On November 9th, 1970, the legend of Christopher Irvine, known to wrestling fans as Chris Jericho, was born. After over 25 years of experience, Y2J is still competing at the highest of levels, this time focusing on upbringing some of the younger stars like Dean Ambrose, who he is currently involved with. Unlike so many former faces, Jericho seems to be getting better with age. Fans should be chanting “please don’t retire” for this guy. Week in and week out, Jericho is still dazzling crowds, whether it’s during an opening segment or midway through the card, Chris is fully engaged on entertaining the crowd. Since coming back, Y2J has made it his mission to work around the PG-rating, as opposed to other former veteran Superstars. Jericho has thrived in the situation managing to recreate himself in an era full of restrictions. This is what makes this guy so spectacular to watch on a weekly basis.
Sit back, relax and “drink in” these 15 reasons why Jericho remains the best wrestler in the world at the age of 45. Once he finally sails off into the sunset, we will never forget the legacy he left behind since his WWE debut, back in August of 1999. Enough of the talk and let’s begin; here are 15 reasons why Chris Jericho is still the best wrestler in the world. Enjoy “the gift” of Jericho!
15) His Knowledge for the Wrestling Business
Jericho isn’t the kind of guy that clocks in and clocks out, as Y2J’s knowledge for the business is on another level in comparison to his co-workers. Since his days way back in WCW, it was quite evident that Chris just seemed to be a step ahead of everyone else. Despite his in-ring misuse, Jericho still managed to gain a huge following because of his gimmick and in-ring prowess back in WCW. Jericho used his wisdom way back in the 90s, knowing WCW was a sinking ship. Chris was a wrestler who used his heart and loved the business, and it was becoming increasingly obvious that those who identified with Jericho were all in the WWE. On August 9th, 1999, Y2J would make his WWE debut in Chicago, Illinois, and to this day, his debut is regarded as the most memorable in WWE history.
If you want to hear more about this guy and his love for the business, listen to his podcast Talk Is Jericho. You won’t be disappointed!
14) Finds Ways To Be Great In The PG-Era
The PG-Era has certainly caused some serious mixed emotions, not only among wrestling fans but backstage in the locker room as well. Wrestlers like Batista have gone on the record to voice their displeasures with the product today; according to Dave, the PG rating restricts what wrestlers can do, and that edgy in-your-face type of product is dead according to the former WWE Champion. Well, according to Jericho this couldn’t be further from the truth. Chris looks at the PG-Era as an exciting time for wrestlers to truly perfect their craft and work around a rating, as opposed to folding it in and losing yourself as a performer. So basically, you can either chose to mail it in or you can thrive like Jericho has been doing with the company since his return.
13) Works Long Term Storylines
It seems to be a rarity today that undercard feuds last longer than 4 to 6 weeks. Some of the greatest storylines of all time went on for months, and this is what made these stories so iconic and memorable. Since his humble beginnings, Chris understood this factor. During his feud with Shawn Michaels years ago, the two were scheduled to feud for a week. As you probably remember, this wasn’t the case, as Shawn and Chris approached McMahon demanding for more time, and the feud spanned from the Royal Rumble all the way till WrestleMania, and even a little bit past the event. Much like then, Jericho seems to be the only wrestler who has feuds that stick. His recent angle with AJ Styles went on from the night after the Royal Rumble, all the way until WrestleMania in April. As a fan, watching these feuds build week in and week out reminds us of those good old days which seem to be lost in today’s product.
12) Can play heel or face with ease
Versatile – a word that sums up Jericho perfectly. As we will see later in this article, his versatility helps to place him anywhere in the card (but we’ll have more on that soon). For this point, it is worth discussing how easily Jericho can flip the switch from heel to face without anyone really noticing. During his comeback, fans marveled at the return of the 45 year old, as once again he was so over with the crowd. All of a sudden, he turns on AJ and once again, becomes one of the most villainous characters on the entire program. What’s most important about these transitions is how effective he really is when changing. We seem to hate his guts when he’s a heel and absolutely love him as a face. There truly is only one Y2J!
11) He Still Uses Catchphrases
In this day and age, it’s really hard to get away with a catchphrase of any type. Just ask Roman Reigns with his “I’m not a bad guy, I’m not a good guy, I’M THE GU…”. Okay Roman, we get it, we don’t have to hear it again; in the words of Y2J, “would you please just shut the hell up?!” For years now, it just seems as though everything Jericho says ends up sticking, like other classic quotes, such as “come on baby!” His latest “the gift of Jericho”, is absolutely brilliant and once again a memorable catchphrase that just seems to stick. Don’t forget to “drink it in”. This guy’s gold!
10) Best Heel in the Company
His work speaks for itself; as of right now, there is not a single heel in the company that comes close to Jericho’s work on the microphone and in the ring. This seems to be a big problem today, as there really is no clear heel that has taken the throne. Instead, a 45 year old veteran has thrived under the role. The company is desperate for a new heel to emerge, and many believe that Seth Rollins has the ability to become the next Jericho of the New Era. With Seth’s return sooner rather than later, the company will definitely benefit from another top line heel back in the company because as of right now, Jericho is stealing the show week in and week out.
9) Puts over Younger Talent
Unlike so many other old faces, Jericho seems to thrive on putting younger talent over. With a resume like his, it wouldn’t be difficult to see why he has an ego; first ever Undisputed Champion defeating The Rock and Stone Cold on the same night, and arguably the greatest Intercontinental Champion in history winning the title a record-breaking 9 times. Despite these accomplishments though, Jericho remains focused on brining up new talent. Take his storyline right now for example, taking on Dean Ambrose in an “Asylum Match”. Once again, Y2J is responsible for putting over one of the most promising stars in the entire company, not to mention he’s fighting him in a match meant to put over his opponent with Dean’s special stipulation in his “asylum”. Unlike so many of his former peers, Jericho does not have an ego when it comes to putting younger guys over, as Chris understands the business and knows that building towards the future is essential at this point of his career.
8) Can Work as a Host
Hall of Fame career: check, Podcast host: check, TV host outside of the WWE: check and Tough Enough host: check. This guy can really do it all, and you can add “a successful host” to his resume. You can find Jericho hosting his weekly podcast, Talk is Jericho every week. He has also hosted outside of the WWE with gigs as a host on VH1’s 100 Most Shocking Music Moments, ABC’s prime time game show Downfall and a SyFy robot combat competition, Robot Combat League. In addition to all of this, Jericho was brought on as the host of Tough Enough this past season, and as you can imagine he was tremendous in his role. I literally forgot he was Y2J at some points, that’s how good of a host he was. What can’t this guy do?
7) Can put him anywhere on the Card
Throughout his career, what has made Jericho so special and one of the greatest wrestlers of all time is his versatility, as we discussed earlier in the article. You can place Jericho literally anywhere on the card, as he’s a booker’s dream. Take the last couple of weeks for example; Jericho has been featured in opening segments, mid segments and even recently closing segments. You can put him in an opening match to get the crowd engaged early, and you can also make him close the show; that’s just how good he really is. During his long storied career, this is what has made Jericho so great. Whether he’s Intercontinental Champion working in the mid-card, or involved in the main storyline, the guy seems to thrive in whatever situation he is put into.
6) Reminds us of The Attitude Era
It seems like we really are “drinking in” every last bit of Jericho. Why you ask? Well, whether you realize this or not, Chris just reminds us of a simpler time. From his gimmick, to his attire to his matches to his promos, everything about this guy just screams Attitude Era. His devotion to his gimmick is second to none. Still today he reminds us of why wrestling (or “sports entertainment”) can still be great even if it is under a PG Era. Hopefully, this mentality will rub off some of the younger stars, as we can definitely use more Jericho-like characters in the business today. Although, he’s pretty impossible to replicate.
5) If he’s a heel on TV, he’s a heel in real life
Just recently via his podcast, Jericho made it clear: if he’s a face in the company, he’s himself outside of the ring and nice to fans. However, if he’s a heel in the ring, he’s a heel out of it as well. Meaning, Jericho probably won’t stop for a picture, as he plans on being a heel to fans as well. Take his recent Twitter antics for example: Jericho is ripping every fan that tries to talk to him, not to mention blocking the WWE off of his Twitter account. This guy is truly awesome, especially in this day and age. There needs to be more wrestlers like Jericho outside of the ring. Like Jericho stated, you have to live the part.
4) His Experience
At the age of 45 and wrestling at the highest level for over two decades, gaining 26 years of experience, no one has the veteran savvy that Jericho possesses. During his 26 years, Jericho has wrestled all over the world from Canada to Germany to Japan to Mexico. He’s captured almost every title there is to win; 3-time World Heavyweight Champion, 9-time Intercontinental Champion, 7-time Tag Team Champion and 4-time WCW Cruiserweight Champion. His accomplishments speak for themselves. Jericho is by far the most experienced and celebrated Superstar on the WWE’s current roster (with Cena injured).
3) His Promos
His ability to deliver a promo is still in a class of its own. Jericho’s delivery on the microphone remains one of the biggest reasons why despite his size, Jericho was able to rise as one of the most prominent wrestlers in the last couple of decades. Today’s era is based on a sports and entertainment model, so if you can’t talk, chances are you won’t make it (Brock has Heyman and Roman has a tribal tattoo). Chris tells a story during his promos, whether he’s a heel or face. As of late, his promos seem to be hitting new heights delivering such captivating monologues in stories with AJ Styles and now, Dean Ambrose. This is just another reason why Jericho is still the total package in the world of sports and entertainment.
2) His Matches Tell a Story
Storytelling – this is the main responsibility of a WWE Superstar. How you interpret the story will determine how fans react to a wrestler or an angle. No wrestler does this better than Chris Jericho. In 2008 and 2009, at the age of 38 and 39, Jericho took home the Wrestling Observers honor for Wrestler of the Year. He was also the runner up in 2009 for PWI’s top 500 singles stars. If you watch his work in the ring long enough, you know that every Chris Jericho match tells a spectacular story. Just recently, his match against AJ Styles at WrestleMania 32 showed how great this guy truly is. The two wrestlers dazzled the crowd for 17 minutes, making the match the 3rd longest of the night. Unlike the other bouts, the match told a story in the ring, something Jericho still perfects at the age of 45. He will truly go down as one of the greatest in-ring performers of all time. All we can do as fans is “drink it in”.
1) He’s Like Fine Wine
Like fine wine, he just seems to get better with age. Particularly in the wrestling business, this is a rarity. Time and time again, we’ve seen numerous examples of wrestlers who just seem to extend their stay, and it is rather obvious especially when we see their performances start to drop. Jericho on the other hand seems to be getting better with age. In an era of PG, Jericho has thrived becoming one of the best story tellers in the entire business. All we can do is really enjoy it while it lasts, because unlike other wrestlers who announce their retirements, Jericho says that when he leaves for good he’ll ride off into the sunset without anyone even knowing. A fitting ending to the type of career he’s been in the WWE and around the world.