Chris Jericho has succeeded through many an adversity to try and be the best at what he does. From opening match cruiserweight to Main Event Undisputed Champion, Jericho has risen up past the glass ceiling.
What he was best at, was reinventing himself. From the cheesy and cocky cruiserweight in WCW, he first became a stock babyface in the WWE/F, then a cowardly heel, to being the overly serious “Best At What He Does” star.
Jericho made a name for himself in WCW, with a character that was a smart aleck/whiny rock star. Not only a decent wrestler, his mic work was great, being able to change the mood of the crowd at the flip of a switch, or getting another wrestler over. See Dean “Man of 1000 Holds” Malenko.
With all of his talent in the WCW, Jericho could never break through the glass ceiling. He had crowds chanting his name, had a multitude of signs, and had a LONG winning streak against Goldberg (*cough*). But thanks to the Millionaire’s Club (Hogan, Nash, etc), he could never break into the main event scene.
When given the chance to jump ship to the WWF, Jericho made one of the greatest debuts of all time in August 1999 against The Rock. With “Break the Walls Down” playing and the crowd on their feet, Jericho had finally made it to the big time, and eventually made it through the glass ceiling in the WWF. He would go on to become the first Undisputed Champion in WWF history, winning the WWF and WCW titles (then known as the World Championship) by defeating both The Rock and Steve Austin in the same night.
Jericho went on to have great feuds with many of the top stars in WWF/E, eventually becoming a 6-time World Champion. A man who criticizes his own matches closely, and even keeps a tally of every match he’s ever had (see his book – Undisputed: How to Become the World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps), Jericho continues to try and improve himself with each match.
Defining Match of the WrestleMania Era: Chris Jericho vs. Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania XIX
With all of the great singles matches Jericho had over his career, whether it be in the one magical night against The Rock and Steve Austin (2001), any of his matches against Eddie Guerrero (most notably his 1997 Cruiserweight defense at Fall Brawl), his ladder match against Chris Benoit at the 2001 Rumble, or even his tag match with Benoit against Triple H and Steve Austin in 2001, his match against Mr. WrestleMania proved that Jericho wasn’t trying to be Shawn Michaels, he was trying to be Chris Jericho.
Or something like that. Here’s Jericho’s quote:
“As I was coming up people kept saying to me that I was going to be the next Shawn Michaels, but all I ever wanted to be was the next Chris Jericho”
And the two of them stole the show. Jericho showed how he could hang with the greatest WrestleMania performers, with a showcase of his talent, cockiness, and all-around ability.