Last Thursday night, Chris Jericho was suspended by the WWE after he picked up a Brazilian flag, threw it down on the ground and then proceeded to kick it out of the ring. The match resumed, but Jericho was ultimately suspended indefinitely, and later for 30 days, by the WWE.
That means that Jericho will miss the No Way Out pay-per-view and a possible matchup against rival Randy Orton. However, Jericho will also miss tonight's Monday Night Raw as well.
Despite losing Jericho from the show, I think that the flag incident, while definitely not being morally the right thing to do, will help draw a lot of interest to the WWE, and at the very least, help to improve viewership. I'm not a big wrestling fan at all, but I heard about the flag incident in Brazil and saw the video online.
They always say all publicity is good publicity, so I guess the WWE can find solace in that. However, having to suspend one of its biggest stars is never good, especially for an organization like the WWE.
As for tonight's Raw, while it'll probably attract more viewers initially, it's never good to lose one of your biggest stars. Fans who tune in will certainly miss the presence of Jericho.
However, I have a sneaking feeling that when Jericho comes back from his suspension, he'll once again be loved by the fans like nothing ever happened. Fans have a funny way of forgiving their favorite athletes, and Jericho won't be the exception.
In sports like wrestling or boxing, where fans love outlandish, outspoken, and at times, controversial characters, Jericho fits right into the mold. Yes, he will be missed on tonight's Raw, but when he comes back, he'll be as big of a star as ever.
I'm reminded of an incident in 2001 where in hyping his match with Felix Trinidad, Bernard Hopkins threw down the Puerto Rican flag in Puerto Rico in order to hype the fight. Hopkins was ultimately forgiven for this act, and he gained publicity and more fans despite the initial negative attention he received.
Without a doubt, the same will happen with Jericho. While he'll be missed on tonight's Raw, I think in the long run this incident may be good for wrestling. Expect Jericho to be on a big PPV in the future and expect that PPV to do big business.
Controversy breeds discussion, and without a doubt, this discussion will in the long run only benefit the WWE, despite the initial backlash.
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