Chris Jericho is widely known as one of the greatest professional wrestlers in history. With a 30-year career spanning the globe and different companies, Jericho has become an icon synonymous with the wrestling business.
He has been able to stay relevant through the innovation of different characters including the "Conspiracy Theorist" in WCW, "Honest Man" in WWE, or "Le Champion" in AEW. Jericho has created many legendary moments, been apart of memorable feuds, and has been known as one of the best with a mic in his hand, which you can see here.
Perhaps even more than those accomplishments, Chris Jericho has become known for the vast catalog of incredible matches he has competed in. His matches have spanned over Mexico, Japan, and his home country of Canada as well as the biggest wrestling promotions over the past 3 decades like ECW, WCW, AAA, NJPW, AEW, and of course WWE.
I remember my own introduction to Y2J on WCW as "Lionheart" Chris Jericho. He was always entertaining and quick in the ring. Chris Jericho was never taken seriously as a character in this white meat babyface role until he turned heel with his temper tantrums in 1998. Those outbursts turned into an arrogant and sometimes delusional character who infamously listed his 1,004 holds to show his superiority over "The Man of 1,000 Holds"- Dean Malenko.
The Dean Malenko vs Chris Jericho rivalry was not only one of the hottest feuds in the WCW Cruiserweight division, but one of the best in the entire company. Jericho used the momentum from his heel turn and rivalry with Malenko to challenge the WCW Heavyweight Champion Bill Goldberg on a weekly basis. This infamous angle that was never capitalized and led to Jericho leaving for the greener pasture of the WWF and the rest, as they say, is history.
Recently, Chris Jericho was asked about his match with the fastest rising star in AEW, Orange Cassidy, at AEW Fyter Fest, which was taped last week. Jericho called this match "one of the best of his entire career" which of course is high praise from the first-ever Undisputed WWE Champion.
In this article, we will take a look at the five best Chris Jericho matches of his career, in my opinion. This list is comprised of the best Jericho singles matches that had the best build-up, in-ring work, psychology, and the impact on his career.
#5 Chris Jericho vs The Rock (No Mercy 2001)
In the year 2001, the wrestling landscape was shifted dramatically with WWF's purchase of WCW effectively ending the Monday Night Wars. Following this, the WWF were scrambling to make new, fresh stars in their company to keep fans interested now that they did not have the allure of competition to motivate them.
Chris Jericho, at this time, was a widely popular mid-card babyface who had seen brief brushes with the main event in feuds with HHH and battles over the WWF Championship against Stone Cold Steve Austin
On the other hand, there was The Rock, who had just been in the biggest main event in WWF history facing Stone Cold Steve Austin at Wrestlemania 17. Rock then left the company to film his first featured movie, playing the lead role as The Scorpion King, which made him the biggest star in professional wrestling.
After The Rock's return and subsequent claiming of the WCW Heavyweight Title from Booker T, it led to a highly anticipated feud between two of the biggest loud-mouth babyfaces in the WWF.
Chris Jericho was the young up-and-comer who never won the big one, while The Rock was the main event star who looked down upon the young star trying to take his spot. You add in Stephanie McMahon as the instigator here, a heel figure who had made both men's life hell in the WWF, and you have the recipe for an instant classic.
This No Mercy 2001 match was exciting, dramatic, and built nicely to a crescendo, where Y2J inadvertently uses a distraction from Stephanie as well as a steel chair to gain the victory. Jericho finally wins the big one- the same WCW Heavyweight Championship he never got a shot at while in that company. A satisfying victory for Chris Jericho and it was an excellent match that pushed him to be a perennial top of the card performer for years to come.