Chris Jericho is a bonafide WWE Hall of Famer. He’s a multi-time world champion, the most frequent Intercontinental Champion of all-time and was one of the most popular superstars of the fabled Attitude Era.
And yet, 2016 might be the best year of his career. At 45, Jericho is arguably even more entertaining than any point in his storied career. Since returning in January, Y2J has managed to get over just about everything — whether it be people, phrases or inanimate objects.
Here’s a look at some of the best things Jericho has gotten over in 2016.
OK, so Jericho’s early babyface return was pretty lackluster. It wasn’t until he became a snarky heel that things really started to exceed the generic nostalgia pop. But his return did provide us with the first of the $750 scarves we’ve become accustomed to. Let’s also not forget that sweet cartwheel he landed as the special guest referee in the Rusev-Roman Reigns match.
AJ Styles and the Styles Clash
After AJ Styles made his WWE debut at Royal Rumble, there was no better opponent than Jericho. It provided Styles with a capable opponent, as well as someone who could handle the majority of promo work. Jericho mocked the “A-J Sty-les” chants which only helped them grow louder. He also took the pinfalls in the majority of their matches, with the exception being WrestleMania 32, which feels like it never happened considering Styles became No. 1 contender for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship the following night by, you guessed it, defeating Jericho in a fatal four-way match.
Jericho has also took credit for getting Styles’ finisher, “The Styles Clash” unbanned by WWE during an appearance on Chael Sonnen’s podcast.
“I helped him get his finish unbanned,” Jericho said. “I mean, The Styles Clash was banned when it first came in and I helped him kind of unlock that, so he can start using it. So all that stuff, I kind of take an extra special pride in helping him.”
Fictional towns and people
During the buildup for Money in the Bank, Jericho, who is credited with creating the concept for the match, claimed he had previously captured the briefcase. When asked where, he responded with “Appleton.”
During his feud with Enzo Amore and Big Cass, Jericho claimed he had a tag-team partner lined up. When questioned about his lie once again, the former champion responded with “Jimmin Marvinluder,” which apparently meant Kevin Owens, but more on that in a bit.
His podcast network/DDP Yoga
Outside of the ring, Jericho has dominated the podcast scene. His own show seems to have a monopoly on WWE guests and also features big names from the entertainment industry. This year, Podcast One launched the “Jericho Podcast Network,” which features shows Keepin’ It 100 with wrestlers Konnan and Disco Inferno, the hilarious Team Tiger Awesome podcast and sporadic episodes of Talk’n Shop with Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows.
During his podcasts, Jericho has plugged his friend and fellow wrestler “Diamond” Dallas Page’s DDP Yoga brand. But he does it in such a way that you know it’s coming even though you’re not supposed to. In the middle of his podcasts midway through conversations in edited segments. “…that’s great and I want to hear more but before that I want to talk to you about DDP Yoga…”
Such a simple phrase. Yet it has so much power coming from an angry grown man. Jericho has managed to use an insult more likely to be said by fifth graders. When you can get an audience of thousands of adults to chant “stupid idiot” at you, that’s the sign of a masterful heel.
The gift of Jericho
No words. Just drink it in, maaaaaaannnnn.
During his “Asylum match” with Dean Ambrose, Jericho was slammed on a pile of thumbtacks. For the next several weeks, he would complain about Ambrose’s attack and point out that he had to pull out “69 tacks,” as if he counted them one-by-one.
Telling people “Quiet”
Again, simple but affective. Jericho’s increasingly angry delivery and the simplicity of telling someone “quiet” is what makes this so funny.
His friendship with Kevin Owens
Jericho developed a friendship with current Universal Champion Kevin Owens in the weeks leading up to SummerSlam. No, I take that back. They’re more than friends, they’re best friends. And why wouldn’t they be? They’re both snarky, dastardly Canadian heels who trash talk their opponents throughout their matches. How couldn’t this be a match made in heaven? And why is everyone jumping to conclusions that their friendship is a ruse? How dare you question Jericho and Owens’ friendship as anything less than genuine. Team Chris and Kevin (or Kevin and Chris) has provided more examples of friendship in wrestling during the past two months than any other tag-team has ever.
Mispronunciation of Tom Phillips’ name
One of the best things to come out of the Jericho-Owens alliance was their pronunciation of backstage interviewer Tom Phillips’ name. It was funny enough when they called him “Tim” but got even funnier as the names became more outlandish. At one point he was “Robert” and seconds later he was “Nathaniel.” Just watch for yourself.
People need to stop messing with Jericho. In fact, they better watch it…IT!
While Jericho has never actually explained what “it” is, the phrase further propels the legendary superstar into angry dad mode, which has been the basis of his latest character since his heel turn. Just seeing him point angrily and say “it” manages to evoke a huge reaction from the WWE Universe.
And finally, we have Jericho’s latest super gimmick, “The List.” Much like former president Richard Nixon, Y2J keeps a list of people who have gotten on his bad side. At first it was directed specifically at general manager Mick Foley. Jericho listed several acts of negligence by the hardcore legend, including booking him in unfair matches and having a horrible sense of fashion. Over the next few weeks it developed to Stephanie McMahon, Seth Rollins, Roman Reigns and “people who don’t appreciate scarves.”
Never change, Chris. Although if you do, there’s a chance that it will once again be for the better, as proven with your most recent run.