This week’s In Appreciation Of highlights wrestling legend Chris Jericho, who has competed for the biggest promotions around the world.
Welcome to In Appreciation Of, where we highlight actors, personalities, filmmakers and projects that have made an undeniable impact on popular culture.
Y2J. Le Champion. Lionheart. The Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla.
Wrestling (excuse me, Sports Entertainment) superstar Chris Jericho has gone by many names in his 30+ year career.
Despite reinventing himself over the years, Jericho has always been a consistently solid performer in the ring and on stage – more on that later.
Let’s see what some of Jericho’s peers have said about him:
“I knew from the beginning if it felt right, you know, maybe I should be the guy that commands the throne of AEW.
“It wasn’t my time. It was yours, Chris and that’s fine. I think you being the first inaugural champion of AEW was the best company decision in the best move we could have made and I think you had a lot of respect to that belt.”Kenny Omega, Talk Is Jericho podcast (2020)
““It was scrutinizing wrestling fans who are really cynical that I was around recently. They were not just saying it to pacify me, ‘Chris Jericho, the run he’s on, it’s unprecedented.’ isn’t it amazing how he’s coming in this year?
“I mean, he’s lost 31 pounds. So that is, visually, almost jarring to see the Chris Jericho we remember from a decade ago or two decades ago, and the things he’s done this year you talk about reinvention, but he’s been able to do it in a completely unexpected way'”Tony Khan, My Mom’s Basement podcast (2022)
Jericho currently leads a stable in AEW called The Jericho Appreciation Society. With that in mind, you may find it surprising that it’s taken this long to feature him for In Appreciation Of.
When people think of iconic wrestlers, certain names come to mind.
For instance, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, The Rock, Hulk Hogan, The Undertaker, Ric Flair and John Cena, to name a few.
Jericho absolutely deserves to be on that list.
He has wrestled and beaten several of those considered all-time greats, including a few in the list above.
While performers such as Cena and Randy Orton have stayed with WWE throughout their careers, Jericho has dominated multiple companies.
Even today, he still competes at an incredibly high standard and adds even more world titles to his list.
A Hall of Fame induction is in Jericho’s future no doubt, should he accept it.
Now with so many decades under his belt, Jericho is a locker room leader among AEW’s roster.
Going back to the promotion’s beginnings, he was the flagship star whom AEW built itself around.
Across six major promotions – WWE, WCW, ECW, NJPW, ROH and AEW, Jericho has won 35 championships including 8 world titles.
He has held WWE’s Intercontinental Championship for a record 9 reigns, as well as the United States, European and Hardcore championships once each.
Jericho is a prolific tag team wrestler, with partners over the years including Edge, Big Show, Christian and The Rock.
Not only has Jericho held these titles, but he’s also made them feel valuable.
After all, on paper, why should a mid-card championship be worth more than the world title?
It’s a very difficult task with a non-world championship, but Jericho has always managed to pull it off.
Case in point: his matches with the likes of Kevin Owens and AJ Styles for the United States Championship, towards the end of his most recent WWE run.
However, succeeding in wrestling requires much more than just good in-ring skills.
You also need a strong personality, and a performative energy to draw crowds in as a top star.
Throughout his career, Jericho has thrilled fans with varied gimmicks, whether as babyface (good guy) or heel (bad guy).
Even the transition between two roles feels natural for a performer like Jericho – he just leans into different parts of his personality rather than seeming inauthentic.
For almost 25 years, he has also been the lead singer of Fozzy, a heavy metal band. They have released 8 studio albums to date.
Imagine performing at a top level in one competitive industry, let alone two.
Jericho’s passion and drive in both areas also reflects in the wrestling ring as a solid, seasoned worker.
He’ll put over a younger star while also still main-eventing himself.
One could argue that AEW revitalized Jericho’s career, by putting him back in the forefront in an unexpected way.
In 2022, Jericho brought different aspects of his life together when he appeared on FOX’s The Masked Singer.
He performed as “Bride” – a pink dragon in a wedding dress – once again displaying his unique showmanship and charisma.
While for most, a reality TV stint may indicate a dwindling career, this is far from the case for Chris Jericho.
With over 30 years in the wrestling industry, he’s a legend and has earned that title.
Thankfully, it doesn’t look like Jericho’s slowing down any time soon.