THE RAGER! – A Glance at Chris Jericho’s Smiling Return
by Chris Sanders on January 4, 2012

So here we are, once again, trying to make sense of the world of professional wrestling…but ultimately failing and erupting with anger in the process (and you wonder why its called The Rager).

So obviously, the big news of the week is that Chris Jericho returned to begin something (one can only assume from his promo is that he’s beginning an awkwardly-smiling staring contest with someone that isn’t aware of the contest itself).

But lets break this down, shall we?
The creepy video kids interrupt once again to remind us that the end of the world as we know is happening right now. We cut back to the live feed but with shaky camera movement showing awkward shots of the crowd as we all get to listen to earthquake noises. The look on just about everyone’s faces seemed to be just as annoyed with this as I was (except for this overly concerned-looking girl in a Cena shirt that the camera focuses on for what seemed like forever). Finally, the lights go out and we get a Y2J chant from the crowd until…we see a lite bright jacket (which was awesome but Matt Bellamy from Muse had a whole suit). And from there, Jericho plays it up to the crowd and gets them all aflutter. He finally grabs the mic but keeps on urging on the crowd. Fast forward a bit and Jericho throws the mic down, still smiling uncontrollably and leaves the ring, still high-fiving the crowd, and makes his way back up the ramp. By this time, the crowd finally seems to catch on that some sort of mischief is afoot and begins to boo him. Jericho, still all smiles, walks off-stage and leaving us all puzzled about what exactly just happened in those 12 minutes.

And now today, WWE posted this video recorded moments after the promo. The features are much of the same as the promo. Jericho doesn’t answer any questions, he just keeps on smiling and turning on his jacket.

This is the part where I bequeath unto you, my fellow Rageans, my great knowledge and explanation as to what the meaning behind all this is.

I honestly have no freaking clue, all I know is that I thought it was brilliant. After the anti-climatic Raw ended, I found myself trying to go through every scenario of what was to come and why this happened or that happened. Today (Tuesday) I find myself not really caring or if anything pertaining to the videos get explained or who Jericho feuds with. What is important is that we have (at least for a little bit) a genius of a heel back in a show that’s beginning to lack in that department. What was so brilliant about that promo last night is that we got to see exactly where the cheap nostalgia pop ended and everyone realized that they were getting played (a la dream projections in Inception). In those twelve minutes, we heard the crowd audibly remember that when Jericho left, he was a heel that thrived at getting boo’s from the audience and would do anything to do so.

I know that with this column, I do a lot of speculating and analyzing but that promo, much like CM Punk’s shoot promo, all I can find myself doing is just enjoying it and not worry what it all means. Lets be honest, its good to just let it go and enjoy it because 9 times out of 10, we all reach the inevitable conclusion that WWE will find a way to screw it up because they had no escape plan or whatever the case may be.

So the point I’m making in this column, whether or not any of this makes sense, is to just enjoy it and enjoy what’s to come with Jericho and we can make fun of WWE mishandling it later. Lets be honest, that is what all this wrestling stuff comes down to: having fun. I can spout all day about how I hate this or that and what was done wrong here and what needs to be done but deep down, I’m having fun with all this. Lets be honest, professional wrestling is all about some absurdities and we all know it and we all love and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it. At the same time, its good to just lighten up and be able to laugh.

That last rant was probably brought to you by me reading (and loving) the latest edition of Interinactivity.

Well that just about does it for me, folks. Share your reactions on Jericho’s return in the comment section below.

Follow me on Twitter and join in on a weekly feature known as #liverager every Monday night during Raw (Yes, I’m that overly-bearded chap holding a book of bad poetry).

Be sure to check back here at Pulse Wrestling all this week for the latest news and awesome commentary.

Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do twice,

The Answer:
The State of California vs. Ex-Lover #17

Your Honor, I had to
cut off her legs
to make sure she wouldn’t
come waltzing back into my life

(from B is for Bad Poetry)


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Chris Sanders

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  • E. E. Faulk

    I’ve said it elsewhere and I’ll say it here: I thought Jericho’s return is being BRILLIANTLY done. I’m saying “is” because, much to the chagrin of fans who want to look at Monday as a stand-alone segment, this was just part of a grander story.

    . Last time he left, he was a heel. When he and the fans turned on each other in ’08, he said that he could have pandered to the fans forever and they still wouldn’t have loved him as much as HBK. He also said that, after enough pandering and dancing about like a marionnette for the fans, they’d tire of him, cut his strings and be done with him. That’s when he changed his character to a self-serving, embittered villain. He’s re-establishing the HELL out of that by proving everything he said right. After so many minutes of posing and preening for the fans, the cheers faded and turned to boos, thus validating everything he’s said and done. He knew that he’d be cheered when he came back, so he got his heel heat back by the ultimate demonstration of why he hates the fans and why his hate’s justified. BRILLIANT. Even if he doesn’t give this as a word-for-word explanation, it still adds yet another layer to one of WWE’s most well-crafted characters.

    A heel who thinks he’s justified is deep. A heel who IS justified is sympathetic. A heel who goes leaps and bounds out of his way to justify his motives, succeeds, proves himself right and the world wrong is excellent storytelling in action.

  • E. E. Faulk

    Sorry, meant to add this to the first post:

    I prefer this to a simple surprise Rumble entry or another run-of-the-mill promo calling out another wrestler. These are “Superstars” and incredible athletes who are supposed to be inspiring, provocative, larger-than-life while also relatable. There should be more to them than “I wanna fight X guy, I wanna chase X belt.”

  • James Alsop

    I should interject, E.E – a heel who succeeds and does exactly what he says he’s going to do becomes, well, “cool.” And so treads a thin line between heel and face. And that all too frequently becomes very bad storytelling indeed.
    Right now, WWE needs a top bad guy, which is why Jericho will do whatever it takes to keep the crowd firmly against him. Which is why his character will need to be proven wrong at every opportunity, not right. Jericho thrives on being a jerk, not an inspirational revolutionary.

  • E. E. Faulk

    Good point. Jericho’s said himself that, sometimes, he wishes people would hate him even more. This is part of why I don’t see him treading that fine line anytime soon. If he was right about, say, a championship prediction, he’d risk becoming cool. If he was right about his opponents’ shortcomings, he’d risk becoming cool (and, worse yet, damaging a face’s reputation). But, as it stands, he’d succeed at insulting the crowd and proving himself right about the crowd’s hypocrisy and fickle nature. Getting the fans to see themselves in a negative light would do anything BUT make him “cool” to the casual fan.

  • Bill Hedrick

    Here’s what I am thinking. Jericho is doing something I haven’t seen before, the attention starved, demanding love, biopolar heel. His entrance said a couple things to me, that his character NEEEDS love and adulation but doesn’t want to reciprocate. What this does is to turn people against you, thus he can do the hateful moody you don’t appreciate me heel. Closest they did to this in the past of was the Micki James creepy Single White Female style heel

  • E. E. Faulk

    I think you *have* seen that before, in Jericho’s heel turn on HBK (and the fans) a couple years before… or did you mean something else?

  • Agelessstranger

    I’m wondering if this is going to be a send up of his other career, as Fozzy front man. That whole show he put on reminded me of a rock star who wants the noise and the adulation, gets what he wants, and then is done with the crowd at whatever arena he’s playing at.

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