Last night, over halfway through the show, the lights went out. A small chant could be heard in the crowd: Y2J. Suddenly, a single figure outlined by blue lights could be seen in the distance near the entrance ramp. With his arms outstretched and his back to the camera, everyone knew that familiar pose.
The lights went up, and Chris Jericho was standing at the entrance ramp, excited and hit by a wave of cheers in an extremely flashy jacket reminiscent of his 2007 return. He made his way down to the ring with a wave and the corniest grin he could muster.
You could feel Jericho's happiness to just be in that arena. About a year and a quarter had passed since he had last been in a WWE arena, and everyone seemed overjoyed to see the amazing talent again.
No matter how expected it was for some (I still couldn't believe my eyes even after predicting for weeks it was him), it was a great moment. WWE didn't make the debut obvious at all. The internet fans themselves came up with it being Jericho (though there were some reports that did end up being spoilers).
Seriously, though, anyone who complains about the return of one of the greatest of all time returning to WWE again just because it was predictable is, well, stupid. Seriously, WWE gave fans a huge treat. Sorry that they didn't have Brodus Clay unexpectedly come out in his place.
On a personal note, Y2J is by far my favorite wrestler of all time, and seeing him again after his consistent words about being completely done with the WWE was an amazing and true mark-out moment for me.
Then something happened, or rather nothing happened. Jericho took a microphone in hand, but, instead of using it, he simply played around with the crowd for another couple of minutes, and then he left.
Why? Why would Jericho come back and give the WWE nothing to hold on to for the future?
Well, the truth is he left everyone with far more than they came in with. In fact, Jericho may have managed to turn the entire crowd against him without uttering a single word.
Everyone wanted Jericho to say something spectacular. We wanted him to give us what we knew Jericho could best: a showman's promo. Instead, Jericho gave us nothing. He wanted the cheers all for himself, and he wanted the moment for himself alone.
Months back, Jericho did an interview where he stated that he would only return with a new gimmick. He likes to adapt and evolve. Well, if this isn't the start of a new gimmick for Jericho, I don't know what is.
Sure, it could branch off Jericho's narcissistic gimmick that he had before, but I feel that everything we have seen from him so far signals in a different direction. I'm not talking about just last night. Jericho's promos have more hidden meanings than ever before know that he has truly debuted again.
The "It Begins" promos talked about regaining something Jericho had lost, something that had been taken from him. Jericho is not here to help the fans. He is here to regain what he has lost. Perhaps the title of "best in the world" or a World Championship, perhaps Jericho feels he has lost the fans.
Bear with me on this. Perhaps Jericho has become paranoid. Gone for a year now, Jericho feels he has lost the fans. He comes back to the WWE looking to gain that appreciation back, but, after five minutes or so, the fans start booing him and letting up on the cheers.
Are you annoyed by Jericho's return?
Jericho with a strange perception of the situation can't understand why they would stop cheering him. He feels that people have forgotten him, that they have moved on to CM Punk. Oh yeah, that is where it begins. This will slowly build up each week until the Royal Rumble comes around with Jericho winning.
From that point on, Jericho goes after WWE Champion Punk. He hounds Punk for stealing the fans. He hounds the fans for turning on him for a sorry excuse for a performer in Punk.
Obviously this is just one way they could be headed, but I really see this leading to Punk/Jericho at WrestleMania. The skill is there. Now all that is needed is a clear face and heel. If Jericho had returned later or talked to the fans last night, would he have ever been booed? Probably not.
This man has become a legend in the business and a true star even outside of the company. It is hard to see anyone booing him easily; however, Jericho is a master at controlling the audience, and a master at playing any role.
The coming weeks promise to be some the best and most entertaining WWE has produced for a while with Jericho now in the fray. For those frustrated by Jericho's return, you fell right into his spell. Jericho is a master, and he has the WWE Universe in the palm of his hand.
The end is coming, and I can't wait to see it.
Thanks for reading!