Chris Jericho: 7 Candidates for His Eventual WWE Retirement Match
As difficult a concept to stomach as it may be, Chris Jericho will eventually retire.
The former WWE champ and future Hall of Famer still has miles left in him, but how many? He'll be 43 at the end of this year and has a second career of rocking and rolling already lined up.
When Y2J eventually decides he's going to leave WWE for good, he should follow in the footsteps of Ric Flair and Shawn Michaels and go out in style. Both those men lost retirement matches that were emotional and memorable.
Who would be the man to send Jericho off?
The following candidates would produce excellent matches with Jericho, create a great story and, for many, their win would benefit the future of the company.
Dolph Ziggler has already ended Jericho, albeit temporarily. It was summer 2012 when Ziggler put up his Money in the Bank contract and Jericho risked his WWE contract in a match on WWE Raw.
Choosing Ziggler to end Jericho's career would be a far bigger moment, a move that passes the proverbial torch.
Jericho has been entertaining through his cockiness and athleticism for years now, and Ziggler can continue that tradition. The win would be one of Ziggler's biggest accomplishments; one that we would no doubt hear about for many promos to come.
In the category of "least likely to happen," Tyson Kidd would gain significant momentum by being the final man to knock Jericho off.
This matchup would leave the outcome less obvious than a retirement against a man who has beaten him several times. The underdog Kidd would deliver a fast-paced, dizzying match against Jericho. The uncertainty of the ending would make it fun as well.
Both Jericho and Kidd trained in Stu Hart's infamous "dungeon," and WWE could play up that connection to add to the drama.
Kidd's lack of prominence makes this a long shot but a pairing that would be exciting.
If WWE wants Jericho's last match to be a great one, make it against CM Punk.
Punk and Jericho have proved time and time again that their chemistry equals classics. From their WrestleMania 28 bout to their Street Fight at Extreme Rules 2012, their Payback match and recent clash on WWE Raw, it's clear that these men work tremendously together.
It may be a bit predictable that Punk would win this match as he has dominated their rivalry in the past.
Still, Punk's a big star and would make Jericho's farewell a memorable one.
How poetic would it be for Jericho to beat Daniel Bryan in his first WWE match and then years later for Bryan to win in Jericho's final WWE match?
Like with CM Punk, going with Bryan essentially guarantees a fantastic match. As beloved as these two guys are, though, WWE fans may have trouble deciding who to root for. But that's a minor issue.
If Bryan continues his ascension to the very top of the WWE, the final win over Jericho is quite the resume booster. If Jericho sees anything of himself in The World's Toughest Vegan, he'll likely lobby to have Bryan send him off.
The Miz is among the least likely candidates here as well, but has a better shot than Kidd.
Jericho and Miz have been tag team partners and opponents on different occasions. The way that Flair symbolically passed down the figure-four to Miz, Jericho losing to Miz would be a meaningful gesture that helps boost the future.
Miz can forever claim to be the man who ended Jericho's career as he attempts to work his way back up to WWE’s main event.
Jericho respects John Cena. A portion of the WWE fanbase may be tired of Cena's antics, but Jericho has shown in the past that he's willing to lose to the WWE champ.
He’s had similar comments to this tweet in the past.
— Chris Jericho (@IAmJericho) April 23, 2013
In 2005, Jericho challenged Cena on WWE Raw and, as a result of losing, found himself out of the company. If Cena were chosen to be Jericho's last opponent, there is an easy narrative to tell here about Jericho's back being against the wall and knowing that Cena has already ended his career once before.
Say what you want about Cena's lack of wrestling skills. His matches generally have that proverbial big-fight feel. The only opponent who would have Jericho's exit more grand and main-event worthy is the next man on the list.
No retirement match would be bigger than Jericho putting his career on the line against The Undertaker's undefeated WrestleMania streak.
Even with an obvious outcome, Undertaker's annual defense of that streak has been one of the best matches of the year. Should Jericho follow CM Punk, Triple H and Michaels' footsteps in facing The Deadman at the year's biggest event, it would be a meeting of two legends.
There is no shame in losing to The Undertaker and, as Michaels can attest, no shame in having him ending your career.
What gets in the way of this potential match is that Brock Lesnar or Cena may be more likely candidates to face The Undertaker at WrestleMania XXX, forcing Jericho wait until the following year to retire or choose another man to duel with.