In 1999 many wrestlers were looking forward to the future and, if a better contract was represented, they would change companies. One wrestler that changed companies (going from WCW to WWF was Chris Jericho. I admit I hadn’t been watching wrestling for too long before this moment took place but I do know this, the crowd and the WWF fans were ready for Jericho.
In the weeks leading up to his WWF debut a countdown clock had appeared, counting down, not to the millennium, (as was the trend as we approached 2000) but to the debut of Y2J (another play on the Y2K phenomenon).
The Rock was in the ring, cutting a promo on The Big Show. The Rock called out The Big Show but instead of The Big Show coming to the ring the countdown clock appeared on the titantron. When it had finished the countdown, Jericho’s music hit and he had arrived in WWF.
Cocky as ever Jericho blew a kiss to the crowd, proclaimed himself the “new millennium” for the World Wrestling Federation. He called himself the new hero, party host, and “the most charismatic showman to ever enter your living rooms via a television screen.”
He claimed that television ratings were down and that he was there to “save” the WWF. The fans began to chant for the Rock. Jericho ignored them and kept talking. In true Jericho fashion he talked about how great he was, how the fans were dumb and “filthy”. The fans continued to chant for the Rock.
The Rock, still in the center of the ring, was angry.His response to Jericho was simple. “Know your roll and shut your mouth.”
The Rock hit his catchphrases (Jabroni,”it doesn’t matter what your name is”, etc). The Rock said he had a plan for Jericho called the K-Y Jelly plan. “Which means the Rock is going to lube his size 13 boot real good, turn that son- bitch sideways and stick it straight up your candy ass!”
Jericho took offense but not enough to come to the ring. Instead, they had a stare down from the top of the ramp to the center of the ring.
Jericho wouldn’t confront the Rock on that day but one fact about this era of WWF/WWE was that the talent like the Rock and Y2J had a bit more leeway in what they could say on TV. These two, aside from their in ring ability, would go on to have many great moments on the microphone, cementing their characters in fans minds.
While not everyone loves Jericho and, truth be told, not everyone loves the Rock, the fact remains that this debut was one of the better debuts at this time as it was a successful transition of a superstar from one brand to the next. See the debut here.
Any other debuts you’d like to see? Let me know!
Tags: Chris Jericho, The Rock, wwe debut, WWF, wwf attitude era, wwf debut, wwf/wwe, Y2J