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For a majority of his career, Chris Jericho has been underappreciated. Everyone knows that he was underutilized in WCW and that he had to go to the WWF to become a main event star, but even throughout his time in the WWE he has been consistently shuffled around. For a guy that is as popular as he has been, it is strange to think that he has had so little world championship success. Yes he was the first Undisputed Champion in WWE history, and that is something that can always be put on his resume to stand-out, but really I feel like he only got that shot because he was the perfect guy to lose the championship to a returning Triple H at WrestleMania X-8.
Really Jericho has had the career of an upper-mid carder that occasionally got to dance in the main event with the big names. For most of the big shows he has worked on, he has been relegated to playing second or third fiddle to other big stars. He has still had a more accomplished career than 95 percent of other wrestlers and he will go into the WWE Hall of Fame, probably as the headliner, as soon as he is eligible; but for a guy of his talent, I think WWE has undervalued him a bit.
Jericho has been absolutely fantastic since returning to the company for his latest run. Over his past few part-time runs, Jericho had always gotten a big pop for his return simply because the fans love him so much; but eventually he kind of faded away and became just another guy on the roster by the time that he departed. This time however, since he made a hard heel turn, he has been by far the most consistently entertaining performer in the company, stealing the spotlight from more-heavily pushed wrestlers and turning back the clock to his prime and delivering some of the best work of his career.
In the ring he is still very good. Maybe he isn't quite as athletic as he was ten years ago, but he still moves around very well for someone that is 45 years old and in year 26 of his career. In addition, the influx of young talent that has cracked the WWE main roster in recent years have given Jericho fresh matchups, like against Sami Zayn or AJ Styles. Chris Jericho vs El Generico or Chris Jericho vs AJ Styles? Those are real dream matches for hardcore fans.
On the microphone and in-character, Jericho might be the best in the world. When it comes to cutting charismatic promos and getting catchphrases over, it is accepted that The Rock is in a league of his own; but take a look at what Jericho has done over this last year. He got the term "Stupid Idiot" an insult that a First Grader would deem to be uncreative, super-over with the audience to the point that it is the most over catchphrase in the company, except for maybe the Enzo and Cass stuff. If that wasn't insane enough, Jericho went a step-further when he got the two letter word "it" over with the live audience. IT! According to Oxford Online, "it" is the 11th most common word in the English Language. It would be as if a wrestler got "that" or "a" or "the" over as a catchphrase.
That is why the Gift of Jericho is a real thing. This man is really the only remnants of the Attitude Era that can still claim to be really in their prime, and unlike most of the big names from that era, he has no problem working full-time feuds with the younger wrestlers and put them over while still remaining as popular as ever. I don't know how many years he has left at this level, but nobody in WWE really deserves universal appreciation more than Jericho. Drink it in while you can.
Clash of Champions Preview:
Kevin Owens vs Seth Rollins- Rollins finally made a full-babyface turn on RAW Monday and will face the heel Kevin Owens at CoC for the Universal Championship. While it is necessary to make Rollins a babyface, I do kind of do like the idea that the match is being pushed with kind of a non-traditional narrative with no real clear heel vs babyface story. It is more like a NJPW or ROH type of match where the promotion understands that no matter what they do some fans are going to support Rollins and some fans are going to support Owens; it is a more modern approach to the main event and mimics what we see in real sports.
The lack of explanation for Triple H turning on Rollins and aligning himself with Owens is both disappointing and predictable. It's obvious at this point that WWE does not currently have a good explanation for the turn, which is why we have Triple H off of television for no reason. This is all leading up to Triple H and Stephanie being in cahoots the whole time and we are back to square one with the heel authority figures with their heel champion sticking it to the babyfaces. Owens needs to win or at least retain his championship for that to happen, so I think Owens wins in a screwy finish setting up their Hell in a Cell match in October.
Roman Reigns vs Rusev- After their non-match at SummerSlam, Reigns has a chance to win the United States Championship again from Rusev. This time I don't see Reigns leaving the show without the championship. As the booking on RAW has indicated since the brand-split, despite a commitment to keep Reigns out of the world title picture, WWE is still 100 percent behind Reigns as being the top guy in the company, and after Rusev escaped SummerSlam still with the championship, I don't see him getting nearly as lucky, if that is what you can call it, this time around.
Sasha Banks vs Charlotte vs Bayley- I haven't really liked the build to this match. They botched it a couple times when they originally announced that Bayley was going to get the title shot; then they acted like that never happened and said Banks was going to get the title shot; and then the week after that they acted like both of those things had never happened and they had a triple threat match with Dana Brooke to determine who was really going to get the title shot, they pinned each other and now we have a triple threat. Some fans are questioning why the triple threat is happening right now as it seems like such a big match—but I disagree. I think these women are going to be fighting with each other over the Women's Championship for at least the next six months, and the true merit of their feud is going to be the cumulative value of their matches, not just because they had one or two big matches.
The New Day vs Luke Gallows and Karl Anderson- Anderson and Gallows have thankfully cut out a lot of their terrible comedy bits that were clearly written for Vince McMahon and have stopped really talking that much on the mic; really they are just rough and tumble brawlers that that despise the fun-loving New Day, which is what they should have been the whole time. If Anderson and Gallows don't win the titles now; the entire feud has been kind of a waste and I think the time is right for New Day to drop the championships.
Sami Zayn vs Chris Jericho- A real dream match for hardcore wrestling fans; it does have a bit of an interesting storyline. Zayn is famously known for being Owens' former best-friend that was stabbed in the back by Owens; and Jericho is Owens' new best friend in a strange (but entertaining) storyline where Jericho is almost creepily obsessed with Owens. I think Jericho steals a win from Zayn to set up another match at the next PPV.
TJ Perkins vs Brian Kendrick- I thought that the Cruiserweight division could have gotten off to a better start. The match they had on RAW as good, but it also highlights the issues the division is going to have. For some inexplicable reason, Perkins, the Cruiserweight Champion, wasn't on the show and since the fans in the arena had lukewarm reactions to the four cruiserweights who were on the show, it is a safe bet to believe that Perkins isn't going to get a big pop on Sunday. Worse, there is no storyline for the title match between Kendrick and Perkins. Why couldn't they have Perkins come out after the match and beat down Kendrick, or vice versa? At least that way you establish a heel/face dynamic. Instead, they are going to have a match with no storyline, and as good as the match may be, without any storyline the crowd can only get so excited for it. Having random matches on PPVs with little to no build is the exact same issue that doomed the division the first time around, and they have started off the relaunch of it making the same mistakes.
Cesaro vs Sheamus- This will bring an end to the Best of Seven series which predictably has gone to the seventh and deciding match. The winner of the series will receive a "championship" opportunity although what championship they will be going for is TBA. Depending on what title it is for the outcome can go either way. If it is for the United States Championship (which presumably Reigns will have) than it makes more sense for Sheamus to win; if it is for the Universal Championship (which presumably Owens will have) than it makes more sense to have Cesaro win.