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The Jericho Enigma


Frankie Crisp
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I think the best term to describe him would be all-rounder. He can slot into the top of the card when needed and can also work good openers to get the crowd going, all the while having solid matches in the middle. Very rarely has he had an out & out bad match

A favourite of the fans who want to watch good workrate, who can easily antagonise or get those who are just there to have a good time on his side.

Would you say he’s a star? In a way, yes. Not on the level of an Austin, Rock, Undertaker et al, but a star in the same way that Rick Rude or The British Bulldog were stars. A go-to guy who can make up & comers look good and who they can learn from, while also working with the top stars when they need something to do or to bridge a gap while they’re between long term feuds.

His political outlook, his shite band, all of that other stuff is an entirely different thread on its own (there used to be one from what I recall similar to the ‘Foley Is Crud’ thread), but you can’t deny that he is anything less than a big name in wrestling circles 

Edited by WyattSheepMask
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12 hours ago, gmoney said:

Why should anyone earning big money on the top of a promotion at his age give a shit about their "legacy"?

Why wouldn't you? You want to leave behind a good body of work. Why should money change that? 

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Posted (edited)

It’s refreshing to read a lot of opinions that are the same as mine ; he’s good, at times he’s been excellent, and while he’s been involved in some great matches and feuds there have been nowhere near as many as you would expect for someone who’s had the longevity he has and is often lauded as one of the best ever. From the character point of view he’s had his moments, certainly he’s been a king of reinvention and it’s probably objectively fair to say he was one of the highlights of the most watched show during the industry’s last peak, at least for a while, but he’ll never be looked back at with the same reverence as the Hogan, Austin, Rock, Undertaker or Cena level. From the wrestler point of view I think of how many matches he had that weren’t tags or multi man clusters that I considered excellent and will repeatedly re-watch compared to other guys who had shorter careers (many named in this thread) and he comes up short. Overall it’s possible that that those tiers we discussed earlier, the “relegation zone” of the second tier as alluded to might be the fairest place, or maybe even Top Tier - 2nd Tier - Jericho - 4th Tier? I don’t know. He’s been VERY good at times but not as consistent as he should have been and it doesn’t help that as well as his own inflated self-worth there are loads of fans that share it and hang “GOAT” (ugh) tags off everything he ever does. Like a lot of things, his fandom makes it easier to disregard him as overrated.

I guess the best snapshot of my opinion on Y2J is my live experience. I’ve been pretty lucky in that I got to see most names worth seeing from the mid 90s through the c21st from Hogan, Flair, Bret, Shawn, Bulldog, Undertaker, Perfect, Sting, Vader, Road Warriors, big Kev to Austin, Rock, Foley, Dudleys, Hardys, RVD, Rey to Lesnar, Angle, Cena, Orton, Styles, Bryan, Punk, Joe, Reigns, Becky and I could go on forever with probably only four notable exceptions (to this point in time) - Scott Hall, Batista, Edge and Jericho. I arranged to go to Wrestle Kingdom 12 after Naito won the G1 and when Jericho was added I felt a bit nonplussed in that while it was cool to be able to tick him off, he’d become a bit samey bell-to-bell when I’d last watched him regularly. Furthermore I felt like it was a bit of a waste of Kenny Omega on the big stage - even though it was an intriguing first time match there was zero suspense for me that Jericho would relieve Omega - New Japans next big thing - of the US belt on the biggest show of the year given that Kenny was being built up for a run with the big one and would only be losing the US belt right before that time. On the night the match was good, slightly better than I expected, but nowhere near as good as Meltzer and other people claim. They never once convinced me Jericho was winning and 90% of the time if you know the result before the match happens it makes it impossible to invest in. Nevertheless after the match I was surprised how much I’d enjoyed a Chris Jericho match in 2018…. then Okada vs Naito happened and Omega vs Jericho became instantly forgettable to me for hours if not days in comparison.

Jericho IS an enigma. He held the big belt a few times, the Intercontinental title more times than anyone, went on last at a Mania once (ill fated as it was) and wrestled for a world title at Mania a couple times more and was a marquee name for WWE on and off for nearly 20 years and has done pretty well since leaving too. For someone with his CV and the capability of having as good matches as his best matches have been, I should easily be able to agree that he’s one of the best ever. But I don’t.

Edited by air_raid
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I've given this some more thought - Jericho is akin to Motorhead. They're recognisable, had a few hits and could quite easily sell out an O2 academy. Getting to sell out the O2 arena? Very very unlikely. Jericho isn't a huge draw but adds something to the card.

The biggest problem I find with Jericho is that he doesn't ooze star power - he thinks he does and it is this false belief that he's a top draw that dilutes any real chance of being considered one of the best. 

I don't know why this bugs me so much.

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8 hours ago, Sphinx said:

Why wouldn't you? You want to leave behind a good body of work. Why should money change that? 

But that's sort of taken care of by virtue of the fact that he is still on top. Whether some scroate on a wrestling forum thinks he's turned too many times or should go back to wearing his scarf for better branding is immaterial.

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I think it goes back to…

On 10/6/2021 at 8:34 AM, Pinc said:

Its hard to even establish what the canonical Jericho character is after a while.

…. which assumes everyone wants to subscribe to the “Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling” idea that you have consider a wrestlers multiple characters over time as being an ongoing character arc. Which is overcomplicating it massively regards to “legacy.” Somebody was as good as they were regardless of whether played the same basic character for fourty years like Ric Flair or modified it a few times like Hulk Hogan or The Rock.

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He's definitely one of the small handful of wrestlers who get "wrestling comedy". I think wrestling comedy is both undefinable and very specific, the type of thing that is funny but just wouldn't work in a sitcom or a comedy. I can't think of many wrestlers who have had any near as many genuinely funny moments as he has or got over as many different little small moments as him. His five most memorable runs (WCW in 98, WWF in early 2000s, the serious suit Jericho, KO/The List era and Le Champion in AEW) I think he's been utterly tremendous. I don't think it's an unfair argument to say that he basically carried AEW TV on his back for the first year of the company in a way no one else could, got over a bunch of talent and helped get them through the first stage of the pandemic. When he really gets into the groove of a character I think there are few better or more creative. I think it's a testament to him as a performer that he's got himself over in so many different variations when 99% of wrestlers struggle to ever get themselves truly over even once. Ring wise is where his legacy starts to falter. I don't think he really has bad matches but I don't think he's ever stepped up as a true main event in ring performer and that's why the fans have never really accepted him at that level. I can think of loads of matches he's had I've really liked but he's probably never had a proper main event classic. Jericho will have a brilliant feud but the big match at the end will always be just ok. 

So yeah, TL:DR - I think he's really great but never really reached the in ring level to be considered a true great. He's definitely better than Triple H though.

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4 hours ago, air_raid said:

I think it goes back to…

…. which assumes everyone wants to subscribe to the “Wrestling Isn’t Wrestling” idea that you have consider a wrestlers multiple characters over time as being an ongoing character arc. Which is overcomplicating it massively regards to “legacy.” Somebody was as good as they were regardless of whether played the same basic character for fourty years like Ric Flair or modified it a few times like Hulk Hogan or The Rock.

I think the difference is that Jericho's reinventions all seem proactive. They seem to come from him, because after a while the audience has learned that reinventing himself is what Jericho does. Whereas Rock and Hogan's reinventions tended to be reactive to changes in fan sentiment towards them. The latter is organic and narrative driven, the former is performer driven. It reminds the viewer that the character they're watching is a guy playing a character.

All that said - neither approach is necessarily the 'right' one and I don't think Jericho is shite or anything. I just think he's been to the well a few too many times to the point that he's watered himself down. The exception being his current babyface character, which actually came from the crowd loving Le Champion so much that the face turn was warranted.

Edited by Pinc
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Never found him likeable at all and his books were full of self-congratulatory bullshit. 

I would hardly describe him as a prominent main eventer and his matches were often passable (except when opposite Mysterio, Guerrero, Benoit, Michaels level talent). 

I can't really say he is a draw either - he got some eyeballs on NJPW and he was "the" draw for AEW but it wasn't really until Punk et al moved over that things have started to really pick up.

Massively over-enlarged ego and not all that worthy of such. He looks like a sack of shit nowadays but acts like he is still relevant and its rather embarrassing. 

 

But I also get that some people like him and thats also ok.

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12 hours ago, Michael_3165 said:

acts like he is still relevant and its rather embarrassing. 

He is still relevant.

12 hours ago, Michael_3165 said:

he got some eyeballs on NJPW and he was "the" draw for AEW but it wasn't really until Punk et al moved over that things have started to really pick up.

This is why he’s relevant. If picking up Punk/Bryan is where AEW start to run, Jericho is the reason they learned to walk. Ten years from now Jericho’s biggest contribution to the wrestling landscape might very well be viewed as what he’s done in the last two years.

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Yeah without Jericho, with his standards and challenges, AEW would be in a different place. He was a guy everyone else there at the start was below in star power, and contractually got the world from Tony Khan, and if he spoke, people listened and changed. From things like getting guys to upgrade gear, calling out the repetition on shows, there’s been a lot we haven’t seen on screen many talent have given credit to Jericho for making changes happen from the start. I’d imagine he’s more proud of these two years than any other spell in his career 

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Aye. I think Jericho deserves a lot of credit for his contributions to AEW. As the biggest, and highest paid star, he really set the tone from the beginning. If he'd had an attitude and tried to protect his spot, as many many others would've done, it'd be a very different company today. Jericho forming a stable with the bloke with the Panda hat, jobbing to Orange Cassidy and having a feud with Suge D, makes it hard for anyone else to try and politic.

Come to think of it, I'm sure Tony Khan gave a lot of credit to Jericho and Schiavone for saving the company when the pandemic hit. They spent days recording commentary for those Florida shows, without which they wouldn't have been able to meet their deal with TNT. I can't think of many top guys who would've even turned up, much less to do commentary or went "We've only got 30% of or roster available? Fine. I'll just feud with one of the local guys from the crowd".

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Nobody has a higher opinion of Jericho than Jericho. It was pretty clear at the first AEW PPV that he saw himself as the David Bowie of wrestling. 

He's just not the best at anything is he? He was never the most over (I suppose he was in AEW but that was very much a medium fish in a small pond), he wasn't the most charismatic, he was never the best technician, high flyer or brawler, never the best on the mic, maybe one of the funniest, but he was mostly average to good at everything.

He's also one of those guys that does all the things buy largely bores me in the ring. He's in that squad of RVD, Edge, Christian (probably others) where others love their wrestling, and I can appreciate that they're decent, and that they've had good matches with people I actually find interesting, but they just leave me cold. 

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