Chris Jericho Leaves WWE: Assessing the 6-Time World Champion's Latest Run
Jericho bowed out by treating fans to a nostalgic 20-minute battle with the returning Rob Van Dam on Raw, which saw RVD go over after using his signature Five-Star Frog Splash. We likely have not seen the last of Jericho in a WWE ring, but when he does return, one or two changes in booking should be made in order to keep the part-timer as big an asset as possible.
Jericho's 2013 run was full of entertaining performances but he failed to pick up any genuinely significant victories. While I understand that his main function within the company is to selflessly put over upcoming talent, by the end of this latest run a clean victory against Chris Jericho unfortunately meant very little, regardless of how good JBL has been at putting the nine-time Intercontinental Champion over on commentary.
Of course, in theory, an up-and-coming talent is likely to gain momentum by defeating a popular in-ring veteran such as Jericho. However, the central issue in building new talent this way is that victories of lesser stars over Y2J have become so frequent on his current run that the effect has become massively diluted.
There is absolutely no problem having Jericho work with younger talent in an attempt to get them over; the issue is that he should be built up first before he is eventually knocked down. During 2013, it could be argued that Jericho was never built up quite strongly enough before the likes of Fandango, Jack Swagger and Ryback used him as their stepping stool to greater heights.
The main problem with this is that Jericho appears, in kayfabe, to be on par with the mid- and upper-midcard performers. The consequences were that Y2J lost a number of matches cleanly that ended up having little-to-no long-term gain; Swagger beat Jericho by pinfall on consecutive episodes of SmackDown in the build up to WrestleMania only before his main event push was entirely dropped.
So, for Jericho's next run, why not have him win the Intercontinental, World Heavyweight or even WWE Championship and hold onto a strap for a couple of months before having a younger superstar go over him and becoming champion? Build him up to knock him down.
Overall in 2013, Jericho has been a reliable and entertaining worker, frequently appearing and headlining both Raw and SmackDown. It was perhaps surprising that the expected heel turn never came this run, but it was arguably pleasing that Creative followed the less predictable route.
It may surprise some readers to learn that Jericho's win/loss record in singles matches in 2013 is 16-13. Ultimately, however, for Jericho's next run, he needs to keep winning the big ones for his defeats in the smaller ones to have the desired effect.
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