After just over seven months, Chris Jericho is once again gone from WWE to resume his music career on tour with Fozzy. Let's take a look at what he accomplished and left behind during his latest run.
Prior to his return on January 2, 2012, a series of cryptic videos involving children in a classroom setting and playing with a ball, writing in a notebook—among other things—were seen. These were purposely ambiguous and generated a lot of hype.
Jericho finally returned on the first RAW in the new year, revealed as the man who will bring forth "the end of the world as we know it." Much like his previous returns, this one was different. For weeks, he didn't speak; Jeri-Troll was leading on the WWE Universe, leaving them wanting more. Without saying a word, he turned himself into a heel.
Finally, just before the Royal Rumble, Jericho spoke, and participated in the Rumble. I thought at the time that, much like his silence and his refusal to participate physically in anything up until that time, we could possibly see Jericho win the Rumble without lifting a finger.
Instead, looking back, we saw something better—an excellent back-and-forth battle between Jericho and Sheamus, which saw Sheamus win and go on to become World Heavyweight Champion. A part of that success can be credited to Jericho and the way Sheamus was able to win the Royal Rumble.
Jericho turned his attention to CM Punk, calling him out for using the "Best in the World" catchphrase. After failing to win the WWE title at Elimination Chamber (but not "losing" in the match), Jericho became the No. 1 contender and faced CM Punk at WrestleMania.
Their lead up, which involved an alcohol storyline involving Punk's family, saw a WWE title match at WrestleMania, in a terrific 22-minute match on the second-to-last match of the night. Leading up to these matches, Jericho saw a lot of show time with Kofi Kingston, who Jericho praised numerous times on Twitter.
Jericho continued with Punk through Extreme Rules, which was in Punk's hometown. Jericho lost a Chicago Street Fight, putting Punk at 2-0 against Jericho in big match scenarios in 2012.
A Fatal Four-Way was next for Jericho at Over The Limit with Sheamus, Alberto Del Rio and Randy Orton. It ended with Jericho being pinned by Sheamus for the win.
A blip on the road came on May 24 at a live event in Brazil, when Jericho kicked the Brazilian flag out of the ring and was forced to apologize for the incident and was suspended for 30 days as a result.
Upon his return, he saw himself in the ring with John Cena, a man he met in pay-per-view main events in 2005. Both entered a Money in the Bank match involving former champions, which Cena eventually won.
The following night on RAW, Jericho found himself in the ring with Dolph Ziggler, turning face again, much like the beginning of his run, with no words, a simple code breaker and the crowd cheering on "Y2J" once again. After a back and forth (including Jericho bringing back his "nicknames," at least on Tout, calling his opponent "Dolph Zoggler"), Jericho claimed his first PPV win of his return—as it happens, the day before he leaves.
The next day, on RAW, Ziggler defeated Jericho, and just like that Y2J was gone for another extended period of time. On Twitter, Jericho said this won't be the last you see of him.
So what did we learn from his latest stint? It's simple: Jericho is such an established name and is so "untouchable" as a marketable entity that he can barely win matches and still maintain the perception that he is important, and should be treated as a main eventer.
In short, during his last run, he helped Sheamus get over as a main eventer, further Punk's star status at WrestleMania, had great matches with Kofi Kingston on TV and at live events, took big bumps in a Money in the Bank ladder match, and elevated Dolph Ziggler.
That sounds like an impressive, successful and unselfish run to me. So long, Chris Jericho, and we will welcome you with open arms when you choose to return.
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