Opinion: Chris Jericho deserves to be called Best Wrestler of 2019
2019 of professional-wrestling was somewhat eventful, to say the least. With the arrival of AEW as WWE's counterpart and Friday Night Smackdown moving back to broadcast television, wrestling last year stood out as the business, in general, continued to evolve.
Though many wrestlers contributed so much throughout 2019, whether it'd be from critically-acclaimed moments or not, one individual could be argued as the best overall performer of that year. That person is none other than the AEW World Heavyweight Champion, Chris Jericho.
The argument for the "Wrestler of the year" award can go either way for multiple performers. Talents such as Seth Rollins, Bray Wyatt, and Cody Rhodes, for instance, make an intriguing case for themselves. But unlike these performers, for the most part, Jericho has not only achieved success throughout his current run with AEW but also considered by many as the most entertaining performer of this generation.
As 2019 first began, Jericho made an impact right off the bat by signing a deal to AEW. Many consider this deal to be a gamechanger for professional wrestling on a worldwide basis. As he went on to defeat Kenny Omega at the Double or Nothing PPV event, Jericho's success and star-power were off to the races.
The Ayatollah of Rock N'Rolla later went on to defeat Adam "Hangman" Page for the AEW World Heavyweight Championship at the ALL OUT PPV event, which arguably solidified himself as the main attraction for the AEW promotion. And because of his value, the Inner circle was created for Jericho to lead. It became a highly-popular faction that helped acts like Sammy Guevara and LAX to get over as relevant figures.
Jericho also garnered buzz in NJPW. His involvement with the Japanese promotion goes back before 2019, to which held the IWGP Intercontinental Championship at the start of the year. As he took part in last year's Wrestle Kingdom PPV defending that very title, Jericho wrestled on two separate NJPW PPV events. He lost to both Tatsuya Naito and Kazuchika Okada in high-profile championship bouts.
Despite this, his performance in both matches received positive feedback. Much like his in-ring performance, Jericho's evolving character as the Painmaker drew praise as well, as he incorporated that to his personality in NJPW. Because of interest towards that very character, to this day, Jericho continues to show glimpses of the "Painmaker" gimmick in AEW as he currently involves himself with NJPW.
On top of all the memorable moments that Jericho's had throughout last year, his performance has been widely acclaimed for both his in-ring and promo ability. Jericho's PPV matches with Omega and Rhodes received positive feedback for his tremendous work inside the ring. Jericho's in-ring promos are something to remember as well considering his comedic abilities as a heel.
What's more surprising is that even at 49 years of age, Jericho continues to perform at the top of his game on prime-time television every week, be it on the mic or in the ring. These reasons alone conclude why Jericho was the greatest wrestler of 2019. As many critics include him among some of the greatest performers of all time, Jericho's stellar year of 2019 in both AEW and NJPW arguably awards him that prestigious title of "Wrestler of the year."
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