After telling fans he was never going to wrestle in the WWE again, Chris Jericho has indeed returned to the WWE. Jericho returned on RAW after being revealed as the January 2, 2012 mystery man that has been teased for weeks.
Jericho now returns for his third run in the WWE in the last twelve years. Jericho will attempt to reinvent himself, the same as he did on his last go-around during his legendary feud with Shawn Michaels in 2008. While Jericho has played both heel and face effectively throughout his career, Jericho will be returning as a heel in the interim.
I think the bigger story here about Jericho’s return is the lack of excitement surrounding his third debut. Jericho made big splashes on his debut and his return back in 2007. Even last year when the WWE played up a return through videos, the hype was much higher when people thought it was Sting than it was for this. Even when the buzz hit the Internet that it would be Jericho, it appeared that nobody reacted even close to when Sting was rumored to come last year.
Jericho did get a great reaction. The fans were chanting his name as soon as the lights went out. It was a great moment and he was as over as you could have hoped for with the fans if you are a Jericho fan. Jericho played up the huge reaction for awhile but returned to the back after saying nothing to some boos.
It could be a tougher road for Jericho in the WWE in 2012 than he has ever faced before. It is a different time and the audience is much different than at any time he wrestled for the company. I think it is safe to say there are more kids in the audience, and the “smart fan” following Jericho always had have been tuning out in record numbers. A big part of Jericho’s appeal is how edgy he has always been, yet I have to wonder how edgy he can get in this current environment.
Regardless, if there is one thing you can say about Jericho it is that he keeps it fun. I think he was really hitting his stride the year before he left, especially with his feud against Edge. His feud and expected match with Punk at WrestleMania will really compliment what is already expected to be one of the most exciting WWE events in years.