When I see Bo Dallas now, I think of Chris Jericho then.
In 1997, Jericho stood out in a populated WCW with his ridiculous antics and was a solid performer in the ring.
In 2014, with Dallas giving off his annoying Bo-Lieve smile while taking a lap around the ring, he is standing out by using some of the same characteristics Jericho did.
There are some interesting parallels between these two characters at the identified times. Jericho began his heel run after a squeaky-clean babyface run in WCW that didn't allow him to stand out in the cruiserweight crowd. Dallas also had a brief babyface run, making brief Royal Rumble and Raw appearances in 2013 that didn't do any favors for him.
Jericho would dish out an insult to anyone over anything. Dallas kills with cheesy kindness as he tells his opponent they gave it their best shot, and he's rarely seen without a smile on his face.
In fact, he's never seen without a smile, unless he has a childish look of displeasure as he argues with the audience. This was especially true with the intimate crowds at NXT shows, which would reject all of his motivational speeches.
The choice of words also highlights some similarities. Dallas doesn't use the same expressions as Jericho did, like referring to a lot of people as “Junior,” but he does get the same chuckled reaction when you hear him say things like “gosh darn it.”
During his run with WCW in 1997, Jericho was a heel who at times felt like he was one of the only wrestlers unaffiliated with a stable. The landscape isn't as drastic in WWE as it was then in WCW, but I do think when you look at The Shield, Evolution, The Wyatt Family—all stables dominating the top of the card—Dallas is fresh air as this different type of heel, a Superstar on an island of his own.
Even factoring in other current heels—Rusev, Kane, Alberto Del Rio, Jack Swagger, Ryback and Curtis Axel—they all have a more traditional nasty look and talk like villains in wrestling. None of them are coming out to the ring with a video that looks like it should be playing while listening to “America The Beautiful.”
Dallas has a long way to go in his career to be on top in WWE. He has a long way to go to get to the career level of comparison to Jericho. But he's off to a great start with this new character.
One of the things working against him is that Jericho had more control in evolving and handling his character 15 years ago. With a lot of cooks in the creative kitchen and constant evidence of mismanaging characters, Dallas is going to have to Bo-Lieve in good luck when it comes to his long-term booking.
Justin LaBar is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. He is also the creator of the "Chair Shot Reality" video talk show and "Wrestling Reality" radio show.
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