The professional wrestling industry has no shortage on the embittered and rant-happy. Sure, it can be an ugly business with unhappy endings, and those who choose to sound off about its pitfalls have every right to be heard. But there eventually comes a time where it becomes necessary to move on.
When I see fit, I will single out those who have abused their piss and moan privileges, should cease all complaints and/or diatribes, and live what's left of their lives. Taking cues from an old Chris Jericho catchphrase, I implore you—the disillusioned wrestling personality—to please shut the hell up.
In October 1990, Chris Jericho invented professional wrestling long after the first wrestling match took place back in the 19th century.
Or at least that's what he wants you to think.
The irony of Jericho as the subject of the latest installment of STHU is not lost on me, given the fact that it was Chris Jericho who borrowed the otherwise commonplace titular phrase and made it his own in the WWE. Funny thing is, Jericho seems to be less forgiving when he is on the other side of the borrowing.
Since 2010, The multi-faceted former World Champion has been on a prolonged hiatus from the WWE as he pursues outside interests such as his rock band Fozzy and other entertainment-related projects.
With a Hall of Fame caliber career that will never be overshadowed by anything in his stable of passion projects, Jericho occasionally finds time to discuss WWE-related topics via interviews and tweets.
Jericho's most noteworthy sentiments pertaining to today's wrestling environment revolve around a rather hypocritically acerbic stance on how today's wrestlers are stealing his moves. The first eyebrow-raising comment on the matter came in the form of a tweet, directed at the once white-hot CM Punk, following a promo in which Punk mentioned Jericho by name.
In response to the mention, Jericho tweeted the following:
"Everyone is so excited that @CMPunk mentioned me on Raw. Newsflash...I don't give a shit. Mind ur own business and stop rippin me off Punk."
While watching a subsequent episode of RAW, flanked by his own ego, Jericho followed that unexpected shot at CM Punk with this tweet after Punk utilized Jericho's signature springboard dropkick:
"Another Raw, another stolen move. I expect that from a rookie or a diva, but et tu Punk? BACK OFF…."
Jericho would go on to spend the next several weeks pettily pointing out instances where wrestlers stole his moves, which in his mind demonstrated an unpardonable lack of respect for the wrestling business and its sole creator in Chris Jericho.
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that Jericho's negativity towards Punk and others is heavily speculated to be part of an angle, which is a school of thought that I still happen to be enrolled in.
However during a recent interview with wrestlingvoice.net, Jericho's angst took took a less storyline-driven turn when he expressed frustration on what he believes to be wrestlers ripping him off:
"There seems to be a lack of respect for the forefathers who came in and did it first and it’s not just [CM] Punk, it’s a whole litany of guys from Miz to Cody Rhodes to Mason Ryan to Sin Cara to Kelly Kelly, everybody is stealing moves, looks, ideas.
"Brian Pillman once told me if you want to make it in wrestling you have to do something that nobody has done before and nobody is doing that and they are coming off as second-rate copies of Chris Jericho, and that’s maybe why these guys aren’t striking and I watch it and think, ‘Seriously, again?’
“A couple of years ago you had ‘Miz 4, John Cena 0′, where did that come from? Conspiracy Theory, where did that come from? Best in the World, where did that come from?
"Wearing suits, talking slow, using big words, using certain moves, you know Miz used the word “troglodyte” a few weeks ago and I’m like seriously? If there ever was a word associated with Chris Jericho that would be it.
"These guys have to start thinking of their own stuff and sometimes I see some of them and I’m like oh, come on. It’s not like it’s influenced. At least give credit where credit is due.”
Mind you, this is the same Jericho who uses the Asai Moonsault as his finishing maneuver, which is the same Asai Moonsault popularized by Japanese wrestling legend Ulitmo Dragon.
This same Jericho uses the Boston Crab as a submission finisher, a move widely credited to the late Gory Guerrero of the legendary Guerrero wrestling family.
Jericho taking exception to wrestlers wearing suits is especially hilarious as John Bradshaw-Layfield donned a suit long before Jericho decided to, and a man named Ric Flair began wearing suits before Jericho earned enough coins to rub together and buy one.
Who knew Giorgio Armani was Canadian?
Apparently the name Nick Bockwinkel means nothing to Chris Jericho, who is now taking credit for originating the art of the profound vocabulary in wrestling promos. This promo, of Bockwinkel in his truest form of proficient articulation, serves as a major ego-killer to Jericho on that front.
As far as "best in the world" is concerned, this is yet another commonplace term used widely in the entertainment and North-American culture.
Well before Jericho's latest heel persona was created, chants of "best in the world" were used frequently in ROH to show appreciation towards Bryan Danielson's (Daniel Bryan) in-ring work. And tell me if this promo (from the 2:16 mark) from "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in 1997 doesn't ring a bell.
Jericho is especially dead-wrong on Miz and Truth's conspiracy theories as well. They obviously stole that from me.
Jericho himself has even mentioned multiple times that the most recent incarnation of his heel persona was a direct "inspiration" from Anton Chigurh (played by Javier Bardum) from Academy Award-winning movie No Country for Old Men.
Conveniently enough, when it's Jericho's stolen material that is in turn being stolen, this is considered an unabashed form of disrespect in the suddenly asinine mind of yet another living wrestling legend consumed by his own vanity.
To tie this controversial comedy of dissertation error into a nice little bow, Jericho has been compared to WWE legend Shawn Michaels throughout his entire wrestling career.
The progression of his in ring work, namely during his WCW career, never seemed to indicate that Jericho was coming into his own, but rather he was getting better at mimicking Michaels.
The similarities in their styles, and Jericho's reverence for the Heart Break Kid, was put on display as the story that was told during their epic WrestleMania XIX encounter.
Perhaps this is what Jericho was speaking of when it comes to respect? Stealing moves and likenesses when the legend in question is in the ring to compete against it?
Does Jericho have a legit gripe?
The signs of early-onset wrestler dementia are certainly troubling at such a comparatively tender stage of Chris Jericho's life and career. In fact, Jericho menstruating over "stolen moves" is so delusional that it is almost too good not to be part of a worked angle tailor-made for a heel.
If done correctly, it certainly would be entertaining to see Jericho tirelessly complain on TV about how people are stealing his moves, only for Jericho himself to use other peoples' finishers to win matches out of desperation.
If this is the case, the WWE needs to be sure to protect the gimmick by limiting Jericho's stolen finishers to one per match to avoid the gimmick slipping into Charlie Haas territory.
With the European leg of Chris Jericho's Fozzy tour schedule lining up perfectly with WWE's upcoming return to Europe in November, the timing for Jericho's "that's my line" promotional tour seems curious to say the least.
One can only hope that this is the beginning of yet another elaborate work by the WWE hype machine.
UPDATE: Chris Jericho has since returned to the WWE and he actually heeded this advice. For the first three weeks of his return to the company, he didn't say one word. Jericho finally cut his first full promo on on the February 6th, 2012 edition of RAW, and as speculated in this very article, he complained—in character—about individuals stealing his moves and gimmicks.
Well done, Christopher. You're off the list.