Ever since debuting in the WWE back in 1999, Chris Jericho has unquestionably been one of the company's most entertaining performers. Even though his appearances aren't as frequent as they once were, that continues to be the case. Fans understandably would like to see Jericho return on a full-time basis, but that isn't likely to come to fruition.
As a huge Jericho supporter, I would absolutely love to see Y2J back as a regular roster member, but I appreciate the fact that he even returns at all. Jericho is 42 years old, which really isn't that old in professional wrestling terms, but there are obviously more good years in his rear-view mirror than there are on the road ahead.
That fact alone probably has a lot to do with the fans' desire to see Jericho return as a full-time competitor. It is unclear how much longer Jericho is willing and able to wrestle, but it will likely only come in spurts moving forward. Jericho has so many outside projects to manage that it simply isn't feasible for him to turn his attention to just wrestling.
Touring with his band Fozzy is priority No. 1 at this point, and he said as much during a recent interview with Ring Rust Radio. Jericho claimed that his schedule will always be more "Fozzy-based" than "WWE-based," which is probably something that most WWE fans don't want to hear, but it's also something that I can definitely respect.
Jericho has often said that it was always his dream to be a WWE Superstar and a rock star. He has been fortunate enough to accomplish both of those goals. With that said, Jericho has already done essentially everything possible in the WWE, whereas his music career is still growing. Y2J clearly still has a passion for wrestling or else he wouldn't bother coming back, but there is much more on the horizon for him when it comes to his band.
Jericho is also the host of Robot Combat League, and I'm sure many more opportunities like that will arise down the line. If Jericho jumps at those chances, then I certainly can't blame him for doing so. He committed himself to wrestling for many years and developed into one of the best performers of all time. In dedicating himself to his craft, I'm sure he missed out on a lot of other things that he would have liked to try. Now he has the opportunity to do that.
Although Y2J is technically a part-time performer at the moment based on the fact that he is able to come and go with relative freedom, he is much more active than the other part-timers. Guys like The Rock and Brock Lesnar compete in some big matches for the company, and so does Jericho, but Y2J also wrestles on Raw and SmackDown, and even competes at house shows. He may only be with the WWE in spurts, but he is all in when he decides to come back.
The main issue is that Jericho doesn't really have anything left to strive toward in the WWE. He is always adamant that something new and interesting needs to be in place in order for him to come back. A feud with CM Punk was big enough for him to return last time. His current run started with a surprise entry into the Royal Rumble, which nobody saw coming. At some point, all of the unique ideas will be used up and there won't be any incentive for Jericho to return.
Winning matches and winning titles are things that don't matter to Jericho at this point in his career. His goal is simply to entertain regardless of what the results are. There is no point in Jericho returning on a full-time basis because there are so few things that still interest him. If the WWE uses all of them up during his current run, then there will be nothing left to pique his interest in the following months and years.
Perhaps the toughest part of this entire situation for the fans is that Jericho's performance level is arguably higher than it ever has been. He may not be quite as quick and athletic as he was earlier in his career, but he makes up for it with savvy and showmanship. His in-ring work is incredible for a guy in his position, and he is clearly still one of the best in the business on the mic as well.
As much as I have enjoyed Jericho's latest tenure with the company, it is almost as if the WWE doesn't exactly know what to do with him. He has had incredible matches against the likes of CM Punk and Daniel Bryan, and his showings in the Royal Rumble match and Elimination Chamber match were impressive to boot.
He hasn't really had a storyline since returning, though, and it still isn't known who he'll be facing at WrestleMania XXIX despite the fact that it's less than a month away. Conventional wisdom would seem to indicate that Dolph Ziggler will be his opponent as Mr. Money in the Bank has a history with Jericho and doesn't have anything to do at 'Mania either. As good as that match is likely to be, the creative team has done a poor job building the feud.
I can't speak for Jericho, but I'm sure that he has noticed the way he has been handled since returning. He has done his part in terms of remaining relevant and entertaining the fans, but the WWE hasn't exactly held up its end of the bargain. That really speaks to the fact that he has done everything in the WWE, and it has become increasingly difficult to utilize him effectively.
Jericho has expressed his love for the WWE on many occasions, and it's clear that he will never wrestle for any other company. With so many other things going on in his life, though, I highly doubt that we will ever be able to view Jericho as solely a wrestler. Unfortunately, wrestling is likely to take a back seat to music, and that is certainly Y2J's prerogative.
Also, check out Ring Rust Radio's interview with Chris Jericho here.