Rumor has it that Chris Jericho is going to be going on another hiatus from wrestling like the one he went on a few years back. His contract expires in September, and he has not re-signed yet. While Chris Jericho is one of the few WWE wrestlers with true mainstream viability, mainly through his band Fozzy, for fans, especially rabid ones of him like me, this is potentially disappointing news. Because that might be the case, I, as well as many like me, am begging, pleading, petitioning the WWE to let Chris Jericho go out as a babyface, as the sarcastic, bombastic, hilarious, fun-loving character that we grew to mark out for in the beginning of his career.
I know that it’s a pipe dream. The WWE always jobs guys out on the way out, and they’re not going to have Chris Jericho exit stage left if he’s a fan favorite. I mean, take a look at the exits Batista, Brock Lesnar and yes, Chris Jericho himself made on their ways out of the company. All of them were heels. All of them were basically jobbed out and made to leave in a somewhat embarrassing fashion. Apparently, Vince McMahon doesn’t like it when you dare leave his company to try and do other things. Either that, or he just doesn’t believe in giving someone an emotional send-off unless they’re retiring. So yeah, I have no reason to believe that any of the following will land on anything but deaf ears. However, there is a very, very compelling case to send Chris Jericho on his way to the world of rock and VH1 as a hero rather than a humiliated heel.
Consider the Nexus.
Odds are that the Nexus angle is continuing past SummerSlam. Of course it is. If last night’s RAW and even last week’s RAW as well were any indications, then Chris Jericho himself will not be involved in the big 7-on-7 match, and he’ll probably end up costing John Cena his chance at revenge so he can cleanse the WWE of Cena, who is according to Chris Jericho, as big a threat as Nexus. However, I’d probably book things a very different way.
[adinserter block=”2″]Chris Jericho gets his wish and leaves the WWE team, only to watch Nexus defeat them, with Wade Barrett getting the last elimination on Cena to win the match. Then, the remaining Nexus members beat Cena down after the match. The rest of the Nexus comes down and it’s a 7-on-1 beatdown. None of Cena’s teammates come out to help because the Nexus has injured everyone during the match, including Mark Henry and Evan Bourne, who are named as replacements for Edge and Chris Jericho. Finally, Chris Jericho appears from the back, running to the ring with a steel chair, clearing everyone but Barrett from the ring. He looks as if he’s going to destroy Cena with the chair, but then he hits Barrett right in the back and stands guard over the guy he has sworn to hate.
This would then set up a scenario where Chris Jericho finally breaks free of his disdainful attitude towards the fans and towards Cena, and he joins the good fight against the Nexus. For one shining month, he becomes the old Chris Jericho, the wise-cracking, taunting, fun-loving rock star, defending the WWE against the invading threat. He’d stand beside Cena until the Nexus took him out on his last day with the company, “injuring” him so badly that he’s not seen on WWE programming until the day when he makes his return, be it to active duty or for his induction into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Of course, it would still end with Chris Jericho on his way out of the company, but instead of humiliated, he leaves as a fallen hero, a guy who sacrificed his pride, his ideals and his body to save the company for fans that he once held in such disdain. It would accomplish more than a few things. One, it would put the Nexus over huge. They’d never ended a career before, so that would add a new wrinkle to their characters, a new threat that they could pose to the company. Join them or they end you, legit. Two, it would give the WWE a big ace in the hole for later on should Chris Jericho rejoin the company, a huge pop and potential draw as a face return. Three, everyone loves a redemption story. Chris Jericho’s turn back to the fans would be the ultimate redemption after two-plus years of bashing them and calling them sycophants, parasites and hypocrites. Finally, it would be fanservice, major fanservice to loyal customers who watch their programming, buy their merchandise and PPVs, make the WWE trend on Twitter. You take care of your fans.
[adinserter block=”1″]Judging by the Y2J chants, signs and everything else, it’s not just the Internet fans who want Chris Jericho to return to his roots. It’s the fans at large as well. Look, we all know that you can’t stay the same forever in this business if you want to be on top for prolonged periods of time. When Chris Jericho came back to the company after his first hiatus, he reinvented himself, and did so brilliantly. His cynical, bitter and jaded character was one of the best heels in the company. Even now, after it’s been played out for over two years, he still gets a fair amount of heel heat. However, the character is just that – played out. He needs to make himself over one more time. Since he’s probably leaving, it doesn’t have to be revolutionary. He doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel, but he does need to do something.
Since he’s leaving, he might as well leave with a bang. It’s probably not going to play out the way we want it to. Hell, it may not even play out at all given that Chris Jericho could still sign an extension and remain with the company. Still, a change is needed. Bitter Chris Jericho talking down to fans who obviously want to cheer him is getting pretty old. The WWE claims it’s all about changing its talking points and not going for the same ol’ same ol’ all the time. They’re referring to building new stars, which they’re doing, but they could also stand to let a few established guys change for the better.
And I think I’m not alone in stating that Chris Jericho going back to his old character would be one of those changes. Do you understand what I am saying?
Tom Holzerman is a lifelong wrestling fan and connoisseur of all things Chikara Pro, among other feds. When he’s not writing for the Camel Clutch Blog, you can find him on his own blog, The Wrestling Blog.
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