ON THE SOAPBOX
I'm an Olympic gold medal-ass!
Okay. Let's take a second here and talk about stepping it up. Let's talk about guys who work to take that next step, and then who get lost in the shuffle.
Some of the guys who have done this have gotten rewarded. An example is Diamond Dallas Page. When Page signed with the WWF, he came ready to play. When the Stalker angle didn't play out like the WWF had expected, they waited while he recovered from knee surgery, and now we have Positively Page.
The guy I think of who's really getting a shot right now? Chris Jericho. Jericho made a big splash when he first showed up back in 1999. First we had the "Countdown to the Millennium" clock that kept showing up at the end of commercial breaks. Then somebody figured out that the "Millennium" would occur at the 10:00 point of a certain Raw. Sure enough, the Rock was out cutting a promo in the ring and the lights went out when the clock hit 0. Lights flashed and then the music and Titantron video started. The roof blew off when the name "Jericho" flashed on the screen. Jericho came out to an ecstatic crowd. Then he started talking about how he'd arrived to save the WWF (running 7+ in the ratings) from mediocrity. He left after a verbal confrontation with the Rock with the crowd hating him.
Fortunately, the "Mediocrity Defeating" Jericho vanished quickly and the crowd got to cheer him (like they'd wanted to do all along). Jericho quickly got put into a program with Chyna where, through an idiotic turn of events, they wound up as co-IC champions. At last Jericho defeated Chyna and Hardcore Holly at the Royal Rumble 2000 and became the sole IC champion.
In April, Jericho got his first taste of the big time. He pinned Triple H and became the WWF champion. About 5 minutes later, Hunter talked Earl Hebner into reversing his decision and HHH got his belt back, but Jericho had won the title, and the crowd loved it.
Since then, Jericho has held almost every other WWF title. He's been an IC, Tag team (with Chris Benoit), Hardcore, and European champion. Still, he's never won the Big One.
Jericho is now in the spot the British Bulldog was in. He'd won every title (except the world) and was stalling out when the WWF finally released him.
One of the Bulldog's problems was the fact that he jumped back and forth between WCW and the WWF a great deal. He went to WCW, came back in the mid 90's, left with Bret Hart, then came back in 99.
Jericho's had no such problem. He left ECW to go to WCW, then went to the WWF when he got his chance. Jericho's even been emerging as a leader in the Invasion angle.
One of Jericho's problems is that it's crowded at the top right now. Austin, Rock, Angle, and, to a lesser extent right now, Undertaker (and by saying that I don't mean anything negative about Taker's spot. Right now he's just not in a main-event level feud) are ready-made main eventers. Right now, it's between Austin and Angle for the WWF title, and it's been Rock and Booker for the WCW belt.
Winning the WCW title would not be a bad thing for Jericho. I believe it would be a G-double O- D thing! Excuse me while I smile.
Jericho's got the WCW history. He's a former Cruiserweight and Television champion. People remember Jericho used to be in WCW. He could be a great WCW champion, and still keep the title out of Alliance hands. Also, a pin over the Rock wouldn't hurt Jericho in the least.
Another angle to consider here is: what if this match is a setup? In the early 90's Ted DiBiase was announcing that there would soon be another member of his Million Dollar Corporation. Lex Luger was feuding with Tatanka at the time, and all indications were that Luger was going to join DiBiase. At the "formal announcement," however, Tatanka jumped Luger! This turn was more shocking because no one had seen it coming. Could we see an Alliance member Rock attack Jericho?
No Mercy should provide us with some of these answers. Still, for my two cents, Jericho deserves a shot. Maybe someday we'll even see him wearing the WWF title.
See you next week!