If WWE wants to get the most out of Chris Jericho's recent return to television, it should seriously consider turning him heel soon.
OK, so Jericho isn't a terrible babyface. And he's been on the roster for so long and garnered so much respect the fans find it very easy to cheer for him.
But, really, over the past couple of weeks, it's hard to fight the feeling that he simply might be better off as a heel.
For one thing, WWE already has more top babyfaces than it needs. You've got John Cena, Roman Reigns and Dean Ambrose in the mix. There's also Daniel Bryan, when he's healthy.
This means Jericho is somewhat limited in where he can go as a good guy. There's no place for him right now except the midcard ranks.
As a heel, however, he has significantly more opportunities to progress up the card.
Money in the Bank winner Seth Rollins isn't quite ready to be on top yet, Randy Orton is struggling to find a good program, Bray Wyatt still has to prove himself, Kane doesn't feel relevant anymore, and Brock Lesnar and Triple H only work one or two matches a year.
Jericho is a great candidate to step in if WWE needs a reliable and established heel to work a title program with a top babyface.
In particular, Jericho vs. Cena would probably make for a decent rivalry; they’ve worked well together in the past and would likely do so again.
It’s easy to see the Canadian star bringing out the best in Cena, both in the ring and on promos.
Jericho vs. a returning Bryan also sounds like it has the makings of a great feud. Just imagine how tremendous their matches would be.
I’d like to see him work with a newer star like Reigns, too. No doubt the former Shield member would benefit hugely from working with a veteran like Jericho.
That he's not associated with the increasingly stale Authority stable may help him as well. At least he won't get upstaged by Stephanie and Triple H like Rollins, Kane and Orton.
Besides, isn't Jericho just better suited to being a bad guy? Isn't that his natural role?
As a face, he's good but nothing special. Honestly, he comes off as a little bland and lacking in depth. I haven't been overwhelmed by his work with The Miz and Wyatt since he came back last month, either. It feels very much like he’s going through the motions.
As a heel, however, his act can often be spectacular.
For proof, look at his tremendous and long-running 2008 feud with Shawn Michaels, where he was arguably at his peak as a whiny, egotistical heel.
His deeply personal shots at Michaels, as well as his near-pathological drive to expose him to the world as a liar and a fraud, remains as some of his best stuff ever. It was one of the most psychologically intense and fascinating rivalries in the company’s history.
Jericho's work as a face has never been able to compete with that. As noted, he simply has more depth and character as a bad guy. (Most wrestlers do, interestingly enough.) He brings more energy and zest to it: It helps that he’s naturally obnoxious and arrogant on-screen. The heel role is one he plays with vigor.
If he turned heel now, he could add a ton more to his current character.
The multitalented Jericho has, of course, presented various TV shows, acted in a handful of films, written two books and is the lead singer of popular heavy metal band Fozzy.
He could easily be the insufferable mainstream star who feels he's “too good” for the lowly wrestling business and its fans.
Besides, even if he doesn't become a big-time main eventer again out of it, it's still worth turning him. Jericho as a bad guy would help return him to prominence and make him a more crucial part of the show.
Going heel just seems like the best thing for him and WWE right now.