Welcome back to me. As we all know, you missed me terribly. Admit it to yourself. Better now? Well it should be, because I’m back with a new column, a new format, and a new contest. Read on for a chance to win a copy of Chris Jericho’s book.
So, from here on out you’ll be getting several doses of this column a week as any time my girlfriend and I are watching a show or I read any interesting news, I’ll be hopping on for a quick column about it. Ideally this gets you guys a lot more content on a lot more subjects in much easier to digest subjects… now on to the meat of this column.
The WWE had their big Extreme Rules Pay Per View, which set up a number of new programs for the company, but none of those new programs were what struck me most about the show. What really stayed with me as the show ended was, in fact, something the WWE had just done a few months prior. Rey Misterio was in yet another feud over his mask and what he was hiding, essentially the same feud he had with Kane upon his return to Raw. This time, however, instead of lackluster responses of that storyline, the crowd was fully into it this time, even though the focus of the battles were exactly the same. The difference? Chris Jericho is now the one carrying the heel side of things. It’s no secret Jericho has been amazing in his new role- he was, after all, Superstar of the Year in 2008, but few have thus far realized just how historically important this career renaissance has been.
Chris Jericho, with his amazing return, is putting among the top five wrestlers of the modern era. As we all know, among the IWC most consider the elite of the modern era to be Hogan for his drawing power and crossover appeal, Flair for his amazing abilities and longevity, and Steve Austin for his ability to combine the two, albeit for a short time. After that, there is great disagreement in rounding out the top five, although Shawn Michaels is a front runner for at least one spot. Chris Jericho, has now, however, had a career that’s every bit as accomplished of that as the far more heralded HBK. Jericho has and can do it all.
From success as a junior in Japan, to hardcore acceptance in ECW, he traveled the backroads and earned his way. Once in WCW, he became the most over cruiserweight, injecting much needed personality into the division while having perhaps its most memorable feud with Dean Malenko, along with great matches and wars with wrestlers like Rey Misterio and Chris Benoit. He managed to get so over, he almost destroyed the glass ceiling by accident with his never meant to be, fake feud with Goldberg that The Miz is currently reliving the template of with John Cena. Finally, reaching the WWE, he instantly became one of the top promo men in the biggest company in the world, having memorable verbal battles with the likes of the Rock and Steve Austin, before going on to classic feuds, in and out of the ring, with Chris Benoit and Triple H, along with more battles with Austin and the Rock. He was a stalwart of the Smackdown Six, maybe the best consistent in ring quality in the history of the USA, then going on to be extremely entertaining as a partner and then foil for Christian, before putting Cena over and making him a star. When he returned he immediately added new gravitas to his case, putting on the all time classic HBK feud and pulling Rey to his best performance in years currently. With all these top feuds and matches, elite promos, second-to-none in ring skill, and even longevity, Jericho has earned his place in the top five of this era.
Want to win a copy of Jericho’s book? Write in the comments below (you don’t even need to register) whether it’s better that CM Punk remain face or heel as Smackdown Champion. I’ll contact the winner via e-mail and be back tomorrow with my thoughts on the matter.