Sports. Honestly. Since 2011

5 Things That Should Happen to Re-GOAT Chris Jericho

Chris Jericho in AEW.

Undeniably, Chris Jericho has been one of the cornerstones of AEW. Undoubtedly, as a wrestler and a creative, Jericho has helped “change the universe” of pro wrestling. His match with Kenny Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12 planted the seeds of possibility of a new wrestling alternative.

Jericho became AEW’s first huge publicity-grabbing mainstream signing. Then as Le Champion, the first AEW world champion, Jericho helped establish various AEW originals wrestlers as stars of the new promotion.

The Ocho has touted this himself on various occasions. On multiple platforms which has likely added to the sense of repetition and frustration that has slowly impacted some fan’s enjoyment and perception of The Lion Heart.

“Clout Vampire”

Effy’s 2020 comments on veterans like Jericho who work the over guys to stay relevant and over themselves have clung to Jericho like a bad smell. The perception has grown that Jericho isn’t sprinkling his Demo God dust onto the next top stars in AEW.

Rather he increasingly is trying to suck relevance to keep him over. Like an inversion of Triple H’s “Reign of Terror”. Jericho is on TV each week, in segments that seem to run for too long, in storylines that become convoluted, and repetitive, where Jericho freely twists a real or kayfabe history like a Rubrix’s Cube to explain why he and his opponent are linked.

Those wrestlers who get the big W, rather than shining brighter appear dulled, like Ricky Starks and Adam Cole who were left diminished post-Jericho victory.

Like a Bad Smell, Perception Hangs Around

Moments that should have been impactful, possibly even career-shifting moments for other wrestlers have been mired by the previously mentioned problems. Jericho vs. Ospreay at All In was a great match, but the frustrating and confusing build still lingered.

Starks first clean win on Jericho was neutered by a reasonless feud. Jericho’s feud with Adam Cole had the highlights of The Outcasts whipping Britt Baker, a fun falls count anywhere match with Roderick Strong, and a cathartic intergender tag match: Jericho and Saraya vs. Adam Cole and Britt Baker.

Forgotten due to the poorly executed unsanctioned match. Jericho and Guevara recreating the WrestleMania 19 low-blow spot could have registered as impactful for Sammy’s heel turn. Yet Jericho’s overexposure, inconsistency, and overambition mired this. The stench of Jericho persists.

This is Not New

Ultimately, and no differently from before, the man of 1,001 nicknames has grown stall repeating a formula he used in WWE in the mid-2010s where Jericho sporadically returned to put over wrestlers like Ryback, Bray Wyatt, and Fandango. The difference is Jericho has more power and freedom of expression in AEW than he did in WWE. So how could he use this power for the good of himself and others?

1.     Go away (for a while)

How can we miss you if you won’t go away? Jericho feels so ingrained right now in a product that has gone cold. This isn’t Jericho’s fault nor his presentation of the singular problem. Credit to Jericho as a locker-room leader and being a stake of stability during the chaotic year where CM Punk’s shadow has damaged the company but take a rest.

Insert: “You deserve it” chant. Take Jon Moxley with you also- the man deserves that canceled holiday. Something new is needed to aid the product. Refusing to change is like continuing to hit the gas when your tires are spinning in the mud. Or someone new.

AEW has a plethora of wrestling stars who with more mic time, and another match slot available could build stronger characters to address these wider problems. There are times when watching Jericho hit repeat reminded me of guys like Keith Lee, Scorpio Sky, or RUSH sitting in catering.

2.     Share the Creativity

Chris Jericho has a creative mind that absolutely has helped forge many iconic moments in WWE and AEW. Unlike WWE, AEW has less politics and fewer restrictions which have allowed Jericho to create iconic catchphrases, skits, moments, and matches. Yet like all great creatives, Jericho’s input has distinct fingerprints.

Take David Bowie, another master of reinvention, tattooed on Jericho’s arm. Regardless of era, a fan can hear what a Bowie song sounds like. Differently, Bowie wasn’t putting out new content every week. If he did, fans would have become fatigued quickly.

Like Bowie, Jericho could look to produce, mentor, and aid storylines for other wrestlers as he had for members of his stables, the Inner Circle and Appreciation Society. Imagine if Jericho put some thought and time into the AEW Women’s division? Or ROH? AEW Rampage?

3.     Filter/ Hold Back Ideas 

When I first heard that Vince Russo needed a filter metaphor, it was Chris Jericho who said it. In WWE, Jericho found ways to work around the creative-sucking filter that is Vince McMahon by asking: “What if we tried…”. Tony Khan clearly and rightly puts stock in Jericho’s and his other top talents’ ideas. Yet could Tony Khan ask the same question to edit some of Jericho’s creative?

Or, when needed, put ideas on hold because not every segment or storyline needs to be the same or as impactful. Allowing time for ideas to ferment or for the wider creative team to think, address plot holes, and space out big moments could again be a positive benefit to the entire product.

4.     Re-invent or Subvert Expectations

Jericho’s desire to put over the next generation is admirable. Yet his character has become unfocused. Jericho told Don Callis, that before being betrayed, he wanted to become more ruthless and eviller, and weeks later he’s teaming with Kenny Omega. It makes it easy to believe it’s all for clout.

As he did in 2008, as he did when he started in AEW, it’s time Jericho try something new. Either subvert expectations by working shorter programs.

Work with older talent or wrestlers he has worked with before. Maybe embrace or play into the criticism in a way John Cena couldn’t do when the fans turned on him? Lean into the reception of the veteran desperate for relevancy. Or go in a completely different direction. Jericho is a man who found a way to get clipboards, champagne, and traffic cones over. This seems like Jericho’s bread and butter.

5.     Going Part Time?

In ring, Jericho can still go but he isn’t who he once was. He is not The Undertaker at the end, nor is he Sting who needs multi-man matches to protect his aura. Yet Jericho could learn from both. Use Paul Heyman’s methodology of hiding the flaws and exaggerating the positives.

Jericho should stop trying to keep up with younger, high-flying opponents like Sammy Guevara when the flaws are noticeable. Alongside the souring perception means eyes are always focused on the negatives.

Given Sting is close to retiring, AEW will have a space for a part-time legend. AEW is stable and financially secure, Jericho has done almost everything in this run. Like Sting, Chris Jericho can preserve himself and work towards big matches and moments, while pursuing his outside interests. Also, given the creative challenge, Jericho could also make a part-time role feel unique and special to him.

Ultimately, Jericho deserves to have a legendary presence and to feel impactful and significant.

More From LWOS Pro Wrestling

Header photo – AEW – Stay tuned to the Last Word on Pro Wrestling for more on this and other stories from around the world of wrestling, as they develop. You can always count on LWOPW to be on top of the major news in the wrestling world. As well as to provide you with analysis, previews, videos, interviews, and editorials on the wrestling world.  You can catch AEW Dynamite on Wednesday nights at 8 PM ET on TBS. AEW Rampage airs on TNT at 10 PM EST every Friday night. AEW Collision airs Saturday at 8pm Eastern on TNT. More AEW content available on their YouTube


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