In his two best selling books “A Lion’s Tale: Around the World in Spandex” and “Undisputed: How to Become the World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps”, author Chris Jericho makes reference to “The Jericho Curse”, in which he is destined to make a huge blunder on his first night in any company he works for. It is a humourous set of anecdotes that string his story together nicely. Since writing these tomes, the man who claims to be the best in the world at what he does hasn’t fallen victim to the Jericho Curse, or at least not that particular version.
It is my belief that the Jericho Curse is still alive and well, and it is still causing Jericho to fail. For the last few years, Jericho has had sporadic runs with WWE and in doing so has made an effort to give back to the company by putting over on the rise talent and turning them into stars. The only problem being that Jericho’s seal of approval has only had the opposite effect. Every time Y2J has tried to raise the stock of a young talent, he has actually set them on a path of ruin.
Let’s go back to 2010. After what could have been considered his best run ever with WWE, Chris Jericho’s contract was coming to an end. Looking around the landscape of Vince McMahon’s empire, it was easy to see that new blood was needed at the top of the pack. The Nexus were a group of hot heels doing their best to establish some break out stars, but Chris Jericho knew there was a young high flyer that was ready to step up and become the star everyone knew he was. Since debuting with WWE, Evan Bourne had everything he needed to become a player in the company. He was good looking, knew how to wrestle, and dazzled audiences with his unique offense. One could draw comparisons between himself and a young Lionheart, making it easy to see why Jericho would want to build up Bourne.
Y2J not only put over Bourne, but made him look like a star in the process. At the WWE Fatal Four Way pay per view, Chris Jericho made sure the largest audience possible was watching as Bourne defeated the future Hall of Famer in the middle of the ring. It was obvious that Bourne was headed places. Except that he wasn’t. Although he and Kofi Kingston went on to form an impressive tag team in Air Boom, Bourne would eventually break his foot in four places (among other things) and never return to WWE television before being released from his contract.
Two years later, Chris Jericho was back for another run with the company. After a very successful feud with champion CM Punk, Jericho’s contract was set to expire once again, and once again we was looking to give back by building the future of the WWE. This time however, he wasn’t taking any chances. Jericho chose an opponent he knew couldn’t fail to rise above and break the glass ceiling. He was young, but experienced, talented, very popular, and had already won the Money In The Bank briefcase, virtually guaranteeing that he would be at the top of the mountain in WWE within the year. He was already a star, but Jericho could make him a superstar.
So it came to pass that Dolph Ziggler pushed Chris Jericho out the door of WWE in triumphant fashion by defeating him clean the night after SummerSlam 2012. Jericho could go back to touring with Fozzy knowing he had just helped launch The Showoff into the stratosphere of success. There was no way this kid could fail right? Well, although 2013 started off well for Ziggler, one concussion later and his momentum came to a screeching halt. Currently Ziggler is enjoying his second run as Intercontinental Champion. Not a bad place to be, but certainly not the top tier player that everyone (including Chris Jericho) expected him to be by now.
Confident that Dolph Ziggler was well on his way to superstardom, Y2J made his surprise return to WWE at the 2013 Royal Rumble with his sights set on making more new stars. As luck would have it, a young man who had been toiling away in WWE’s developmental system was all set to make his debut on the main roster, and Chris Jericho was ready to not only make him a star, but do so in a way that had never been done before: in his debut match, on the grandest stage of all, WrestleMania.
To his credit, Chris Jericho did in fact give Fandango a tremendous debut at WrestleMania. They put on a very good match and Jericho lost clean in the middle of the ring in front of one of WWE’s largest viewing audiences ever! You can’t get a bigger push than that. Y2J had gotten in on the ground level and ensured that Fandango was headed for greatness. For days after his huge WrestleMania debut, crowds were Fandago-ing and it looked like nothing could stop him. However, a twist of fate eerily similar to Dolph Zigglers would befall Fandango when he suffered a concussion in early June and seemingly grabbed a one way ticket to obscurity. These days, he spends most of his time on the losing end of matches and feuding with his dancers.
Earlier this year, Chris Jericho returned with much fanfare and excitement, only to have his homecoming celebration interrupted by The Wyatt Family, also to much fanfare and excitement. Bray Wyatt is one of the most charismatic and entertaining characters in WWE currently. The idea of him squaring off with one of the charismatic and entertaining characters in WWE ever had fans and Chris Jericho salivating.
What had resulted thus far could be described as underwhelming. Granted, Chris Jericho once again allowed his opponent to get the big win on the largest stage possible, but what has been the result? If you’ve read this far, you already know the answer. Wyatt is still a prominent force on Raw and Smackdown, but his role has been reduced to a stepping stone for the likes of John Cena and Roman Reigns. Of course, this doesn’t mean that Wyatt will continue to fall by the wayside and become an afterthought in WWE, but if history has taught us anything, I wouldn’t bet on Wyatt headlining WrestleMania 31.
It’s unfortunate really. All Chris Jericho is trying to do is leave WWE a better place than he came in. Logically, a big win over a future hall of famer should have put all of these men in a position to be better than they were coming into their battles with Y2J. Instead, they have all fallen short of that expectation, for one reason or another, be it attitude, circumstance, or something more superstitious.
Eventually, the Chris Jericho Curse referred to in his books was eventually broken, but this new curse seems to still be lingering around, leaving those up and comers in either WWE or NXT to wonder if they should look forward to Chris Jericho’s next run with the company. Even though having a living legend choose you as the next star he wants to put over is quite an honor, one must wonder if Jericho’s seal of approval is in fact a blessing… or a curse.
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