On a Pedestel: Has the IWC Overrated Chris Jericho?
In late 2007, the Internet Wrestling Community was abuzz with rumors of a soon returning "Y2J" Chris Jericho, who had been absent from professional wrestling since electing to leave two years before.
His initial comeback might not have been the most impressive. He wasn't booked to win the WWE Championship from then titleholder, Randy Orton.
Soon after that he began a feud with the widely disliked (both onscreen and not) John Bradshaw Layfield, much to the chagrin of the IWC.
However, months later Chris Jericho would enter into a feud with "The Heartbreak Kid" Shawn Michaels and through it, he turned into one of the most admired heels the WWE has ever featured.
Since then, he's had three World Heavyweight Championship reigns, but his reputation skyrocketed through his remarkable feuds with Shawn Michaels and Rey Mysterio, as well as by his apparent willingness to put over mid-carders like R-Truth, John Morrison and Kofi Kingston.
Chris Jericho's immense wrestling ability, excellent mic skills and legitimate sportsmanship have elevated him in the eyes of much of the IWC to "Best in the World" status.
Unfortunately, with such favor misconceptions often run rampant. Due to this overwhelming admiration for Chris Jericho, many have begun to ignore his evident flaws and scoff at notions of other wrestlers being better than him in certain ways.
This is an injustice both for those other wrestlers and younger, more impressionable fans.
CM Punk currently generates more heel heat than any group or individual in the WWE, surpassing even Chris Jericho, whose character, though still effective, has grown older and thus does not muster the same response as it once did.
However, the IWC would have you think Jericho is still the most hated heel in the company, when he is clearly not.
I'd argue that Jericho's mic abilities are still above CM Punk's (though they are both fantastic), but he is no longer the top heel in the WWE.
Chris Jericho, though arguably the most well-rounded wrestler in the ring, still has some noticeable flaws in his wrestling.
For one, his bumping is horrid. The Straightedge Society's Luke Gallows bumps better than Jericho, though Luke is actually quite impressive for his size.
Could it be because of Jericho's age?
Probably, but does that mean we should ignore that aspect when assessing Chris Jericho's overall ring ability?
Of course not, to do so would be unfair to the fantastic bumpers and sellers like Evan Bourne and both of the Hardys.
Matt Hardy is actually only four years younger than Jericho and though he hasn't wrestled for as long, he's sustained far more injuries and is in arguably much worse shape than Jericho, yet he is still a solid bumper and a very realistic seller.
Jericho's strikes, too, are pretty sloppy. His kicks often don't connect well and he's not as adept at selling ones he throws (via slapping or stomping) as guys like Tyson Kid, John Morrison and Rey Mysterio are.
You could argue that not every wrestler likes to sell his own strikes—some think it's purely the responsibility of the opponent to sell them.
However, since you can clearly see Jericho slap his thigh during most of his kicks and without producing a solid result, it's obvious he tries but is simply not very good at it.
His chain wrestling often looks awkward and sloppy, even if he is still a cut above almost all of the other main eventers, most of whom don't even try for any chain wrestling.
Part of this comes from his extra girth acquired in his more advanced age, but if you look back at some of his older matches, he was rarely as crisp as younger wrestlers are today.
Some of you might ask, "Is it really necessary that we come to terms with Chris Jericho's flaws?"
For those who write here for the Bleacher Report and for those who ever try to offer an unbiased, educated opinion on a subject of professional wrestling, yes, it is important.
If we, the writers of Bleacher Report, set an example that it's OK to ignore a wrestler's flaws and automatically assume he's better than others in all ways, we would be hurting the quality of discussion present on this website.
Chris Jericho is a fantastic wrestler, a legend of professional wrestling. However, that does not mean we should be ignorant to the talents of rising stars; and since Jericho so actively puts such people over, I don't think even he would want that.
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