Connect with us

Pro Wrestling

Chris Jericho Needs a New Era

Published

on

Chris Jericho lost to Hook last night on AEW Dynamite.

The match in some ways went exactly where I hoped it would. Hook was basically like Brock Lesnar against John Cena at SummerSlam hitting suplex after suplex on Chris Jericho. Hook looked like a beast against him. But there was a perfect moment to take Jericho out which was when he locked in the Redrum. Instead, Jericho somehow got out of it and Hook had to roll him up. Wasn’t the finishing I was hoping for, and Jericho later saying he wanted to give Hook a proposition next week didn’t land the way I think he had hoped.

Every once in a while, All Elite Wrestling fans choose someone they don’t like anymore and spend much of their time online finding ways to say they don’t like that person. Chris Jericho has become that for many.

It’s funny because AEW fans usually have two modes. One is for the guys they feel don’t belong in AEW, are not loyal enough to AEW, or not good enough for AEW. Then you have Chris Jericho, who they have created in their heads this political mastermind holding young talent down and intentionally ruining their pushes. It’s never the booker’s fault for not following up on better programs for the talent. It’s never the talents fault for not being able to stay at that next level. It’s all Chris Jericho’s fault because he didn’t let the guy murder him and then disappear for eight months and return talking every day about how that guy murdered him and took his career. That’s pretty much what they are asking for.

Jericho has had his ups and downs in AEW but the fact remains this company likely isn’t where it is without having a major name like Chris Jericho to be their cornerstone back in 2019. Jericho worked hard to turn Orange Cassidy from a gimmick who had a surprising match with PAC at Revolution 2020 into someone who could one day be a champion in AEW, regardless of how silly the Mimosa Mayhem match was. Of course, that doesn’t matter when people want to bash him. The good he did for Eddie Kingston doesn’t matter because the feud ended in a bad shark cage match. The good he’s done for Daniel Garcia doesn’t matter because they wanted him in Blackpool Combat Club. Sammy Guevara has basically drown every time he hasn’t had Jericho there to help him stay out of undertows he creates for himself with bad work shoot promos. But nah, Jericho is at fault somehow.

At 53-years-old, Jericho is still wrestling at a pretty impressive pace. I’ve seen better at that age like Genichiro Tenryu and Nick Bockwinkel, but that doesn’t change how Jericho isn’t taking it easy with already 10 matches in 2024. He’s still a good wrestler, but isn’t the wrestler he used to be.

One thing the critics do have right is that Chris Jericho is stale. Jericho was one of the smartest wrestlers in pro wrestling for always changing up his gimmick and look when he was getting long in the tooth. He did it multiple times in WWE, including two times he went on hiatus for a few years. He’s cut his hair, changed his theme song, changed his catchphrases. He’s been good at knowing when it was time for a change, or time for a break. He’s even talked about taking cues from Madonna and David Bowie about it, and how that kept them relevant for decades.

In AEW, he brought the Painmaker character from New Japan Pro Wrestling over from time to time, but has instead played the Inner Circle Jericho more than anything. He has recently brought “The Lionheart” Jericho after a promo by Jon Moxley back in 2022 where Moxley said he didn’t want to face the current Jericho but the guy he idolized in the 90s pre-WCW. Jericho coming out to White Zombie has robbed fans of the Judas sing along, which is probably another thing that people are upset at him about. At least last night they had Adam Copeland’s theme to sing instead.

But that’s the thing. AEW has been going since 2019 and Jericho, save a few tweaks, has pretty much been the same guy. Five years of the same character, save a heel or face turn, isn’t like Jericho. He also hasn’t changed his look up much and instead has gone to almost a, “Chris Jericho of old” look. He looks like how he did in the 90s but older and thicker. It feels more like an 80s rock star doing the festival circuits with the old band.

I can understand if Chris Jericho is hesitant to take a long break. There’s a fear of the body atrophying when you get out for a while, something Kurt Angle talked about happening in his WWE run. He was still working at a good pace on the independents but because WWE didn’t have him working every week or even every month, his body got stiff. Jericho likely worries about that entering his mid fifties.

All Elite Wrestling though doesn’t need him the way they used to. They are full of stars of various ages. A guy like Adam Copeland is doing what Jericho did for All Elite Wrestling years prior. Same goes for Christian Cage. Same goes for Mercedes Moné, who has been doing a lot of media for AEW since coming to the company. Jericho doesn’t have to fill any of the on screen roles he used to. There’s no better time for him to take a hiatus, to think about the next phase of his career in the company.

Unlike a lot of his critics, I still see a lot of value in Chris Jericho for the company. Specifically, I see value in him filling in a role that AEW might need. The Sting role.

With Sting’s retirement, All Elite Wrestling needs an elder statesman. It needs basically that legend who shows up every few weeks to remind people how great he used to be, and how great he can be now in the right match. Sting was always a feel good moment on the card. He wasn’t getting his ass kicked every week or being embarassed. He wasn’t winning championships and holding the younger wrestlers back. He was just The Icon. Like I said, it was always a feel good moment when Sting was wrestling on the card. That’s why his retirement felt so good. I thought maybe he’d go out on his back finally, but Sting instead won his retirement match. It wasn’t about putting people over. It was about sending the fans home happy.

That’s a role Chris Jericho could provide to AEW. But in his current state he cannot. The fans are burned out by him. His critics are bloodthirsty for everything he does. He can not do anything right in their eyes, and the louder they get, the more the fans will listen. He couldn’t even get fully cheered in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Even his good intentions are quickly twisted into machinations of political maneuvering.

If Jericho takes a break for a few months, even a year, he can return to All Elite Wrestling fresh. Return maybe with a haircut. New look. New music (or return to Judas) and new perspective. It won’t be about Chris Jericho going after championships as much as Chris Jericho representing AEW and being a feel good moment on the show.

He’s had the Lionheart Era. He’s had the Y2J Era. He’s had the Codebreaker Era. He’s had BOTW Era. He’s had the List Era. He’s had the Painmaker Era. He’s had Le Champion Era. It’s time for Chris Jericho to take some time away from All Elite Wrestling and return with a new era. The era that will take him to riding off in the sunset in professional wrestling.

Jericho needs to make us jump off the chair, raise our filthy fat little hands in the air, and scream, “GO JERICHO GO!” again. He just can’t do it if he doesn’t go, Jericho, go away for a while.

Photos by All Elite Wrestling

AWAW Aaron Wrotkowski 2024