By Mark Worrall @Hoohoowozza
There is no doubt that one of the biggest names in the wrestling world at the moment is Chris Jericho, and after a career spanning over twenty seven years, to still be considered a top name is quite simply remarkable. In an industry where wrestlers and top names come and go, succeeding in ‘longevity’ in a business that can quite simply swallow you up if you allow it, Chris Jericho has sustained a career spanning almost three decades and the fact that Jericho remains relevant in the wrestling world is an absolute testament to a man that has remained on top for so many years.
The question may be, how does somebody stay relevant in the business of wrestling? Chris Jericho could answer that question for sure! Sure, many have lasted and carved out a long and successful career that has spanned many years, creeping into decades. Look at Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, the Rock, Steve Austin to name a few. Not all of those names have remained in the wrestling business throughout their career with some popping in and out whenever it suited them. However, Jericho, who himself has many a sideline, or different persona that eats into a different career so to speak, but Chris has wrestled almost a full time schedule whenever he goes on another run with the WWE, he does do house shows which some veterans may not, and he does really invest himself into his character for whatever gimmick his character may be portraying at a certain time.
Two things for me justify the relevance of Chris Jericho, Exposure and Reinvention. What I mean from those terms is simply that Chris knows how to expose himself to the public eye and knows how to use whatever ever genre is trending at a particular time and manipulate it and become a part of it. Jericho as so many avenues that he explores that at times it is a miracle that he does not lose his way. You may consider Jericho as somebody who quite easily jumps onto the bandwagon of whatever is popular at the time, and you may be right, but why not, he is a talented man that tries his hands to many things and more than not is very successful. For instance, the podcasting scene has grown from a few podcasts splattered here and there to thousands, maybe millions covering all sorts of genres! From big name stars to some geek sitting in his bedroom doing a podcast about gaming, everyone and anyone seems to be turning to this type of radio that allows a certain person to express their love of a particular subject and talk about what it is they love about it. Chris jumped into the podcasting world as he found this way of entertainment a chance to talk to his friends and people making stories from all sorts of genres, subjects that Chris has an interest in and not just wrestling! Of course wrestling plays a huge part of his podcast, however, from his love of Rock music and his friends within the music industry, to ghost stories, artists from the adult entertainment scene to even his own father, who himself was a player for the New York Rangers Ice Hockey team, Chris produces a podcast that anyone can listen to with the reassurance that almost any topic could be up for discussion. With the podcast being so popular, Jericho has also opened up his own podcasting network and includes podcasts from Konan, Lance Strom and a supernatural podcast Beyond the Darkness, once again exploring many different subjects. The relevancy of Chris being a part of the Podcast scene is for him to put out a twice weekly show, interviewing some of the biggest names on the planet therefore putting himself over at the same time.
Keeping with the exposure theme, you may know Chris Jericho only as a wrestler, however Chris is also the front man of a rock band called ‘Fozzy’. For someone like myself, Fozzy are a band that I am very familiar with, through Jericho’s podcast I found myself taking an interest in his band as he played some of his band’s songs on the podcast, yet again advertising another of his projects and exposing that particular brand to his listeners who may not be familiar with his musical exploits. As I own several Fozzy CD’s I tend to call myself a fan, and having seen them live a couple of years back has they toured the UK, as a live act I cannot fault them as there concert was great, and Jericho again exposed himself as a great front man that had the crowd eating out of his hand. Fozzy may not be topping the charts, but they don’t need to, as a band that have been together for over seventeen years, they have a consistency that keeps them together and are relevant in the music world.
So what does all this have to do with the relevancy of Chris Jericho, or maybe the question should be, how, after twenty seven years in the wrestling business does Y2J still remain one of the biggest names on the wrestling scene? Chris Jericho is a master of reinvention, and at this point I will only look at the wrestling side of his persona, after all, Wrestling is where it all began for Chris. From training with the Harts, to working for Jim Cornette at Smoky Mountain, to numerous tours of Japan as a Junior in the early nineties, Jericho knows how to push himself and get himself noticed. Chris really began to make his name during his WCW run in the mid nineties, however, as much as he got himself over, Ted Turner’s broken company would only push Cruiserweights so far, then those numerous amount of talented Cruiserweights such as Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, Rey Mysterio and Chris, just to name a few would remain as opening matches that would to all intense and purpose steal the show as the old men filled up the main events! Chris would vision the downfall of WCW and sign with rivals WWF which aired a countdown clock every week on Monday Night Raw until the August 9th episode saw the unveiling of Jericho, billed now as Y2J and Jericho therefore claiming Raw is Jericho! This persona has more or less stayed with Chris throughout his WWF/WWE career, however, whenever Chris’s act seemingly got a little stale, he would sometimes go away for a while, tweak his act, then return, making a big impact in the process with a slightly new persona, whether it be the new jacket with thousands of little lights covering the article of clothing that lit up the arena once the lights were dimmed! A little added extra that transformed his character, even though really a jacket with lights may be redeemed ridiculous by some, Chris made it work.
Throughout his WWE run Chris as always had the ability to put himself over, by feuding with the biggest stars, or asking for programmes with the new arrivals or Indie darlings such as his feud with a debuting AJ Styles back in 2016. Jericho’s persistence for working with the best also makes him relevant, and he always manages to put his opponent over at the same time. His previous run also saw him holding a clip board and basically putting anybody that pissed him off onto a supposed ‘naughty’ list! A gimmick that is just bizarre, but Jericho made it work to a point that you could even purchase a replica list from the WWE shop!
January the 4th 2018 will see, in my opinion one of Chris Jericho’s biggest matches to date, and yet again, Jericho, who has seemingly jumped onto the Kenny Omega bandwagon now finds himself the most ‘Relevant’ man in the wrestling world! New Japan’s supposed breakout into the American market last year now sees them as potential competition to their bigger US counterparts, the WWE. Ok the threat of competition may be rather small at the moment, and may never proceed to an actual wrestling war such has the late nineties ‘Monday night Wars’ that thrilled the wrestling landscape. However, New Japan want to expand their brand, and baby steps is the right way to go, and what could be better than reaching out to a WWE mainstay, a global and worldwide figure that is famous for his wrestling exploits in a long career that he has expanded into other fields. With Kenny Omega seemingly heading the US expansion, and with Kenny holding the IWGP United States title, what could be better that a heated rivalry at New Japan’s biggest show, Wrestle Kingdom?!
Chris Jericho has taken an opportunity, a terrific run during 2016/2017 with the WWE, Jericho left the company to pursue another tour with his band Fozzy. However, always the opportunist, Chris has yet again reinvented himself into a bad ass character that wants to cause chaos in New Japan, and to Kenny Omega and a surprise it was when Jericho, sending a video message to Omega after his match with Beretta at Power Struggle telling Omega his intentions which he has followed ever since.
Whether one feels Jericho, has a wrestler can keep up a match pace with Omega is simply one’s opinion, however Chris as once again nailed his relevancy to the wrestling world, he is once again the most talked about wrestler in the wrestling press, and will no doubt cement his legacy with a great match at this year’s Wrestle Kingdom. You may also remember, that Chris Jericho will be the first and only wrestler to have been involved in most probably the three biggest shows the wrestling world as ever known – Wrestlemania, Wrestle Kingdom and WCW Starrcade.
All pretty relevant to me!!