CvC — Chris Jericho: Evolution of a Mental Mastermind

Devon GivensCorrespondent IJune 3, 2010

"I've made a career of doing what none of you failures could ever hope and dream to do." Chris Jericho, WWE SmackDown 2/22/10

"I am the best in the world at what I do." Chris Jericho, 2009

Whenever he utters those exact words with a cold, dark, and monotonous tone, one cannot deny that he simply is the best in the world at what he does.

Many will imply that I'm willing to set my own two legs on fire for making such an exuberant claim since I'm an obvious Chris Jericho mark.  But who could ignore the success that he capitalized on since leaving the chaotic and now deceased wrestling company known as WCW?

Some claim that the success that he has accomplished would have never happened if he left WCW for WWE, since he rose to such an astronomical level at the expense of other hungry and deserving WWE superstars.

But putting all of the ridiculous claims and theories aside, perhaps we can all come to some sort of agreement.

"I'll prove them all wrong.  This 'vanilla midget' will make something out of himself in this business."

Chris Jericho began his illustrious career in the WWE (formerly known as the WWF) on August 9, 1999, making an impact in the wrestling world, further proving those naysayers in WCW that relied too heavily on old-timers, (*cough* Bischoff, *cough*) by proclaiming himself as "Y2J ."

Although he was set to make his mark as the "savior of the WWE," good ol' Vinny Mac wasn't all too convinced to just give him a free pass.  Since he still reeked of the WCW "stench," he was then verbally mocked by none other than Dwayne "Don't Call Me The Rock" Johnson.

Even though that was arguably the greatest debut in professional wrestling, Jericho still hasn't narrowly escaped the status of a "mid-carder" since he jumped ship to the WWE, as he would go through a series of short-lived feuds with the likes of Road Dogg, X-Pac, and Ken Shamrock.  But even though this was the beginning of paying his dues to the WWE, he would then go on to capture his first Intercontinental Championship from Chyna at Armageddon 1999.

"I'm going to make it.  I can just feel it, taste it, experience it.  The moment will come... "

He captured his first Intercontinental title but didn't stop there. The growing enthusiasm from his mic and in-ring skills, coupled with his subsequent alliance with Chyna, effectively turned him face.  Shortly after his face turn, he would begin a feud with the similarly arrogant "role model" Kurt Angle, and would then go on to lose his title at No Way Out 2000.

"Okay, I may have lost and it appears that I may be down to my last, but a certain 'Assassin' better watch his back...

His feud with Kurt Angle culminated at the next pay-per-view, WrestleMania 2000, in a Triple Threat match that also featured Chris Benoit.  Although Jericho gave with one arm, someone took the other, as Eddie Guerrero took both his European Title and seduced Chyna the next night on Raw.  Although all hope seemed to be lost, Jericho would gain a victory over Triple H the next week on Raw after referee Earl Hebner made a fast count.

"He seemed to ignore every word that I've said, with a sense of doubt.  But don't you worry, because guess what?  I'm ready to play the game..."

It appeared that he was ready to test The Game's patience and further anger him as he would began showering "Daddy's Little Girl" with many "flattering " names, and even getting the best of him on more than one occasion.  But the comedy antics came to an end at Fully Loaded 2000, where Jericho lost by one second to Triple H in a Last Man Standing match, with repeated assistance from Stephanie McMahon.

"As I lay here in defeat, a bruised and broken man, I promise myself that I will get what is mine, even if I'm seen as just a 'comedy act'... "

As 2001 came to life, Jericho captured the Intercontinental Title for the fourth time in a Ladder Match against Chris Benoit at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view.  Although he lost the title again just a mere four days later, the Invasion would begin to make their mark onto the WWE, but hints of jealousy began to show between him and The Rock, who wrote Jericho off as nothing but a "comedy act."  Even though they were willing to put their differences aside, Jericho savagely attacked The Rock with a steel chair, marking a full-fledged heel turn that lasted for nearly two years.

"The Great One will be a thing of the past, his time is up.  But I guarantee that some hearts will be broken... "

After he resumed his feud with The Game for a second time, Jericho made his way onto the Raw roster, forming a team with Christian.  Although they've tasted some success in the tag team division, Jericho decided to go solo once again, setting his sights on none other than Mr. WrestleMania himself at Royal Rumble 2003.  Although he never won the Royal Rumble, he still managed to go toe-to-toe with Michaels once again, with Michaels scoring the upset victory.  Shortly, Jericho nailed a low blow after the embrace.

"No more HBK, now it's time to tackle a monster.  I guess I'm next on his list..."

Goldberg made his return to the WWE, marking his territory on Raw by spearing The Rock.  This feud began with Jericho launching his first ever Highlight Reel interview show, with Goldberg as the guest. Jericho claimed that no one wanted to see Goldberg in the WWE and would continue to mock and insult him in the following weeks. 

Jericho then started expressing jealousy towards all the accolades and accomplishments that Goldberg received in WCW, feeling that he should challenge Goldberg to a match at Bad Blood 2003, to add him on the list of all the things he has accomplished in the WWE.  Goldberg eventually settled the score, defeating Jericho at the pay-per-view.

As this feud drifted into the sunset, Jericho spent the remainder of 2003 and 2004 feuding with the likes of Christian, Trish Stratus, and Evolution.  But it wasn't until 2005 when he showed his true intentions, when "The Champ" decided to make his way onto Raw territory.

"Looks like Cena is pretty comfortable here.  I have to make sure that he doesn't get too comfortable before he overstays his welcome... "

After a brief face run, Jericho turned heel again by turning on Cena during an episode of Raw.  The feud continued out during the summer, with Jericho ending up on the losing end of the matches.  The next night following SummerSlam 2005, he faced off against Cena in a "You're Fired" match, which involved Jericho losing again to Cena along with Bischoff firing a pleading Jericho who was escorted out of the building by security.

"I may be down once again, but I'm not out.  I will return, mark my words, 'I will return...'"

After two long years, Jericho finally made his return on Raw, interrupting a "Passing of the Torch" ceremony, orchestrated by then WWE Champion Randy Orton.  He proclaimed that he was going to "save" the WWE fans from Orton by going after the WWE Championship.  At Armageddon 2007, Jericho was thrown into JBL, who then kicked Jericho in the head, prompting the ref to call a DQ.

"Right now, a self-made millionaire with a ten-gallon hat steps in my way from capturing what is mine.  For me to just ignore that obstacle is just blasphemy, it's just too useless to resist... "

The man who cost Jericho the WWE title then made his return on Raw, to resume his role as an active wrestler in response to a challenge made by a very distraught Jericho.  A bloody Jericho then disqualified himself by hitting JBL with a steel chair and strangling him with a cable cord at Royal Rumble 2008.  Jericho won the following rematch, thus ending the feud between them.

"Now that this is out the way, I'm still stuck in a rut, trying to solve this mystery of why people prefer deception over self-righteousness? "

It was then that the man they call Shawn Michaels became responsible for the birth of the now articulate villain you see today.  Gone were the days of the fun-loving party host of the new millennium that consistently pandered to the fans. 

We are now left with a self-righteous, suit-wearing, honest man that could care less if any of you recalcitrant frauds cheered for him or not, because guess what?  He only cares about one thing.  And that one thing is none other than reaching for the brass ring.

Any typical Jericho mark could attempt to counter the tirade thrown at them by listing all the accolades and accomplishments he has obtained in his career.  But the important lesson here is to let the facts and memorable bouts speak for themselves.

He truly is the best in the world at what he does.

"I have matured.  I have moved on.  I have taken my career to a whole other level, my life to a whole different level...instead of reaching for the golden ring of another World Title, I decided to reach for fool's gold and I would never settle for second best again.  I would never settle for what you want me to be again." — Chris Jericho, 7/28/08


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