19 years ago today, Chris Jericho makes the greatest debut of all time
In 1999, a clock counting down the final seconds to the end of the millennium reached zero.
The Rock was interrupted while laying out a challenge to the Big Show in the middle of the ring with a hot Chicago crowd in attendance. When the clock ran out, the lights went dark, the music kicked in and the crowd erupted as the words “JERICHO” read on the titantron.
“Welcome to Raw, Is, Jericho!”
Chris Jericho arrived as the Millennium man, proclaiming to be the new hero of the WWF.
“What was once a captivating, trend-setting program has now deteriorated into a cliched, let’s be honest, boring snoozefest that is in dire need of a knight in shining armor, and that’s why I’m here. Chris Jericho has come to save the WWF!”
One of my favorite promos ever delivered, as it applies to today’s product as well.
The Y2J persona couldn’t have been more perfectly timed, as the Y2K scare (that never happened) was polluting the air as a day that would change our lives forever. When Jericho arrived in the WWF, wrestling did in fact change forever.
What made this such a big deal back then, is that despite there being dirt sheets and whispers of Jericho signing with WWF at the time, the internet wasn’t as open to the world’s secrets in 1999. There was no seat in the NXT crowd for him to announce he was going to show up, he just simply arrived.
Jericho would go on to give us some of the best feuds with The Rock, Stone Cold Steve Austin, Shawn Michaels, Chris Benoit, Edge, John Cena, CM Punk, and Kevin Owens.
His feud with Michaels reoccurred several times over the next 10 years and was so good that Dave Meltzer awarded it with “Feud of the Decade.”
His most recent battle with Kevin Owens is one of my favorites in WWE history, as it provided us with some of his most memorable catchphrases (which is saying a lot because he’s had LOADS of them over the years) such as “you’re gonna get…IT” and ‘YOU JUST MADE THE LIST, ” on top of countless moments that made us laugh, gasp, and cry.
Chris Jericho had already won several titles outside the WWE before arriving on the scene including (but not limited to): NWA Middleweight Championship, ECW Television World Championship, and the WCW Cruiserweight Championship. Never having won a world title before, as he was horribly misused in WCW partially due to him being a “smaller” guy than the rest of the locker room. In WWE, they gave him all the tools to grab the reins and ride onward to becoming a solidified main eventer.
In WWE, he’d go on to become a 2 time United States champion, a 7 time tag team champion, a record holding 9 time Intercontinental champion, a 4 time world champion, and would defeat The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the exact same night to become the last ever WCW Champion and 1st ever Undisputed WWE champion.
Chris Jericho has never ceased to be relevant in professional wrestling, as he’s always reinventing himself and shifting his gears towards something new and exciting.
19 years after his WWE debut, Jericho is currently the Intercontinental champion of New Japan Pro Wrestling, making this his 10th title reign as an Intercontinental champion. Earlier in the year, he wrestled a brutal match against Kenny Omega that Meltzer awarded 5*, and later this fall he’ll be hosting the Jeri-Cruise with wrestlers from Ring of Honor, New Japan, and Impact Wrestling.
This morning it was reported that Jericho is interested in working with Impact Wrestling. His good friend Don Callis is a higher up there as of recently, so there’s a good chance he’s going to show up there as well.
At the age of 47, Chris Jericho has had one of the most fulfilling and successful runs in wrestling history.
He’s pretty much done it all. Outside of wrestling, he sings in a metal band called Fozzy that he tours the world with, he hosts a podcast that ranges from topics such as wrestling to metal and rock music to the paranormal, he’s competed on “Dancing With The Stars,” he hosts his own show on the Travel Channel where they investigate legends and lore throughout the US, and that’s not even a full list of his endeavors and accomplishments. I can’t wait to see what else he decides to tackle on the “Chris Jericho Does Whatever the Fuck He Wants 2018 tour.”
Watch his debut on Monday Ni-I mean “RAW IS JERICHO” debut over and over with me.
Braden Jackson – @Dembrae
Image provided by WWE.com