25 Greatest Matches of Chris Jericho's Career

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterJanuary 12, 2012

25 Greatest Matches of Chris Jericho's Career

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    Chris Jericho's best matches are some of the greatest matches period. 

    Rarely do we get to see such a total package.  Charisma seeping out of him, a surplus of athleticism at his disposal—Jericho turns wrestling matches into works of art. 

    He's been involved in unforgettable ladder matches, blood-drenched wars and technical marvels. 

    Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit and Triple H feature prominently in the list of his greatest matches, as you might expect. 

    Jericho could, however, put on a main event with a crash-test dummy. When given the stage with a fellow legend, the results were unbelievable. 

25. WrestleMania 26 vs. Edge World Heavyweight Championship

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    "Counter after counter in the match.  Jericho crawling…"

    In a WrestleMania overshadowed by the Undertaker and Shawn Michaels rematch and tainted by the stench of the Bret Hart vs. Mr. McMahon match, one might forget about that night's excellent bout for the World Heavyweight Championship.

    Jericho and Edge at first worked at a methodical pace, building slowly towards the climax. 

    Fans were still in a celebratory mood about Edge's return from injury.  They saw an entertaining battle highlighted by Jericho attempting the spear, but getting a sickening boot to the face instead.   

    As a post-match bonus, Edge speared Jericho through a barricade. 

24. Uncensored 1998 vs. Dean Malenko WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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    "I'm too good to be that guy's role model."

    The early stages of the embittered Malenko vs. Jericho feud saw one of its best matches on WCW's Uncensored. 

    Jericho was just beginning to develop his heel side and it was clear right away how well it suited him. 

    Classic hilarious Bobby Heenan commentary backed this battle of opposites. 

    Jericho squealed in frustration while Malenko remained stone faced.  The exciting high-flying offense of Y2J went up against the technical skills of the Ice Man. 

    WCW's cruiserweight division at the time was loaded with talent, but from this match and every other one they put on, it's clear that Malenko and Jericho were two of the very best. 

23. Raw 2010 vs. Randy Orton vs. Edge #1 Contender’s Match

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    "Randy Orton’s got no hope."

    The crowd crackling with energy, the three future Hall of Famers put on a spectacular Triple Threat Match.

    Rarely did the action lag, near-falls and reversals quickening the breath of the crowd throughout.

    Though Edge and Jericho and certainly Edge and Orton have some bad blood, the lack of buildup to this particular collision and its relative short length kept it from being as memorable as it could have been.    

    Still, they put on a pay-per-view quality match, no surprise with the amount of talent involved.    

22. Backlash 2000 vs. Chris Benoit Intercontinental Championship

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    "Jericho’s kidneys just bounced off the title belt."

    Benoit and Jericho could fill this list by themselves. 

    Their resume together is robust, full of unforgettable clashes.  This one was good, but as incredible as some of their others have been it makes their Backlash match look less impressive.   

    Both men were fiery from start to finish.  Benoit always seemed to bring out something special in Jericho, pushing him to up the ferocity of his game.    

    Had this gone on a bit longer and had a more satisfying ending, it'd be closer in quality to their other masterpieces. 

    The fans went nuts when the matched ended on a DQ as they saw a potential all-time classic get a pin poke through it.

21. WAR 95 vs. Ultimo Dragon

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    This match is a less well known gem from one of Jericho's many tours in Japan.

    Like many of his WCW cruiserweight matches, Jericho is the bigger man allowing him to do some power moves he'd have trouble pulling on the Rock or the Undertaker. 

    As fast as the Dragon is, the fast pace is no surprise. 

    Jericho and Ultimo Dragon strung together several chains of gutsy, athletic spots that wowed the fans.

    While exciting, their work here was not as tight and crisp as they are capable of doing.

20. Superbrawl VIII vs. Juventud Guerrera Mask vs. Title

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    "Ask him! Come on, he said yes!"

    A classic from the WCW cruiserweight collection featured some high flying artistry and a generous helping of springboard moves from both men. 

    Some of Jericho's antics were as entertaining as the action itself.

    Many fans will remember the oddly amusing sight of Jericho beginning the match still wearing the championship title.   

    Later he tapped into his heel bag of trick for moments like playing possum on the outside in the hopes of getting counted out or telling the camera, "I can do fly too!"

19. SummerSlam 2005 vs. John Cena WWE Championship

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    "Who’s got the biggest load of give a damn in this match?"

    Upon hearing that he was supposed to lose decisively to Cena who was not on his level in many ways, Jericho could have given a flat, uninspired performance.

    Instead, he rocked the house. 

    In a blend of violence and grace, heavy with high impact moves from Cena, Jericho and Cena gave the raucous crowd a magnificent show. 

    Cena overacted when given the Walls of Jericho, but the moment and the match overall had high drama regardless.

18. Unforgiven 2008 vs. Shawn Michaels Unsanctioned Match

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    "Shawn Michaels driving a stake through the heart of the demon Jericho!"

    The most brutal match of their classic 2008 feud started with Michaels cracking the heel of his cowboy boot against Jericho's head and ended with a belt-wrapped fist pounding on an unconscious Y2J.

    The depth of the rivalry showed when they began to focus their offense on body parts injured previously in their earlier matches, in their bubbling hatred, in the unmatched intensity between them. 

    Jericho, nose and elbow bloodied, Michael's face, demented and cold, made this brawl even more emotionally compelling.

17. Slamboree 1998 vs. Dean Malenko WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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    "That’s not Ciclope! Look at this.  It’s Dean Malenko!"

    Jericho was set to defend his Cruiserweight Championship against the winner of a Cruiserweight Battle Royal.

    Jericho introduced the participants in hilarious fashion, making jokes like "It's a rags to riches story from selling chimmichangas on the streets to WCW."

    Malenko who had been absent from WCW disguised himself as masked Ciclope.  After winning the battle royal, he slipped off his mask, receiving a huge pop from the crowd.

    The energy of that moment carried over to the match and ignited both wrestlers. 

16. Raw 2002 4-Way TLC Match Tag Titles

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    "That was a man’s skull ricocheting off a steel ladder and guess who won."

    The first TLC match on Raw featured a number of TLC veterans, namely the Bubba Dudley, Jeff Hardy and Christian. 

    In a flurried affair, more wild carnage than story, Jericho and the talented guys working with him produced a certifiable schlobberknocker. 

    It wasn't as electric, as inspired as the first three TLC matches, but with everyone flying around and weapons smacking on flesh, a thrill ride was inevitable.

15. Elimination Chamber 2010 for World Heavyweight Championship

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    "The steel grate claims another soul."

    Even with all that went on in this match, all the gravity-defying moves and powerful shots, it'll be most remembered for that shot of Shawn Michaels sneaking up from under a trap door to superkick his nemesis and allow Jericho to win another world title. 

    With John Morrison and Rey Mysterio involved in an Elimination Chamber match, fans knew they were in for a visual treat. 

    They attempted to steal the show and both arguably did just that.   

    CM Punk figured prominently as well, cutting an in-match promo/sermon after dispatching R-Truth. 

    Everything leading up to the climax was certainly worth the ticket price, but the heart and source of the story of the match was when it boiled down to a one on one with two legends in Undertaker and Jericho.

    Seeing their sizzling chemistry, it makes a fan dream of more battles between them.  

14. Judgment Day 2002 vs. Triple H Hell in a Cell

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    "A head jarring, spine tingling, brain scrambling DDT!"

    Triple H and Chris Jericho's brutal confrontation is the most underrated Hell in a Cell match and is not spoken about nearly enough.

    An unexpected hardcore side of Jericho came out that night. 

    Him standing on top of the cell beating Triple H with a barbed wire covered 2x4 is a haunting image. 

    Jericho's shoulder was bloodied the hard way and both men donned crimson masks by the end.  Even the ref, Tim White was a bloody mess.   

13. Royal Rumble 2002 vs. the Rock WWE Undisputed Championship

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    "Good God almighty, what a car wreck!  What a crash! Spines mangled!"

    Rock and Jericho as always had electric chemistry that night.  Few men brought out such high-level wrestling out of the Great One like Jericho.

    Jericho milked the opening beautifully, trash-talking the Rock from an uncomfortably close distance and stealing his "bring it" gesture. 

    Quite a few times, Jericho hilariously announced "I'm the champ" to whoever who’d listen. 

    Though this had a slower pace than some of their other matches, the intensity of the last third of it more than made up for that.

    From outside interference, to Spanish announce table drama to ref bumps, this match had just about every classic tenet of a wrestling match, all done extremely well. 

12. The Bash 2009 vs. Rey Mysterio IC Title Mask vs. Title

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    "That is absolutely breathtaking.  Rey Mysterio pulling everything out of his bag of tricks here tonight."

    Mysterio and Jericho had a litany of great matches in WCW, but by the time they faced off here in WWE, they'd both honed their skills to a razor sharp point.

    Making this a mask vs. title may not have had the same impact it would have had in Mexico or if we hadn't already seen Mysterio's face in WCW, it did help raise the stakes.

    Mysterio was his usual brilliant, springboarding self.

    Jericho performance was one of his best as well, highlighted by an absolutely delectable Codebreaker.  He did manage to yank off Mysterio's mask, but cleverly Mysterio had an additional one on underneath. 

11. Vengeance 2001 vs. the Rock Undisputed Championship

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    "Not this.  You’re going to break his back, Jericho."

    Winning the Undisputed Championship was a huge moment on a huge night for Jericho.

    The win vs. Austin was where he actually won the title, but the match against the Rock is the one we want to watch on DVD over and over again. 

    Jericho was especially springy and high-flying that night.  He also demonstrated some classic cockiness, posing while stepping on the Rock.

    Both men dished out some particularly sick chops.  Countering the sharpshooter with another sharpshooter is one of my all-time favorite spots. 

10. Fully Loaded 2000 vs. Triple H Last Man Standing

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    "By God, count faster.  Put them out of their misery."

    You will certainly see more violent Last Man Standing matches, but few as excellently executed.   What begin with a grinding pace swelled and swelled like a symphony.

    Jericho was on the receiving end for most of the punishment, especially early on.  Seeing Y2J persevere through all of Triple H's brutality made Jericho look like a valiant warrior.    

    The match featured one of the most painful looking abdominal stretches caught on film, convincing shots with TV monitors, and Jericho clamping the Walls of Jericho on Stephanie .

9. Fall Brawl 1997 vs. Eddie Guerrero WCW Cruiserweight Championship

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    "This has been a match of escapes."

    In the late '90s many fans bought a ticket to see Hogan and Sting and the like in the main events, but came away most impressed with the nimble, exciting cruiserweights.

    This particular bout ended being a surprisingly technical match for two high flyers.  

    But even with less aerial moves, Guerrero and Jericho impressed the North Carolina crowd with their brilliant opening match. 

    Among the highlights: a Gory Special reversed into a Gory Special and a sick release suplex by Jericho that looked like it tore Guerrero's neck in half.   

8. No Mercy 2001 vs. the Rock for WCW Championship

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    "Chris Jericho a half second away from realizing his dream."

    A hot St. Louis crowd watched Jericho deliver some of the crispest moves of his career.  Grappling, athleticism, great pacing, this match had plenty to be proud of. 

    Jim Ross was on his game all night and made it even more of a classic.

    Jericho borrowed the Rock Bottom and the People’s Elbow and the Rock sent Y2J through a table. 

    Had the ending been less Stephanie McMahon based, this would have been that much better. 

7. WrestleMania 2000 vs. Angle vs. Benoit Two-Fall Triple Threat IC and European

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    “It’ll be a miracle if Kurt Angle can leave here with any gold.”

    One of the better worked Triple Threat matches we've ever seen had three of WWE's most talented wrestlers do what they do best. 

    With superb chemistry between every combination and near falls aplenty, it was exciting from start to finish.

    The unique stipulation that each fall could crown a new champion added an air of anticipation.  They've should have made this match longer. I remember feeling disappointed when Jericho pinned Benoit only because it meant this masterpiece was over. 

6. Smackdown 2001 4-Way TLC Match

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    "Listen to the people.  They want tables, but you’re getting ladders, you’re getting chairs, you’re getting everything, you greedy…"

    In what could have easily been a mess with so many men involved ended up being one of the finest TLC matches ever. 

    The Hardys, Edge and Christian and the Dudleys had been so incredible in the first two TLCs at consecutive WrestleManias that WWE must have said,"Let's do it again, but add two all-world talents to the mix and see what happens."

    An absolute classic bursting with a crazed energy, that's what happened.

    The spots came so fast, the crowd barely had time to react.

    The match was basically a barrage of insane bumps; a bulldog from the top of a ladder, Jeff Hardy getting superplexed from a ladder and Benoit missing a flying headbutt onto a table to name a few.

5. Raw 2001 with Benoit vs. Austin and Triple H Tag Team Championship

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    "By God, it's going to continue."

    It's no surprise that the greatness of this match is overshadowed by the injury Triple H suffered during it. 

    The gutsiness it took for Triple H to not only finish a match with a torn quad, but to take the Walls of Jericho is unbelievable.  Still, these four men put together something fantastic that night. 

    There has rarely been so passionate an audience and so supercharged a match. 

    It had all the classic tenets of a tag team match yet done by such powerhouses, everything felt novel and exhilarating.

    As Jim Ross nearly lost his voice, the momentum swinging back and forth, fans witnessed one of the finest tag teams matches in WWE history.

4. WAR Super J Cup 1995 vs. Wild Pegasus

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    A wildly underappreciated gem features a familiar wrestler with a not so familiar name. 

    Why Chris Benoit chose such effeminate ring name is almost as curious as why he chose to rock that mullet. 

    The Japanese crowd was subdued overall, but reacted passionately at key moments and showed a true appreciation of athleticism.

    The fact that they were quieter than an American audience actually helped Jericho's taunts echo through the arena.   

    Jericho instructed the fans to say "yeah" for him and when he did his classic, "Ask him!" routine, the ref says matter-of-factly "He says no."

    With all of Benoit and Jericho's amazing work together, this stands at as their most technically sound match and in terms of pure wrestling, the most stunning to watch. 

3. Royal Rumble 2001 vs. Chris Benoit Ladder Match IC Title

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    "Jericho!  Jericho!  Jericho!"

    Of all their classic meetings, this one gets the heart pumping like no other.  Jericho and Benoit use the ladder gimmick to enhance it their already incredible chemistry. 

    Seeing all those brutal head shots, as thrilling as they are to watch, it’s hard not to think of how those blows contributed to Benoit's dementia down the road, slowly smashing his brains into mush.

    But in the end, we cannot erase what they did in the ring which was give everything they had and put on one hell of a show.  Jim Ross was even more fired up than usual.  He knew we were witnessing a classic.

    Cameras clicked away as Jericho put Benoit in that modified octopus hold on top of the ladder, an iconic image that will last forever.

2. No Mercy 2008 vs. Shawn Michaels Ladder Match World Heavyweight Championship

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    "Battered, bloodied, bruised, but still the World Heavyweight Champion."

    This match is the crown jewel of their great feud in '08. 

    Two of the greatest big match performers of all time, both with a wealth of superb ladder matches between them, satiated wrestling's fans hunger and then some. 

    The crowd buzzed with an energy born from their storyline hatred and the fans knowing what both men were capable of.

    Blood smeared across Jericho's mouth, bent ladders strewn about the ring, the matched ended with a poetic tug of war over the title. 

    Both Jericho and Michaels more than earned every Match of the Year award this received. 

1. WrestleMania XIX vs. Shawn Michaels

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    "The laws of the jungle indeed carrying over to the squared circle tonight."

    Two of the best showboats in wrestling history elevated their games for the big stage of WrestleMania. 

    Their ladder match years later gets more attention now, but one has to wonder how much of that being because of the memory of this amazing encounter fading over time. 

    No weapons, no gimmicks, just near flawless wrestling.

    Gorgeous counter after gorgeous counter, the quick-paced match held the audience's attention throughout.  As seamlessly as they worked together one would think they had wrestled together for years at that point. 

    Both men implement the perfect amount of showmanship, theatrics, athleticism and brutality in a match and they did just that at WrestleMania XIX.

    Fans would be hard pressed to find many more masterful and majestic performances from anyone.

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