When you have more than 2 decades of experience in a profession, it is quite an accomplishment. I have been watching pro wrestling off and on since 1996 just before WWE's Attitude Era and The Monday Night Wars were barely a year in. I have been to a few events including 2 PPV's and seen some of the biggest names in the business at that time. From the true birth of Stone Cold Steve Austin to the NWO and DX it was amazing seeing all these guys in action but very few I liked that could go in the ring and utilize technical moves and suplexes, grapples, takedowns, arm drags and submissions. I loved the Rock, Stone Cold, Undertaker, Triple H and others but only a handful of guys I truly enjoyed watching were the smaller guys and those that flew around the ring in a fast pace, stiff style and not always a bunch of entertaining antics. Those guys were Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, Jericho, Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart and the Lucha Libra Guys.
Chris Jericho among those guys was one of if not the best out of that bunch. The way he moved in the ring was so crisp and amazing to watch. His lionsault off the ropes, his suplexes and kicks were among the bad ass things I couldn't help but be in awe of. The man that started out in his home country of Canada and trained in the ranks of the Hart Family is an accomplishment in itself. If you're a wrestling fan you know of the Dungeon in Calgary that Stu Hart tortured and made many a man scream in agony, Chris was among that long list of those that had the pleasure of having Stu getting his hands on you. Traveling to practically every known country in the world, Chris honed his craft taking on all sorts of opponents that lists too many to name. He wrestled in the wild areas of mexico building his character, took on some of Japan's finest in the far east learning to wrestle a very stiff (hard hitting) style, learned what to do differently every night during a 42 day stint in Germany, mastering promos in Smokey Mountain Wrestling and eventually hitting the big 3 named wrestling companies in the U.S; Extreme Championship Wrestling, World Championship Wrestling & the WWE.
For a guy under 6' in a big man's business he had to fight harder to get spots on the card that led him to WCW where he was one of the batch of men that were a part of the Cruiserweight Division that for a period were the backbone of WCW. While the main eventers like the NWO, Sting, Ric Flair and others were putting on matches that were not that good compared to the mid card guys that had matches that topped the entire card every night. Chris' matches were some of the very best wrestling had in that period when fast pace styles collided and having talent that flew off the ropes, had mystical breathtaking moves and some of them including Jericho knew how to wrestle when it came down to it.
After a falling out with WCW runner Eric Bishoff over an angle with Goldberg, Jericho left the company and went to the WWE that had quite possibly one of the greatest debuts in wrestling history let along on the fabled Monday Night Raw and to do it in a verbal stand-off against the biggest name in the company at the time The Rock. Although at his first few months weren't his most promising, he had the opportunity to truly make a name for himself and went after the Intercontinental Championship which his idols Ricky Steamboat and Shawn Michaels also held and not only broke into that championship with gusto it ended up going through of all people Chyna. A little while later a little over a year he got the biggest opportunity of his career and became not only World Champion but did so by beating Stone Cold & The Rock in the same night. The first ever Undisputed Champion; went on to Main Event Wrestlemania X18 against Triple H in a seesaw battle that was one of the best matches that night.
There have been guys in every promotion that have great matches, some good and plenty of horrible ones, an extreme few have ever had a bad match, even fewer had great matches practically every single time they got in the ring. Chris' matches were some of the greatest in history in my opinion; I have watched Jericho since he was in WCW and in nearly 20 years of watching wrestling I never once saw a bad Chris Jericho match, most of them topped the night let alone the entire card and saw it on multiple occasions. He wasn't satisfied with being just a wrestler and went onto do another dream of his and that's being a Rock Star. Starting out doing cover songs with his band Fozzy and playing the "role" of Moongoose McQueen that was pretty funny but eventually let out his true Jericho nature in the band. Hell of a singer and one of the best bands around today...If you haven't seen a great Jericho match or song here are 2 of my favorites...
As you can see and hear, Chris is a man of many talents and has mastered his craft in multiple areas very few if any have ever achieved. He's also one of the funniest wrestlers to ever grace the Mic, whatever The Rock can dish out Chris did it just as great if not better than the Rock. I'm the type of fan that likes the entertainment but more of the action and sure Rock, Hogan, Triple H and others have had great matches but none of them are more technical when it comes to wrestling than Jericho can bring to the table. I'm very biased when it comes to ring styles and sure some go really well but I will always be in favor of guys who can go in that squared circle and not only wrestle but have more than a few moves in their arsenal, most wrestlers in the big cards have maybe 5-7 good moves that they can dish out on a solid basis in a match but yet nothing to me beats a guy who has more than 10-20 moves in a match to use and use them in any high spot or low impacted ability that can save matches from being boring or too predictable. Makes up for some insane battles and and keep the crowd going unlike Hogan with his Poses and Rock with his eyebrow and Undertaker with his demonic presence; they're all hell of awesome but they are very predictable compared to guys like Owen Hart, Bret, HBK, Benoit and Jericho.
25 years is a lot to take in being a pro wrestler and Jericho still can go even in his mid-40's. Although he doesn't have as much muscle as he used to and doesn't train the same way anymore to keep up in the ring he does however stay in pretty damn good shape and practices DDP Yoga to stay that way. I'm honored to have watched him over the years. There has only been very few wrestlers I admire and Jericho is one of them. Rock Star, Wrestling Legend, Best Selling Author, Podcast Host and one of the greatest talkers in the business. Done.