"I want you to want...ME!"
Those of us who've followed the career of Chris Jericho since arriving to the mainstream wrestling scene in the mid-'90s have been captivated by his charisma, his athletic prowess, and his entertaining abilities. Don't worry, Lionheart, we wanted you for sure!
North American wrestling fans became well acquainted with Jericho in 1996, when he made his debut with Extreme Championship Wrestling. His most notable match was a four-way dance for the ECW Television title which included Shane Douglas, Pitbull No. 2, and Too Cold Scorpio.
Although Jericho lost that match, he did beat Pitbull No. 2 to win the ECW TV title before losing the title at Heatwave '96.
In August '96, Jericho made the jump to World Championship Wrestling. He made his Pay Per View debut in a losing effort against Chris Benoit at Fall Brawl '96. Jericho was stuck in WCW mediocrity until his heel turn in January '98, defeating Rey Mysterio, Jr. for his third WCW Cruiserweight Title.
Jericho's heel turn was the turning point of his career. His hilarious promos, tremendous heel tactics, and savvy mic skills forced WCW brass to push him, despite the infamous political turmoil that infested WCW.
Having enough of WCW's turmoil, Jericho negotiated and struck a deal with World Wrestling Federation, debuting on 9-9-99, signaling the end of "Lionheart" Chris Jericho, and the end of "Lionheart" Chris Jericho.
In Part II of "Chris Jericho—an Ode," I'll look back at "Y2J" Chris Jericho, including his humorous exchanges with The Rock, and of course, Jericho becoming the first ever Undisputed World Champion.
Thanks for reading.