segment on Raw known as The Festival Of Friendship live from Las Vegas. The segment was brilliant, starting out with Chris Jericho coming to the ring and asking his best friend Kevin Owens to come out and join him. Owens came out to the ring and Jericho began to praise their friendship.
Wanting to give gifts to Kevin Owens, Jericho unveiled a piece of modern art he’d had made for Owens, and unveiled a painting that was a parody of The Creation of Adam, which depicted Owens and Jericho touching fingers. Owens then said it was weird but that he appreciated all the efforts, so said he had a gift for Jericho as well. Jericho opened a gift box and inside was a brand new list. Jericho looked excited at first, until he read his own name on the list. It was revealed this was no longer a List of Jericho but the List of KO, and Chris Jericho’s name was on the list.
Owens then laid out a brutal attack on his former best friend Chris Jericho, which got the online world talking. The segment was not only one of the most talked about segments the WWE had produced in recent memory, but it turned Jericho into the lovable and often comical babyface that the WWE Universe were already starting to get behind. Jericho would go on to cost Owens the Universal Championship, and the two would then lock up in the ring at Wrestlemania 33 for the United States Championship. It was a match Kevin Owens would win. This brings us up to right now, where Chris Jericho is set to go one on one with Kevin Owens at WWE Payback for the United States Championship. It is no secret to many of the WWE Universe that this is quite possibly the last match we will see from Chris Jericho during this run. But we are all hoping it will be a show stealer like we know the two of them can put on together.
So the question comes back to why this is the best run of the 27 year career of Chris Jericho. One could argue that his initial WWE run saw him become one the greatest Intercontinental Champions of all time. It saw him defeat The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same night to become the first ever Undisputed Champion in WWE. There are many great Chris Jericho moments in all of his WWE runs. There were great moments during his WCW run. And if any of you have tuned in to the WWE Network and watched Smokey Mountain Wrestling you may also know how great Chris Jericho was when he was part of the Thrillseekers with his then Tag Team partner Lance Storm.
The reason the current run is hands down above all of these is the adaptability of Chris Jericho to the modern era of the WWE. Jericho has not been afraid to put over many of the younger talents in the WWE and has helped many of them get over with the WWE Universe. This run has not had to have focus on Jericho winning titles, even though we did see him win the United States Championship for the first time ever. Chris Jericho also made history with this run when he surpassed Triple H for the longest cumulative time spent in a Royal Rumble match at 4:56:59. Chris Jericho has shown time and time again his amazing ability to adapt to the times and has managed to get himself over time and time again, but this current run in the WWE has seen Y2J get more over with the audience then anyone would have ever expected.
It is hard to go around and not see people wearing their Chris Jericho shirts and reciting his many catchphrases. The Internet is now chock full of memes of Chris Jericho and the List of Jericho. If the match this Sunday against Kevin Owens at WWE Payback is the final time we see Chris Jericho in a WWE ring for a while it will be a real loss. At the same time it will be forever remembered as one of the most stand out times in any superstar’s career, especially one that has lasted the test of time. If Chris Jericho continues to perform like he has and continues to keep himself in great ring shape, then we can only hope for a time when we will see Chris Jericho back in a WWE ring once again.