Last night on Raw, Chris Jericho returned to WWE in an odd segment that has the Internet buzzing. So far, the best guess is that he's doing some sort of odd parody of himself, or pandering to good guys in general, or both.
Let's take a look at what we can try to glean from what happened last night, which is all over YouTube. Since WWE's YouTube channel has a heavily edited version, I'll use this unofficial upload as a guide, but it could very well be gone sooner or later.
- The creepy kids return for the first 90 seconds. So far, they've had nothing to do with anything. I'm guessing they were a send-up of his "break the code" return last time and stupid viral video campaigns in general.
- They shook the camera a lot to make it look like there was an earthquake, but it just looked like the camera was shaking. Maybe Jericho is commenting on how nauseating he can be. I hope that the girl in the John Cena shirt with the scarf on her head who was staring off into the distance looking confused wasn't a plant because she was hilarious.
- The lights go out, Jericho appears doing his cross pose in a lit-up jacket, pyro goes off and there's his entrance music as the lights go on. The jacket is utterly ridiculous, a leather monstrosity with chain-mail sleeves, which is where the blue light emitting diodes are embedded. There's no way he's not parodying the ridiculous vest he wore during his last comeback promo that everyone online made fun of. It's like he decided to wear an Alienware computer.
- What the hell happened to his face? If he got Botox or a chin implant or some other kind of work done on his face to get over an out-of-touch rock star-ish gimmick, then I'm really scared by his dedication because he looks awful. Or maybe he's just legitimately freaking out over getting old. Either way, Jericho can feud with Jerry Lawler and blow it off in a match where the loser puts himself out of his misery by pulling a Mason Verger.
- Jericho is in full "C'MON BAYBAY!!!!" mode. He has the weird, high-pitched, nasally voice he had for the first few weeks of his last return, so he's either doing that on purpose or he hasn't done something yet that I shouldn't be specific about so as to make life easier for Bleacher Report's lawyers.
- He's slapping hands and in full hype man mode like his last return, only not cutting a promo.
- Closeup of his face makes me really hopeful that he's doing an Axl Rose parody with good makeup and hasn't Botoxed the hell out of his visage.
- Hand-slapping! Jericho tries to tousle the hair of a fan who's wearing a hat. Maybe he's drunk.
- He starts to climb the steps but stops and heads over to the barricade to do the thing from his WCW good guy days with that awful, generic, plinky music entrance where he'd throw himself back-first at the fans and uncomfortably make them fondle him. This is the point where it became ridiculously obvious to me that this was a parody of some sort.
- Jericho gets in the ring and takes the microphone as his entrance music finally stops. He soaks up the cheers and keeps teasing a promo only to go "C'MON BAYBAY!" and try to hype up the fans more.
- Then he runs around the ring and starts getting the different sides of the arena to out-cheer each other as he has the goofiest grin he can muster on his face. Well, the goofiest grin he can muster given the limited range of motion in his face at the moment.
- #Y2J is trending on Twitter! I wonder if he was wearing an in-ear monitor so they could drag out the segment until that happened. Or maybe Justin Roberts had some sort of cue to tell him he had trended, like putting a pen behind his ear.
- He teases a promo again but drops the mic. Cue more (attempted) goofy faces accompanied by "YEAH YEAH! C'MON! EVERYBODAAAY!" etc. and soaking up cheers. At this point, he's clearly trying to see how long he can keep it up before they boo him.
- Now Jericho does the goofiest possible finger spinning gesture as he makes a facial expression that would offend every single Chinese person on earth if he was doing it on purpose—and it wasn't the result of him mugging with limited use of his facial muscles.
- He runs around the ring slapping hands as some of the fans start to quiet down and finally get annoyed. "OH YEAH!"
- He starts walking to the ramp, stops and grabs the cameraman to shoot the crowd. Now they're cheering again. HA! Then he slaps hands on both sides of the aisle and heads to the stage, where he poses and then points to the crowd on both sides to louder cheers.
- Somehow the fans only catch on and start booing when he stops. He gets this weird grin on his Tony Curtis-esque face and stands there for a few seconds before finally walking back to the locker room.
- Lawler: "I'm not sure what...what we've just seen..." Now it seems like they're implying Jericho has gone off the deep end. I dunno, were the New Rockers supposed to be crazy? On that note, if Jericho tries to claim this gimmick is 100 percent original, then I hope someone punches him in his newly-purchased face.
There you have it. It was, overall, different and oddly entertaining. He did a great job playing the crowd like a fiddle, and I am curious to see where it goes. He's clearly doing some sort of weird delusional parody of pandering babyfaces, but I have no idea where he's taking it or how exactly it will play into his feud with CM Punk or whatever it is that he does next.
It does make a certain degree of sense coming off of his "heel who thinks he's rightfully the babyface" character during his last run. I'm just not sure what it could lead to. Maybe that's a good thing, maybe it isn't.