Even as a part-timer over the past few years, Jericho has remained a force. Something about his recent return, however, seems different. It's as if he has returned with a purpose. In the last four months, Chris Jericho has been on a mission to guide and elevate the new talent in WWE.
|The man, the myth, the legend Chris Jericho. Drink it in.|
It started with an impressive performance in the Royal Rumble followed by a feud with AJ Styles. This beef ran for a while but was very important. The "rookie" Styles was able to cut his teeth in the WWE against a master match manipulator. Although AJ is more than seasoned, he is a newbie to WWE. Against Jericho, he was able to look strong with a couple of hard fought victories. The matches were a great way to showcase Styles' talent to the WWE Universe and he looked every bit of phenomenal. Sure, he lost at WrestleMania 32, but only because Jericho has to be a strong heel for future bookings. Anyhow, it worked out well for AJ. After one feud with Jericho, he is now fighting for the title.
Since WrestleMania, Jericho's been feuding with Dean Ambrose. Along this way however, he has found himself strongly linked to Kevin Owens. It's been a joy to watch. The two are so similar.
Kevin Owens, like Jericho made a splash as soon as he entered the WWE. He's had two Intercontinental Championship runs and fought and beat some of the best the company has to offer. K.O. is arrogant, selfish and acts with impunity. He is a true heel that fans can love and hate. Who better to pair him with than (one of his idols) Chris Jericho.
Jericho and Owens have a great master-apprentice relationship. Jericho is helping his fellow Canadian make the finishing touches he needs to become THE heel in WWE. Check out the past few weeks and you will see Kevin Owens shining when he is alongside Jericho. JeriKO make a great tag team; a duo that WWE should seriously consider taking a run at the Tag Team titles in the future.
Whether they do or not, the success of Kevin Owens is critical for the WWE. Roman Reigns may be the champion, but K.O. is the top guy. Since working with Jericho he has become one of the focal points of the story lines. Week by week he proves that he has definitely hit his stride. His current conflict with Sami Zayn has the ability to steal the show at Payback mostly because Owens has been extremely entertaining as the antagonist in their drama. K.O. has had a blast working with Jericho. He has honed his skills as heel and as the weeks and months go by, you can bet he will be better than ever and soon have a shot for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Lastly, the "Jericho Effect" has found itself focused on Dean Ambrose. The Lunatic Fringe is the biggest face in the company, yet his career is stagnant at the moment. He has been a workhorse for months; participating in considerable feuds. This guy feuded with Brock Lesnar and Triple H at the same time and it made sense. These two matches like most of Ambrose's acclaimed matches however, ended with a loss. His charisma keeps him afloat, but even that isn't good enough to push him anymore.
So now he has the Ambrose Asylum. It's a good call by WWE creative. Ambrose can hold the crowds attention, fans want to hear what he has to say. The only issue is that WWE already has two talk shows, one belonging to (who else but) Chris Jericho. The Highlight Reel has had a thirteen year run and this combined with Jericho's part-time status is reason enough for a change. This transition is a smart way to embroil the two in a feud.
The beef is not only about Ambrose hijacking the Highlight Reel; it serves as a way to sustain his status among fans. This past Monday's RAW showed how Jericho can build interest and anticipation for a match. His pompous demeanor and ability to piss off fans and opponents alike helps Ambrose remain in the favor of the WWE Universe. They want to see him get a credible victory over Jericho. As Y2J said, their match at Payback will put Ambrose on "another level". Thanks to Jericho, WWE Creative will finally give Ambrose the type of career a superstar like him deserves.
For months Chris Jericho has been aiding the talent of this new generation. WWE has been constantly pushing the idea of this "new era" in its history. In order for this era to truly make an impact, older vets have to be phased out. Jericho is one such Superstar, but he can't leave without teaching the tricks of his trade to those with the potential to have a career as storied as his own. Although this may be his final stint in WWE, Chris Jericho is proving that he is indeed the best in the world at what he does. Do you understand the words that I am saying to you RIGHT NOW!?