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It's Great That Jericho is Back, but Was it Really Worth the Hype?
One of the Cryptic Vignettes
"The End of the World as We Know It" did not Occur on 1/2/12
Let me start this off by saying that I am a huge fan of Chris Jericho. He is one of the greatest performers to ever grace the squared circle and I truly do believe that he belongs in the WWE. His wrestling style is incredible, his mic skills are extremely well-polished, and his overall presence as a superstar is one worthy of the Hall of Fame.
All this being said, I think that his return on the January 2nd edition of Monday Night RAW was very poorly constructed. For weeks fans were taunted with eerie vignettes of a returning superstar. These promos built us up to believe that a powerhouse wrestler (which Jericho is in his own right) was coming back to “end the world as we know it”. These vignettes also stated that this person would “shake the powers that be” and “reclaim what is his”. I, as a true lover of this kind of suspense in wrestling, boiled over with anticipation as to who this person would be and what exactly they would be doing. I, along with many other fans, speculated that this person would be Y2J but didn’t rule out the possibility of it being The Undertaker or even Brock Lesnar. Now, my disappointment with this scenario is not that it was Chris Jericho (I’m stoked that he’s back!) but rather the way it was orchestrated, with the hype not adequately justifying the means of his return.
One key element of this was how the promos spoke of a “she” that would beckon him. Who was that “she” supposed to be? No woman came out with him or was mentioned in any other way, so that left me wondering what the heck that was supposed to mean. At first I thought it was going to be The Undertaker and that the “she” would perhaps be his real-life wife and former WWE Diva Michelle McCool. That would have made sense because the promos were mostly set in a schoolroom and McCool had actually been a teacher at one point in her life. The dark and bizarre feeling of the promos, as well as “The End Begins” would also have fit The Undertaker perfectly, and I myself would have loved to see that angle: The Deadman returning with his “Deadbride”. To me that would have been an awesome setup and something completely fresh and intriguing.
Another thing that made no sense to me was the actual written clues placed in each vignette. “Control”, “Prophetless, and “The End Begins” were, among others, put at the end of each vignette. The only one that made any sense to me was “Do You Understand?” because Chris always said “Do you understand what I’m saying to you right now?” So what did these other phrases mean? Based on how Y2J returned that night, I have no idea what they could mean. To me they were just words thrown in there with a meaning so vague that we could simply come up with our own meaning for them. Again, very confusing.
One final issue I had with the way this was handled was how we were led to believe that a dark, powerful, and obviously evil force would be coming to create mayhem but what we ended up getting was an average-sized guy that ran around with a nonstop cheesy grin and hamming up all the fans in the arena. Worst of all, he didn’t even speak! All that anticipation and forewarning just to leave us hanging and just as confused as we’d been all along. Now I will not say that his lack of speech did not intrigue me; it was interesting in that we as fans were shocked to see this legendary superstar return with such a strange and new attitude. I’m sure as this storyline continues we will learn more about his apparent new personality. It’s just that a big deal was made about 1/2/12 being the actual day that things would change and, as far as I’m concerned, no change occurred that was worthy of all those weeks of hype. Perhaps that change will come, but it didn’t happen when we were told it would happen and, as a big fan, I felt let down.
Hopefully the WWE will prove me wrong in the coming weeks and this situation will explode into something that is worth all the hype. In fact, I’m quite sure that whatever happens will be exciting and will create awesome history. I also agree with the idea of Jericho feuding with CM Punk as we head towards Wrestlemania. Both superstars are quite similar in style and I believe that a match between these two would be epic. The bottom line is that the promos leading up to his return, in my opinion, did not fit the style of his return. Either a differently orchestrated set of vignettes or a much darker, sinister Jericho character should have been implemented to make it all more fluid and sensible. Something more worthy of “world-ending” could have transpired on that night, as we were all led to believe. As a die-hard WWE fan, however, I am always interested to see what will happen next, and I believe that Y2J will be as good, if not better, than he ever was.