The fall of Chris Jericho: A Cautionary Tale

Before we start this, I want to let people know that for a long time, I was a huge Chris Jericho fan. I still even have an autographed copy of his book “Best in the World: At What I do” on my bookshelf and have followed him since his ECW days.

In his prime, Chris Jericho was everything I Loved about pro wrestling in that he was multi-talented. His feud with Dean Malenko over the “Man of a 1001 holds” was hilarious and showed his wit. He had phenomenal feuds with Rey Mysterio, Perry Saturn, Malenko and Konnan that made you appreciate his blend of wrestling and enthusiasm.

And in WWE/WWF, it took off from the “Y2J… Raw is Jericho” debut and his hilarious shots at “boring” wrestlers, the feuds with stars like Shaun Michaels, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Eddie Guerrero, Kurt Angle and John Cena, to even the famous “You just made the List” gimmick were what made me continue to love pro wrestling.

He is as talented in the ring as he is out of the ring, and it was awesome watching him work. He was a multi-faceted heel with his gimmicks and promos, he understood ring psychology and how to adapt, and he was a guy who was athletic without being on steroids.

So, it pains me to say this even after everything I have told you… Chris Jericho must go away.

And before people say this, this has nothing to do with a brief dustup where he told me to “Go Fuck Myself”, trust me I have had other fighters tell me off before. It comes with the territory, and I am a big boy who understands that my columns aren’t popular.

This column won’t even address the allegations of NDA’s, his alcohol, political stances, or anything personal (weight, age, family) that is below the belt.

No, it’s time for Chris Jericho to go away because he has become what he once hated and despised. He is the Hulk Hogan/Bill Goldberg kind of wrestler what holds down younger talent and is out of touch.

His run at All Elite Wrestling has shown the worst side of Jericho as he has hurt more careers than he has helped. Unlike guys like Mick Foley, The Undertaker and even Cody Rhodes who have tried to make stars and put business over personal, Jericho hasn’t.

The best thing about Jericho has become the worst thing in that his ego and pride have taken over.

For starters he has too often gotten the better of his opponents in their feuds. MJF was the perfect example as he had the chance for MJF to win that feud only for him to get the last laugh

Same can be said for the Men of the Year, Eddie Kingston, Sammy Guevarra and for now Hook. Each of these feuds were a chance for Jericho to elevate this guy to the next level. For them to become main event stars or at least bigger stars in AEW with the rub of winning the feud.

And each time, Jericho was the one who got the last laugh and won the feud.

The worst part is that throughout his tenure with the company, he has often gotten to do whatever he wants even if it made zero sense.

From his building stables that benefited him (The Inner Circle, Jericho Appreciation Society and now The Learning Tree) to doing angles that often made zero sense.

Remember the musical show tune with MJF? How about the tete a tete with Paige Van Zant and Dan Lambert? Or even his debate with Orange Cassidy with Eric Bischoff? Stare down with Mike Tyson

These are all things out of Hogan’s playbook where he gets to hobnob with celebrities and gets to live out his fantasies.

And in most of these cases it does nothing to elevate or help the talent around him.

One of the biggest gripes Jericho often had with his bigger name peers was how they viewed him early on. With Bill Goldberg in WCW, Jericho often complained that he and Hogan and Bischoff held him back and viewed him as a B level player.

That he had zero-star material and wasn’t worth the time or the investment.

It was that opinion that made Jericho leave WCW, join the WWE and become the big star that he was. And it helped that other stars in the WWE helped put him over to become one of the biggest stars in the company.

But now he has turned into Hogan and Goldberg in that he hasn’t paid it forward with the younger talent. Too often Jericho has either beaten younger talent or failed to elevate them to the next level.

And before you call me a liar, ask yourself who has benefitted from being in a Chris Jericho feud so far?

MJF got his big break thanks to Cody Rhodes and then later to an extent CM Punk. Sammy Guevarra has yet to be more than a mid-level wrestler while guys like Action Andretti, Daniel Garcia and even Proud & Powerful all have been lost in the shuffle.

It’s the drawback of having a 53-year-old wrestler who still sees himself as a big star.

Unlike Cody Rhodes who at times seemed to hold himself back and job to younger talent, Jericho maintains a big presence. So far in AEW/ROH he has captured The AEW World Title, the ROH World Title and headlined some of the biggest shows. Even the All in Wembley, he got his wish by inserting himself into the card against Will Ospreay, despite zero build

He has continued to become tone deaf to the crowd who have become tired of seeing him go over younger talent.

The feud with Hook over the FTW belt has become the latest example of Jericho beating the dead horse. He must go over and beat this young rising star to help him “learn”.

If this sounds like Hulk Hogan or Bill Goldberg, then you are correct on that one.

The most frustrating part is that all of this is not necessary or fruitful for anyone involved.

For Jericho that has become the point where fans have turned on him rather than celebrate him.

Instead of taking time off, coming back when fans are missing him, he continues to be on tv and in your face to the point you want to throw your hands up.

Instead of helping elevate younger talent and make them into stars, he is burying them all so that he can achieve more … glory.

The sad part is that Jericho of all people doesn’t need this push, or this run in the least bit.

No matter what was going to happen in the last few years, Chris Jericho was a guy you could say won in the grand scheme.

He would eventually be in the WWE Hall of Fame, has millions in the bank account, his marriage is still intact, and his kids are healthy.

He also can walk and talk normally without any slurred speech, problems walking or any other health issues.

In short, this should have been the time where he helps build AEW and the next generation of stars. Who cares if he wins a World Title or doesn’t win one, the fact would be he could say he helped elevate a new company and new batch of wrestling stars.

He would have been able to fight back against the critics and say that unlike certain WCW and WWE stars, he looked out for his peers. That he put what was best for business ahead of his own goals and desires.

He could have had the legacy that guys like Mick Foley and the Undertaker had by being a true locker room leader and wrestling mentor.

Instead, Chris Jericho is doing the opposite and continuing to use AEW at times to pad his wrestling record and wish list.

The sad part is that a lot of AEW defenders and fans share the same feeling as they have started to boo him and even deride him on social media.

For me, this is the toughest part to watch as I don’t enjoy this, nor do I enjoy writing this column. As I stated before, I was a huge Jericho fan who loved his work, considered him one of the best heels in wrestling, and loved how he could reinvent himself to be relevant.

However now… he is no longer the trendsetter who has his hand on the pulse of fans but more like Madonna in that he is out of touch.

He continues to do variations of the same gimmicks that fans no longer enjoy and continues to go over younger talent to their chagrin.

And with nobody in AEW in power or in the locker room that can reason with him, the future is looking more and more like the same thing.

As the old saying from The Dark Knight goes “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain”.

For Jericho that is what he has become in the wrestling star who is hurting pushes and other momentum rather than helping them.

He has become his own version of Bill Goldberg and somewhere deep down, you must wonder if Jericho will leave before it’s too late.

Or he will continue to be one of the most despised wrestlers in the industry… for all the wrong reasons.

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