The SmarK DVD Rant for Breaking the Code: Behind the Walls of Chris Jericho



The SmarK DVD Rant for Breaking The Code: Behind the Walls of Chris Jericho.

That’s quite the mouthful.

Anyway, my experimentation with the review format last time out (the Ricky Steamboat set) was something of a disaster, but the fact remains that I hate doing documentary discs, so for the first disc I called in a pinch hitter in the form of Charlie Reneke, who is never at a loss for words.

Disc One

Hey Blog of Doomers, Charlie Reneke here to fill in for Scott on Disc One of Breaking the Code: Behind the Walls of Chris Jericho. Scott will be in with the matches later, but until then if you’re curious what the feature is like, I’m here with the details. It runs about 100 minutes, and is recapped below. Be sure to check out my Way Too Long Archive at Inside Pulse in the near future for my match reviews, plus a special look at the matches that SHOULD have been included. At least according to my friend TK, who lost the bet that got me this DVD. And if you enjoy this review, you should check out http://www.hugsforzach.org/ which is a charity set up by TK for his friend Zach, who was critically injured in an accident back in September. Zach faces a long, painful road to recovery and your donations will help with that. Check out the website and donate a buck or two.

-Jericho grew up in Winnipeg. His father was a hockey player, and his mom was into Chris’ creativity. She often said to him, "Son, when you grow up I hope you become a boring, catchphrase spewing poser of a hero until everyone gets sick of you and then you can really shine as a bad guy." Wow, that’s a mother who knows her son. It shows him playing various sports in home movies. Young Chris had the funniest squeak of a voice. Jericho wanted to be a wrestler and a rock star when he grew up. He watched a lot of AWA and listened to the Beatles. Presumably his favorite song was "All You Need Is Love… or failing that a Steel Chair." Great song.

-We get to see him as a teenager with his bands. Jericho apparently talked music often. You see various pictures that look straight out of a Bill & Ted movie. He started watching Stampede Wrestling when he was sixteen, which hocked the Hart Brothers camp at the end of each episode. He wrote to them but wasn’t old enough (they required you to be 18) so he got into creative writing to kill time. He met Jesse Ventura at a charity hockey game and asked if he had any advice. "Yes, study the footage of the towers collapsing. You can totally tell it was a controlled explosion. Trust me kid, that will come in handy in 2001." Jericho is like, "okay, so by 2001 I’ll know you’re totally off your fucking rocker. Good to hear. But I actually meant advice about wrestling." Ventura is like "oh… well get a degree and be ready for a lot of pain. Not unlike the pain that will be felt by all those suckers in Minnesota when they vote for me in 1998. Heh. Trust me kid, that’ll come in handy later too."

-So he packs his shit and goes to Calgary for the Hart school. The first person he runs into is Lance Storm. Jericho and Lance were the only athletes in the group and latched onto each-other. There were actually no Hart brothers involved except to come and collect their tuition checks. But the trainer used Stu Hart’s training bible as a guideline. We get some very early footage of their matches, with Chris dressed like the long lost third member of the Rockers. Bret Hart talks about seeing a news story on Jericho and thinking he was impressive.

-Jericho got a hookup to go to Mexico in 1992 and man, he was one sexy dude. I’m not gay but if I had been around back then I would make an exception. He got signed by EMLL (currently CMLL) where he went by the name "Corazón de León", literally "Heart of a Lion." He worked there for two years. He became a celebrity there, doing as much as four shows a day there.

-He also spent time in Germany, where he worked the same arena every day for six weeks. You had to change everything every night there. He also did stuff in Smokey Mountain Wrestling, where he tagged with Lance Storm as the Thrillseekers. We get some footage of their high-flying moves there. Jericho didn’t learn a lot about wrestling from there, but he learned a ton about cutting promos.

-All the guys he respected worked in Japan, so he wanted to as well. He got booked to work for WAR, which stood for Wrestling and Romance. He had a great feud with Ultimo Dragon, among other people. He made a name for himself among real wrestling fans, at which point Jericho makes sure to exclude Vince McMahon from that list before naming guys like Paul Heyman, Jim Cornette, and Mick Foley. He knew that sooner of later he would end up in the WWE.

-Instead he goes to ECW, where despite being a pretty boy, the fans didn’t instantly hate him. He was pushed hard by Heyman, including becoming the first person to suplex Taz. Because all the original ECW fans were tape traders, they had followed his career to that point and were already fans, plus he was booked as the "Last Survivor of the Hart Dungeon." Ha, time will see if that’s true. You’re about halfway there, Chris. He also credits Mick Foley as the main reason he got booked there, and we see highlights of their match, along with various other ECW stuff. But WCW came knocking quick, so he had to split. And the fans actually didn’t crucify him for it.

-Jericho was part of Antonio Inoki’s Peace Festival, at the time in Los Angeles, when he met Eric Bischoff, who immediately hired him. He needed people to fill up the cruiserweight division. Jericho calls it a culture shock, and talks about how bad his first matches there were. Being a squeaky clean babyface at the start of the Attitude Era was not the best idea and his first year there was uneventful. Jericho thinks the cruiserweights were the reason for WCW’s success because WWE’s main events were about ten times better then WCW’s. But the undercard is what the majority of shows contain and WCW’s blew WWE’s away. Can’t argue there, but laying it all on the cruiserweights is very arrogant. I was fifteen, sixteen at the time and I hate to break this to Jericho but outside of internet forums, the majority of the people I talked to about wrestling only cared about the Hogans, Pipers, Nashs, Savages, etc. And hell, the one midcard guy everyone talked about was Diamond Dallas Page. Sad but true. The cruiserweights only served to make sure nobody bitched about the show when they were talking about how the nWo had defeated the entire roster again.

-So finally WCW turns Jericho heel, which is what he wanted all along. He avoided becoming the cool heel by being the whiniest person ever. Imagine Matt Hardy if he was a wrestler. He cuts some of the most silly, stupid, hilarious promos ever. And it got over huge. Nobody from the office paid much attention to him so he just said whatever he wanted. But the fans were paying attention and that’s what matters. I miss that Chris Jericho and I hope the WWE creates a similar gimmick sometime in the near future.

-Chris Jericho is a conspiracy victim following the loss of his title to Dean Malenko. He goes so far to go to the Library of Congress, with a big sign that says "Conspiracy Victim" and walks around the rest of Washington. He even talks with an honest-to-God conspiracy theorist with a protest sign who advises him on what to look up. Crazy stuff. We then jump backwards somewhat to see Chris Jericho: Man of 1004 holds. Armdrag, armbar, Moss-Covered Three-Handled Family Credenza (a line from the Cat in the Hat, and Paul Heyman got such a kick out of it that as an announcer for WWE later, he gave the name to Perry Saturn’s swinging fisherman’s suplex), armbar, armbar, armbar, etc. Then we go to commercial and he jaws with the fans while the cameras are dark to heat them up, then he goes back to listing the holds. Then Prince Iaukea hits the ring and knocks the list out of his hands, leading to Jericho moaning "MY HOLDS, MY HOLDS! GIMMIE BACK MY HOLDS!" This is seriously classic stuff. Anyone who hasn’t followed Jericho’s career since his WCW days is going to love this DVD.

-Jericho shows up to Fall Brawl ’98 despite the fact that they had no plans for him. This is par for the course for WCW, who flew in their entire 100+ man roster to every televised show just in case. On the day of the show, Terry Taylor decides to pencil in a match for Jericho, putting him against Goldberg, the World Heavyweight Champion at the time and the hottest act WCW had. Only it wasn’t really Goldberg, but rather a midget. This wasn’t supposed to lead to an angle, and was just given to Jericho because Taylor himself thought it would be funny. Jericho hires some personal security, including toothless WCW roadie Ralphus and some guy named the "Jerichoholic Ninja" to parody Goldberg’s security detail. He gets lost finding his way to the ring. But he does make his way out and beats the midget Goldberg handily and thus claims he has ended Goldberg’s streak. And that was that.

Well actually, no. The real Goldberg, being the clueless twatwaffle that he is, got pissed at Jericho for making his character look bad. Presumably Goldberg figured someone might mistake him for the midget. Which clearly wasn’t true… the midget knew how to wrestle for one thing. But Terry Taylor (one of the head bookers at the time) loved it and kept booking it. Jericho mocked Goldberg for nearly two months, claiming a 4 win, 0 loss record. The fans wanted to see Goldberg MURDER Jericho. Goldberg is shown saying that he thought it was stupid because he was bigger then Jericho in size and nobody would want to see the match. Bischoff says that Goldberg was immature. The angle got over but Goldberg had somehow managed to renegotiate his contract and Bischoff didn’t want to upset the applecart. Thus, Jericho was booked to lose to Goldberg in a minute like everyone else.

Jericho’s ball sack grew three sizes that day and he refused. Jericho said he had no problem jobbing to Goldberg, but he felt he deserved to do it on Pay Per View. Fun story not mentioned here, but talked about in his book, is that Hulk Hogan agreed to let Jericho run an angle on Nitro where he would let Goldberg spear him in the aisle way just to show how much the fans wanted to see the two finally make contact. We get the clip here and it’s epic, with Goldberg trying to legitimately injure Chris Jericho right there, live on Nitro, with the hardest unprotected spear in wrestling history. HOLY FUCK! I mean seriously. He speared him at least seven feet, not including Jericho flipping afterwards. Allow me to channel Jim Ross for a second: GOD ALMIGHTY! GOD ALMIGHTY! GOD ALMIGHTY! Hogan later tracked Jericho down backstage, in the midcard locker room (where he normally dared not to go) and gave Jericho props for standing his ground, the first time anyone could remember Hogan doing such a thing for a midcarder since he arrived in WCW, and likely long before that.

The plan was then going to be Goldberg would wrestle Jericho in the greatest squash match in wrestling history at WCW World War III in November of 1998, with Jericho wrestling in gimmicked boots that would fly off when he got speared in the opening seconds, followed by a severe beating for three or four minutes and then a dozen jackhammers to finish. No joke. But, Goldberg was satisfied with the spear on Nitro and refused to work with Jericho further, declaring that he had been given World War III off. And that was the end of the angle. They never paid it off with a match. And when Jericho found that out, he had decided he was finished with WCW.

Oh, and the whole "nobody would believe a guy like Chris Jericho could beat up a guy like Goldberg" thing that Billy talked about? Yea. In 2003 when Goldberg arrived in the WWE, he got into a legitimate fight backstage with Jericho that ended with him being punked out and caught in an actual submission hold. Twice. In a row.

-From that point forward, he was set to go to WWE, and in August of 1999 he signed the contract. Actually he signed in June of ’99, while he was still technically on the WCW roster, but you get the point. He got the idea for the millennium countdown from a billboard in the post office. The countdown ended August 9, 1999, while the Rock was busy cutting a promo, and Jericho got one of the biggest pops of all time.

It simply floored me at how quickly the WWE was able to grab the bull by the horns with him. In WCW, he was NEVER anywhere near getting above mid-card level. I mean smack dab in the midcard, no wiggle room to go up. He debuts in the WWE and instantly gets the biggest pop of the entire year, by far. And actually WCW tried to re-sign him to a huge contract, attaching so many bonuses and dillies that it would have put him in the seven-figures-a-year club, so even they realized what had gone to waste with him, and how big the WWE could make him. So kudos to Jericho. Earlier in the year, all the hype was on Big Show’s jump from WCW to WWE. Big Show had been a two time World Champion and one of the center attractions of WCW. Jericho had only been Cruiserweight and Television Champion, and never considered anywhere remotely close to the main event scene. And yet upon debut to the WWE, Jericho was instantly more well received then Big Show was. The WWE also managed to botch his opening run as well.

-So anyway, Jericho debuts with an over the top promo, talking about the falling ratings of WWE and how he would save the company. The Rock then totally destroyed him while coming back. Michael Hayes calls it one of the best debuts in wrestling history. Jericho actually hates it in retrospect, talking about how cheesy he looked and acted. And then the WWE forgot about him completely.

-Jericho remembers sitting at No Mercy ’99, where the Hardys and Edge & Christian tore the house down. And he wasn’t part of the card. He was pretty bitter about that. He had no clue what he had done wrong. He admits that he didn’t live up to the hype. Actually, I’m guessing this will be the opening subject of his next book, but in the closing chapter of A Lion’s Tale Jericho mentions how Vince didn’t realize how goofy he wore his hair and dressed in the ring. Well, Vince never watched WCW. Period. All he knew about Jericho is what he heard from his cronies like Vince Russo. Well finally Vince offers him a spot against Chyna. Jericho is like "psssh, you kidding me?" but outwardly says "I love it!"

-"As crazy as it sounds now, at the time she was the Intercontinental Champion." Fucking OUCH! One of the most brutal, deadpan burials I’ve ever heard. He was also equally brutal to her in the promos during the feud. And at the very least, he felt confident he would take the belt from her. She beat him at the Survivor Series with a pedigree off the top rope that was every bit as botched and ugly as her facial surgery. He then made her tap out the following month at Armageddon with the Walls of Jericho. The two then ended up being co-IC champions following a lame finish during Smackdown.

-This led to Jericho feuding with Stephanie McMahon, who he was allowed to say some pretty mean stuff to. And thankfully most of it is not censored here. "Filthiest, dirtiest, most disgusting, skankiest, brutal, bottom feeding trashbag-ho." This got over huge. Some of it does get censored later though, but the trashbag-ho line is completely there and thus I’m happy. Jericho talks about how she was a good foil for him. He talks about the irony that his first feud was with a quote unquote girl (Chyna) but the one that got him over was with a girl as well. Jericho was going to bitch to the office about how he wasn’t being used when in April of 2000 he beat Triple H for the WWE title on Raw. It didn’t stick but the fans were momentarily so happy that they shit their pants. Michael Hayes thinks they should have kept the belt on him, because of how the fans reacted. And yea, I remember reading that Michael Hayes was in Vince McMahon’s ear backstage saying they needed to just keep the belt on him. But it was not to be.

-Jericho’s officially launched as a huge babyface. And then we skip EVERYTHING up until Vengeance on December 9, 2001. Mostly because that stuff centered around he who shall not be named. Thanks again, Crippler. Jericho won the WCW Championship from the Rock with a Rock Bottom. Austin immediately comes out for the unification match. Horrible booking. The two title matches should have opened the show and given the guys a chance to catch their breath. Austin did have a small window for it, but Jericho had none and he was pretty pooped. Booker T KOs Austin with the World Title belt and Jericho pins him to become the Undisputed Champion, with Jericho again kind of doing a weird self-burial with his voice as he notes that it took six guys to do it. Afterwards, he sat back with both belts thinking "all I ever wanted was to be IC champion."

-Joey Styles notes how happy he was for Jericho and what it meant for smaller guys. And yes, Jericho did pave the way for non-heavyweights everywhere to have uninspired, poorly booked, poorly received runs with the world belts. Then he got paired with Stephanie McMahon and the disaster was complete. He then main evented Wrestlemania in Toronto, but only because Hogan was a senior citizen and the main event window was past his bed time. Even Jericho thinks it should have gone on last. Michael Hayes says the Hogan/Rock match exhausted the crowd and they had nothing left for Trips/Jericho. Michael Hayes calls the match phenomenal. I remember it being a total stink bomb, mostly because Triple H was not in fighting shape from his injury the previous May. Jericho says that he’s happy to be in such limited company of being on last at a Wrestlemania. Yea? Well so was Yokozuna. Twice. And Sid, twice.

-Everyone talks about how versatile he is in the ring and runs down all the great matches he’s had. John Cena talks about how his first pay-per-view match was against Jericho and he helped him a lot. This leads to the Highlight Reel which I always felt was lame, obscenely expensive Jeritron 5000 not withstanding. These days you can pick up the same style TVs at Wal Mart for around a grand. He wanted to call the show Jericho’s Junction, but that was shot down. Those two chapters were lame.

-Onto the Shawn Michaels feud. Jericho is more then happy to mock Shawn’s hairdo at the time, but also notes Shawn still had a sore back and wasn’t sure if he was going to work full time. So for Shawn to choose Jericho was a big honor for him. These leads to their awesome match at Wrestlemania 19 that I was privileged to watch live. Michael Hayes calls it Jericho’s best match. Jericho says it was the best match on the show and I will give him that, but Brock/Angle was really close.

-He teams Christian and they made a great pair. They had a similar sense of humor and their comedy timing was perfect. They were just thrown together with no plans but made it work. The one dollar (Canadian) bet angle is discussed here which turned him babyface again. Trish turned on Jericho and became the coolest female heel EVER. God I loved her at that period. She had "it" factor. "Canada Sucks" is still one of my favorite lines.

-Jericho decides he’s ready to step away for a while and decides to feud with John Cena to close out his WWE run, even though it wasn’t originally booked. Jericho doesn’t want to hear anyone say Cena sucks. He says he’s "awesome" and that he might be unorthodox compared to everyone else but "so was Stone Cold Steve Austin." It’s pretty cool because to this point Jericho had been paying lip service to smart marks, and now he’s basically telling them to fuck off. The fans turned on Cena for the first time during this feud and they never let up on him afterwards. He thinks the fans wanted to see him win the title and I agree, but Jericho loses that match, then a rematch the next night and gets fired. Jericho calls being dragged out of the arena kicking and screaming "one of the favorite moments of my career." He loved it, because "that’s what a bad guy does."

-He was burned out mentally and just needed to step back after fifteen years. He had been married and he had a band, a radio show, and an acting career. He had a son, plus twins then. Dean Malenko calls Jericho "his own media company" while Christian calls him a workaholic. He ended up working for VH1 to show off his useless pop-culture knowledge. Then we get to hear about his band Fozzy. He met Rich Ward, lead guitarist for them, at a WCW event they were attending because his band had done work for Diamond Dallas Page. The way Ward describes the meeting sounds almost like Jericho swooned for them. Anyway, Jericho joined up with his jam band and they were a hit because half the audience showed up to see him fail. He didn’t. They were signed by a big label to be a cover band, but they hated that so they wrote their own stuff. Jericho was inspired by Andy Kaufman to do the split personality thing, so he came up with Moongoose McQueen, who was the stuck up lead singer that Chris Jericho the wrestler would be in love with. And the Brooklyn Brawler makes his required DVD appearance in the form of a story Jericho tells about how the Brawler said he looked just like McQueen, who said some nasty things about Chris. "Brawler… THAT IS ME!" "Well I didn’t know that."

-They ended up becoming a serious band after an appearance on the Howard Stern show. Edge notes it’s a real band that has chops (and suplexes, and Boston Crabs). You get to hear a few clips of their music. I’m not much for music so I won’t comment (coughTHEYSUCKhack). Chasing the Grail made it on the Billboard charts. Jericho says that if you stick to something and apply yourself to it, it can be successful. The only people who tell you otherwise are failures.

-Jericho wrote a book called a Lion’s Tale that is my personal choice for the best book ever written about professional wrestling. Fuck all those purists who like Lou Thesz’s snooze fest. I promise at least a dozen moments that will have you laughing until your side hurts. GET IT NOW YOU FOOLS!

-Chris Jericho’s mother passed away on December 4, 2005. She was a big supporter of his creative side. She was paralyzed after her boyfriend at the time assaulted her, about two weeks before Jericho’s first match, and then she died shortly after his last match. Most of the guys in the WWE didn’t see him too much while he was away. Wrestlemania came up in 2007 with the main event being Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena for the belt. Jericho called it the match "he wanted to see." It was the first time he had watched wrestling since he was away. And like any addict, once you break yourself from something it’s total abstinence or total addiction. Jericho was like "it should be me." They had the rematch on Raw that he also watched and Jericho decided he wanted to come back. He texted Vince McMahon and told him he was ready.

-Can you break the code? One of the best vignette devices ever was the JeriCode, which came about because they couldn’t possibly top his WWE debut. I personally thought the actual return was botched terribly, especially when they showed him on screen BEFORE they showed the Code getting solved. And then he came out and looked more like the second coming of Liberace. Edge kind of politely says he was a bust upon return and that Jericho realized it himself and had to reinvent himself. And boy did he.

Okay, keeping it real: I never was a fan of Chris Jericho. Especially as a babyface. I think he was mediocre in the ring and boring on the microphone. His return to WWE was about as well received by me as a catheter pumping Tabasco sauce up my penis. His "Me wanty a title shot" promo I felt was a new low in stupidity, replacing John Cena’s "Ruck Fules" t-shirt (that promo is totally ignored here, thank Christ). But after his heel turn, something happened. He actually became incredible in the ring. And his paranoid promos were highlights on whatever show they were on. I love the new Chris Jericho. Hopefully when he returns it’s not as the smiley dope that came back in 2007.

-Chris Jericho turns heel on Shawn Michaels on the Highlight Reel. Awesome segment, highlighted by Jericho smashing Shawn’s face through the now reasonably priced Jeritron 5000. Jericho says it was the end of the Y2J era. Jericho wasn’t sure what direction he should take his character, then he saw No Country for Old Men and based his new heel on Anton Chigurh, the sociopath villain of the movie. The Chigurh character talked slowly, deliberately, and to the point. Around the same time he saw the flick, the WWE released the best of the AWA DVD which featured Nick Bockwinkel. That’s where Jericho got the idea to wear a suit and use words that would go over the audience’s heads. He got rid of the countdown in his intro and legitimately tried to not entertain the fans, which is exactly what a bad guy would do. It’s brilliant. And it worked, with Jericho netting several RSPW awards, including Best Overall Wrestler and Best Worker, both of which had alluded him his whole career.

-We do get a black-and-white filter to avoid blood being seen during his match with Shawn Michaels. For those that wonder why this is done on the feature but not on the matches, it’s because the feature is usually aired on pay-per-view. Anyway, Edge talks about how much extra effort Jericho puts into the storylines. The new character was so successful that after dropping a match to Shawn Michaels, unsanctioned at Unforgiven 2008, Chris Jericho wins the World Heavyweight Championship later that night after taking CM Punk’s spot in the Scramble Match. Oddly enough the dried blood on his arm is not cause for filtering. Anyway, Jericho says he could have retired in 2005 and been satisfied with his career. To come back with the goal of being better, then actually living up to that was an accomplishment for him. A funny side story is that Vince McMahon had called Chris Jericho, during his 2002 run as Undisputed Champion, the "the biggest flop we ever had" or something along those lines. Jericho was able to come back and become a very effect champion so there’s pie in your eye, Vinnie Mac. All the props in the world to him, he earned it.

-Big Show calls Jericho an asset because he can have a good match with anyone. Rey Mysterio says that he thinks Jericho’s best matches were against him. Jericho says previous encounters in WCW, Mexico, and Japan never lived up to the hype. He also notes that he thought Mysterio was 12 when they first met and not 18, and made Rey show his ID. Hilarious. This leads to their feud over Rey’s mask. Jericho’s promos were pure, glorious evil, the best of the year by far. It was my choice for 2009’s feud of the year. Edge thinks the twists and turns of the feud was very entertaining. Matt Hardy says "Moghau gahbua blahalala!" which I think means he liked the feud.

-This leads to Edge and Chris Jericho’s tag team. Michael Hayes notes the plans for it were very big before Edge’s injury, but nobody could have seen the injury coming. From the horse’s mouth, proof positive the WWE has no sense of pattern recognition. Big Show took his place and Jericho loved it. They’ve been friends forever too so there’s no egos or anything involved. We get highlights of their run. Jericho then threatens to win the Royal Rumble, but Edge hobbles out at #29 to win it. Jericho gets one of the all time great digs in when he tells Edge "I don’t know what it’s like to come back from injury because I don’t get injured." That was so brutal that it caused Edge to bust an ear drum and develop a hernia just listening to it. Jericho wins the World Heavyweight Champion at Elimination Chamber this year and ends up going to Wrestlemania for the ultimate undercard world title match. Jericho walked out the champion in a match that was shockingly watchable despite Edge’s lack of mobility.

-Jericho hooks up with Wade Barrett in the first season of NXT. Jericho says when he first started wrestling that guys his current age were in the middle of their careers (sure makes it sound like he’s at the tail end of his, no?) and so he wanted to help Barrett and all newcomers out a lot. Jericho said that Barrett would be a huge star with or without him because he’s a good worker and good on the stick. He says nobody watched his back when he first started and his advice to Barrett was legitimate.

-Time to go home. Jericho says that despite what he says in the ring, he doesn’t believe he’s the best wrestler in the world and that anyone who believes so about themselves has a shitty attitude. Jericho says he wishes he was better then he is as a wrestler and in promos. And I believe him, because a lot of guys his age wouldn’t evolve as a performer at his age, which he has. Everyone talks about how good Jericho is. Barrett says he might have more crossover appeal then anyone in the business. It’s kind of funny though, because in my opinion Jericho’s success outside the ring has little to do with his wrestling career. Did wrestling open up doors for him? Yes. But unlike Hulk Hogan or the Rock (the only two other wrestling stars who had massive success on his level, Roddy Piper starring in They Live not withstanding) Jericho I believe would have found a way to open those doors. Hell, he was a game show host. The show sucked balls and he seems to not have been as quick-witted as you would think he would be, but it was still a major prime-time network game show with all the bells and whistles and he was selected to host it. Let’s see Daniel Bryan accomplish that.

Jericho notes that he doesn’t want a hero’s sendoff when he retires. He wants to be dragged out of the arena, kicking and screaming. He doesn’t want a retirement ceremony. He wants no hoopla, just "gone forever" and people saying "what a jerk, I’m glad he’s gone." And that’s the end of the feature.

This really felt like a goodbye. It covered most of the bases of his career, and for those angry that Chris Benoit didn’t show up for even a split-second cameo, I say phooey on you. This was one of the best biographical features the WWE has done. It was very entertaining and for those recent fans who haven’t followed every aspect of Chris Jericho’s career, this is the DVD feature for you, because it was vastly entertaining, and very honest as well. I grew even more as a fan of his while I watched it.

There’s some disc one bonus features.

A Young Fanatic: Jericho talks about how he and his friend had committed the entire Ricky Steamboat/Randy Savage Wrestlemania III match to memory and would recreate it in his parents’ basement. He talks about how intimidated he was by the bigger guys at the shows when he was autograph seeking.

Jack Action: Jericho’s describes how he got his ring name. He originally wanted to be called Jack Action. Hilarity ensues. This whole story is hilarious. He got the name from a German heavy metal band. The promoter loved it, and decided he would be Cowboy Chris Jericho from Casper, Wyoming. What is it with promoters wanting Canadian wrestlers to be cowboys? I heard someone even wanted Chris Benoit to be called "Cowboy Chris Benoit." I can’t come up with a joke for that one.

Leon de Oro: Jericho notes that all the guys he liked had animal names so he wanted to be called the Golden Lion (Leon de Oro). The promoter in Mexico said "no, your name will be He-Man." I HAVE THE POWER! So they were going to give him a sword, the loincloth outfit, and presumably a green cat named Cringer. This lead to an American Idol style show that would decide his name, either Leon de Oro, He-Man, or Chris Power. He wasn’t sure what was worse, that Leon De Oro only beat He-Man by a vote of 72 to 68, that Chris Power got 17, or that only "like 117 people were watching." Math isn’t his strong suit, obviously.

Thrill Seekers Vignette #1: We see Lance Storm and Chris Jericho working out in the gym, with some of the worst 80s era music I’ve heard… which is really bad because this is in the mid 1990s. This is supposed to show off their hot bods. But it’s just too over the top and cheesy and it’s not like these guys are Hulk Hogan or anything. After two minutes and thirty seconds of this, we see them hit the juice bar and leave the gym, head to their apartment, and then hook up with two of the skankiest hoes you’ve ever seen. Jericho hated this (and all the Thrill Seekers promos) and buried Jim Cornette in his book for coming up with them. I guess Corny’s feelings were a bit hurt too.

Thrill Seekers Vignette #2: The Bromance continues as they talk about how they’re going to seek thrills. Then we get various clips of them standing around doing nothing, followed by them RACING GO-KARTS! Now I’m sure this would seem exciting to Jim Cornette, who’s entire life from the time his voice cracked until today has revolved exclusively around watching guys roll around in their underwear pretending to fight each other, but I simply refuse to believe that Jericho couldn’t say "this sucked" and used chloroform if necessary to take Corny out of the picture while they came up with better stuff. We go from Go-Karts to an ice skating rank and seriously, the Thrill Seekers seem like they’re more interested in fucking each other then wrestling. Replace the generic rock soundtrack with a generic romance track and it would work. I actually don’t think either of these vignettes have any value even as cheese and should be avoided. I made it three minutes into this one (5 minutes, 10 seconds total) and I couldn’t take anymore. Avoid.

Have You Heard of Chris Jericho?: Christian talks about how him and Edge and a few of the other guys were in awe of Jericho when he debuted, but they all hung out before then. They made of game of asking people when they would go out to party if they had heard of Chris Jericho, and they never found anyone who hadn’t, even before his WWE debut.

Paul Heyman’s Roommate: Hilarious story about Paul Heyman that was told about him his book. Jericho tried to get into ECW for over a year but Heyman would blow him off, saying that he was on the other line with someone important, or that he was Paul’s roommate Dave. Dave E. Dangerously. Okay I so call dibs on that as my name.

Mister Salty: Joey Styles tells a story about how, while in ECW, Jericho tied up Too Cold Scorpio in a submission hold that Styles had never seen or heard of, so he improvised the name "Mister Salty" because it looked like a pretzel. It became a running gag between them that exists to this day.

The Man of 1,004 Holds (3/30/98 Nitro): You get the full four minute sequence of Jericho talking about knowing more holds then Dean Malenko. This is fucking glorious. #10, right handed punch. #11, left handed punch. Booyah, I know how to do two wrestling moves! I know more wrestling moves then Ted DiBiase! I would also like to point out that I forgot how terrible Tony Schiavone was on commentary during this time frame. He wasn’t always, but towards the end of 1997 Eric Bischoff allegedly started to ride him about how he wasn’t emotional enough on commentary and kept doing so until Tony started talking over the heels during their promos, which really should be a big no-no. Commentators are window dressing to the event. They should flow so seamlessly with the action that you don’t even realize they’re there. Schiavone was actually very good with that in the mid 90s, and it wasn’t until 1998 that he truly became grating. Lots of smart fans have always hated on him, and yes he botched the name of a move or two, but I did like him. With the current Cole/Striker/Lawler three man team that is like a sandpaper skull-fucking to your senses every pay-per-view, I know I can’t be the only person nostalgic for the days of commentators like Tony Schiavone or Vince McMahon.

Conspiracy Victim (6/1/98 Nitro): This is the Borat of wrestling. Chris Jericho walks around Washington DC completely in character, looking for evidence of a conspiracy against him by WCW and ways to fight back on it. Legitimate guards at the United States Capitol tell him he has to leave. He then is shown on a street corner, dressed in a suit and holding a sign identifying him as a conspiracy victim. He talks to an actual nut job monster shouter about how he was screwed. He goes to the gate of the White House to speak with Bill Clinton about it and the actual guard gets very, very defensive. He then goes to the Library of Congress to look up the rules on WCW title belts. Awesome segment and it’s amazing that WCW was able to cleverly film this in a way that didn’t show off the wheelbarrow Jericho needed to carry his huge balls around in.

Father Knows Best (6/11/98 Thunder): Chris Jericho finds out that he has to wrestle Dean Malenko at the Great American Bash after Jericho successfully found a loophole to reclaim the title. But Jo Jo Dillon refuses to actually let him hold the belt and so Jericho throws a fit. Then his father shows up and yells at him. His dad doesn’t really look anything like him. Awesome segment that was apparently going to lead to his dad turning heel on Malenko, except WCW stiffed his pay for this appearance and it never happened.

Hello, Lexington! (9/10/98 Thunder): Jericho has Ralphus and the Jerichoholic Ninja to help him make his entrance for his match, Goldberg style, but this tribute to This Is Spinal Tap became the real thing when gets locked outside and bangs on the door, only someone pokes his head through a different door and ruins the skit. His opponent, Wraith, tries to find him on the outside and gives chase, but we cut away without seeing the match. Not that good honestly.

Do You Smell What Y2J is Cookin’? (10/30/00 Raw): Jericho and Rock are about to have a number one contender’s match and are both being interviewed by Michael Cole. Both guys cut each other off multiple times in a very bland, catch-phrase heavy promo. I think most of the Rock’s stuff has aged about as gracefully as Lindsay Lohan has. I found this to be pretty painful.

Sharing a Beer with Stone Cold Steve Austin (8/25/03 Raw): After the show goes off the air, Austin and Jericho have a moment. Jericho does an introduction to it, noting that this was more common back then. This segment runs nearly fifteen minutes and is fucking awesome despite it’s heavy use of the annoying "WHAT" stuff. Jericho is cutting a promo on the city when Steve Austin runs out to cut him off and have a beer and they verbally joust. After ranting and raving, Jericho refuses to toast a beer with Steve because he knows it means he’ll get a stunner. Austin kisses his ass and Jericho agrees to one. Austin goes to toss him a beer but Jericho fails to catch it and the fans boo the holy hell out of him. Both guys look like they can barely keep a straight face this whole time. They then toast and Jericho eats a stunner, complete with spit-take sell job. Totally improvised and it was pretty good. They could make a DVD of just these types of things.

Chris Jericho vs. The Old Man (11/17/09 Smackdown): Another post-show deal, but this one about a third of the length of the previous one. The fans start to leave but Jericho yells at them because he’s not done talking. He ends up picking a fight with a 65-year-old man at ringside. Jericho loses his cool and ejects everyone from the building. Which was convenient because the show was over. Somewhat funny, even more so because the referee seemed to be getting yelled at in his earpiece for Jericho to wrap it up.

Jericho’s Junction: A highlight reel of some of his funniest lines and bits over the years. Sadly, the "Me Wanty a Title Shot" is shown. Better is a fan saying "go back to Toronto!" "I’m from Winnipeg you idiot!" You get about eight minutes of highlights here.

Fozzy Music Video – Let the Madness Begin: Yea, not my cup of tea.

Disc Two

Now onto my favorite part – the matches!

Cowboy Chris Jericho v. Lance T. Storm

From a nothing show in Calgary in 1990, with the debut match for both Storm and Jericho, fresh out of the Hart Dungeon during the dying days of Stampede Wrestling. Alternate commentary with Jericho and Matt Striker reveals two crucial bits of information: First, Striker is a much more bearable and relaxed commentator when freed from his headset, and second, the “T” in Storm’s name stands for “Thunder”. That being said, “Lance Thunder Storm” sounds like a native American porn star, so perhaps it’s a good thing that he dropped that nickname fairly soon into his career. Both guys are eager to please the crowd here, so they trade armbar reversals in energetic fashion, allowing Jericho to control, but Storm backdrops out. Monkey flip out of the corner and Storm goes to a chinlock for a bit. Snap suplex gets two. Jericho dives into a rollup for two, but Storm goes to a chinlock again. Jericho comes back with a dropkick for two, and a splash for two. Jericho with a rana (in 1990!), reversed by Storm into a sunset flip for two. Jericho with a small package for two, but Storm goes up with a flying elbow for two. Rollup gets two. Jericho snaps off a crucifix for two. Storm pounds him down and gets a slick belly to belly suplex for two. Jericho with a springboard bodypress out of the corner for two, and a big splash gets two. Backslide gets two. And the bell rings for a 10:00 draw, at 11:21. For a debut match in 1990, where state of the art American wrestling was Brian Pillman doing missile dropkicks, this was pretty fantastic. They were both way too amped up and sloppy, but I always love to see guys excited to be out there, even if it’s in front of 80 people in a Calgary bar. Definitely worth a look. ***1/2

The Thrillseekers v. The Infernos

From Smoky Mountain Wrestling in March of 1994 now, as Storm and Jericho make their SMW debut. And god bless Jim Cornette, the Infernos are “Fire and Brimstone”. That is just so fucking awesome for a generic masked jobber team to get that kind of witty thought put into it. Sadly, in the PG era of the WWE, the essential Thrillseekers match (a **** bloodbath against the Heavenly Bodies where Jericho competed with a broken arm) is omitted from the collection entirely. Storm gets a springboard bodypress on Fire and brings in Jericho, who knocks Brimstone off the apron and brings him in for a delayed suplex that gets two. Double team clothesline gets two for Storm. Jericho with a lariat, and both Seekers go up to finish with a double dropkick off the same turnbuckle, at 3:01. Good squash for our heroes.

Ultimo Dragon v. Chris Jericho

From WAR in July of 1995, and this tape is actually from Jericho’s personal collection, according to the commentary. The VHS tracking issues at the bottom are a dead giveaway. A VHS dub, transferred into glorious HD! The ridiculous Jericho-themed bars on the sides of the screen are the icing on the cake here. They trade monkey flips, but it’s a stalemate. Jericho gets a leg lariat and puts Dragon onto the floor with a shoulderblock. Suplex back in gets two. Flying splash gets two. Slingshot into a backdrop suplex gets two. Nice. Jericho with a sleeper, and a Tiger driver for two. Jericho misses his springboard and splats on the floor, and Dragon hits a somersault splash from the apron in a nasty spot. Back in, Jericho gets cocky again, but Dragon dropkicks him off the apron and hits a tope. Back in with a suplex, and the quebrada gets two. Brainbuster sets up a sharpshooter, but Dragon releases and puts Jericho on the top rope. Jericho dropkicks him down, but Dragon gets the cradle for two. Pinfall reversal sequence into a dragon suplex for two. Back to the top, and Jericho sends Dragon to the floor and follows with a dive into the railing. Back in, Lionsault gets two. Dragon reverses a Tiger driver for two. He rolls into a rana for two, another neat spot you don’t see much of. Jericho comes back with a tiger suplex for two. Superplex attempt is blocked by Dragon for two, and a sunset flip gets two. Dragon goes up and Jericho slams him off for two. (On the alternate commentary, Jericho notes that they had both run through their normal finishes by this point and were just trying crazy shit in an attempt to find the ending). Jericho tries for the moonsault, but misses, and Dragon goes up with a spinning splash that also misses. Having tried everything else, they head up again and Jericho finishes with a butterfly suplex off the top for the pin at 13:23. This match became somewhat legendary, ending up first on the desk of Paul Heyman to earn Jericho a job in ECW, and then on the desk of Kevin Sullivan to get him a job with WCW. ****1/2

Chris Jericho v. Cactus Jack

So we’re off to ECW in March of 1996 for Jericho’s debut there. Jericho interrupts a Fargo strut from Jack’s new friends Stevie and Meanie, ruining a great moment. Jack slugs him down, but Jericho dropkicks him to the floor. Back in, jack with a corner clothesline, but a blind charge misses and Jericho dropkicks him to the floor again. Jericho goes after Stevie & Meanie and then dodges a charging Cactus, resulting in Jack smashing his own face into the post. So unable to outsmart Jericho, Jack hits him in the head with a chair instead. Back in, Jack chokes him down for two. Jericho gets hung in the Tree of Woe and stomped, and Cactus puts him out with a baseball slide. He suplexes Jericho on the floor (and into the railing) and they head back in, where a legdrop gets two. Jack goes up, but Jericho brings him down with a rana and they slug it out. Jericho with a dropkick and elbow for two, which the crowd boos for some reason. Flying splash gets two. Jack catches him with the piledriver, but follows up with a Cactus clothesline instead of trying for the pin. Jericho manages a backdrop suplex on the floor, but Jack stunguns him onto the railing. Ouch. Back in, piledriver gets two. Jack gives him the last rites, but that’s always a bad idea, and Jericho reverses the third piledriver attempt into a german suplex for the pin at 12:45. You’d think this would be a colossal style clash, and you’d be mostly right, but they held it together enough to keep it fun and entertaining, with Jack bumping like crazy for Jericho. ***

Cruiserweight title: Chris Jericho v. Eddy Guerrero.

From Fall Brawl 97. No real backstory here, just Guerrero suddenly deciding to go rudo and kill everyone in his path on the way to the title. Various hair-pulling shenanigans to start. Jericho’s bouncing babyface act isn’t really effective. Some nice mat stuff both ways, with neither guy able to gain any advantage. Jericho dumps Eddy on the top rope, then hits the Lionsault for two. Eddy comes back and works on the back. Long sequence of submission moves from Eddy, including a Gory Special, which is reversed in turn by Jericho. The crowd, surprisingly, is digging the match, even with the more psychological stuff that normally elicits boos. Eddy tries to walk the ropes like Undertaker, but gets crotched and Jericho makes the comeback. He looks to powerbomb Guerrero off the apron, but instead drops him throat first on the top rope. Back in the ring and a series of reversals leads to Eddy getting a uranage. Jericho recovers with a powerslam for two. Leg lariat gets two. Eddy reverses a cradle for two, but Jericho comes back with the double powerbomb and a superplex. Eddy shirts his weight during that move, and land on top to stun Jericho, then hits the Frog Splash for the pin and the title at 16:44. Terrific match. ****1/4

Cruiserweight title v. Mask: Chris Jericho v. Juventud Guerrera.

From WCW Superbrawl VIII. Jericho refuses to take the belt off, so they start the match with him wearing it. Juvy kicks him in the belt, and he removes it. Jericho dominates, but gets caught with a springboard leg lariat. Juvy follows with a rana off the apron to the floor. Jericho acts dead and tries to take the countout, which is a REALLY funny spot that he never does anymore. Juvy tosses him back in and chops away. He flips out of a german suplex and gets dropped on the top rope. They hit the floor and Jericho tries to springboard off the steps, but ends up running into the railing instead. Back, and Jericho gets a piledriver fro two. Arrogant cover gets two. Juvy hits a victory roll for two. Delayed suplex and senton gets two. They fight on top and Juvy comes off with a rana but Jericho counters with the electric chair. Juvy dropkicks Jericho to the floor and follows with a springboard elbow. Back in, Juvy hits a tombstone and 450 for the pin…but Jericho was in the ropes, so we continue. Jericho clips him, but Juvy rolls him up for two. Jericho gets a lariat for two. Powerbomb is reversed by Juvy to a DDT for two. He goes for a top rope rana, but Jericho blocks. Juvy sets up again and this time hits a springboard variation and gets two. Jericho gets an inverted suplex, but the Lionsault misses. Liontamer is attempted, but reversed to a rollup for two. Juvy tries to finish with another rana, but this time Jericho blocks and applies the Liontamer for the submission at 13:27. Whew, great finish. ***3/4 Juvy unmasks after some taunting by Jericho, and the Juice we all know and love is revealed at last. Jericho, of course, steals the mask for his trophy case.

Cruiserweight title: Chris Jericho v. Dean Malenko

From Nitro, July 1998. This is supposedly Malenko’s last-ever shot at Jericho and the title. Jericho attacks and goes up, but gets dropkicked coming down. They trade pinfall attempts, and Jericho gets the Liontamer, but they’re in the ropes. Malenko bails and we take a break. Back with Malenko hitting a dropkick and a german suplex for two. Jericho gets an inverted suplex into the Lionsault, for two. They trade reversals and Malenko gets the powerbomb into the Cloverleaf, but Jericho is in the ropes. Dean goes up and gets caught, but recovers with a DDT off the top…for two. Really? Jericho bails, finds brass knuckles in his boot, and Dean steals them for the DQ at 6:19. Really? They had a DDT off the top leading into a lame DQ finish? Not sure why the inclusion here, it wasn’t anything special. **1/2

From August 9 1999: Y2J! Chris Jericho debuts after months of the Millennium Countdown, gets an insanely huge reaction, and then promptly goes to waste for months afterwards because they don’t know what to do with him. Luckily he was talented enough to recover. I’d have to say this ranks as the biggest and best debut ever.

Intercontinental title: Chris Jericho v. Kurt Angle.

From No Way Out 2000, as Angle had just won the European title and Jericho had finally gained sole control over the IC title after weeks of stupid shit with Chyna as “co-champions”. At the time, Angle was a huge underdog. Y2J controls to start and they slug it out. Angle drop toeholds him onto the bottom rope, but gets backdropped over the top. Jericho hits the springboard dropkick and they fight on the floor. Jericho hits a nice Lionsault off the steps, kicking Kurt in the face. Back in, Angle crotches him and hits a belly to belly superplex for two. Suplex gets two. Crowd tells Angle that he sucks during a chinlock. Jericho comes back with a double-arm backbreaker for two. Angle gets a release german suplex for two. Single-arm DDT gets two. Nice psychology, as Angle works the arm. Jericho blocks a blind charge with a leg lariat, then hits a face jam. Flying forearm gets two. Angle tries a rana, which is blocked into the double-powerbomb for two. Angle suddenly reverses the pin attempt into a cross-armbreaker, but Jericho makes the ropes. Reversal sequence leads to the Right Angle (or “Olympic Slam”, as JR calls it) but it only gets two. Angle grabs the IC title belt, but Jericho catches him with the Walls of Jericho. Angle makes the ropes. They fight on the floor, and Angle grabs the European title belt. Chyna gets in the way and gets wiped out, thus distracting the referee long enough for Angle to block a Lionsault by nailing Jericho with the IC belt on the way down, and thus getting the pin and the title at 10:12, in what had to be deemed a pretty shocking upset at the time. These days, not so much, but who knew what Angle would have become in only a few short months? ***1/4 Angle dropping the title to Benoit the next month at Wrestlemania and Jericho then ending up with the European title (only to drop it to Eddie Guerrero the next night) rendered this whole period even more bizarre in retrospect.

WWF World title: HHH v. Chris Jericho.

From RAW, April 17 2000. Jericho takes him down with a drop toehold and pounds away on the mat, then backdrops a charging HHH to the floor. Jericho misses a baseball slide and HHH slugs him down on the floor, but Jericho dropkicks him off the apron. Back in, Jericho misses a clothesline and feels the wrath of HHH’s knee, and HHH takes over and pounds away on the apron. Jericho meets the stairs, and back in HHH suplexes him and adds the kneedrop for two. Jericho tries to come back, but puts his head down and gets DDT’d. HHH goes up, but Jericho uses Kurt Angle’s Pop-Up Superplex to bring him down, and fires away in the corner. Missile dropkick gets two. HHH comes back with KICK WHAM PEDIGREE, but Jericho reverses to the Walls of Jericho, then catapults HHH into the ref by accident. He goes up and gets brought down by Shane, which prompts the APA to chase him away. The belt gets involved and Jericho hits him with it, but again no ref. A second ref comes in for the two count and gets put down by HHH, but that allows Jericho to hit the Lionsault for the pin and the title at 9:50. Or so we thought, since HHH whines that it was a fast count and has the decision reversed, thus getting the belt back. Decent match, and at least Jericho would get his win back when…uh…actually I’ve got nothing here. This was some monster heel heat for HHH, days before Rock kicked his ass and won the title to avenge the fans and Hebner. Again, dunno if it warrants inclusion based on match quality or anything (which was about ***) but it’s a good representation of HHH at his peak, and arguably Jericho’s peak as a babyface. That being said, the rematch at Fully Loaded was damn near ***** and would have been a much better choice.

WCW” World title match: The Rock v. Chris Jericho.

From No Mercy 2001, as Jericho finally gets a chance to win the big one. Lockup battle to start, and Rock works the arm. Jericho armdrags him, and works the arm in turn. Jericho slugs him down and chokes him out. Jericho unloads the CANADIAN VIOLENCE, but Rock counters with the Rock Bottom, which Jericho counters in turn with the Walls. Awesome. Rock bails to the apron and gets dropkicked to the floor. Back in, Jericho gets a flying elbow for two. More CANADIAN VIOLENCE, but Rock tries his own and gets hit with a leg lariat for two. Pair of backbreakers get two, but Rock reverses the pinfall for two. Nice touch. Jericho forearms him down, but gets hit with a Rock forearm in turn. He comes back quickly with a hotshot and the crowd starts chanting “Rocky Sucks” like old times. Jericho goes up, but gets crotched. Superplex and double-KO, and the crowd actually counts along with the 10-count. But then it’s St. Louis, so they’re already trained. Rock slugs away and gets a samoan drop for two. Kip-up and Rock lays the smackdown, drawing a very noticeable heel reaction. Jericho comes back and walks into a lariat for two. Suplex gets two. Rock dumps Jericho, and he gets two back in the ring. He goes to a heelish chinlock to put sympathy heat on Jericho, and indeed Jericho escapes, but misses a dropkick. Rock catapults him and lariats him. They head up, and Jericho gets a missile dropkick. Double KO again, Rock is staggered. Slugfest is won by Jericho, and he overpowers Rock and gets a neckbreaker and rana for two. Someone call HHH, he’s wrestling like a cruiserweight again. Jericho hits a Rock Bottom! Lionsault gets two. Bulldog sets up the Canadian Elbow, which misses. Rock gets an ugly dragon-screw into the Sharpshooter, and the crowd freaks until Jericho makes the ropes. Jericho bails and Rock preps the Spanish table and Rock Bottoms Jericho through it. Rock breaks the count like a heel and smacks Jericho around, and after Jericho crawls back in, Rock sets up for the Rock Bottom…and the crowd BOOS. Jericho blocks, but walks into a spinebuster. People’s Elbow is caught and REVERSED into the Walls of Jericho! This match is so awesome. I’m thinking it might be the finish, but Steph McJugs bounces out and distracts Jericho for the millionth time. Rock DDTs him and goes after Steph with a Rock Bottom that looked like he was fighting the combined forces of gravity and inertia trying to get the McMammaries in the air, but Jericho grabs the chair left by Stephanie, hits a forward legsweep onto it, and wins the WCW title at 23:47! Finally he wins the big one! Awesome match, a total MOTYC if not for the screwy finish. ****1/2

Steve Austin v. Chris Jericho.

This is from Vengeance 2001, the match to unify the WCW and WWF World titles once and for all, and the match that Jericho proceeded to never shut up about ever again. Jericho rolls over for two, then stomps away. Forearm, and he pounds away. Corner clothesline, but Austin spears him and gives him some turnbuckle sandwich. Stunner is blocked, so Austin tosses him and they brawl. Austin dumps him on the railing and gives him the post ala Angle in the previous match. He pulls up the mat, but Jericho preps the Spanish table and tries the Walls of Jericho there. Austin powers out, though, and suplexes Jericho on the floor. They head back in, where Austin charges and hits the post. Jericho goes to the arm, but misses a dropkick and gets catapulted for two. Jericho floats over out of the cover, into a Herb Kunze armbar, using the ropes for leverage. Suplex and he goes up, but Austin nails him coming down. Austin comes back, but Jericho rolls into the Walls, getting a good pop. Austin makes the ropes. Ref is bumped, so Jericho goes low and stunners Austin. Vince brings out Nick Patrick: Evil Ref to count, but Ric Flair in turn pulls him out, and Vince in turn punks out Flair. In the ring, Austin chases Vince and punks him out, then heads back in for a Thesz Press and the Walls of Austin. Jericho is tapping, but Booker T runs in, nails Austin with the belt, and Jericho unifies the titles at 12:37. ALL HAIL CANADA! Too much tomfoolery, what with the ref bumping and the run-ins and the screwjobs and all. But this had to be on the DVD. ***

Disc Three

WWF World title: Hulk Hogan v. Chris Jericho.

Hogan does his standard LOCKUP OF DEATH to start, which Jericho sells like he’s been shot. Note to Hulkster: You’re very strong for a senior citizen, we GET IT. Hogan grabs a headlock and overpowers Jericho again. Devastating bodyslam and wristlock follow. Dang, Jethro, he should be DEAD. Jericho suplexes him and disrespects the bandana. Elbow misses and Hogan slugs away, but misses a charge. Considering he moves slower than an ice-cream truck, I’d be shocked if a glacier couldn’t move out of the way in time to avoid him. Jericho goes up and gets slammed off. Hogan keeps slugging away, but Jericho tries some chops. He misses his own charge and goes flying out. It’s pretty admirable of Jericho to wrestle the entire match by himself like this. Hogan chases and eats post, and Jericho follows with an axehandle off the top rope and necksnap on the top rope. He seems to be bouncing between channelling 1990 Mr. Perfect and 1986 Macho Man here. Probably that’s the best strategy. Back in, Jericho pounds away and chokes. Yup, it’s the 80s all right. Hogan comes back with his elbowdrops, but misses one and sells it like Earthquake just farted on him or something. Jericho bulldogs him and gets the Lionsault, but HHH comes down (complete with music) to do color. Jericho just stands there and yells at him, completely ignoring Hogan and thus looking like a complete idiot. Hogan fights back, but Jericho gets a DDT for two. Hulkup time, big boot, but Jericho blocks the legdrop with the Walls of Jericho. Do that finish and you’ve created a new superstar. But no, Hogan makes the ropes (and Jericho was doing the move literally 6″ away from them, which made it pretty funny seeing Hogan “struggle” to reach them). Jericho starts laying in chairshots, but Undertaker’s music hits, and again, like a complete moron, Jericho stands there with his jaw open while Hogan rolls him up for the pin at 10:19. I don’t get the inclusion here. *

Shawn Michaels v. Chris Jericho.

From Wrestlemania XIX. Shawn works a headlock to start and gets nowhere. They do a bit of that and Shawn showboats, and they go back to the headlock again. They do a stalemate sequence and back to the headlock, and Shawn gets two off it. Jericho overpowers him and they criss-cross and slug it out. Shawn tosses him and follows with a baseball slide after a highspot tease, and back in we go. Back in, Jericho rolls through a bodypress for two. He hammers away on the mat and starts with the CANADIAN VIOLENCE and choking in the corner. Shawn counters a bulldog by sending him into the corner, and gets a figure-four for no discernible reason (has he even kicked him in the leg yet?), which Jericho reverses. Jericho stays on the leg with a kneecrusher, but Jericho reverses him into the post and tosses him. Shawn pulls himself back in and headscissors Jericho out, and then follows with a pescado. Jericho puts him in the Walls on the floor, however. Back in, Jericho dropkicks him off the apron and gets a backdrop suplex. The psychology is pretty cut and dried here. Delayed suplex gets two. Jericho works on the neck and gets a pretty nasty backbreaker, and the Arrogant Cover~! gets two. We hit the chinlock and Jericho goes to the eyes to keep Shawn down. A backdrop is reversed to a DDT by Shawn, however. Shawn slugs away, but walks into a forearm from Jericho. He kips up and mocks Shawn, but so does Shawn. Another one and Shawn atomic drops Jericho to set up a backdrop. To the top, and the moonsault press gets two. They do a pinfall reversal sequence and Jericho tries the Walls, but Shawn reverses out of it. They fight for a german suplex, but Jericho turns it into a northern lights suplex for two. Shawn bridges out and they fight for a backslide, but Jericho gets a lariat. Bulldog and Lionsault get two. Jericho starts chopping, but puts his head down and gets caught by Shawn. A rana is blocked with the Walls, however. Shawn makes the ropes. Another try is reversed to a cradle for two. Double-arm backbreaker from Jericho and he goes up with a flying reverse elbow and cues up the band. Fozzy? Well, anyway, a superkick (and a nice one, too) gets two for Jericho. Shawn comes out of the corner with a messed up crossbody and hammers away, then catapults Jericho into the post for two after teasing his own Walls of Jericho. Jericho hits him in the back again as Shawn suddenly remembers to sell it again, and they head up for a superplex that Shawn counters to put both guys down. Shawn gets two. Shawn goes back up, but Jericho crotches him and follows him up. Shawn sends him back down and gets the flying elbow for two. Sweet Chin Music is ducked by Jericho and we get another Walls, and that should have been the finish. However, Shawn eventually makes the ropes, prompting a tantrum from Jericho. Shawn superkicks him again for two. Jericho sends Shawn into the corner, but Shawn escapes a suplex and gets the pin off a rollup at 22:34. The finish was a letdown and at the time it seemed totally counterproductive to put Shawn over anyone, but then who knew he’d stick around for another 7 years? Shawn adjusted his style and put forth a much more solid, non-garbagy effort than he did with HHH at Summerslam 2002. The spotty "Now I’m hurt, now I’m not" selling of the back injury hurt it a lot, though. **** Jericho, class act all the way, kicks Shawn in the balls after the loss.

WWE title, loser leaves town: John Cena v. Chris Jericho.

Jericho stomps him down, but they brawl outside and Cena goes after Bischoff, which results in him getting hit in the nuts. And we take a break. Back with Jericho in control with some nice stiff kicks, but when he goes for a superplex Cena sends him to the mat again. Cena whiffs on a high cross, however, and we go to the chinlock. Cena fights back and tries the F-U, but Jericho reverses to the Walls. Cena can’t make the ropes because Bischoff pulls them away, so Cena moves to the other ropes instead. He fights back with a hard-fought F-U, but can’t cover. He gets two, but Bischoff puts Jericho’s foot on the ropes. And gives him brass knuckles. His motives are getting really transparent. The Power of the Punch only gets two, however. Cena sends Jericho into Bischoff, and the F-U finishes at 14:34. *** And so the WWE career of Jericho comes to an end, forever. Or three years later, whichever comes first.

Save Us Y2J! From RAW in November 2007, Jericho makes his return in a segment that was trying for the cool of the original, but Randy Orton is no Rock and babyface Jericho is generally lame.

Intercontinental title: Jeff Hardy v. Chris Jericho

From RAW, March 2008. And hey, finally this set is into the HD era. They tussle on the mat and Jericho goes for the codebreaker fast, but Hardy counters for two. Jericho dumps him with a clothesline, and we take a break already. Back with Jericho throwing the chops in the corner, but Hardy dropkicks him out, only to get caught trying a dive, as Jericho redirects him into the table. Back in, that gets two. Jericho with a backbreaker, but Hardy goes to the eyes to escape. Jericho chokes him out on the ropes, but walks into a lariat, and Hardy makes the comeback. Whisper in the Wind gets two. Jericho comes back with a northern lights suplex for two, but Hardy bridges into a backslide for two. He tries the mule kick in the corner, but misses and wipes out. Jericho goes up with a bodypress, but Hardy rolls through for two. Twist of Fate is blocked and Jericho gets a Lionsault for two. Walls are reversed into a small package for two. Jericho misses the enzuigiri and Jeff gets the Twist of Fate, but the swanton misses. Codebreaker finishes to give Jericho the title for the eighth time. Hot finish! ***1/4 Jericho’s title win ended up meaning nothing, though. This marked the beginning of his heel turn and resurgence of his career.

RAW World title, ladder match: Chris Jericho v. Shawn Michaels

From No Mercy 2008. Shawn overpowers Jericho and teases the superkick, but Jericho evades him. Shawn charges and hits the post, and Jericho hits a northern lights suplex, which leads into a pinfall reversal sequence in a match without pinfalls. Jericho clotheslines him to the apron and puts him on the floor with a nasty springboard shoulderblock. He tries whipping Shawn into the ladder, but Shawn climbs it and uses the momentum to hit a cross-body. Jericho sends him into the post again and charges with the ladder, forcing Shawn to counter with a drop toehold. Shawn gets his own ladder, but Jericho takes him down with the Walls of Jericho and brings the ladder into the ring. Shawn see-saws it into his face, however, and sets it up for the first climb attempt, as Jericho now appears to be down one tooth. Hey, that’s BLOOD. Someone alert Vince. Jericho pulls him down and catapults him, but Shawn grabs the ladder and climbs again, so Jericho brings the ladder down. Crude but effective. Jericho beats on Shawn with the ladder, then whips him into the corner, but Shawn reverses him into the ladder and brings it down on his knee. Shawn puts the ladder in the corner and adds a kneecrusher onto it, then goes to the figure-four to really kill the knee. Jericho reverses out and then kicks the ladder into Shawn’s face for good measure, then catapults him under the ladder. And then we get an incredibly brutal spot, with Shawn’s head getting sandwiched in the ladder, and Jericho climbs. Shawn stops him, so Jericho sets up the ladder in the corner and then gets reversed into it. They brawl to the floor and Jericho gets the worst of it, as Shawn drops ladders on him and BRINGS THE HATRED~! Sportsmanship is nice, but sometimes you just need a good vendetta, ya know?

Shawn puts Jericho on the table and climbs a monster ladder, but Jericho follows and you know it’s gonna be good. And indeed, it’s a backdrop suplex through the table, taking both of them out. Shawn emerges first from the wreckage and sets up with a ladder on the top rope, but Jericho recovers and dropkicks it back at him. They fight on top and Jericho climbs the ladder and sets up for a superplex, but Shawn pushes the ladder over to escape, leaving it on top of Jericho. Flying elbow onto the ladder follows, and the laws of physics say that’s a dumb move. Luckily Shawn suffers less damage and he sets up for the superkick, but Jericho counters by smashing him in the face with a ladder. I love this match. So Jericho also gets goofy by Lionsaulting Shawn under a ladder, which again hurts him worse. Jericho sets up the ladder and pins Shawn underneath, but Shawn has the POWER and pushes the ladder over, sending Jericho to the floor as a result. This seems to leave things free and clear for Shawn to win, but Jericho pushes the ladder over just as Shawn starts undoing the belt. Jericho takes his turn at climbing now, but Shawn follows him up for the slugfest on the ladder, which results in Jericho falling back and getting hung up in the rungs. Lance Cade runs in to save his meal ticket, and Shawn stops to go after him with a superkick and they battle for the belt on top. The belt is freed and Shawn hammers away in desperation, but Jericho headbutts him and falls off with the belt to win at 22:22. That finish with both guys having a tug-of-war for the belt was something else, man. Match of the year thus far, there I said it. ****3/4 And what I loved was that they didn’t try to out-crazy the previous ladder spots, but merely took the existing ones and made them more bitter and hateful. More blood (or at least intentional blood) would have been nice, too, but it didn’t hinder the match for me like it did with the Edge-UT Hell In a Cell deal. The Cade run-in really wasn’t needed, though, and that deducts the 1/4* if you’re playing along at home.

No Holds Barred, Intercontinental title: Rey Mysterio v. Chris Jericho

From Extreme Rules 2009. Jericho’s evil pre-match promo is great stuff ("I decided to become one of you…DON’T TOUCH ME!"). Rey charges in for the takedown and they brawl to the floor already, as Rey chucks a piece of the table at Jericho and dropkicks him into the railing. Jericho comes back with a whip into the stairs, but Rey does a flip off them and dropkicks them back into Jericho again. That’s a cool spot. Back in, Rey with a springboard legdrop for two. Jericho drops him onto the top rope to slow him down, then does the catapult under the ropes for two. Rey tries to go up, but Jericho shoves him down and stomps away on the apron. He tries the springboard dropkick, but Rey gets his feet up to block and then follows Jericho down with a bodypress to the floor. Back in, legdrop gets two. He sets up for the 619, but Jericho evades him. Rey blocks a blind charge and rolls him up for two, but Jericho reverses for two. Nice reversal sequence into the Walls, but Rey reverses into a cradle for two. Rey with the head kick for two. Jericho clotheslines him for two, and then slides him right out of the ring like they were in an old Western. Jericho with a front suplex on the floor, which gets two back in the ring. Jericho hits the chinlock and tries for the mask, but Rey fights out and dodges a blind charge. Jericho hits the floor and Rey follows with a tope suicida over the corner. Back in, Rey with a headscissors and a bad-looking rana for two. Not sure what happened there. Rey tries the 619 again, but Jericho catches him with the spinning backbreaker and gets two. He blocks a rana attempt with a powerbomb, but the Lionsault misses and Rey hits a 619 to the back of the head. He goes up for the splash, but Jericho counters with the Codebreaker in a great spot and that gets two. Jericho gets frustrated and grabs a chair, but Rey dropkicks it back into his face and gets two. Arabian Facebuster gets two. Drop toehold onto the chair gets two as we get all the ECW tribute spots tonight. Jericho finally counters into the Walls, but Rey grabs the chair and nails Jericho with it to break. Another 619, but Jericho unmasks him in mid-move and rolls up the stunned Mysterio for the pin at 14:32, giving him another IC title. I liked the previous month’s match a bit more because it had a better pace and more crazy reversals, but this was entertaining and hard-fought. ***3/4

Chris Jericho v. Undertaker

From Smackdown, November 2009, their first and only meeting. Undertaker was champion at this point, but apparently this is non-title. Jericho pounds away in the corner, and that goes badly for him. Taker clotheslines him to the floor and drops a leg on the apron to take over. Back in, Taker works the arm, but Jericho suplexes him off the middle rope while he’s trying to go old school. We take a break and return with Taker missing a blind charge, allowing Jericho to get a missile dropkick for two. Jericho goes to a chinlock, and boots Taker out of the ring, then whips him into the railing. Back in, he chokes away on the ropes, and that goes on for a while. They slug it out and Taker hits him with Snake Eyes, but Jericho hits a dropkick on the rebound. He walks into a big boot, but Taker misses a charge and gets caught up in the corner. Jericho stupidly pounds away, but counters out of the Last Ride and gets the Codebreaker for two. He actually tries a tombstone, but Taker reverses out of that, so Jericho clips him and hits the Lionsault. That gets no-sold, but he keeps coming with the Walls of Jericho out of a chokeslam attempt. UT powers out and reverses into the Hell’s Gate, and Jericho submits at 10:00. More of a historical curiosity than a good match. **3/4

Smackdown World title: Chris Jericho v. Edge

Edge puts him down with a pair of shoulderblocks. Edge gets a flapjack and goes for the spear early, but Jericho bails to escape and heads back in for a baseball slide. Back in with a Jericho backdrop suplex for two. We hit the chinlock and Jericho pounds away in the corner, but misses a blind charge. He comes back with a suplex onto the top rope, but misses a dive and gets sent into the announce table. Back in, they fight on the top and Edge faceplants him for two. He goes up with a flying bodypress, rolled through for two. Jericho tries the Walls, but Edge powers out and gets a sunset flip for two. Jericho tries the Codebreaker and gets sent into the corner to block, but Edge tries a spear and Jericho turns it into the Walls. Edge reverses into a small package for two. Lionsault misses and Edge gets the Edge-O-Matic for two (am I the only one in the world who still calls it that?), but Jericho with an enzuigiri for two. Edge hits the Impaler for two. Jericho gets a forearm off the top and sets up for his own spear, but walks into Edge’s boot. Edge tries his own, but walks into the Codebreaker. Well really, he waited for the crowd to chant "spear", what did he expect? That gets two. So now we get to the meat of the match, as Jericho starts stomping on the Achilles tendon and then gets the Walls again (wouldn’t an anklelock be more apropos?), then turns it into a half-crab on the injured ankle. Edge channels his inner Dan Hardy and makes the ropes, then rolls up Jericho for two. Cactus clothesline puts them both on the floor, and the ref is bumped. Jericho nails Edge with the "championship" and gets two. IT’S A FUCKING BELT, MICHAEL COLE! A championship is an abstract concept, that is a BELT. Codebreaker finishes clean at 15:43. Really? That was actually looking it was going to be a good 20-25 minutes once Jericho started working the ankle. Oh well, Edge is boring as a babyface anyway. They really need to have the Royal Rumble winner actually win one of these years, though. This wasn’t "close the show" great, but it was never boring and the finish totally made sense. I’m also glad to see Jericho get his first Wrestlemania win since, what, 2001? ***3/4 Edge snaps afterwards and spears Jericho off the announce table, showing that he’s a sore loser as well as a choker.

The Bottom Line

Obviously there’s some gigantic omissions in the match listing (hint: Most of them either involved blood or Chris Benoit), but for what they were able to put on there, it’s hard to complain about the quality level here. Plus there’s a minimum of duplications (outside of the same WCW stuff they used for other sets) and some alternate commentary tracks, all of which adds up to a lot of bang for your bucks. Highly recommended!



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The SmarK DVD Rant for Breaking the Code: Behind the Walls of Chris Jericho



The SmarK DVD Rant for Breaking The Code: Behind the Walls of Chris Jericho.

That’s quite the mouthful.

Anyway, my experimentation with the review format last time out (the Ricky Steamboat set) was something of a disaster, but the fact remains that I hate doing documentary discs, so for the first disc I called in a pinch hitter in the form of Charlie Reneke, who is never at a loss for words.

Disc One

Hey Blog of Doomers, Charlie Reneke here to fill in for Scott on Disc One of Breaking the Code: Behind the Walls of Chris Jericho. Scott will be in with the matches later, but until then if you’re curious what the feature is like, I’m here with the details. It runs about 100 minutes, and is recapped below. Be sure to check out my Way Too Long Archive at Inside Pulse in the near future for my match reviews, plus a special look at the matches that SHOULD have been included. At least according to my friend TK, who lost the bet that got me this DVD. And if you enjoy this review, you should check out http://www.hugsforzach.org/ which is a charity set up by TK for his friend Zach, who was critically injured in an accident back in September. Zach faces a long, painful road to recovery and your donations will help with that. Check out the website and donate a buck or two.

-Jericho grew up in Winnipeg. His father was a hockey player, and his mom was into Chris’ creativity. She often said to him, "Son, when you grow up I hope you become a boring, catchphrase spewing poser of a hero until everyone gets sick of you and then you can really shine as a bad guy." Wow, that’s a mother who knows her son. It shows him playing various sports in home movies. Young Chris had the funniest squeak of a voice. Jericho wanted to be a wrestler and a rock star when he grew up. He watched a lot of AWA and listened to the Beatles. Presumably his favorite song was "All You Need Is Love… or failing that a Steel Chair." Great song.

-We get to see him as a teenager with his bands. Jericho apparently talked music often. You see various pictures that look straight out of a Bill & Ted movie. He started watching Stampede Wrestling when he was sixteen, which hocked the Hart Brothers camp at the end of each episode. He wrote to them but wasn’t old enough (they required you to be 18) so he got into creative writing to kill time. He met Jesse Ventura at a charity hockey game and asked if he had any advice. "Yes, study the footage of the towers collapsing. You can totally tell it was a controlled explosion. Trust me kid, that will come in handy in 2001." Jericho is like, "okay, so by 2001 I’ll know you’re totally off your fucking rocker. Good to hear. But I actually meant advice about wrestling." Ventura is like "oh… well get a degree and be ready for a lot of pain. Not unlike the pain that will be felt by all those suckers in Minnesota when they vote for me in 1998. Heh. Trust me kid, that’ll come in handy later too."

-So he packs his shit and goes to Calgary for the Hart school. The first person he runs into is Lance Storm. Jericho and Lance were the only athletes in the group and latched onto each-other. There were actually no Hart brothers involved except to come and collect their tuition checks. But the trainer used Stu Hart’s training bible as a guideline. We get some very early footage of their matches, with Chris dressed like the long lost third member of the Rockers. Bret Hart talks about seeing a news story on Jericho and thinking he was impressive.

-Jericho got a hookup to go to Mexico in 1992 and man, he was one sexy dude. I’m not gay but if I had been around back then I would make an exception. He got signed by EMLL (currently CMLL) where he went by the name "Corazón de León", literally "Heart of a Lion." He worked there for two years. He became a celebrity there, doing as much as four shows a day there.

-He also spent time in Germany, where he worked the same arena every day for six weeks. You had to change everything every night there. He also did stuff in Smokey Mountain Wrestling, where he tagged with Lance Storm as the Thrillseekers. We get some footage of their high-flying moves there. Jericho didn’t learn a lot about wrestling from there, but he learned a ton about cutting promos.

-All the guys he respected worked in Japan, so he wanted to as well. He got booked to work for WAR, which stood for Wrestling and Romance. He had a great feud with Ultimo Dragon, among other people. He made a name for himself among real wrestling fans, at which point Jericho makes sure to exclude Vince McMahon from that list before naming guys like Paul Heyman, Jim Cornette, and Mick Foley. He knew that sooner of later he would end up in the WWE.

-Instead he goes to ECW, where despite being a pretty boy, the fans didn’t instantly hate him. He was pushed hard by Heyman, including becoming the first person to suplex Taz. Because all the original ECW fans were tape traders, they had followed his career to that point and were already fans, plus he was booked as the "Last Survivor of the Hart Dungeon." Ha, time will see if that’s true. You’re about halfway there, Chris. He also credits Mick Foley as the main reason he got booked there, and we see highlights of their match, along with various other ECW stuff. But WCW came knocking quick, so he had to split. And the fans actually didn’t crucify him for it.

-Jericho was part of Antonio Inoki’s Peace Festival, at the time in Los Angeles, when he met Eric Bischoff, who immediately hired him. He needed people to fill up the cruiserweight division. Jericho calls it a culture shock, and talks about how bad his first matches there were. Being a squeaky clean babyface at the start of the Attitude Era was not the best idea and his first year there was uneventful. Jericho thinks the cruiserweights were the reason for WCW’s success because WWE’s main events were about ten times better then WCW’s. But the undercard is what the majority of shows contain and WCW’s blew WWE’s away. Can’t argue there, but laying it all on the cruiserweights is very arrogant. I was fifteen, sixteen at the time and I hate to break this to Jericho but outside of internet forums, the majority of the people I talked to about wrestling only cared about the Hogans, Pipers, Nashs, Savages, etc. And hell, the one midcard guy everyone talked about was Diamond Dallas Page. Sad but true. The cruiserweights only served to make sure nobody bitched about the show when they were talking about how the nWo had defeated the entire roster again.

-So finally WCW turns Jericho heel, which is what he wanted all along. He avoided becoming the cool heel by being the whiniest person ever. Imagine Matt Hardy if he was a wrestler. He cuts some of the most silly, stupid, hilarious promos ever. And it got over huge. Nobody from the office paid much attention to him so he just said whatever he wanted. But the fans were paying attention and that’s what matters. I miss that Chris Jericho and I hope the WWE creates a similar gimmick sometime in the near future.

-Chris Jericho is a conspiracy victim following the loss of his title to Dean Malenko. He goes so far to go to the Library of Congress, with a big sign that says "Conspiracy Victim" and walks around the rest of Washington. He even talks with an honest-to-God conspiracy theorist with a protest sign who advises him on what to look up. Crazy stuff. We then jump backwards somewhat to see Chris Jericho: Man of 1004 holds. Armdrag, armbar, Moss-Covered Three-Handled Family Credenza (a line from the Cat in the Hat, and Paul Heyman got such a kick out of it that as an announcer for WWE later, he gave the name to Perry Saturn’s swinging fisherman’s suplex), armbar, armbar, armbar, etc. Then we go to commercial and he jaws with the fans while the cameras are dark to heat them up, then he goes back to listing the holds. Then Prince Iaukea hits the ring and knocks the list out of his hands, leading to Jericho moaning "MY HOLDS, MY HOLDS! GIMMIE BACK MY HOLDS!" This is seriously classic stuff. Anyone who hasn’t followed Jericho’s career since his WCW days is going to love this DVD.

-Jericho shows up to Fall Brawl ’98 despite the fact that they had no plans for him. This is par for the course for WCW, who flew in their entire 100+ man roster to every televised show just in case. On the day of the show, Terry Taylor decides to pencil in a match for Jericho, putting him against Goldberg, the World Heavyweight Champion at the time and the hottest act WCW had. Only it wasn’t really Goldberg, but rather a midget. This wasn’t supposed to lead to an angle, and was just given to Jericho because Taylor himself thought it would be funny. Jericho hires some personal security, including toothless WCW roadie Ralphus and some guy named the "Jerichoholic Ninja" to parody Goldberg’s security detail. He gets lost finding his way to the ring. But he does make his way out and beats the midget Goldberg handily and thus claims he has ended Goldberg’s streak. And that was that.

Well actually, no. The real Goldberg, being the clueless twatwaffle that he is, got pissed at Jericho for making his character look bad. Presumably Goldberg figured someone might mistake him for the midget. Which clearly wasn’t true… the midget knew how to wrestle for one thing. But Terry Taylor (one of the head bookers at the time) loved it and kept booking it. Jericho mocked Goldberg for nearly two months, claiming a 4 win, 0 loss record. The fans wanted to see Goldberg MURDER Jericho. Goldberg is shown saying that he thought it was stupid because he was bigger then Jericho in size and nobody would want to see the match. Bischoff says that Goldberg was immature. The angle got over but Goldberg had somehow managed to renegotiate his contract and Bischoff didn’t want to upset the applecart. Thus, Jericho was booked to lose to Goldberg in a minute like everyone else.

Jericho’s ball sack grew three sizes that day and he refused. Jericho said he had no problem jobbing to Goldberg, but he felt he deserved to do it on Pay Per View. Fun story not mentioned here, but talked about in his book, is that Hulk Hogan agreed to let Jericho run an angle on Nitro where he would let Goldberg spear him in the aisle way just to show how much the fans wanted to see the two finally make contact. We get the clip here and it’s epic, with Goldberg trying to legitimately injure Chris Jericho right there, live on Nitro, with the hardest unprotected spear in wrestling history. HOLY FUCK! I mean seriously. He speared him at least seven feet, not including Jericho flipping afterwards. Allow me to channel Jim Ross for a second: GOD ALMIGHTY! GOD ALMIGHTY! GOD ALMIGHTY! Hogan later tracked Jericho down backstage, in the midcard locker room (where he normally dared not to go) and gave Jericho props for standing his ground, the first time anyone could remember Hogan doing such a thing for a midcarder since he arrived in WCW, and likely long before that.

The plan was then going to be Goldberg would wrestle Jericho in the greatest squash match in wrestling history at WCW World War III in November of 1998, with Jericho wrestling in gimmicked boots that would fly off when he got speared in the opening seconds, followed by a severe beating for three or four minutes and then a dozen jackhammers to finish. No joke. But, Goldberg was satisfied with the spear on Nitro and refused to work with Jericho further, declaring that he had been given World War III off. And that was the end of the angle. They never paid it off with a match. And when Jericho found that out, he had decided he was finished with WCW.

Oh, and the whole "nobody would believe a guy like Chris Jericho could beat up a guy like Goldberg" thing that Billy talked about? Yea. In 2003 when Goldberg arrived in the WWE, he got into a legitimate fight backstage with Jericho that ended with him being punked out and caught in an actual submission hold. Twice. In a row.

-From that point forward, he was set to go to WWE, and in August of 1999 he signed the contract. Actually he signed in June of ’99, while he was still technically on the WCW roster, but you get the point. He got the idea for the millennium countdown from a billboard in the post office. The countdown ended August 9, 1999, while the Rock was busy cutting a promo, and Jericho got one of the biggest pops of all time.

It simply floored me at how quickly the WWE was able to grab the bull by the horns with him. In WCW, he was NEVER anywhere near getting above mid-card level. I mean smack dab in the midcard, no wiggle room to go up. He debuts in the WWE and instantly gets the biggest pop of the entire year, by far. And actually WCW tried to re-sign him to a huge contract, attaching so many bonuses and dillies that it would have put him in the seven-figures-a-year club, so even they realized what had gone to waste with him, and how big the WWE could make him. So kudos to Jericho. Earlier in the year, all the hype was on Big Show’s jump from WCW to WWE. Big Show had been a two time World Champion and one of the center attractions of WCW. Jericho had only been Cruiserweight and Television Champion, and never considered anywhere remotely close to the main event scene. And yet upon debut to the WWE, Jericho was instantly more well received then Big Show was. The WWE also managed to botch his opening run as well.

-So anyway, Jericho debuts with an over the top promo, talking about the falling ratings of WWE and how he would save the company. The Rock then totally destroyed him while coming back. Michael Hayes calls it one of the best debuts in wrestling history. Jericho actually hates it in retrospect, talking about how cheesy he looked and acted. And then the WWE forgot about him completely.

-Jericho remembers sitting at No Mercy ’99, where the Hardys and Edge & Christian tore the house down. And he wasn’t part of the card. He was pretty bitter about that. He had no clue what he had done wrong. He admits that he didn’t live up to the hype. Actually, I’m guessing this will be the opening subject of his next book, but in the closing chapter of A Lion’s Tale Jericho mentions how Vince didn’t realize how goofy he wore his hair and dressed in the ring. Well, Vince never watched WCW. Period. All he knew about Jericho is what he heard from his cronies like Vince Russo. Well finally Vince offers him a spot against Chyna. Jericho is like "psssh, you kidding me?" but outwardly says "I love it!"

-"As crazy as it sounds now, at the time she was the Intercontinental Champion." Fucking OUCH! One of the most brutal, deadpan burials I’ve ever heard. He was also equally brutal to her in the promos during the feud. And at the very least, he felt confident he would take the belt from her. She beat him at the Survivor Series with a pedigree off the top rope that was every bit as botched and ugly as her facial surgery. He then made her tap out the following month at Armageddon with the Walls of Jericho. The two then ended up being co-IC champions following a lame finish during Smackdown.

-This led to Jericho feuding with Stephanie McMahon, who he was allowed to say some pretty mean stuff to. And thankfully most of it is not censored here. "Filthiest, dirtiest, most disgusting, skankiest, brutal, bottom feeding trashbag-ho." This got over huge. Some of it does get censored later though, but the trashbag-ho line is completely there and thus I’m happy. Jericho talks about how she was a good foil for him. He talks about the irony that his first feud was with a quote unquote girl (Chyna) but the one that got him over was with a girl as well. Jericho was going to bitch to the office about how he wasn’t being used when in April of 2000 he beat Triple H for the WWE title on Raw. It didn’t stick but the fans were momentarily so happy that they shit their pants. Michael Hayes thinks they should have kept the belt on him, because of how the fans reacted. And yea, I remember reading that Michael Hayes was in Vince McMahon’s ear backstage saying they needed to just keep the belt on him. But it was not to be.

-Jericho’s officially launched as a huge babyface. And then we skip EVERYTHING up until Vengeance on December 9, 2001. Mostly because that stuff centered around he who shall not be named. Thanks again, Crippler. Jericho won the WCW Championship from the Rock with a Rock Bottom. Austin immediately comes out for the unification match. Horrible booking. The two title matches should have opened the show and given the guys a chance to catch their breath. Austin did have a small window for it, but Jericho had none and he was pretty pooped. Booker T KOs Austin with the World Title belt and Jericho pins him to become the Undisputed Champion, with Jericho again kind of doing a weird self-burial with his voice as he notes that it took six guys to do it. Afterwards, he sat back with both belts thinking "all I ever wanted was to be IC champion."

-Joey Styles notes how happy he was for Jericho and what it meant for smaller guys. And yes, Jericho did pave the way for non-heavyweights everywhere to have uninspired, poorly booked, poorly received runs with the world belts. Then he got paired with Stephanie McMahon and the disaster was complete. He then main evented Wrestlemania in Toronto, but only because Hogan was a senior citizen and the main event window was past his bed time. Even Jericho thinks it should have gone on last. Michael Hayes says the Hogan/Rock match exhausted the crowd and they had nothing left for Trips/Jericho. Michael Hayes calls the match phenomenal. I remember it being a total stink bomb, mostly because Triple H was not in fighting shape from his injury the previous May. Jericho says that he’s happy to be in such limited company of being on last at a Wrestlemania. Yea? Well so was Yokozuna. Twice. And Sid, twice.

-Everyone talks about how versatile he is in the ring and runs down all the great matches he’s had. John Cena talks about how his first pay-per-view match was against Jericho and he helped him a lot. This leads to the Highlight Reel which I always felt was lame, obscenely expensive Jeritron 5000 not withstanding. These days you can pick up the same style TVs at Wal Mart for around a grand. He wanted to call the show Jericho’s Junction, but that was shot down. Those two chapters were lame.

-Onto the Shawn Michaels feud. Jericho is more then happy to mock Shawn’s hairdo at the time, but also notes Shawn still had a sore back and wasn’t sure if he was going to work full time. So for Shawn to choose Jericho was a big honor for him. These leads to their awesome match at Wrestlemania 19 that I was privileged to watch live. Michael Hayes calls it Jericho’s best match. Jericho says it was the best match on the show and I will give him that, but Brock/Angle was really close.

-He teams Christian and they made a great pair. They had a similar sense of humor and their comedy timing was perfect. They were just thrown together with no plans but made it work. The one dollar (Canadian) bet angle is discussed here which turned him babyface again. Trish turned on Jericho and became the coolest female heel EVER. God I loved her at that period. She had "it" factor. "Canada Sucks" is still one of my favorite lines.

-Jericho decides he’s ready to step away for a while and decides to feud with John Cena to close out his WWE run, even though it wasn’t originally booked. Jericho doesn’t want to hear anyone say Cena sucks. He says he’s "awesome" and that he might be unorthodox compared to everyone else but "so was Stone Cold Steve Austin." It’s pretty cool because to this point Jericho had been paying lip service to smart marks, and now he’s basically telling them to fuck off. The fans turned on Cena for the first time during this feud and they never let up on him afterwards. He thinks the fans wanted to see him win the title and I agree, but Jericho loses that match, then a rematch the next night and gets fired. Jericho calls being dragged out of the arena kicking and screaming "one of the favorite moments of my career." He loved it, because "that’s what a bad guy does."

-He was burned out mentally and just needed to step back after fifteen years. He had been married and he had a band, a radio show, and an acting career. He had a son, plus twins then. Dean Malenko calls Jericho "his own media company" while Christian calls him a workaholic. He ended up working for VH1 to show off his useless pop-culture knowledge. Then we get to hear about his band Fozzy. He met Rich Ward, lead guitarist for them, at a WCW event they were attending because his band had done work for Diamond Dallas Page. The way Ward describes the meeting sounds almost like Jericho swooned for them. Anyway, Jericho joined up with his jam band and they were a hit because half the audience showed up to see him fail. He didn’t. They were signed by a big label to be a cover band, but they hated that so they wrote their own stuff. Jericho was inspired by Andy Kaufman to do the split personality thing, so he came up with Moongoose McQueen, who was the stuck up lead singer that Chris Jericho the wrestler would be in love with. And the Brooklyn Brawler makes his required DVD appearance in the form of a story Jericho tells about how the Brawler said he looked just like McQueen, who said some nasty things about Chris. "Brawler… THAT IS ME!" "Well I didn’t know that."

-They ended up becoming a serious band after an appearance on the Howard Stern show. Edge notes it’s a real band that has chops (and suplexes, and Boston Crabs). You get to hear a few clips of their music. I’m not much for music so I won’t comment (coughTHEYSUCKhack). Chasing the Grail made it on the Billboard charts. Jericho says that if you stick to something and apply yourself to it, it can be successful. The only people who tell you otherwise are failures.

-Jericho wrote a book called a Lion’s Tale that is my personal choice for the best book ever written about professional wrestling. Fuck all those purists who like Lou Thesz’s snooze fest. I promise at least a dozen moments that will have you laughing until your side hurts. GET IT NOW YOU FOOLS!

-Chris Jericho’s mother passed away on December 4, 2005. She was a big supporter of his creative side. She was paralyzed after her boyfriend at the time assaulted her, about two weeks before Jericho’s first match, and then she died shortly after his last match. Most of the guys in the WWE didn’t see him too much while he was away. Wrestlemania came up in 2007 with the main event being Shawn Michaels vs. John Cena for the belt. Jericho called it the match "he wanted to see." It was the first time he had watched wrestling since he was away. And like any addict, once you break yourself from something it’s total abstinence or total addiction. Jericho was like "it should be me." They had the rematch on Raw that he also watched and Jericho decided he wanted to come back. He texted Vince McMahon and told him he was ready.

-Can you break the code? One of the best vignette devices ever was the JeriCode, which came about because they couldn’t possibly top his WWE debut. I personally thought the actual return was botched terribly, especially when they showed him on screen BEFORE they showed the Code getting solved. And then he came out and looked more like the second coming of Liberace. Edge kind of politely says he was a bust upon return and that Jericho realized it himself and had to reinvent himself. And boy did he.

Okay, keeping it real: I never was a fan of Chris Jericho. Especially as a babyface. I think he was mediocre in the ring and boring on the microphone. His return to WWE was about as well received by me as a catheter pumping Tabasco sauce up my penis. His "Me wanty a title shot" promo I felt was a new low in stupidity, replacing John Cena’s "Ruck Fules" t-shirt (that promo is totally ignored here, thank Christ). But after his heel turn, something happened. He actually became incredible in the ring. And his paranoid promos were highlights on whatever show they were on. I love the new Chris Jericho. Hopefully when he returns it’s not as the smiley dope that came back in 2007.

-Chris Jericho turns heel on Shawn Michaels on the Highlight Reel. Awesome segment, highlighted by Jericho smashing Shawn’s face through the now reasonably priced Jeritron 5000. Jericho says it was the end of the Y2J era. Jericho wasn’t sure what direction he should take his character, then he saw No Country for Old Men and based his new heel on Anton Chigurh, the sociopath villain of the movie. The Chigurh character talked slowly, deliberately, and to the point. Around the same time he saw the flick, the WWE released the best of the AWA DVD which featured Nick Bockwinkel. That’s where Jericho got the idea to wear a suit and use words that would go over the audience’s heads. He got rid of the countdown in his intro and legitimately tried to not entertain the fans, which is exactly what a bad guy would do. It’s brilliant. And it worked, with Jericho netting several RSPW awards, including Best Overall Wrestler and Best Worker, both of which had alluded him his whole career.

-We do get a black-and-white filter to avoid blood being seen during his match with Shawn Michaels. For those that wonder why this is done on the feature but not on the matches, it’s because the feature is usually aired on pay-per-view. Anyway, Edge talks about how much extra effort Jericho puts into the storylines. The new character was so successful that after dropping a match to Shawn Michaels, unsanctioned at Unforgiven 2008, Chris Jericho wins the World Heavyweight Championship later that night after taking CM Punk’s spot in the Scramble Match. Oddly enough the dried blood on his arm is not cause for filtering. Anyway, Jericho says he could have retired in 2005 and been satisfied with his career. To come back with the goal of being better, then actually living up to that was an accomplishment for him. A funny side story is that Vince McMahon had called Chris Jericho, during his 2002 run as Undisputed Champion, the "the biggest flop we ever had" or something along those lines. Jericho was able to come back and become a very effect champion so there’s pie in your eye, Vinnie Mac. All the props in the world to him, he earned it.

-Big Show calls Jericho an asset because he can have a good match with anyone. Rey Mysterio says that he thinks Jericho’s best matches were against him. Jericho says previous encounters in WCW, Mexico, and Japan never lived up to the hype. He also notes that he thought Mysterio was 12 when they first met and not 18, and made Rey show his ID. Hilarious. This leads to their feud over Rey’s mask. Jericho’s promos were pure, glorious evil, the best of the year by far. It was my choice for 2009’s feud of the year. Edge thinks the twists and turns of the feud was very entertaining. Matt Hardy says "Moghau gahbua blahalala!" which I think means he liked the feud.

-This leads to Edge and Chris Jericho’s tag team. Michael Hayes notes the plans for it were very big before Edge’s injury, but nobody could have seen the injury coming. From the horse’s mouth, proof positive the WWE has no sense of pattern recognition. Big Show took his place and Jericho loved it. They’ve been friends forever too so there’s no egos or anything involved. We get highlights of their run. Jericho then threatens to win the Royal Rumble, but Edge hobbles out at #29 to win it. Jericho gets one of the all time great digs in when he tells Edge "I don’t know what it’s like to come back from injury because I don’t get injured." That was so brutal that it caused Edge to bust an ear drum and develop a hernia just listening to it. Jericho wins the World Heavyweight Champion at Elimination Chamber this year and ends up going to Wrestlemania for the ultimate undercard world title match. Jericho walked out the champion in a match that was shockingly watchable despite Edge’s lack of mobility.

-Jericho hooks up with Wade Barrett in the first season of NXT. Jericho says when he first started wrestling that guys his current age were in the middle of their careers (sure makes it sound like he’s at the tail end of his, no?) and so he wanted to help Barrett and all newcomers out a lot. Jericho said that Barrett would be a huge star with or without him because he’s a good worker and good on the stick. He says nobody watched his back when he first started and his advice to Barrett was legitimate.

-Time to go home. Jericho says that despite what he says in the ring, he doesn’t believe he’s the best wrestler in the world and that anyone who believes so about themselves has a shitty attitude. Jericho says he wishes he was better then he is as a wrestler and in promos. And I believe him, because a lot of guys his age wouldn’t evolve as a performer at his age, which he has. Everyone talks about how good Jericho is. Barrett says he might have more crossover appeal then anyone in the business. It’s kind of funny though, because in my opinion Jericho’s success outside the ring has little to do with his wrestling career. Did wrestling open up doors for him? Yes. But unlike Hulk Hogan or the Rock (the only two other wrestling stars who had massive success on his level, Roddy Piper starring in They Live not withstanding) Jericho I believe would have found a way to open those doors. Hell, he was a game show host. The show sucked balls and he seems to not have been as quick-witted as you would think he would be, but it was still a major prime-time network game show with all the bells and whistles and he was selected to host it. Let’s see Daniel Bryan accomplish that.

Jericho notes that he doesn’t want a hero’s sendoff when he retires. He wants to be dragged out of the arena, kicking and screaming. He doesn’t want a retirement ceremony. He wants no hoopla, just "gone forever" and people saying "what a jerk, I’m glad he’s gone." And that’s the end of the feature.

This really felt like a goodbye. It covered most of the bases of his career, and for those angry that Chris Benoit didn’t show up for even a split-second cameo, I say phooey on you. This was one of the best biographical features the WWE has done. It was very entertaining and for those recent fans who haven’t followed every aspect of Chris Jericho’s career, this is the DVD feature for you, because it was vastly entertaining, and very honest as well. I grew even more as a fan of his while I watched it.

There’s some disc one bonus features.

A Young Fanatic: Jericho talks about how he and his friend had committed the entire Ricky Steamboat/Randy Savage Wrestlemania III match to memory and would recreate it in his parents’ basement. He talks about how intimidated he was by the bigger guys at the shows when he was autograph seeking.

Jack Action: Jericho’s describes how he got his ring name. He originally wanted to be called Jack Action. Hilarity ensues. This whole story is hilarious. He got the name from a German heavy metal band. The promoter loved it, and decided he would be Cowboy Chris Jericho from Casper, Wyoming. What is it with promoters wanting Canadian wrestlers to be cowboys? I heard someone even wanted Chris Benoit to be called "Cowboy Chris Benoit." I can’t come up with a joke for that one.

Leon de Oro: Jericho notes that all the guys he liked had animal names so he wanted to be called the Golden Lion (Leon de Oro). The promoter in Mexico said "no, your name will be He-Man." I HAVE THE POWER! So they were going to give him a sword, the loincloth outfit, and presumably a green cat named Cringer. This lead to an American Idol style show that would decide his name, either Leon de Oro, He-Man, or Chris Power. He wasn’t sure what was worse, that Leon De Oro only beat He-Man by a vote of 72 to 68, that Chris Power got 17, or that only "like 117 people were watching." Math isn’t his strong suit, obviously.

Thrill Seekers Vignette #1: We see Lance Storm and Chris Jericho working out in the gym, with some of the worst 80s era music I’ve heard… which is really bad because this is in the mid 1990s. This is supposed to show off their hot bods. But it’s just too over the top and cheesy and it’s not like these guys are Hulk Hogan or anything. After two minutes and thirty seconds of this, we see them hit the juice bar and leave the gym, head to their apartment, and then hook up with two of the skankiest hoes you’ve ever seen. Jericho hated this (and all the Thrill Seekers promos) and buried Jim Cornette in his book for coming up with them. I guess Corny’s feelings were a bit hurt too.

Thrill Seekers Vignette #2: The Bromance continues as they talk about how they’re going to seek thrills. Then we get various clips of them standing around doing nothing, followed by them RACING GO-KARTS! Now I’m sure this would seem exciting to Jim Cornette, who’s entire life from the time his voice cracked until today has revolved exclusively around watching guys roll around in their underwear pretending to fight each other, but I simply refuse to believe that Jericho couldn’t say "this sucked" and used chloroform if necessary to take Corny out of the picture while they came up with better stuff. We go from Go-Karts to an ice skating rank and seriously, the Thrill Seekers seem like they’re more interested in fucking each other then wrestling. Replace the generic rock soundtrack with a generic romance track and it would work. I actually don’t think either of these vignettes have any value even as cheese and should be avoided. I made it three minutes into this one (5 minutes, 10 seconds total) and I couldn’t take anymore. Avoid.

Have You Heard of Chris Jericho?: Christian talks about how him and Edge and a few of the other guys were in awe of Jericho when he debuted, but they all hung out before then. They made of game of asking people when they would go out to party if they had heard of Chris Jericho, and they never found anyone who hadn’t, even before his WWE debut.

Paul Heyman’s Roommate: Hilarious story about Paul Heyman that was told about him his book. Jericho tried to get into ECW for over a year but Heyman would blow him off, saying that he was on the other line with someone important, or that he was Paul’s roommate Dave. Dave E. Dangerously. Okay I so call dibs on that as my name.

Mister Salty: Joey Styles tells a story about how, while in ECW, Jericho tied up Too Cold Scorpio in a submission hold that Styles had never seen or heard of, so he improvised the name "Mister Salty" because it looked like a pretzel. It became a running gag between them that exists to this day.

The Man of 1,004 Holds (3/30/98 Nitro): You get the full four minute sequence of Jericho talking about knowing more holds then Dean Malenko. This is fucking glorious. #10, right handed punch. #11, left handed punch. Booyah, I know how to do two wrestling moves! I know more wrestling moves then Ted DiBiase! I would also like to point out that I forgot how terrible Tony Schiavone was on commentary during this time frame. He wasn’t always, but towards the end of 1997 Eric Bischoff allegedly started to ride him about how he wasn’t emotional enough on commentary and kept doing so until Tony started talking over the heels during their promos, which really should be a big no-no. Commentators are window dressing to the event. They should flow so seamlessly with the action that you don’t even realize they’re there. Schiavone was actually very good with that in the mid 90s, and it wasn’t until 1998 that he truly became grating. Lots of smart fans have always hated on him, and yes he botched the name of a move or two, but I did like him. With the current Cole/Striker/Lawler three man team that is like a sandpaper skull-fucking to your senses every pay-per-view, I know I can’t be the only person nostalgic for the days of commentators like Tony Schiavone or Vince McMahon.

Conspiracy Victim (6/1/98 Nitro): This is the Borat of wrestling. Chris Jericho walks around Washington DC completely in character, looking for evidence of a conspiracy against him by WCW and ways to fight back on it. Legitimate guards at the United States Capitol tell him he has to leave. He then is shown on a street corner, dressed in a suit and holding a sign identifying him as a conspiracy victim. He talks to an actual nut job monster shouter about how he was screwed. He goes to the gate of the White House to speak with Bill Clinton about it and the actual guard gets very, very defensive. He then goes to the Library of Congress to look up the rules on WCW title belts. Awesome segment and it’s amazing that WCW was able to cleverly film this in a way that didn’t show off the wheelbarrow Jericho needed to carry his huge balls around in.

Father Knows Best (6/11/98 Thunder): Chris Jericho finds out that he has to wrestle Dean Malenko at the Great American Bash after Jericho successfully found a loophole to reclaim the title. But Jo Jo Dillon refuses to actually let him hold the belt and so Jericho throws a fit. Then his father shows up and yells at him. His dad doesn’t really look anything like him. Awesome segment that was apparently going to lead to his dad turning heel on Malenko, except WCW stiffed his pay for this appearance and it never happened.

Hello, Lexington! (9/10/98 Thunder): Jericho has Ralphus and the Jerichoholic Ninja to help him make his entrance for his match, Goldberg style, but this tribute to This Is Spinal Tap became the real thing when gets locked outside and bangs on the door, only someone pokes his head through a different door and ruins the skit. His opponent, Wraith, tries to find him on the outside and gives chase, but we cut away without seeing the match. Not that good honestly.

Do You Smell What Y2J is Cookin’? (10/30/00 Raw): Jericho and Rock are about to have a number one contender’s match and are both being interviewed by Michael Cole. Both guys cut each other off multiple times in a very bland, catch-phrase heavy promo. I think most of the Rock’s stuff has aged about as gracefully as Lindsay Lohan has. I found this to be pretty painful.

Sharing a Beer with Stone Cold Steve Austin (8/25/03 Raw): After the show goes off the air, Austin and Jericho have a moment. Jericho does an introduction to it, noting that this was more common back then. This segment runs nearly fifteen minutes and is fucking awesome despite it’s heavy use of the annoying "WHAT" stuff. Jericho is cutting a promo on the city when Steve Austin runs out to cut him off and have a beer and they verbally joust. After ranting and raving, Jericho refuses to toast a beer with Steve because he knows it means he’ll get a stunner. Austin kisses his ass and Jericho agrees to one. Austin goes to toss him a beer but Jericho fails to catch it and the fans boo the holy hell out of him. Both guys look like they can barely keep a straight face this whole time. They then toast and Jericho eats a stunner, complete with spit-take sell job. Totally improvised and it was pretty good. They could make a DVD of just these types of things.

Chris Jericho vs. The Old Man (11/17/09 Smackdown): Another post-show deal, but this one about a third of the length of the previous one. The fans start to leave but Jericho yells at them because he’s not done talking. He ends up picking a fight with a 65-year-old man at ringside. Jericho loses his cool and ejects everyone from the building. Which was convenient because the show was over. Somewhat funny, even more so because the referee seemed to be getting yelled at in his earpiece for Jericho to wrap it up.

Jericho’s Junction: A highlight reel of some of his funniest lines and bits over the years. Sadly, the "Me Wanty a Title Shot" is shown. Better is a fan saying "go back to Toronto!" "I’m from Winnipeg you idiot!" You get about eight minutes of highlights here.

Fozzy Music Video – Let the Madness Begin: Yea, not my cup of tea.

Disc Two

Now onto my favorite part – the matches!

Cowboy Chris Jericho v. Lance T. Storm

From a nothing show in Calgary in 1990, with the debut match for both Storm and Jericho, fresh out of the Hart Dungeon during the dying days of Stampede Wrestling. Alternate commentary with Jericho and Matt Striker reveals two crucial bits of information: First, Striker is a much more bearable and relaxed commentator when freed from his headset, and second, the “T” in Storm’s name stands for “Thunder”. That being said, “Lance Thunder Storm” sounds like a native American porn star, so perhaps it’s a good thing that he dropped that nickname fairly soon into his career. Both guys are eager to please the crowd here, so they trade armbar reversals in energetic fashion, allowing Jericho to control, but Storm backdrops out. Monkey flip out of the corner and Storm goes to a chinlock for a bit. Snap suplex gets two. Jericho dives into a rollup for two, but Storm goes to a chinlock again. Jericho comes back with a dropkick for two, and a splash for two. Jericho with a rana (in 1990!), reversed by Storm into a sunset flip for two. Jericho with a small package for two, but Storm goes up with a flying elbow for two. Rollup gets two. Jericho snaps off a crucifix for two. Storm pounds him down and gets a slick belly to belly suplex for two. Jericho with a springboard bodypress out of the corner for two, and a big splash gets two. Backslide gets two. And the bell rings for a 10:00 draw, at 11:21. For a debut match in 1990, where state of the art American wrestling was Brian Pillman doing missile dropkicks, this was pretty fantastic. They were both way too amped up and sloppy, but I always love to see guys excited to be out there, even if it’s in front of 80 people in a Calgary bar. Definitely worth a look. ***1/2

The Thrillseekers v. The Infernos

From Smoky Mountain Wrestling in March of 1994 now, as Storm and Jericho make their SMW debut. And god bless Jim Cornette, the Infernos are “Fire and Brimstone”. That is just so fucking awesome for a generic masked jobber team to get that kind of witty thought put into it. Sadly, in the PG era of the WWE, the essential Thrillseekers match (a **** bloodbath against the Heavenly Bodies where Jericho competed with a broken arm) is omitted from the collection entirely. Storm gets a springboard bodypress on Fire and brings in Jericho, who knocks Brimstone off the apron and brings him in for a delayed suplex that gets two. Double team clothesline gets two for Storm. Jericho with a lariat, and both Seekers go up to finish with a double dropkick off the same turnbuckle, at 3:01. Good squash for our heroes.

Ultimo Dragon v. Chris Jericho

From WAR in July of 1995, and this tape is actually from Jericho’s personal collection, according to the commentary. The VHS tracking issues at the bottom are a dead giveaway. A VHS dub, transferred into glorious HD! The ridiculous Jericho-themed bars on the sides of the screen are the icing on the cake here. They trade monkey flips, but it’s a stalemate. Jericho gets a leg lariat and puts Dragon onto the floor with a shoulderblock. Suplex back in gets two. Flying splash gets two. Slingshot into a backdrop suplex gets two. Nice. Jericho with a sleeper, and a Tiger driver for two. Jericho misses his springboard and splats on the floor, and Dragon hits a somersault splash from the apron in a nasty spot. Back in, Jericho gets cocky again, but Dragon dropkicks him off the apron and hits a tope. Back in with a suplex, and the quebrada gets two. Brainbuster sets up a sharpshooter, but Dragon releases and puts Jericho on the top rope. Jericho dropkicks him down, but Dragon gets the cradle for two. Pinfall reversal sequence into a dragon suplex for two. Back to the top, and Jericho sends Dragon to the floor and follows with a dive into the railing. Back in, Lionsault gets two. Dragon reverses a Tiger driver for two. He rolls into a rana for two, another neat spot you don’t see much of. Jericho comes back with a tiger suplex for two. Superplex attempt is blocked by Dragon for two, and a sunset flip gets two. Dragon goes up and Jericho slams him off for two. (On the alternate commentary, Jericho notes that they had both run through their normal finishes by this point and were just trying crazy shit in an attempt to find the ending). Jericho tries for the moonsault, but misses, and Dragon goes up with a spinning splash that also misses. Having tried everything else, they head up again and Jericho finishes with a butterfly suplex off the top for the pin at 13:23. This match became somewhat legendary, ending up first on the desk of Paul Heyman to earn Jericho a job in ECW, and then on the desk of Kevin Sullivan to get him a job with WCW. ****1/2

Chris Jericho v. Cactus Jack

So we’re off to ECW in March of 1996 for Jericho’s debut there. Jericho interrupts a Fargo strut from Jack’s new friends Stevie and Meanie, ruining a great moment. Jack slugs him down, but Jericho dropkicks him to the floor. Back in, jack with a corner clothesline, but a blind charge misses and Jericho dropkicks him to the floor again. Jericho goes after Stevie & Meanie and then dodges a charging Cactus, resulting in Jack smashing his own face into the post. So unable to outsmart Jericho, Jack hits him in the head with a chair instead. Back in, Jack chokes him down for two. Jericho gets hung in the Tree of Woe and stomped, and Cactus puts him out with a baseball slide. He suplexes Jericho on the floor (and into the railing) and they head back in, where a legdrop gets two. Jack goes up, but Jericho brings him down with a rana and they slug it out. Jericho with a dropkick and elbow for two, which the crowd boos for some reason. Flying splash gets two. Jack catches him with the piledriver, but follows up with a Cactus clothesline instead of trying for the pin. Jericho manages a backdrop suplex on the floor, but Jack stunguns him onto the railing. Ouch. Back in, piledriver gets two. Jack gives him the last rites, but that’s always a bad idea, and Jericho reverses the third piledriver attempt into a german suplex for the pin at 12:45. You’d think this would be a colossal style clash, and you’d be mostly right, but they held it together enough to keep it fun and entertaining, with Jack bumping like crazy for Jericho. ***

Cruiserweight title: Chris Jericho v. Eddy Guerrero.

From Fall Brawl 97. No real backstory here, just Guerrero suddenly deciding to go rudo and kill everyone in his path on the way to the title. Various hair-pulling shenanigans to start. Jericho’s bouncing babyface act isn’t really effective. Some nice mat stuff both ways, with neither guy able to gain any advantage. Jericho dumps Eddy on the top rope, then hits the Lionsault for two. Eddy comes back and works on the back. Long sequence of submission moves from Eddy, including a Gory Special, which is reversed in turn by Jericho. The crowd, surprisingly, is digging the match, even with the more psychological stuff that normally elicits boos. Eddy tries to walk the ropes like Undertaker, but gets crotched and Jericho makes the comeback. He looks to powerbomb Guerrero off the apron, but instead drops him throat first on the top rope. Back in the ring and a series of reversals leads to Eddy getting a uranage. Jericho recovers with a powerslam for two. Leg lariat gets two. Eddy reverses a cradle for two, but Jericho comes back with the double powerbomb and a superplex. Eddy shirts his weight during that move, and land on top to stun Jericho, then hits the Frog Splash for the pin and the title at 16:44. Terrific match. ****1/4

Cruiserweight title v. Mask: Chris Jericho v. Juventud Guerrera.

From WCW Superbrawl VIII. Jericho refuses to take the belt off, so they start the match with him wearing it. Juvy kicks him in the belt, and he removes it. Jericho dominates, but gets caught with a springboard leg lariat. Juvy follows with a rana off the apron to the floor. Jericho acts dead and tries to take the countout, which is a REALLY funny spot that he never does anymore. Juvy tosses him back in and chops away. He flips out of a german suplex and gets dropped on the top rope. They hit the floor and Jericho tries to springboard off the steps, but ends up running into the railing instead. Back, and Jericho gets a piledriver fro two. Arrogant cover gets two. Juvy hits a victory roll for two. Delayed suplex and senton gets two. They fight on top and Juvy comes off with a rana but Jericho counters with the electric chair. Juvy dropkicks Jericho to the floor and follows with a springboard elbow. Back in, Juvy hits a tombstone and 450 for the pin…but Jericho was in the ropes, so we continue. Jericho clips him, but Juvy rolls him up for two. Jericho gets a lariat for two. Powerbomb is reversed by Juvy to a DDT for two. He goes for a top rope rana, but Jericho blocks. Juvy sets up again and this time hits a springboard variation and gets two. Jericho gets an inverted suplex, but the Lionsault misses. Liontamer is attempted, but reversed to a rollup for two. Juvy tries to finish with another rana, but this time Jericho blocks and applies the Liontamer for the submission at 13:27. Whew, great finish. ***3/4 Juvy unmasks after some taunting by Jericho, and the Juice we all know and love is revealed at last. Jericho, of course, steals the mask for his trophy case.

Cruiserweight title: Chris Jericho v. Dean Malenko

From Nitro, July 1998. This is supposedly Malenko’s last-ever shot at Jericho and the title. Jericho attacks and goes up, but gets dropkicked coming down. They trade pinfall attempts, and Jericho gets the Liontamer, but they’re in the ropes. Malenko bails and we take a break. Back with Malenko hitting a dropkick and a german suplex for two. Jericho gets an inverted suplex into the Lionsault, for two. They trade reversals and Malenko gets the powerbomb into the Cloverleaf, but Jericho is in the ropes. Dean goes up and gets caught, but recovers with a DDT off the top…for two. Really? Jericho bails, finds brass knuckles in his boot, and Dean steals them for the DQ at 6:19. Really? They had a DDT off the top leading into a lame DQ finish? Not sure why the inclusion here, it wasn’t anything special. **1/2

From August 9 1999: Y2J! Chris Jericho debuts after months of the Millennium Countdown, gets an insanely huge reaction, and then promptly goes to waste for months afterwards because they don’t know what to do with him. Luckily he was talented enough to recover. I’d have to say this ranks as the biggest and best debut ever.

Intercontinental title: Chris Jericho v. Kurt Angle.

From No Way Out 2000, as Angle had just won the European title and Jericho had finally gained sole control over the IC title after weeks of stupid shit with Chyna as “co-champions”. At the time, Angle was a huge underdog. Y2J controls to start and they slug it out. Angle drop toeholds him onto the bottom rope, but gets backdropped over the top. Jericho hits the springboard dropkick and they fight on the floor. Jericho hits a nice Lionsault off the steps, kicking Kurt in the face. Back in, Angle crotches him and hits a belly to belly superplex for two. Suplex gets two. Crowd tells Angle that he sucks during a chinlock. Jericho comes back with a double-arm backbreaker for two. Angle gets a release german suplex for two. Single-arm DDT gets two. Nice psychology, as Angle works the arm. Jericho blocks a blind charge with a leg lariat, then hits a face jam. Flying forearm gets two. Angle tries a rana, which is blocked into the double-powerbomb for two. Angle suddenly reverses the pin attempt into a cross-armbreaker, but Jericho makes the ropes. Reversal sequence leads to the Right Angle (or “Olympic Slam”, as JR calls it) but it only gets two. Angle grabs the IC title belt, but Jericho catches him with the Walls of Jericho. Angle makes the ropes. They fight on the floor, and Angle grabs the European title belt. Chyna gets in the way and gets wiped out, thus distracting the referee long enough for Angle to block a Lionsault by nailing Jericho with the IC belt on the way down, and thus getting the pin and the title at 10:12, in what had to be deemed a pretty shocking upset at the time. These days, not so much, but who knew what Angle would have become in only a few short months? ***1/4 Angle dropping the title to Benoit the next month at Wrestlemania and Jericho then ending up with the European title (only to drop it to Eddie Guerrero the next night) rendered this whole period even more bizarre in retrospect.

WWF World title: HHH v. Chris Jericho.

From RAW, April 17 2000. Jericho takes him down with a drop toehold and pounds away on the mat, then backdrops a charging HHH to the floor. Jericho misses a baseball slide and HHH slugs him down on the floor, but Jericho dropkicks him off the apron. Back in, Jericho misses a clothesline and feels the wrath of HHH’s knee, and HHH takes over and pounds away on the apron. Jericho meets the stairs, and back in HHH suplexes him and adds the kneedrop for two. Jericho tries to come back, but puts his head down and gets DDT’d. HHH goes up, but Jericho uses Kurt Angle’s Pop-Up Superplex to bring him down, and fires away in the corner. Missile dropkick gets two. HHH comes back with KICK WHAM PEDIGREE, but Jericho reverses to the Walls of Jericho, then catapults HHH into the ref by accident. He goes up and gets brought down by Shane, which prompts the APA to chase him away. The belt gets involved and Jericho hits him with it, but again no ref. A second ref comes in for the two count and gets put down by HHH, but that allows Jericho to hit the Lionsault for the pin and the title at 9:50. Or so we thought, since HHH whines that it was a fast count and has the decision reversed, thus getting the belt back. Decent match, and at least Jericho would get his win back when…uh…actually I’ve got nothing here. This was some monster heel heat for HHH, days before Rock kicked his ass and won the title to avenge the fans and Hebner. Again, dunno if it warrants inclusion based on match quality or anything (which was about ***) but it’s a good representation of HHH at his peak, and arguably Jericho’s peak as a babyface. That being said, the rematch at Fully Loaded was damn near ***** and would have been a much better choice.

“WCW” World title match: The Rock v. Chris Jericho.

From No Mercy 2001, as Jericho finally gets a chance to win the big one. Lockup battle to start, and Rock works the arm. Jericho armdrags him, and works the arm in turn. Jericho slugs him down and chokes him out. Jericho unloads the CANADIAN VIOLENCE, but Rock counters with the Rock Bottom, which Jericho counters in turn with the Walls. Awesome. Rock bails to the apron and gets dropkicked to the floor. Back in, Jericho gets a flying elbow for two. More CANADIAN VIOLENCE, but Rock tries his own and gets hit with a leg lariat for two. Pair of backbreakers get two, but Rock reverses the pinfall for two. Nice touch. Jericho forearms him down, but gets hit with a Rock forearm in turn. He comes back quickly with a hotshot and the crowd starts chanting “Rocky Sucks” like old times. Jericho goes up, but gets crotched. Superplex and double-KO, and the crowd actually counts along with the 10-count. But then it’s St. Louis, so they’re already trained. Rock slugs away and gets a samoan drop for two. Kip-up and Rock lays the smackdown, drawing a very noticeable heel reaction. Jericho comes back and walks into a lariat for two. Suplex gets two. Rock dumps Jericho, and he gets two back in the ring. He goes to a heelish chinlock to put sympathy heat on Jericho, and indeed Jericho escapes, but misses a dropkick. Rock catapults him and lariats him. They head up, and Jericho gets a missile dropkick. Double KO again, Rock is staggered. Slugfest is won by Jericho, and he overpowers Rock and gets a neckbreaker and rana for two. Someone call HHH, he’s wrestling like a cruiserweight again. Jericho hits a Rock Bottom! Lionsault gets two. Bulldog sets up the Canadian Elbow, which misses. Rock gets an ugly dragon-screw into the Sharpshooter, and the crowd freaks until Jericho makes the ropes. Jericho bails and Rock preps the Spanish table and Rock Bottoms Jericho through it. Rock breaks the count like a heel and smacks Jericho around, and after Jericho crawls back in, Rock sets up for the Rock Bottom…and the crowd BOOS. Jericho blocks, but walks into a spinebuster. People’s Elbow is caught and REVERSED into the Walls of Jericho! This match is so awesome. I’m thinking it might be the finish, but Steph McJugs bounces out and distracts Jericho for the millionth time. Rock DDTs him and goes after Steph with a Rock Bottom that looked like he was fighting the combined forces of gravity and inertia trying to get the McMammaries in the air, but Jericho grabs the chair left by Stephanie, hits a forward legsweep onto it, and wins the WCW title at 23:47! Finally he wins the big one! Awesome match, a total MOTYC if not for the screwy finish. ****1/2

Steve Austin v. Chris Jericho.

This is from Vengeance 2001, the match to unify the WCW and WWF World titles once and for all, and the match that Jericho proceeded to never shut up about ever again. Jericho rolls over for two, then stomps away. Forearm, and he pounds away. Corner clothesline, but Austin spears him and gives him some turnbuckle sandwich. Stunner is blocked, so Austin tosses him and they brawl. Austin dumps him on the railing and gives him the post ala Angle in the previous match. He pulls up the mat, but Jericho preps the Spanish table and tries the Walls of Jericho there. Austin powers out, though, and suplexes Jericho on the floor. They head back in, where Austin charges and hits the post. Jericho goes to the arm, but misses a dropkick and gets catapulted for two. Jericho floats over out of the cover, into a Herb Kunze armbar, using the ropes for leverage. Suplex and he goes up, but Austin nails him coming down. Austin comes back, but Jericho rolls into the Walls, getting a good pop. Austin makes the ropes. Ref is bumped, so Jericho goes low and stunners Austin. Vince brings out Nick Patrick: Evil Ref to count, but Ric Flair in turn pulls him out, and Vince in turn punks out Flair. In the ring, Austin chases Vince and punks him out, then heads back in for a Thesz Press and the Walls of Austin. Jericho is tapping, but Booker T runs in, nails Austin with the belt, and Jericho unifies the titles at 12:37. ALL HAIL CANADA! Too much tomfoolery, what with the ref bumping and the run-ins and the screwjobs and all. But this had to be on the DVD. ***

Disc Three

WWF World title: Hulk Hogan v. Chris Jericho.

Hogan does his standard LOCKUP OF DEATH to start, which Jericho sells like he’s been shot. Note to Hulkster: You’re very strong for a senior citizen, we GET IT. Hogan grabs a headlock and overpowers Jericho again. Devastating bodyslam and wristlock follow. Dang, Jethro, he should be DEAD. Jericho suplexes him and disrespects the bandana. Elbow misses and Hogan slugs away, but misses a charge. Considering he moves slower than an ice-cream truck, I’d be shocked if a glacier couldn’t move out of the way in time to avoid him. Jericho goes up and gets slammed off. Hogan keeps slugging away, but Jericho tries some chops. He misses his own charge and goes flying out. It’s pretty admirable of Jericho to wrestle the entire match by himself like this. Hogan chases and eats post, and Jericho follows with an axehandle off the top rope and necksnap on the top rope. He seems to be bouncing between channelling 1990 Mr. Perfect and 1986 Macho Man here. Probably that’s the best strategy. Back in, Jericho pounds away and chokes. Yup, it’s the 80s all right. Hogan comes back with his elbowdrops, but misses one and sells it like Earthquake just farted on him or something. Jericho bulldogs him and gets the Lionsault, but HHH comes down (complete with music) to do color. Jericho just stands there and yells at him, completely ignoring Hogan and thus looking like a complete idiot. Hogan fights back, but Jericho gets a DDT for two. Hulkup time, big boot, but Jericho blocks the legdrop with the Walls of Jericho. Do that finish and you’ve created a new superstar. But no, Hogan makes the ropes (and Jericho was doing the move literally 6” away from them, which made it pretty funny seeing Hogan “struggle” to reach them). Jericho starts laying in chairshots, but Undertaker’s music hits, and again, like a complete moron, Jericho stands there with his jaw open while Hogan rolls him up for the pin at 10:19. I don’t get the inclusion here. *

Shawn Michaels v. Chris Jericho.

From Wrestlemania XIX. Shawn works a headlock to start and gets nowhere. They do a bit of that and Shawn showboats, and they go back to the headlock again. They do a stalemate sequence and back to the headlock, and Shawn gets two off it. Jericho overpowers him and they criss-cross and slug it out. Shawn tosses him and follows with a baseball slide after a highspot tease, and back in we go. Back in, Jericho rolls through a bodypress for two. He hammers away on the mat and starts with the CANADIAN VIOLENCE and choking in the corner. Shawn counters a bulldog by sending him into the corner, and gets a figure-four for no discernible reason (has he even kicked him in the leg yet?), which Jericho reverses. Jericho stays on the leg with a kneecrusher, but Jericho reverses him into the post and tosses him. Shawn pulls himself back in and headscissors Jericho out, and then follows with a pescado. Jericho puts him in the Walls on the floor, however. Back in, Jericho dropkicks him off the apron and gets a backdrop suplex. The psychology is pretty cut and dried here. Delayed suplex gets two. Jericho works on the neck and gets a pretty nasty backbreaker, and the Arrogant Cover~! gets two. We hit the chinlock and Jericho goes to the eyes to keep Shawn down. A backdrop is reversed to a DDT by Shawn, however. Shawn slugs away, but walks into a forearm from Jericho. He kips up and mocks Shawn, but so does Shawn. Another one and Shawn atomic drops Jericho to set up a backdrop. To the top, and the moonsault press gets two. They do a pinfall reversal sequence and Jericho tries the Walls, but Shawn reverses out of it. They fight for a german suplex, but Jericho turns it into a northern lights suplex for two. Shawn bridges out and they fight for a backslide, but Jericho gets a lariat. Bulldog and Lionsault get two. Jericho starts chopping, but puts his head down and gets caught by Shawn. A rana is blocked with the Walls, however. Shawn makes the ropes. Another try is reversed to a cradle for two. Double-arm backbreaker from Jericho and he goes up with a flying reverse elbow and cues up the band. Fozzy? Well, anyway, a superkick (and a nice one, too) gets two for Jericho. Shawn comes out of the corner with a messed up crossbody and hammers away, then catapults Jericho into the post for two after teasing his own Walls of Jericho. Jericho hits him in the back again as Shawn suddenly remembers to sell it again, and they head up for a superplex that Shawn counters to put both guys down. Shawn gets two. Shawn goes back up, but Jericho crotches him and follows him up. Shawn sends him back down and gets the flying elbow for two. Sweet Chin Music is ducked by Jericho and we get another Walls, and that should have been the finish. However, Shawn eventually makes the ropes, prompting a tantrum from Jericho. Shawn superkicks him again for two. Jericho sends Shawn into the corner, but Shawn escapes a suplex and gets the pin off a rollup at 22:34. The finish was a letdown and at the time it seemed totally counterproductive to put Shawn over anyone, but then who knew he’d stick around for another 7 years? Shawn adjusted his style and put forth a much more solid, non-garbagy effort than he did with HHH at Summerslam 2002. The spotty "Now I’m hurt, now I’m not" selling of the back injury hurt it a lot, though. **** Jericho, class act all the way, kicks Shawn in the balls after the loss.

WWE title, loser leaves town: John Cena v. Chris Jericho.

Jericho stomps him down, but they brawl outside and Cena goes after Bischoff, which results in him getting hit in the nuts. And we take a break. Back with Jericho in control with some nice stiff kicks, but when he goes for a superplex Cena sends him to the mat again. Cena whiffs on a high cross, however, and we go to the chinlock. Cena fights back and tries the F-U, but Jericho reverses to the Walls. Cena can’t make the ropes because Bischoff pulls them away, so Cena moves to the other ropes instead. He fights back with a hard-fought F-U, but can’t cover. He gets two, but Bischoff puts Jericho’s foot on the ropes. And gives him brass knuckles. His motives are getting really transparent. The Power of the Punch only gets two, however. Cena sends Jericho into Bischoff, and the F-U finishes at 14:34. *** And so the WWE career of Jericho comes to an end, forever. Or three years later, whichever comes first.

Save Us Y2J! From RAW in November 2007, Jericho makes his return in a segment that was trying for the cool of the original, but Randy Orton is no Rock and babyface Jericho is generally lame.

Intercontinental title: Jeff Hardy v. Chris Jericho

From RAW, March 2008. And hey, finally this set is into the HD era. They tussle on the mat and Jericho goes for the codebreaker fast, but Hardy counters for two. Jericho dumps him with a clothesline, and we take a break already. Back with Jericho throwing the chops in the corner, but Hardy dropkicks him out, only to get caught trying a dive, as Jericho redirects him into the table. Back in, that gets two. Jericho with a backbreaker, but Hardy goes to the eyes to escape. Jericho chokes him out on the ropes, but walks into a lariat, and Hardy makes the comeback. Whisper in the Wind gets two. Jericho comes back with a northern lights suplex for two, but Hardy bridges into a backslide for two. He tries the mule kick in the corner, but misses and wipes out. Jericho goes up with a bodypress, but Hardy rolls through for two. Twist of Fate is blocked and Jericho gets a Lionsault for two. Walls are reversed into a small package for two. Jericho misses the enzuigiri and Jeff gets the Twist of Fate, but the swanton misses. Codebreaker finishes to give Jericho the title for the eighth time. Hot finish! ***1/4 Jericho’s title win ended up meaning nothing, though. This marked the beginning of his heel turn and resurgence of his career.

RAW World title, ladder match: Chris Jericho v. Shawn Michaels

From No Mercy 2008. Shawn overpowers Jericho and teases the superkick, but Jericho evades him. Shawn charges and hits the post, and Jericho hits a northern lights suplex, which leads into a pinfall reversal sequence in a match without pinfalls. Jericho clotheslines him to the apron and puts him on the floor with a nasty springboard shoulderblock. He tries whipping Shawn into the ladder, but Shawn climbs it and uses the momentum to hit a cross-body. Jericho sends him into the post again and charges with the ladder, forcing Shawn to counter with a drop toehold. Shawn gets his own ladder, but Jericho takes him down with the Walls of Jericho and brings the ladder into the ring. Shawn see-saws it into his face, however, and sets it up for the first climb attempt, as Jericho now appears to be down one tooth. Hey, that’s BLOOD. Someone alert Vince. Jericho pulls him down and catapults him, but Shawn grabs the ladder and climbs again, so Jericho brings the ladder down. Crude but effective. Jericho beats on Shawn with the ladder, then whips him into the corner, but Shawn reverses him into the ladder and brings it down on his knee. Shawn puts the ladder in the corner and adds a kneecrusher onto it, then goes to the figure-four to really kill the knee. Jericho reverses out and then kicks the ladder into Shawn’s face for good measure, then catapults him under the ladder. And then we get an incredibly brutal spot, with Shawn’s head getting sandwiched in the ladder, and Jericho climbs. Shawn stops him, so Jericho sets up the ladder in the corner and then gets reversed into it. They brawl to the floor and Jericho gets the worst of it, as Shawn drops ladders on him and BRINGS THE HATRED~! Sportsmanship is nice, but sometimes you just need a good vendetta, ya know?

Shawn puts Jericho on the table and climbs a monster ladder, but Jericho follows and you know it’s gonna be good. And indeed, it’s a backdrop suplex through the table, taking both of them out. Shawn emerges first from the wreckage and sets up with a ladder on the top rope, but Jericho recovers and dropkicks it back at him. They fight on top and Jericho climbs the ladder and sets up for a superplex, but Shawn pushes the ladder over to escape, leaving it on top of Jericho. Flying elbow onto the ladder follows, and the laws of physics say that’s a dumb move. Luckily Shawn suffers less damage and he sets up for the superkick, but Jericho counters by smashing him in the face with a ladder. I love this match. So Jericho also gets goofy by Lionsaulting Shawn under a ladder, which again hurts him worse. Jericho sets up the ladder and pins Shawn underneath, but Shawn has the POWER and pushes the ladder over, sending Jericho to the floor as a result. This seems to leave things free and clear for Shawn to win, but Jericho pushes the ladder over just as Shawn starts undoing the belt. Jericho takes his turn at climbing now, but Shawn follows him up for the slugfest on the ladder, which results in Jericho falling back and getting hung up in the rungs. Lance Cade runs in to save his meal ticket, and Shawn stops to go after him with a superkick and they battle for the belt on top. The belt is freed and Shawn hammers away in desperation, but Jericho headbutts him and falls off with the belt to win at 22:22. That finish with both guys having a tug-of-war for the belt was something else, man. Match of the year thus far, there I said it. ****3/4 And what I loved was that they didn’t try to out-crazy the previous ladder spots, but merely took the existing ones and made them more bitter and hateful. More blood (or at least intentional blood) would have been nice, too, but it didn’t hinder the match for me like it did with the Edge-UT Hell In a Cell deal. The Cade run-in really wasn’t needed, though, and that deducts the 1/4* if you’re playing along at home.

No Holds Barred, Intercontinental title: Rey Mysterio v. Chris Jericho

From Extreme Rules 2009. Jericho’s evil pre-match promo is great stuff ("I decided to become one of you…DON’T TOUCH ME!"). Rey charges in for the takedown and they brawl to the floor already, as Rey chucks a piece of the table at Jericho and dropkicks him into the railing. Jericho comes back with a whip into the stairs, but Rey does a flip off them and dropkicks them back into Jericho again. That’s a cool spot. Back in, Rey with a springboard legdrop for two. Jericho drops him onto the top rope to slow him down, then does the catapult under the ropes for two. Rey tries to go up, but Jericho shoves him down and stomps away on the apron. He tries the springboard dropkick, but Rey gets his feet up to block and then follows Jericho down with a bodypress to the floor. Back in, legdrop gets two. He sets up for the 619, but Jericho evades him. Rey blocks a blind charge and rolls him up for two, but Jericho reverses for two. Nice reversal sequence into the Walls, but Rey reverses into a cradle for two. Rey with the head kick for two. Jericho clotheslines him for two, and then slides him right out of the ring like they were in an old Western. Jericho with a front suplex on the floor, which gets two back in the ring. Jericho hits the chinlock and tries for the mask, but Rey fights out and dodges a blind charge. Jericho hits the floor and Rey follows with a tope suicida over the corner. Back in, Rey with a headscissors and a bad-looking rana for two. Not sure what happened there. Rey tries the 619 again, but Jericho catches him with the spinning backbreaker and gets two. He blocks a rana attempt with a powerbomb, but the Lionsault misses and Rey hits a 619 to the back of the head. He goes up for the splash, but Jericho counters with the Codebreaker in a great spot and that gets two. Jericho gets frustrated and grabs a chair, but Rey dropkicks it back into his face and gets two. Arabian Facebuster gets two. Drop toehold onto the chair gets two as we get all the ECW tribute spots tonight. Jericho finally counters into the Walls, but Rey grabs the chair and nails Jericho with it to break. Another 619, but Jericho unmasks him in mid-move and rolls up the stunned Mysterio for the pin at 14:32, giving him another IC title. I liked the previous month’s match a bit more because it had a better pace and more crazy reversals, but this was entertaining and hard-fought. ***3/4

Chris Jericho v. Undertaker

From Smackdown, November 2009, their first and only meeting. Undertaker was champion at this point, but apparently this is non-title. Jericho pounds away in the corner, and that goes badly for him. Taker clotheslines him to the floor and drops a leg on the apron to take over. Back in, Taker works the arm, but Jericho suplexes him off the middle rope while he’s trying to go old school. We take a break and return with Taker missing a blind charge, allowing Jericho to get a missile dropkick for two. Jericho goes to a chinlock, and boots Taker out of the ring, then whips him into the railing. Back in, he chokes away on the ropes, and that goes on for a while. They slug it out and Taker hits him with Snake Eyes, but Jericho hits a dropkick on the rebound. He walks into a big boot, but Taker misses a charge and gets caught up in the corner. Jericho stupidly pounds away, but counters out of the Last Ride and gets the Codebreaker for two. He actually tries a tombstone, but Taker reverses out of that, so Jericho clips him and hits the Lionsault. That gets no-sold, but he keeps coming with the Walls of Jericho out of a chokeslam attempt. UT powers out and reverses into the Hell’s Gate, and Jericho submits at 10:00. More of a historical curiosity than a good match. **3/4

Smackdown World title: Chris Jericho v. Edge

Edge puts him down with a pair of shoulderblocks. Edge gets a flapjack and goes for the spear early, but Jericho bails to escape and heads back in for a baseball slide. Back in with a Jericho backdrop suplex for two. We hit the chinlock and Jericho pounds away in the corner, but misses a blind charge. He comes back with a suplex onto the top rope, but misses a dive and gets sent into the announce table. Back in, they fight on the top and Edge faceplants him for two. He goes up with a flying bodypress, rolled through for two. Jericho tries the Walls, but Edge powers out and gets a sunset flip for two. Jericho tries the Codebreaker and gets sent into the corner to block, but Edge tries a spear and Jericho turns it into the Walls. Edge reverses into a small package for two. Lionsault misses and Edge gets the Edge-O-Matic for two (am I the only one in the world who still calls it that?), but Jericho with an enzuigiri for two. Edge hits the Impaler for two. Jericho gets a forearm off the top and sets up for his own spear, but walks into Edge’s boot. Edge tries his own, but walks into the Codebreaker. Well really, he waited for the crowd to chant "spear", what did he expect? That gets two. So now we get to the meat of the match, as Jericho starts stomping on the Achilles tendon and then gets the Walls again (wouldn’t an anklelock be more apropos?), then turns it into a half-crab on the injured ankle. Edge channels his inner Dan Hardy and makes the ropes, then rolls up Jericho for two. Cactus clothesline puts them both on the floor, and the ref is bumped. Jericho nails Edge with the "championship" and gets two. IT’S A FUCKING BELT, MICHAEL COLE! A championship is an abstract concept, that is a BELT. Codebreaker finishes clean at 15:43. Really? That was actually looking it was going to be a good 20-25 minutes once Jericho started working the ankle. Oh well, Edge is boring as a babyface anyway. They really need to have the Royal Rumble winner actually win one of these years, though. This wasn’t "close the show" great, but it was never boring and the finish totally made sense. I’m also glad to see Jericho get his first Wrestlemania win since, what, 2001? ***3/4 Edge snaps afterwards and spears Jericho off the announce table, showing that he’s a sore loser as well as a choker.

The Bottom Line

Obviously there’s some gigantic omissions in the match listing (hint: Most of them either involved blood or Chris Benoit), but for what they were able to put on there, it’s hard to complain about the quality level here. Plus there’s a minimum of duplications (outside of the same WCW stuff they used for other sets) and some alternate commentary tracks, all of which adds up to a lot of bang for your bucks. Highly recommended!



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