Chris Jericho was born on November 9th, 1970, when his pregnant mother’s countdown clock hit zero after about nine months. His birth almost certainly contained above-average levels of pyro and extremely above-average levels of crowd reaction, a theme that would follow him throughout his career with the WWE.
A career which started, by the way, with such a bang it is probably still the best ship-jumping debut in company history, despite what you AJ Styles maniacs think post-Royal Rumble 2016.
In my heart I believe WWE writers agree with me, as evidenced by Jericho’s clean victory over a Styles in the latter’s WrestleMania debut. Read between the lines, people!
Watch it again if you like, but not before you soak in the beauty of August 9th, 1999, when Raw became Jericho:
Y2J’s Many Happy Debuts (And Returns)
(I would like to find the 442 people who down voted this video on YouTube and put them all in WCW-era Lion Tamers. But this isn’t about them, nor is it about WCW-era Chris Jericho. This is about Y2J on his special Y2Day)
Jericho has mastered the art of “I’m back”. It’s the only reason why we love it so much when he leaves. Go on towards New Japan, Chris, we’ll be waiting for your return and your (just a small prediction here) light-up scarf. We’ll stay glued to WWE programming because that’s what we do and when you make your surprise return at Royal Rumble, we’ll be happy to watch an updated version of this video:
Damn Good Cup Of Coffee
Despite all this respect, there’s not a single beloved wrestler in existence that is immune to some criticism. so I offer up this weird angle as balance on today’s Millennium Man love fest.
One day Chris Jericho was backstage minding his own business and he quickly turned around holding his cup of hot coffee way too far away from his body, which is not the way people typically hold their joe.
He ran smack into Kane, who was not happy about a) being burned with hot coffee (P.S. who would be) and b) being reminded of a time where he was burned before (P.S. his entire gimmick). Needless to say this resulted in a feud.
Needless to say this is not a great reason to start a program between two people. It might in fact be the worst reason to start a feud. It’s mentioned here among the host of The Highlight Reel’s highlight reel to offer up some balance. To remind everyone that not all hits can be hits, even when you’re Chris freakin’ Jericho.
The First Undisputed Champ, Forever
If an annual pay-per-view event were ever to be named after a wrestler (free idea, WWE), Chris Jericho is a contender. Sure, he’s not The Rock or Stone Cold but he beat both of those guys in one night, which is somehow underrated now, and JerichoFest or Night Is Jericho is catchier than Rockathon or Stone Cold Jamboree.
Skip reliving the night of Vengeance 2001 if you must, but do not sleep on this clip from the next night’s Raw which includes a sneak peek at the gimmick even the grouchiest of wrestling fans appreciated (The List!):
Meeting Mr. WrestleMania
Jericho has at minimum classic-ish matches with your favorite wrestlers like Rey Mysterio, CM Punk, and Rob Van Dam. Plus he’s put on straight bangers with your nephew’s favorite wrestlers like Triple H and John Cena.
Most agree his best work came against Shawn Michaels circa Wrestlemania 19, the best sporting event to ever happen in Seattle, Washington (don’t @ me, Ken Griffey Jr., Shawn Kemp, or Seahawks). The build-up to this feud is pretty spectacular and worth a revisit, despite the quality of the only video of this I could find:
His Most Recent Run
All of it. Just … all of it. The List. The drinking it in of men. His best friendship with Kevin Owens and resulting horrific ending at the Festival of Friendship. It’s arguable that the most recent version of Y2J was the most complete, perfect version of him. But then again, we could be biased.
His light-up jacket is better than Christmas, his matches against Shawn Michaels were better than any Thanksgiving meal any of us have ever eaten. His catch phrases are Mardi Gras, his entrances are part New Year’s Eve, part Fourth of July. The dude is a real-life holiday, and wrestling is so much better because of him.