Chris Jericho: Ranking His Various Surprise Returns to WWE

Ryan Dilbert@@ryandilbertWWE Lead WriterFebruary 7, 2013

Photo from WWE.com
Photo from WWE.com

Chris Jericho has milked the thrill of every one of his returns with WWE, some with greater results than others.

He clearly only knows how to enter and reenter the WWE with flair.

Jericho began his WWE career with a momentous debut. A mysterious clock ticked down in 1999. To what it was ticking, fans didn't know at first.

When the clock finally hit zero, Jericho burst onto Raw, interrupting The Rock and making the grandest of entrances. It'd be impossible to recapture the magical energy of that moment, but that didn't stop Jericho from trying every single time he came back to the company.

Each one of his hiatuses has been followed by a dramatic, surprise return.

Which ones shocked us most? Which ones came close to Y2J's first appearance on Raw in terms of entertainment value? Let's wind the clock back and take a look.

3. 2012: It Begins

A Randy Orton punt sent Jericho away in 2010. After a two-year absence, Chris Jericho returned following a series of well-produced vignettes.

The cryptic videos were fantastic. Jump cuts captured images of trees, a swing, a demented boy at a school desk and a redheaded girl in pigtails.

These clips promised something monumental, something transformative.

They didn't, however, fool the WWE Universe. When the lights went out right before Jericho's music hit, fans began to chant "Y2J." The Internet is at times quite awesome, but this is how it can ruin our fun.

Informed fans saw the surprise coming.

To make matters worse, Jericho, despite the vignettes' claims, didn't deliver the end of the world as we knew it. It delivered Jericho in a light-adorned jacket.

Jericho's return did produce some excellent matches with CM Punk, but not the revolutionary changes advertised.

2. 2013: Royal Rumble

Where Internet whispers spoiled 2012's return, 2013 saw Jericho manage to surprise us even in the age of excess information.

Dolph Ziggler waited in the ring for his first opponent in the Royal Rumble match.

Would it be John Cena, his recent rival? Would it be an old foe like Kofi Kingston? Perhaps a rumored entrant like John Morrison would be next.

Instead, Jericho's music hit and the Phoenix crowd went ballistic. Fans likely assumed that Jericho was still touring with Fozzy.

The unexpectedness of the return made it great, the timing less so.

Had this been following a two-year hiatus like his 2012 return, it would have been far more powerful. Fans hadn't had time to miss Jericho this time, though. It was only six months prior that Ziggler had ousted him from the company on Raw.

1. 2007: Save Us Y2J

While his first WWE return gets Jericho next to zero points for surprise factor, the creativity of the angle makes it his best reentry yet.

Fans tried to decipher the messages in the binary code for weeks. Phrases like "the second coming" and "save us Y2J" could be read by anyone with quick eyes or a DVR.

Eric Bischoff fired Jericho in 2005. WWE fans went through a two-year Jericho drought before the mysterious code turned out to be Jericho's doing.

The code motif was a natural fit with his Y2J gimmick. It also gave us the Codebreaker finishing move.

Jericho's debut and this return show off his imaginative mind.

Rather than just return out of nowhere, Jericho built up his comebacks, amplifying the anticipation. 

Jericho's 2012 return had the best buildup, 2013 was the biggest surprise and his 2007 return was his most entertaining. These creative returns almost make a fan hope for another Jericho absence soon, only to have him return in spectacular fashion once again.


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