Voice Of Reason 12.10.01: Vindication At Vengeance


The jaded internet wrestling fan has a lot to complain about the WWF product these days. Don’t believe me? Just ask one. But one things almost universal in the musings of the online community- Chris Jericho, or some other upper mid card golden boy, needed to be elevated to the level of Steve Austin, HHH or The Rock.

Personally, I’ve been a Chris Jericho fan for years. I’ve written quite a few full length Voice of Reasons about Jericho, the most recent being just a few weeks ago when I called for his victory at Vengeance (Check out Go Jericho Go! when you are done here.) Out of all the “ready for the big time” WWF superstars, Jericho presented the most complete package, and his return to the realm of the heels only sealed the deal.

After the events on WWF TV since Survivor Series, it seemed as though all signs pointed to a Chris Jericho victory. Steve Austin and the Rock acted as if it was a forgone conclusion they would meet in the tournament final. However, this just tipped the WWF hand- why would they present a mini tournament instead of a full out promotion of the big money match? With Jericho continuing to lose in matches to Austin and Rock, it would seemingly make no sense from a build-up standpoint if he were also to lose on the PPV.

If he was ever going to win the big one, Vengeance was his chance. However, politics and short sightedness has hindered logic in recent WWF storylines, so it was still uncertain as to whether Jericho would come away as Undisputed champion or not.

I watched Vengeance from a difference perspective than I have recent WWF PPVs. Rather than taking things in from an objective point of view, I found myself openly routing for Jericho, and cringing with every near fall, especially in the compelling latter half of the Rock match.

It seemed like I have stumbled upon a new vairety of markdom. Not only was I rooting for Jericho because I am a fan of his work, but I was behind him because it was the logical and compelling way to continue storylines. It was as if I wanted Jericho win for the good of the business, taking my “smart” perspective and applying it to a mark’s reaction.

As it became more and more evident Jericho could and would defeat the Rock and then Steve Austin for both the WWF and WCW World Titles, a unique happiness from wrestling surrounded me, a joy I haven’t felt in a long time. All spring and summer I watched as the Two Man Power Trip and then the Invasion angle sapped my love for wrestling. I watched out of habit on Monday nights, and rarely on Thursday nights, just to maintain my knowledge of the WWF more than because I was dying to watch and see what happened next.

It sounds corny and contrived, but a Jericho title win has reinvigorated my love for wrestling. Since the end of WCW in March, millions of wrestling fans have experienced the same disgust and dissatisfaction with the WWF that I have, but many have already abandoned the product. A good percentage of those still watching aren’t totally happy with the WWF, or weren’t before Vengeance. A shakeup like a Jericho World Title unification is just the thing to make fans everywhere stand up and take notice- anything CAN happen in the WWF.

It will be pivotal to make sure Jericho’s wins over Austin and The Rock in one night are made to seem important and industry-changing. His double title reign has to be larger than life, and he truly has to be portrayed as The New Living Legend.

A new, fresh, legitimate main event star creates new opportunities and money making matches for the promotion, and extends life to main eventers on the tail end of their drawing power. The WWF seems to have finally recognized the need for some new stars, and Jericho’s ascention to the top is sweet for casual and internet fans alike.

His alignment with Vince McMahon seems to indicate that he will stay in Vince’s half of the WWF, presumably with The Rock, whereas Angle and Austin will shift to Flair’s WWF. Jericho as top dog seems to lead to an obvious feud with a returning HHH, who’s wife could be somehow involved in the storyline.

But for now I will leave the future of the storylines in the hands of the WWF creative team. I always hate when fans that get exactly what they have been clamoring for still complain about something else. I will sit back, relax and enjoy Jericho’s win, whether it leads to a new golden era for the WWF, or is destroyed as quickly as it was created at Vengeance. His win itself was a personal vindication, and I’m still grinning about it as I sit 12 hours later.

Jonathan Widro is the owner and founder of Inside Pulse. Over a decade ago he burst onto the scene with a pro-WCW reporting style that earned him the nickname WCWidro. Check him out on Twitter for mostly inane non sequiturs