Chris Jericho is a legend of the wrestling ring. He is seriously considered in the conversation for the greatest wrestler of all time, with his 30 year canon of work matching up to any other wrestler in history.
He has wrestled all over the world, working for all the top companies in the United States, Mexico and Japan. He’s won the top titles in WWE and AEW, as well as holding the Intercontinental Championship in New Japan. Over the past 20 years he has been a top star wherever he has been and one of the best in-ring talents, as well as a great mind for the business.
Except… it’s 2023. And AEW have a serious “Chris Jericho problem” in their midst. His feuds haven’t been entertaining his years and actively harm both himself and the people he is feuding with. At times, he is a detriment to the product and that is a huge issue.
We need to talk about Chris Jericho.
The Chris Jericho Problem
First, the positives. Chris Jericho is a huge name and was one of the key members to getting AEW off the ground and on TV. He himself claimed that he and Jim Ross were the biggest influences on getting AEW Dynamite on TV, due to their name value from their time in the WWE.
He was absolutely the correct choice to win the AEW Championship. He hadn’t been a full-time wrestler in WWE for two years at that point and was still putting on good matches in NJPW. He was clearly slowing down (he had an okay match with Okada, which is impossible) but still had a lot to give the business.
The Inner Circle is one of the greatest factions in AEW history. They helped carry the early days of AEW and introduced Sammy Guevara, Santana and Ortiz to a brand new audience. Their association with Jericho helped them to become big stars in the company,
Now, onto the problem with Chris Jericho and the issue with his AEW booking.
Overly Long Feuds
The number one issue with Chris Jericho in AEW has the been the length of his feuds. While wrestling fans regularly bemoan the lack of “long term storytelling” and rightfully praise the triumph that has been the “Bloodline” storyline in WWE, it doesn’t mean that a long rivalry is a good.
It all started very innocently. The Inner Circle vs The Elite went on a little too long – but that was okay, during the pandemic nobody knew what was going to happen and when the first Blood and Guts was cancelled, they had to stretch the feud out to Double or Nothing.
Then, Chris Jericho faced Orange Cassidy. They wrestled three times in three very different matches. They also had some fun segments in between, like the debate segment which is still talked about today.
Some would say that feud went on too long. His feud with MJF was incredibly long but was a slow burn, leading to MJF joining and then turning on Jericho. It lasted incredibly long and featured multiple matches between the two and could have ended months earlier.
Since then, watching Chris Jericho has been excruciating. His storylines are never concise, never clear and never leave you wanting more. When he lost at AEW Revolution to Eddie Kingston, it should have been the end of a short feud that got Kingston over huge. Instead, it lasted months, incorporated the Blackpool Combat Club and ended in Kingston not even making it to Dynamite anymore. Jericho just had to elongate the feud and get his win back.
Even looking at the current Ricky Starks feud. Jericho lost to Action Andretti and then lost to Ricky Starks. Why is the feud carrying on? Why would Starks put himself through all these gruelling challenges to face Chris Jericho – why do you need revenge if you already won!
Some feuds don’t need to last months and multiple pay per views. One of the most intense feuds of 2021 was CM Punk vs Eddie Kingston. It lasted about 3 weeks and 2 promos and led to an amazing match that made both men look incredible.
Calm it down Chris.
Latching Onto Young Talent
At first, seeing Chris Jericho against your Orange Cassidy’s or your MJF’s was exciting. A clash of styles and generations coming together was exciting, and seeing dream matches you never expected made it must watch TV.
However, then it kept going. Jericho kept latching on to the next big thing, leeching off the popularity of the younger stars to keep himself relevant.
His almost year long feud with MJF could have ended months prior. MJF was the hottest heel in the company and could have wrestled anyone. Yet he was stuck in an endless storyline with Le Champion. The same for Orange Cassidy – he was one of the hottest acts in the world. Why Chris Jericho thought he needed to beat him was beyond me.
Whilst not young, Eddie Kingston was poised for a main event run. He had just feuded with CM Punk, even getting cheered over the former WWE Champion. He cut some incredible promos en route to their match at Full Gear 2021 and was poised for a main event run.
So, Jericho had to get involved. And to his credit, he lost the first match. It was a great match and made Kingston look every bit the star he should. But the feud persevered. For 8 months, Jericho feuded with Kingston and the Blackpool Combat Club, leeching any amount of heat the groups had and making everybody involved much less over than before.
Nobody Gets Over
Who was the last person to come out of a feud with Chris Jericho looking better than before?
Id struggle to name one. MJF is probably the best but I don’t think he any more over or impressive than he was before he entered the feud. The Pinnacle was wasted being stuck feuding with the Inner Circle for so long and Jericho did not need to get his win back over MJF at all.
The incredible length of the feuds lead to a level of disinterest from the AEW fans. Fans were really, really excited to see Ricky Starks before he started wrestling the Jericho Appreciation Society. After he beat Chris Jericho in a singles match, he was a made man. He could have moved on to fighting someone like Bryan Danielson or Jon Moxley.
Instead, he had to wrestle the entire Jericho Appreciation Society – why? Why does he need to run the gauntlet to face a man he already beat? Why did the JAS have to face the Blackpool Combat Club ever week for about 8 months? Wheeler Yuta’s stock dropped hard during this time, and not pulling the trigger on Daniel Garcia’s face turn hurt his momentum hard.
Chris Jericho feuds don’t seem designed to get anybody over. They seem to be used to fill time on Dynamite for as long as humanly possible, and not let Jericho leave without getting at least one win back over the next big star of the company.
It’s ironic, the amount Chris Jericho complained about Hulk Hogan in WCW, he’s almost become what he hated.