Alternate Reality by Vin Tastic

Three short, cryptic digital clips were all it took to send bored wrestling fans into a whirlwind of activity. It’s amazing that such a relatively simple concept could generate so much enthusiasm, interest, and excitement from a group of people who are usually very difficult to impress. WWE’s ingenious new “viral campaign” has got the IWC talking, hoping, fantasy booking, and paying very close attention to all three brands’ shows. These brief but loaded videos have been analyzed, broken apart, slowed down, sped up, and reviewed more than the Zapruder film was by Jim Garrison.

TODAY’S ISSUE: WWE’s viral campaign.

What a brilliant scheme this is. It couldn’t have been too difficult or costly for WWE’s technical division to create the clips in question, yet they’ve caused an enormous stir among wrestling fans as we anticipate just who is being heralded via this most unusual campaign. Most feel fairly confident that they signal the return of none other than Y2J, the first undisputed champion in WWE history, Chris Jericho.

You can discuss the possible meanings of the odd phrases screaming across the screen ad naseum, but I did recognize Jericho’s signature “millennium” countdown at the end of the first clip, and when I viewed a slowed down version, could distinctly hear the opening chords from his original WWE ring entrance music, and a hushed voice whispering the phrase “I’m back”. So I tend to side with those who believe we’re about to get another shot of Jerichohol.

Lest we forget, Vince McMahon is completely capable of changing a plan if he finds out the secret is out and the word is on the street, just to appear one step ahead of the smarks who read so-called “dirt sheets”. I hope all the forum chatter around the IWC doesn’t force McMahon to change his plans and attach the save_us.222 videos to another wrestler just because he wants to feel smarter than his fan base, who are the folks actually supporting his company by watching WWE television shows, spending their hard-earned cash on merchandise and pay-per-views, and attending live events.

If we’re about to witness the “second coming” of Y2J, the question remains what will WWE do with Jericho right now? RAW is sorely lacking in heels, but don’t kid yourself. After a two-year hiatus, there are few crowds in the civilized world that would even consider booing the Ayatollah of Rock-and-Rolla, unless he killed and skinned a live puppy in the middle of the ring.

Considering recent injuries, suspensions, retirements, and defections, we fans are simply in such desperate need of top quality stars that a man who can both wrestle and talk will be embraced, not abused, by fans live in the arena. Just imagine the Hegstrand-like pop his debut and subsequent appearances would create. So he’ll have to be a babyface. WWE might be able to turn him heel if they set him up as a superstar world-beater, and right at the moment he is about to defeat Orton for the gold, he hugs him instead. But I can’t imagine even Vince McMahon being stubborn enough to force a heel Y2J down the throats of those who want to love him, chant his catchphrases, and (most importantly) purchase all-new Jericho merchandise.

But a babyface Jericho is certainly not about to take away HHH’s spot, so keeping Cena’s role warm for a year during the former champ’s injury rehab is out of the question. Jericho most likely won’t be allowed to overshadow or undercut anything involving the top of the RAW card, including a guaranteed push for the recently returned Shawn Michaels. So if Jericho does go to RAW, he’s headed right back to the upper mid-card. But the strong buzz for his return is too valuable to waste on meandering Intercontinental Championship reigns and the occasional main event opportunity. So where does that leave the Fozzy front man?

Jericho could go to ECW, where he’d definitely make Tuesday nights more exciting, but most would agree that Y2J’s too big of a fish to swim in that small pond. Next.

What would Friday nights do with the Man of 1,004 Holds? SmackDown! is stocked with heels-a-plenty including Khali, Mark Henry, Finlay, Deuce and Domino, and MVP, with Edge due back shortly, so that’s out. Current blue-and-silver babyfaces include Batista, Undertaker, Rey Mysterio, Matt Hardy, and a rapidly rising Chuck Palumbo. So where does that leave Y2J? Between a rock and the Walls of Jericho, I’m afraid.

If these unique video clips are indeed intended to herald the return of the former undisputed champion, then WWE is either going to waste all this hype by allowing Y2J to fizzle rather than sizzle, or in order to truly capitalize on the groundswell of support Jericho would have from day one, Vinnie Mac will be forced to do something I don’t believe he’s prepared to do: he’ll have to push Jericho to the moon and exploit fan anticipation for all it’s worth. We all know the Lionheart can more than hold his own at the top of the card, but I’d hate to see him come back riding this huge wave of renewed excitement just to crash head-first into the glass ceiling yet again.

It’s time for WWE to impress the jaded, please the faithful, and make the smart business decision for a change. Give Jericho the ball, and let him run with it for a few months. We fans promise to tune in, show up, and purchase anything emblazoned with a Y2J logo. What do you say, Mr. McMahon? Just this once, please? Let Jericho save the WWE once again.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled reality.

p.s. – “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Before you go, check out our roundtable for TNA’s Bound For Glory, compare our picks to PK’s live coverage, and look below to see how we fared.

IP Staff Roundtable Results for Bound For Glory

Vinny Truncellito
TNA Bound For Glory (14 Oct 07): 6-3
Total: 151-99

Danny Cox
TNA Bound For Glory (14 Oct 07): 6-3
Total: 96-83

Matthew Michaels
TNA Bound For Glory (14 Oct 07): 5-4
Total: 79-79

David Brashear
TNA Bound For Glory (14 Oct 07): 5-4
Total: 58-50

Paul Marshall
TNA Bound For Glory (14 Oct 07): 3-6
Total: 7-8

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