Somebody Has To Stop Chris Jericho
It’s fair to say that wrestling has it’s own set of rules. Which is to say that a completely different criteria exists within this world different to any other form of entertainment but that’s also to say that it’s not fair on those involved. Movies and music have the luxury of embedding themselves into specific moments in time and even television has the luxury of going away for a while, allowing us all the chance to miss them before they come back. Wrestling however is a constant. Barring injury, you’re a presence in the lives of fans on a constant basis. John McClane might be one of the most iconic action movie heroes of all time but if we had to see him every week, it wouldn’t be long before people would grow tired of it.
Not only that, it’s an industry built around emotion and getting that crowd reaction. So we have a system that’s unintentionally built toward apathy in a world that relies on the exact opposite of that. This isn’t to knock the shows, instead just to illustrate how difficult it is not just to capture our imaginations but to hold them as well. Which is where Chris Jericho comes in.
Staying relevant across the passing of time is something that only few performers – across all forms of media – can manage. Constantly pivoting away from whatever it is that has proven to be successful is something that many are understandably afraid of. Why change what’s working? What if it goes wrong? The truth however is not only tied up in the structure as we mentioned before but also the fact that even if you can rise above that change will come eventually. It would be better then, if it came voluntarily.
Perhaps the greatest compliment you could pay is that the many faces – well mostly heels, certainly at his best – of Jericho could almost act independently of each other and all of them would have had a stellar career. There’s a hierarchy though, because of course there is. Not necessarily a definitive one but everyone has their favourite incarnation. While the debate could rage on for a particular order, there’s no such room when it comes to the top of the mountain. In 2008 not only did Jericho turn his back on the iconic Y2J persona as it were but in doing so he created the best version of himself. As far as we’re concerned anyway.
Jericho’s feud with Shawn Michaels goes down in WWE history for so many reasons. The matches and promos are one thing, what could have happened and how it could have gone another. When wrestling is at it’s peak like that, there’s truly nothing else like it. Which is why not only does it hold such esteem but also a big place in my own heart. It’s the line between subjective and unequivocal. A line that couldn’t be crossed. Until this past week.
Getting the most ludicrous of phrases over is nothing new. Hell there was a period in which he got the crowd to pop without saying a word. Sometimes a word is all it takes. That’s certainly true of this week. If you’re a wrestling fan and have been on social media at all you already know. It’s inescapable in the best kind of way. In spite of all the achievement of winning the AEW title, regardless of all the drama that came afterward there was only one thing on anyone’s mind. A little bit of the *bubbly*.
Quite what has tapped into the minds of wrestling fans everywhere is unclear. Is it even worth breaking down though? At a time and in an industry where criticism is all too readily available, there’s an endearing joy to something so throwaway that even the man himself said he was too busy thinking about a Spinal Tap reference. But amongst all the joy and reverence, spare a thought for 2008 Chris Jericho. For so long he was as good of a persona as it was possible to be in professional wrestling and yet now it looks like he’s on course to ascend even higher. In a way, it’s fitting that the only man who could eclipse him would be Jericho himself. He’ll no doubt have a glass of something to celebrate.