Prior to August 9, 1999, Chris Jericho wrestled all over the world for nearly 10 years, winning a number of championships along the way. Throughout Mexico and Japan, Jericho was one of the most popular wrestlers in the early 90s. However, in the US, Jericho failed to reach this kind of notoriety.
Until he stepped foot in ECW, beginning in 1996. Soon after his debut, he impressed the ECW crowd as the resident underdog, eventually defeating Pitbull #2 for the ECW TV Championship. His matches with future WWE Champions RVD and Mick Foley, among others, drew attention from the WCW offices.
During his time with WCW, he achieved marginal success, winning the WCW TV Championship and being involved in good memorable feuds with Rey Mysterio, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn, Juventud Guerrera, and Goldberg.
Even with his limited success, the WWE felt he had what it took to be a major player for the company, and he was immediately thrown in the fire when he debuted.
For a little under a month, we would see a "Countdown to the Millennium" segment appear at random moments during Monday Night Raw. While many tied this countdown with the infamous "Y2K bug," the dates just did not line up.
Then, the countdown stuck zero during an in-ring promo by the Rock. The lights went off, the anticipation was at a fever pitch, and the titantron explained the countdown in one wordóJericho.
WWE struck gold in the creation of his debut, and it still goes down as one of the best in wrestling history. Six world championships, nine IC championships, five tag team championships and a few reincarnations later, Jericho has proven to live up to the hype of his debut.
Classic debut. Classic moment.
Send your Retro Wednesday topics to @cravewrestling.