Making the list....a tribute to Chris Jericho
A special thank you to a legendary entertainer!
As I watched this week's episode of Monday Night RAW and Chris Jericho's backstage segment came on, I was once again reminded of just how fortunate we are to be witnessing such a treasure on a weekly basis. In today's era of professional wrestling, there are very few legitimate living legends left who are still active.
Chris Jericho is undeniably one of the few left, who has not only survived the test of time but has also dominated it.
From the time Jericho could walk, he was fascinated with professional wrestling. When his father retired from playing professional hockey in the NHL, Chris and his family moved back to Winnipeg, which is when he first knew he wanted to become a wrestler.
Chris would often attend AWA events when they came to the Winnipeg Arena. At this point, he started mimicking his favourite stars, such as Owen Hart and Ricky Steamboat, who were two of his absolute favourites.
At the age of 19, Chris began training at the legendary Hart Brothers School of Wrestling. During his training is where he would first meet Lance Storm. As we now know, Lance would not only go on to become a highly decorated professional wrestler but would also become a highly influential source of support and success throughout Jericho's career.
Chris adapted to his training and caught on extraordinarily quick. Within two months, his trainers felt Chris was already prepared to compete in a live match. At this point, the story and journey of Chris Jericho was set to begin.
Chris spent his first few years working throughout Canada, as well as Japan. But in 1994, everything changed, because that's when Paul Heyman came calling and Chris Jericho joined Extreme Championship Wrestling.
After spending one year with ECW, World Championship Wrestling took notice of this breakout star and knew immediately that they needed Chris Jericho, especially if they were going to compete with Vince McMahon and his flagship program Monday Night RAW. As we all now know, Jericho would quickly become a cornerstone of the WCW foundation.
Jericho is credited with branding the Cruiserweight division and for making it one of the most exciting and sought after components to modern day professional wrestling. The effects from Jericho’s contributions in the late 1990s are still being felt today.
However, as we would soon find out, Chris Jericho was much more than just a Cruiserweight competitor. To date, Jericho has accomplished much more throughout his career than anyone could have ever anticipated.
The Championship title reigns that Chris Jericho has obtained, are simply far too many to mention and while he accomplished a lot while in WCW, it wasn't until he signed with WWE, that we would truly begin to see the potential that Chris had.
I can still recall the weeks leading up to Jericho’s WWE debut. Each week we would see these mysterious countdown vignettes being aired until that very clock finally counted down to zero on August 9, 1999, during an episode of RAW IS WAR.
This segment would actually take place while The Rock was in the ring, which made it even more intense, considering the fact that The Rock was the top of the top when it came to current Superstars at the time. This would become what is known as the birth of “RAW IS JERICHO!”
Since his WWE debut in 1999, we have been privileged to witness some of the very best moments in wrestling history, thanks to Chris Jericho. Even today, at 47 years young, Jericho continues to deliver nothing but top-notch performances on a consistent basis.
Most recently, Jericho’s work with Kevin Owens and the whole best friends betrayal angle has been pure magic in storytelling.
Throughout his storied career, Jericho has always been able to make the best out of the most difficult of situations. Chris is one of the few Superstars who can take a storyline that would otherwise be boring, or maybe just bland, and turn it into a work of sports entertainment art.
This is one of the key attributes that has not only kept Jericho relevant but has also kept him among the very best performers in the business.
As we look ahead to Jericho’s upcoming match against Kevin Owens at the Payback pay-per-view, it appears that this will likely be the grand finale’ to what has been a truly outstanding story.
It appears Jericho is set to hit the road with his band Fozzy. In fact, according to the Fozzy website, the band is scheduled to begin their tour on May 5, 2017, in Virginia Beach, VA. With this in mind, one has to begin to wonder, how many more of these WWE stints does he have left in the tank?
No matter what happens from this point forward, Chris Jericho has a legacy that has been deeply cemented as one of the true all-time greats. It is a legacy that no matter what, cannot be denied.
When you take a nostalgic look back at a career that has now spanned nearly three decades, there are an unlimited number of milestones that we will always be able to recount. No matter what the milestone or Y2J memory may be, Chris Jericho has provided fans with 27 years of the very best entertainment fans could ever desire.
I have mentioned in previous articles that professional wrestling has dramatically turned into a young man's sport. As the talent continues to filter through the NXT doors, we are seeing the average age of WWE Superstars get younger and younger.
While that is not necessarily a bad thing, it is a reality check that today's living legends are running out of room on the creative charts. Stars like Kane, Big Show and yes, Chris Jericho will soon to be making their respective curtain calls. Just as we witnessed at Wrestlemania 33 with The Undertaker, we will soon see the abrupt exit of The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla.
Regardless if it's this year, next year or ten years from now, Jericho has blazed a trail of creative supremacy for all that come behind him to attempt to mimic. When the smoke clears and the dust settles, there will indeed be a special wing of the WWE Hall of Fame, dedicated to the legendary career of Chris Jericho.
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