WWE: Why Chris Jericho Is One of the Best of All Time

Robert Aitken@@RobertAitkenBRAnalyst IJune 3, 2012

LAS VEGAS - AUGUST 24:  Wrestler Chris Jericho jumps off the ropes at wrestler MVP during the WWE Monday Night Raw show at the Thomas & Mack Center August 24, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Make your lists for the all-time greatest superstars in WWE history. Past or present, the best of the best have been champions multiple times, main-evented big shows, come up large in great matches, been able to hold their own with the microphone, have an eye for the product and be able to produce great results over the course of a lot of years.

Give Chris Jericho some credit. He came into WWE during what will later be seen as perhaps their greatest era of all time in terms of talent.

Jericho came in during an era where the likes of Triple H, The Rock, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, The Undertaker, Kane and Kurt Angle were all major players. This doesn't even include others like Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit or Edge, who were all coming up the ranks like Jericho was.

Once Jericho had been a world champion and was a big star in the company, he was helping young stars like Shelton Benjamin, Brock Lesnar, Randy Orton and John Cena. Upon his departure, both Batista and Cena were enjoying their first reigns as world champions.

Historically, Jericho has accomplished what few men in history have ever done. He was the ninth man to accomplish WWE's Triple Crown, as well as just the fourth to ever to be recognized as a Grand Slam Champion. There are currently just 12 Grand Slam Champions in history and only Shawn Michaels, Triple H and Kane did such an act before Jericho.

Jericho is a six-time world champion, which includes him being the last recognized WCW Champion ever. Jericho would have his greatest night in 2001 at Vengeance, when Jericho defeated both The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin in the same night to become the first-ever undisputed champion in WWE history.

The shining achievement for Jericho in the championships department is his record nine Intercontinental Championship reigns. No other man has ever held the title on more than six occasions. The champions that Jericho has dethroned to gain the title include the likes of Chyna, Rob Van Dam, Chris Benoit, Rey Mysterio and Jeff Hardy.

Jericho also has the ability to make a good match into a great match. His match with Michaels was anticipated to be good, but ended up being so great that it has been deemed one of the true show-stealing matches in WrestleMania history.

His microphone skills have always made him stick out. When he was a face, his ability to have fun and have the crowd having fun with him made him a great fan favorite when his booking wouldn't suggest such a thing.

As a heel, especially once he dropped the Y2J gimmick, Jericho's arrogance and cockiness brought boos from all across arenas throughout North America. Fans either loved him or loved to boo him, but the fact that they loved him meant enough.

Couple in the five tag-team title reigns that Jericho has had with five different superstars and it is plain to see that Jericho is an extremely versatile superstar. He was also a superstar that understood what the business needed from him.

Jericho had an eye for what would bring cheap pops out of the crowd, understood the psychology of the match and was never too big to do something for the benefit of the entire promotion. Many times, Jericho would use himself to make a joke at his own expense. There was no ego about Y2J if it meant something positive for everyone else.

This is obvious by his departures from the ring. He has never been injured majorly in his career, so his only times of hiatus have been contract-based. When Jericho's contract ran out in 2005, he had himself lose to Cena and be literally carried out of the arena.

In 2010, Jericho was eliminated from a Six-Pack Challenge very quickly and punted in the skull the following night to get out of WWE once again. His suspension right now is not exactly the way Jericho planned to take time away, but he has been teasing a tour with his band Fozzy.

If Jericho never returns to a WWE ring, he is one of the best of all time. Few have had such a desire to better and further their careers, while also being successful.

Jericho has never been the top draw in a promotion, but he has never wanted or tried to be. In the way that an offensive lineman makes things work, but isn't the star of fantasy football teams, Jericho is not quite considered an icon of his time, but probably should be.

With Jericho gone from the company right now, it will take multiple superstars to truly replace what he brings to the table on a weekly basis. Name the icons like Ric Flair, Hulk Hogan and Cena. Jericho belongs in that discussion, not for being the face of the company, but simply being the best performer of the night on so many nights over so many years.

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