Christopher Keith Irvine (born November 9, 1970), better known by the ring name Chris Jericho, is a Canadian American professional wrestler, musician, media personality, actor, author, and businessman. He is best known for his time in the World Wrestling Federation/World Wrestling Entertainment (WWF/WWE), Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), and World Championship Wrestling (WCW), and internationally in Canadian, German, Japanese, and Mexican promotions. He is known for his over-the-top, rock star persona - dubbed "The Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rolla" - and for a contrasting run as an aloof villain in the late 2000s and early 2010s.
Jericho has won 30 championships between WWE, WCW, and ECW - the three most prominent American promotions in the 1990s and early 2000s. He is credited as being the first Undisputed WWF Champion, having unified the World Championship (formerly the WCW Championship) and the WWF Championship by defeating The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin on the same night in 2001. He is also the ninth WWE Triple Crown Champion, as well as the fourth WWE Grand Slam Champion. In addition, he was the 2008 Superstar of the Year Slammy Award winner and (along with Big Show as Jeri-Show) won the 2009 Tag Team of the Year Slammy Award - making him the only winner of both Superstar and Tag Team of the Year in WWE history.
Jericho first challenged for a world championship in 1996. In WWE, he is a six-time world champion, having won the WWF Championship once, the WCW/World Championship twice, and the World Heavyweight Championship three times. He is also a record nine-time Intercontinental Champion, beating out four other contenders in a 2013 WWE fan poll to determine the greatest champion in history with a landslide 63% of the vote. In 2014, WWE ranked Jericho's debut with the organization - on the August 9, 1999 edition of Raw Is War - number one in its countdown of the "Most Memorable WWE Debuts". Jericho has headlined many major pay-per-view events during his time with the company, including a performance as the Undisputed WWF Champion at WrestleMania X8 in 2002.
Outside of wrestling, Jericho became the lead vocalist of the band Fozzy in 1999. Their eponymous debut album (2000) and Happenstance (2002) consist of cover songs and original music; later records All That Remains (2005), Chasing the Grail (2010), Sin and Bones (2012), and Do You Wanna Start a War (2014) are comprised entirely or predominantly of original compositions. Jericho also competed in the 2011 series of Dancing With the Stars, lasting until the sixth week. Prior to this, he hosted the ABC game show Downfall and the Revolver Golden Gods Awards.
Chris Irvine was born in Manhasset, New York, when his father (ice hockey player Ted Irvine) had relocated to play for the New York Rangers. When his dad retired they moved back to Winnipeg. His interest in professional wrestling began when he began watching the local American Wrestling Association events that took place at the Winnipeg Arena with his family, and his desire to become a wrestler himself began when he saw footage of Owen Hart's (then appearing with Stampede Wrestling) performing various high-flying wrestling moves. In addition to Owen Hart, Irvine also cites Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat and Shawn Michaels as inspirations for his becoming a wrestler.
His first experience with a wrestling promotion was when he acted as part of the ring crew for the first tour of the newly opened Keystone Wrestling Alliance promotion, where he learned important pointers from independent wrestlers Catfish Charlie and Caveman Broda. He also took a course in creative communication at Red River Community College, where he would graduate with top honors.
Professional wrestling career:
Early career (1990-1995):
At age 19, Irvine entered the Hart Brothers School of Wrestling where, on his first day, he met Lance Evers. Two months later, he was ready to start wrestling on independent shows, making his debut at the Moose Hall in Ponoka, Alberta as "Cowboy" Chris Jerico, on October 2, 1990, in a 10-minute time limit draw against Storm. The pair then worked as a tag team, initially called "Sudden Impact". He took the name "Jericho" from an album, Walls of Jericho, by German power metal band, Helloween. Jericho and Storm worked for Tony Condello in the tours of Northern Manitoba with Adam Copeland (Edge), Jason Reso (Christian), and Terry Gerin (Rhino). The pair also wrestled in Calgary's Canadian National Wrestling Alliance (CNWA) and Canadian Rocky Mountain Wrestling (CRMW). In 1991, Jericho and Storm started touring in Japan for Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, where he befriended Ricky Fuji, who also trained under Stu Hart.
In the winter of 1992, he travelled to Mexico and competed under the name Leon D'Oro, and later Corazón de León, where he wrestled for several small wrestling companies, as well as the largest in the country, Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL). In CMLL, Jericho took on Silver King, Negro Casas, and Último Dragón en route to an 11-month reign as the NWA Middleweight Champion that began in December 1993. After leaving Mexico, Jericho wrestled in Hamburg, Germany for six weeks as part of a tournament run by Rene Lasartesse. His burgeoning wrestling skills also took him to Japan in 1994, where he competed for Genichiro Tenryu's Wrestling and Romance (later known as Wrestle Association "R") (WAR) promotion, facing the likes of Gedo and Último Dragón, to whom he lost the WAR International Junior Heavyweight Championship. He also became a member of the heel stable Fuyuki-Gun (also known as Team No Respect) with Gedo, Jado, and Hiromichi Fuyuki under the name Lion Do, and went on to team with Gedo to become the first WAR International Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. 1994 also saw Jericho reunited with his former team-mate from CRMW, Storm, as the Thrillseekers in Jim Cornette's Smoky Mountain Wrestling (SMW) promotion, where they feuded with the likes of Well Dunn, The Rock 'n' Roll Express, and The Heavenly Bodies. In December 1995, Jericho competed in the second Super J Cup Tournament, hosted by WAR, losing to Wild Pegasus (Chris Benoit).
Extreme Championship Wrestling (1995-1996):
In 1996, thanks in part to recommendations by Benoit and Perry Saturn, to promoter Paul Heyman, and after Mick Foley saw Jericho's match against Último Dragón for the WAR International Junior Heavyweight Championship in July 1995 and gave a tape of the match to Heyman, Jericho began wrestling for the Philadelphia-based Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) promotion, winning the ECW World Television Championship from Pitbull #2 in June 1996. While in ECW, Jericho wrestled Taz, Sabu, Rob Van Dam, Foley (as Cactus Jack), Shane Douglas, and 2 Cold Scorpio. It was during this time that he drew the attention of World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
World Championship Wrestling:
Cruiserweight Champion (1997-1998):
On August 26, 1996, Jericho made his first appearance with WCW on WCW Monday Nitro against Alex Wright, and on September 15, he appeared at his first pay-per-view show in a match against Chris Benoit at Fall Brawl. In January 1997, Jericho made his debut for New Japan Pro Wrestling, who had a working agreement with WCW, as Super Liger, the masked nemesis of Jushin Thunder Liger. According to Jericho, Super Liger's first match against Koji Kanemoto at Wrestling World 1997 was so poorly received that the gimmick was dropped instantly. Jericho complained that he had a difficult time seeing through the mask and botched several moves during the match. The following six months, Jericho worked for New Japan unmasked, before being called back by WCW. On June 28, 1997, Jericho defeated Syxx in Los Angeles, California to win the Cruiserweight Championship for the first time. He won the title again on August 12, 1997, by defeating Alex Wright.
Jericho began his heel run when he won the title a third time by defeating Rey Mysterio Jr. at Souled Out by forcing him to submit to the Liontamer. After the match, Jericho assaulted Mysterio's knee with a toolbox. In the storyline, Mysterio needed six months of recovery before he could return to the ring. Jericho then had a short feud with Juventud Guerrera in which Guerrera repeatedly requested a shot at Jericho's Cruiserweight Championship, but Jericho constantly rebuffed him. The feud culminated in a Title vs. Mask match at SuperBrawl VIII. Guerrera lost the match and was forced to remove his mask. Following this match, Jericho began his ongoing gimmick of collecting and wearing to the ring trophy items from his defeated opponents, such as Guerrera's mask, Prince Iaukea's Hawaiian dress, and a headband from Disco Inferno.
Jericho then began a long feud with Dean Malenko, in which Jericho repeatedly claimed he was a better wrestler than Malenko, but refused to wrestle him. Because of his mastery of technical wrestling, Malenko was known as "The Man of 1,000 Holds," so Jericho claimed to be "The Man of 1,004 Holds." (Jericho mentions in his autobiography that this line originated from an IWA interview he saw as a child, where manager Floyd Creatchman claimed that Leo Burke, the first professional wrestler to be known as "The Man of 1,000 Holds", was now known as "The Man of 1,002 Holds", to which Creatchman stated that "he learned two more.")
During the March 30, 1998 episode of WCW Monday Nitro, after defeating Marty Jannetty, Jericho pulled out a long pile of paper that listed each of the 1,004 holds he knew and recited them to the audience. Many of the "holds" were fictional, and nearly every other hold was an armbar. On the March 12, 1998 episode of WCW Thunder, Malenko defeated a wrestler wearing Juventud Guerrera's mask who appeared to be Jericho. However, the masked wrestler was actually Lenny Lane, who Jericho bribed to appear in the match. This started a minor feud between Lane and Jericho after Jericho refused to pay Lane. At Uncensored Jericho finally wrestled Malenko and defeated him, after which Malenko took a leave of absence from wrestling. Jericho then proceeded to bring with him to the ring a portrait of Malenko that he insulted and demeaned. Just prior to Slamboree, J.J. Dillon (referred to by Jericho as "Jo Jo") scheduled a cruiserweight Battle Royal, of which the winner would immediately have a shot at Jericho's Cruiserweight Championship. Jericho accepted on the grounds that whoever he faced would be too tired to win a second match. At Slamboree, Jericho came out to announce the competitors in an insulting fashion before the match started and then went backstage for coffee. An individual who appeared to be Ciclope won the battle royal after Juventud Guerrera shook his hand then eliminated himself. However, the winner was not Ciclope, but instead a returning Malenko in disguise. Following one of the loudest crowd reactions in WCW history, Malenko proceeded to defeat Jericho for the championship. Jericho claiming he was the victim of a carefully planned conspiracy to get the belt off of him. He at first blamed the WCW locker room, then added Dillon, Ted Turner, and finally in a vignette, he walked around Washington, D.C. with the sign "conspiracy victim" and accused President Bill Clinton of being one of the conspirators after being rejected from a meeting. Eventually, Malenko vacated the title. Jericho ended up defeating Malenko at The Great American Bash to win the vacant title after Malenko was disqualified after hitting Jericho with a chair. The next night, Malenko was suspended for his actions.
At Bash at the Beach, the recently returned Rey Mysterio Jr. (who had recovered from his knee injury) defeated Jericho in a No Disqualification match after the still-suspended Malenko interfered. Jericho regained the Cruiserweight Championship from Mysterio the next night after he interrupted J.J. Dillon while Dillon was giving the championship to Mysterio. Jericho was again awarded the championship. Eventually, Jericho decisively lost the title to Juventud Guerrera in a match at Road Wild with Malenko as special referee.
World Television Champion (1998-1999):
On August 10, Jericho defeated Stevie Ray to win the World Television Championship (Stevie Ray substituting for the champion Booker T). Soon afterward, Jericho repeatedly called out World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg, in an attempt to begin a feud with him, but never actually wrestled him. Jericho cites Eric Bischoff, Goldberg, and Hulk Hogan's refusal to book Jericho in a pay-per-view squash match loss against Goldberg, which Jericho felt would be a big draw, as a major reason for leaving the company.
On November 30, Jericho lost the Television Championship to Konnan. In early 1999, Jericho began a feud with Perry Saturn. The feud saw Jericho and Saturn instigating bizarre stipulation matches, such as at Souled Out, where Jericho defeated Saturn in a "loser must wear a dress" match. At SuperBrawl IX Jericho and Saturn wrestled in a "dress" match in which Jericho once again defeated Saturn. Saturn finally defeated Jericho at Uncensored in a Dog Collar match. Jericho's final WCW match came during a Peoria, Illinois house show July 21, where he and Eddie Guerrero lost a tag team match to Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio Jr.
Fifteen years after Jericho's departure from WCW, his best-known entrance music within the company, "One Crazed Anarchist", would lend its name to the title of the second single from his band Fozzy's 2014 album, Do You Wanna Start a War.
World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment:
The "Y2J Problem" and Intercontinental Champion (1999-2000):
Jericho alternated between WCW and a number of Japanese tours before he signed a contract with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) on June 30.
In the weeks before Jericho's debut, a clock labelled "countdown to the new millennium" appeared on WWF programming. On the home video, Break Down the Walls, Jericho states he was inspired to do this as his entrance when he saw a similar clock in a post office, and Vince McMahon gave him the green light to use it as his introduction to the WWF. The clock finally ran down on the August 9, 1999 episode of Raw Is War, in Chicago, Illinois, while The Rock was in the ring cutting a promo on the Big Show. Jericho entered the arena and proclaimed "Raw is Jericho" and that he had "come to save the World Wrestling Federation", referring to himself as "Y2J" (a play on the Y2K bug). The Rock proceeded to verbally mock him for his interruption. Later that month, Jericho made his in-ring debut on August 26, losing a match against Road Dogg by disqualification on the inaugural episode of SmackDown! after powerbombing Road Dogg through a table.
Jericho's first long-term feud was with Chyna, for the Intercontinental Championship. After losing to Chyna at the Survivor Series, Jericho won his first Intercontinental title at Armageddon. This feud included a controversial decision during a rematch in which two separate referees declared each one of them the winner of a match for the title. As a result, they became co-champions, until Jericho attained sole champion status at the Royal Rumble.
Feuding and teaming with Chris Benoit (2000-2001):
Jericho lost his title to the European Champion Kurt Angle at No Way Out. On April 2, Jericho competed in a Triple Threat match against Chris Benoit and Angle at WrestleMania 2000 in a two-falls contest with both of Angle's titles at stake. Jericho won the European Championship by pinning Benoit, who in turn pinned Jericho to take the Intercontinental Championship. This was the first of six pay-per-view matches between the pair within twelve months. Jericho was originally supposed to be in the main event of WrestleMania, but was taken out after Mick Foley, who was asked by writers to be in the match from the start, took his place. He was even placed on posters promoting the match. Jericho lost the title the next day to Eddie Guerrero on Raw Is War after Chyna turned heel to side with Guerrero. On the April 17 episode of Raw Is War, Jericho upset Triple H in a WWF Championship match. Referee Earl Hebner made a fast count when Jericho pinned Triple H, causing Jericho to win the title. Hebner later reversed the decision due to pressure from Triple H, and WWE does not recognize Jericho's reign as champion. On the May 4 episode of SmackDown!, Jericho defeated Benoit to become Intercontinental Champion for the third time, but lost the title to Benoit four days later on Raw Is War. Meanwhile, Jericho's feud with Triple H climaxed at Fully Loaded, when they competed in a Last Man Standing match. Jericho lost the match to Triple H only by one second, despite the repeated assistance Triple H's wife, Stephanie, provided him in the match.
At the 2001 Royal Rumble, Jericho defeated Chris Benoit in a Ladder match to win the Intercontinental Championship for the fourth time. At WrestleMania X-Seven, he successfully defended his title in a match against William Regal, only to lose it four days later to Triple H.
At Judgment Day, Jericho and Benoit won a Tag Team Turmoil match and earned a shot at Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H for their WWF Tag Team Championship on Raw Is War the next night. Benoit and Jericho won the match, in which Triple H legitimately tore his quadriceps, spending the rest of the year injured. Benoit and Jericho each became a WWF Tag Team Champion for the first time. The team defended their title in the first Fatal Four-Way Tables, Ladders, and Chairs match where Benoit sustained a year-long injury doing a diving headbutt through a table. Though Benoit was carried out on a stretcher, he returned to the match to climb the ladder and retain the championship. The duo lost the title one month later to the Dudley Boyz on June 19, 2001. That month at King of the Ring, both Benoit and Jericho were named challengers for Austin's WWF Championship in which Booker T interfered as the catalyst for The Invasion angle.
Undisputed WWF Champion (2001-2002):
In the following months, Jericho became a major force in The Invasion storyline in which WCW and ECW joined forces to overtake the WWF. Jericho remained on the side of the WWF despite previously competing in WCW and ECW. However, Jericho began to show jealousy toward fellow WWF member The Rock. They faced each other in a match at No Mercy for the WCW Championship after Jericho defeated Rob Van Dam in a number one contenders match. Jericho won the WCW Championship when he pinned The Rock after debuting a new finisher, the Breakdown, winning his first world title in the process. One night later, the two put their differences aside and won the WWF Tag Team title from the Dudley Boyz. After they lost the title to Test and Booker T, they continued their feud. On the November 5 episode of Raw, The Rock defeated Jericho to regain the WCW Championship. Following the match, Jericho attacked The Rock with a steel chair. At the Survivor Series, Jericho almost cost The Rock, and the WWF, victory in their elimination matchup by attacking The Rock again. On December 9, at Vengeance, Jericho defeated both The Rock for the WCW Championship (unbranded and only referred to as the World Championship following Survivor Series) and Stone Cold Steve Austin for his WWF Championship on the same night to become the first wrestler to hold both championships at the same time, which made him the first-ever Undisputed WWF Champion. He fought both of the men he defeated at Vengeance on separate occasions and retained his title at the next two pay-per-views, Royal Rumble (vs. The Rock) and No Way Out (vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin). Jericho later lost the title to Triple H in the main event of WrestleMania X8. After his title loss, Jericho became a member of the SmackDown! roster and continued his feud with Triple H. The rivalry culminated at Judgment Day when Triple H defeated Jericho in a Hell in a Cell match.
Teaming and feuding with Christian (2002-2004):
Jericho later jumped ship to Raw, unwilling to work for then-GM Stephanie McMahon. Shortly after returning, he won the Intercontinental Championship for the fifth time from Rob Van Dam (RVD). He then later formed a tag team with Christian, with whom he won the World Tag Team Championship, on October 14, 2002. Christian and Jericho lost the title in a fatal four-way elimination match, involving the teams of The Dudley Boyz, Booker T and Goldust, and William Regal and Lance Storm, on December 15, 2002 at Armageddon.
On January 13, 2003, Jericho won an over-the-top-rope challenge against Kane, RVD, and Batista to select his entry number for the Royal Rumble match. He chose number two in order to start the match with Shawn Michaels, who had challenged Jericho to prove his Jericho's claims that he was better than Michaels. After Michaels' entrance, Jericho entered as the second participant. Christian, in Jericho's attire, appeared while the real Jericho attacked Shawn from behind. He eliminated Michaels shortly afterward, but Michaels got his revenge later in the match by causing Test to eliminate Jericho. Jericho spent the most time of any other wrestler in that same Royal Rumble. Jericho simultaneously feuded with Test, Michaels, and Jeff Hardy. Jericho and Michaels fought again at WrestleMania XIX. In the end, Michaels scored the victory. Jericho, however, hit Michaels with a low blow after the match following an embrace.
After this match, Jericho entered a rivalry with Goldberg, which was fueled by Goldberg's refusal to fight Jericho in WCW. During Jericho's first episode of the Highlight Reel, an interview show, where Goldberg was the guest, he complained that no-one wanted Goldberg in WWE and continued to insult him in the following weeks. On May 12 on Raw, a mystery assailant attempted to run over Goldberg with a limousine. A week later, Co-Raw General Manager, Stone Cold Steve Austin, interrogated several Raw superstars to find out who was driving the car. One of the interrogates was Lance Storm, who admitted that he was the assailant. Austin forced Storm into a match with Goldberg, who defeated Storm. After the match, Goldberg forced Storm to admit that Jericho was the superstar who conspired Storm into running him over. On May 26, Goldberg was once again a guest on the Highlight Reel. Jericho expressed jealousy towards Goldberg's success in WCW and felt that since joining WWE, he had achieved everything he had ever wanted in his career and all that was left was to defeat Goldberg and challenged him to a match. At Bad Blood, Goldberg settled the score with Jericho and defeated him.
Later in 2003, Jericho began a romance with Trish Stratus while his tag team partner Christian began one with Lita. This, however, turned out to be a bet over who could sleep with their respective paramour first, with a Canadian dollar at stake. Stratus overheard this and ended her relationship with Jericho, who seemingly felt bad for using Stratus. After he saved her from an attack by Kane, Stratus agreed that the two of them could just be "friends", thus making Jericho a face. After Christian put Stratus in the Walls of Jericho while competing against her in a match, Jericho sought revenge on Christian, which led to a match at WrestleMania XX. Christian defeated Jericho after Stratus ran down and "inadvertently" struck Jericho (thinking it was Christian) and Christian got the roll-up. After the match, Stratus turned on Jericho and revealed that she and Christian were a couple. This revelation led to a handicap match at Backlash that Jericho won. Jericho won his seventh Intercontinental Championship at that year's Unforgiven in a ladder match against Christian. Jericho's seventh reign was short lived, as he lost it at Taboo Tuesday to Shelton Benjamin.
Championship pursuits and departure (2004-2005):
Jericho teamed up with Randy Orton, Chris Benoit, and Maven to take on Triple H, Batista, Edge, and Snitsky at Survivor Series. The match stipulated that each member of the winning team would be the General Manager of Raw over the next four weeks. Jericho's team won, and took turns as General Manager. During Jericho's turn as General Manager, he stripped Triple H of his World Heavyweight Championship because a Triple Threat match for the title a week earlier ended in a draw. At New Year's Revolution, Jericho competed in the Elimination Chamber against Triple H, Chris Benoit, Batista, Randy Orton, and Edge for the vacated World Heavyweight Championship. Jericho began the match with Benoit but Batista ultimately eliminated Jericho. At WrestleMania 21, Jericho participated in the first ever Money in the Bank ladder match. Jericho suggested the match concept, and he competed in the match against Benjamin, Benoit, Kane, Christian, and Edge. Jericho lost the match when Edge claimed the briefcase. At Backlash, Jericho challenging Shelton Benjamin for the Intercontinental Championship, but lost the match. On June 12, 2005, Jericho wrestled in his first match of the ECW One Night Stand pay-per-view event against his former rival, Lance Storm. Jericho used his old "Lionheart" gimmick, instead of his more well known "Y2J" gimmick. However, Jericho lost the match, after Jason and Justin Credible hit Jericho's head with a Singapore cane, which allowed Storm to win the match.
Later that June, Jericho turned heel by betraying WWE Champion John Cena. Jericho lost a Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship at Vengeance which also involved Christian and Cena. The feud continued throughout the summer and Jericho lost to Cena in a WWE Championship match at SummerSlam. His last appearance in WWE on the next night on the August 22 episode of Raw, Jericho faced Cena again in a rematch, this time in a "You're fired" match. Cena won again, and Jericho was fired by Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff. Jericho was carried out of the arena by security as Kurt Angle attacked Cena. WWE announced that Jericho's WWE contract had expired on August 25, 2005.
Return to WWE:
Championship reigns and various feuds (2007-2009):
After a two-year hiatus, WWE promoted Jericho's return starting September 24, 2007 with a viral marketing campaign using a series of 15-second cryptic binary code videos, similar to the matrix digital rain featured in The Matrix series. The videos contained hidden messages and biblical links related to Jericho. Jericho made his return to WWE television as a face on the November 19, 2007 episode of Raw when he interrupted Randy Orton during Orton's orchestrated "passing of the torch" ceremony. Jericho revealed his intentions to reclaim the WWE Championship in order to "save" WWE fans from Orton. On the November 26 episode of Raw, Jericho defeated Santino Marella and debuted a new finishing maneuver called the Codebreaker. At Armageddon, he competed in a WWE title match against Orton, defeating him by disqualification when SmackDown's color commentator John "Bradshaw" Layfield interfered in the match, but Orton retained the title. He began a feud with JBL and met him at the Royal Rumble. Jericho was disqualified after hitting JBL with a steel chair. On the March 10 episode of Raw, Jericho captured the Intercontinental Championship for a record eighth time when he defeated Jeff Hardy.
In April 2008, Jericho became involved in the ongoing feud between Shawn Michaels and Batista when he suggested that Michaels enjoyed retiring Ric Flair, causing Shawn Michaels to superkick him. Jericho thus asked to be inserted into Batista's and Michaels' match at Backlash, but instead, he was appointed as the special guest referee. During the match at Backlash, Michaels feigned a knee injury so that Jericho would give him time to recover and suckered Batista in for a superkick for the win. After Backlash, Jericho accused Michaels of cheating, but Michaels continued to play up an injury. When Jericho was finally convinced and he apologized to Michaels for not believing him, Michaels then admitted to Jericho that he had faked his injury and he superkicked Jericho. Michaels then defeated Jericho at Judgment Day, with Jericho initiating a handshake after the match.
On the June 9 episode of Raw, Jericho hosted his talk show segment, The Highlight Reel, interviewing Michaels. Jericho pointed out that Michaels was still cheered by the fans despite Michaels' deceit and attack on Jericho during the previous months, whereas Jericho was booed when he tried to do the right thing. Jericho then assaulted Michaels with a low blow and sent Michaels through the "Jeritron 6000" television, damaging Michaels' eye, and turning heel for the first time since 2005. This began what was named by both Pro Wrestling Illustrated and the Wrestling Observer Newsletter the "Feud of the Year". At Night of Champions, Jericho lost the Intercontinental Title to Kofi Kingston after a distraction by Michaels. In June, Jericho also took on Lance Cade as a protegé. After Chris Jericho Beat Cena And Undertaker in a 2 v 1.
Afterward, Jericho developed a suit-wearing "self righteous honest man" gimmick inspired by Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) from the film No Country for Old Men. In doing so, Jericho purposely shed many of the trademarks associated with the "Y2J" character, taking "every characteristic that made him popular, and stripping those traits away from himself." The new gimmick, which drew comparisons to AWA legend Nick Bockwinkel, received critical acclaim from fans. Jericho and Michaels met at The Great American Bash, which Jericho won after attacking the cut on Michaels's eye. At SummerSlam, Michaels announced that his eye damage would force him to retire, but insulted Jericho by saying he would never achieve Michaels' success. Jericho tried to attack Michaels, but Michaels ducked, so Jericho punched Michaels' wife, Rebecca, instead. As a result, they met in an Unsanctioned match at Unforgiven which Jericho lost. In the main event of Unforgiven, Jericho entered the Championship Scramble as a replacement for the defending champion CM Punk and subsequently won the World Heavyweight Championship. Jericho then successfully defended his title against Michaels at No Mercy in a ladder match after Lance Cade interfered. At Cyber Sunday, Jericho lost the title to Batista in a match with Stone Cold Steve Austin as special guest referee. Eight days later, Jericho defeated Batista to win back the title in a steel cage match. Jericho ended his feud with Michaels by beating Michaels in a Last Man Standing match on the November 10 episode of Raw after interference from John "Bradshaw" Layfield. Jericho's reign as World Champion lasted until the 2008 Survivor Series, where Jericho lost to the returning John Cena.
On the January 12, 2009 episode of Raw, WWE Executive Vice President Stephanie McMahon fired Jericho, but he was rehired the following week after making a forced apology. On February 15 at No Way Out, he was eliminated by his former rival Rey Mysterio, while Mysterio was defeated by Edge to become new World Heavyweight Champion.
Jericho had an on-screen feud with The Wrestler film star Mickey Rourke and with four WWE Hall of Famers. He challenged and attacked Ric Flair, Roddy Piper, Jimmy Snuka, and Ricky Steamboat on various episodes of Raw leading to WrestleMania XXV. At the event he won an elimination match against Snuka, Steamboat and Piper. After this, Jericho challenged Rourke who was at ringside for the event. As part of the storyline, Rourke knocked Jericho out after a left hook to the jaw.
On the April 13 episode of Raw, Jericho was drafted to the SmackDown brand as part of the 2009 WWE Draft. Ricky Steamboat interrupted Jericho's Raw farewell address, which led to the two facing off at Backlash where Jericho came out victorious. In his SmackDown return, Jericho participated in a fatal-four-way elimination match against Kane, Jeff Hardy, and Rey Mysterio. Mysterio executed a 619 on Jericho and then attempted to pin him with a seated senton. Jericho retaliated by throwing a chair at Mysterio and was disqualified. This sparked a feud between the two. Mysterio pinned Jericho after a 619 at Judgment Day to retain the Intercontinental Championship. Jericho defeated Mysterio in a No Holds Barred Match at Extreme Rules to win his ninth Intercontinental Championship, breaking his own record again. At The Bash Jericho lost the Intercontinental title to Mysterio.
Jeri-Show and second departure (2009-2010):
Later in the same pay-per-view, Jericho and his partner Edge won the Unified WWE Tag Team Championship as surprise entrants in a tag team match. As a result of this win, Jericho became the only wrestler to win every Grand Slam eligible championship. Shortly thereafter Edge suffered an injury and Jericho announced that he had a clause in his contract to allow Edge to be replaced and Jericho's reign to continue uninterrupted. At Night of Champions, Jericho revealed Big Show as his new tag team partner and Jeri-Show defeated Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase to retain the championship. Jeri-Show successfully defended their titles against Cryme Tyme at SummerSlam, MVP and Mark Henry at Breaking Point and also Rey Mysterio and Batista at Hell in a Cell. At Survivor Series, both Jericho and Big Show took part in a triple threat match for the World Heavyweight Championship, but The Undertaker successfully retained his title.
The 140 day reign of Jeri-Show as Unified Tag Team Champions came to an end at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view at the hands of D-Generation X (DX). As a member of the SmackDown roster, Jericho could only appear on Raw as a champion and so DX intentionally disqualified themselves in a rematch to force Jericho off the show. Eventually the teams had a match with a definitive finish, though DX still won, signalling the end of Jeri-Show.
At the 2010 Royal Rumble Jericho was eliminated by the returning Edge, his former tag team partner, who went on to win the match. At Elimination Chamber, Jericho won the World Heavyweight Championship in an Elimination Chamber match, defeating The Undertaker following interference from Shawn Michaels. The next night on Raw, Edge announced that he would be using his Royal Rumble win to challenge Jericho for the World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXVI. Jericho defeated Edge, but on the April 2 episode of SmackDown!, Jack Swagger cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and pinned Jericho for the championship, after he had been speared by Edge. Swagger retained the championship in a match against Jericho and Edge soon after. Edge defeated Jericho in a steel cage match at Extreme Rules to end the feud.
Jericho was drafted back to Raw in May's 2010 WWE Draft. He formed a brief tag team with The Miz and unsuccessfully challenged The Hart Dynasty for the Unified Tag Team Championship at Over the Limit A month later, Jericho lost to Evan Bourne at WWE Fatal 4-Way, and the following night won a rematch where he put his career on the line. On the July 19 episode of Raw, after being assaulted by The Nexus, Jericho began showing signs of a face turn when he teamed with rivals Edge, John Morrison, R-Truth, The Great Khali and Bret Hart in a team led by John Cena to face The Nexus at SummerSlam. Jericho and Cena bickered over leadership of the team, which led to him and Edge attacking Cena during the SummerSlam match that they won. According to Jericho and Edge, the original plan was to put Barrett over. At the end, Jericho and Edge would have lost to The Nexus. However, Cena insisted on coming back from a DDT on the floor to defeat Barrett and Gabriel. Jericho said that it was a bad idea, because Barrett was not pushed.
Jericho was punished for not showing solidarity against Nexus, when he was removed from a Six-Pack Challenge for Sheamus' WWE Championship at WWE Night of Champions. Although he re-earned his place in the match he was the first man eliminated. Following an unscripted backstage interview, Jericho burst into tears and fled from the arena. On the September 27 episode of Raw, Jericho faced Randy Orton who punted him in the head. This was used to explain Jericho's departure from the company.
Second return to WWE:
Championship pursuits (2011-2012):
Beginning in November 2011, WWE aired cryptic vignettes that promoted a wrestler's return on the January 2, 2012 episode of Raw. Jericho returned on the January 2 episode of Raw in a similar manner to his two previous WWE introductions. Despite being a heel, Jericho was still cheered due to his long absence from WWE. On his return, after physically hyping the crowd and relishing their cheers for a prolonged period, a smiling Jericho left without verbally addressing his return. The following week he came out to speak but broke into tears and left the arena while a speechless crowd looked on. On the January 16 episode of Raw, Jericho made his in-ring return in a six-man tag team match, although Jericho had no physical involvement in the match; he hyped the crowd upon tagging in, then tagged out and abandoned the match. Jericho finally spoke the following week to say, "This Sunday at the Royal Rumble, it is going to be the end of the world as you know it", but in the Royal Rumble match, he was eliminated last, by Sheamus. On the January 30 episode of Raw, Jericho interfered in a match between WWE Champion CM Punk and World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan, causing a disqualification victory for Bryan and then attacking Punk following the ruling. This was done to fully cement Chris Jericho as a heel. The following week, Jericho explained his actions by claiming many other wrestlers in WWE were imitating him and naming CM Punk as the worst offender by calling himself the "Best in the World". Jericho was placed in an Elimination Chamber match for the WWE Championship and won a Six-Pack Challenge against the other competitors to be the final entrant into the Elimination Chamber match. At the Elimination Chamber event, Jericho eliminated Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston but was kicked out of the Chamber by Punk, which injured him and removed him from the match without being eliminated. The following night on Raw, Jericho won a ten-man Battle Royal making him the number one contender for CM Punk's WWE Championship at Wrestlemania XXVIII. In a bid to psychologically unsettle Punk before their WrestleMania match, Jericho revealed that Punk's father was an alcoholic and Punk's sister was a drug addict which led Punk to his straight edge philosophy; Jericho also vowed to make Punk turn to alcohol by winning Punk's title from him. At WrestleMania, a stipulation was added that Punk would lose his WWE Championship if he was disqualified. During the match, Jericho unsuccessfully tried to taunt Punk into disqualifying himself, and Punk won the match. On the April 2 and 9 episodes of Raw, Jericho continued his feud with Punk by attacking and dousing him with alcohol after his matches with Mark Henry. At Extreme Rules, Jericho failed again to capture the WWE Championship from Punk in a Chicago Street Fight.
On the May 7 episode of Raw, Jericho pinned World Heavyweight Champion Sheamus during his tag team match with Alberto Del Rio against Sheamus and Randy Orton. After the match, Jericho, Orton, and Del Rio demanded a match for Sheamus' title at the Over the Limit, which they were granted; Sheamus pinned Jericho at the event to retain the title.
On May 24, at a WWE live event in Brazil, Jericho wrestled a match against CM Punk, during which Jericho crumpled up and kicked a Brazilian flag, causing local police to intervene and threaten Jericho with arrest. Jericho issued an apology to the audience, enabling the event to resume. The following day, WWE suspended Jericho for 30 days while apologising to the people and government of Brazil. Jericho returned on the June 25 episode of Raw, and his absence was explained by a European tour with his band Fozzy which happened to coincide with his suspension. At Money in the Bank, Jericho participated in the WWE Championship Money in the Bank match but failed to win. The following night on Raw, Jericho confronted newly crowned Mr. Money in the Bank, Dolph Ziggler, who claimed that Jericho had lost his touch. Jericho hit Ziggler with a Codebreaker, and turning face in the process for the first time since 2008. Four days later on SmackDown, Jericho further cemented his face turn by attacking again Ziggler whilst wearing Ziggler's T-shirt. Three days later on Raw, Jericho teamed up with Christian in a winning effort against Ziggler and The Miz. After the match, Ziggler hit Jericho with his Money in the Bank briefcase. Four days later on Smackdown, Jericho hosted the Highlight Reel with Vickie Guerrero as guest, where he returned to his Y2J gimmick before being attacked by Ziggler. At SummerSlam, Jericho defeated Ziggler in a singles match. The following night on Raw, Ziggler defeated Jericho in a rematch; as a result, Ziggler retained his Money in the Bank contract and Jericho's WWE contract was terminated as per a pre match stipulation put in place by Raw General Manager, AJ Lee. This was used to write him off so he could tour with Fozzy for the remainder of the year.
Part-time appearances (2013-present):
On January 27, 2013, Jericho returned after a six-month hiatus entering the Royal Rumble match as the second entrant. Jericho lasted over 47 minutes before being eliminated by Dolph Ziggler. The following night on Raw, Jericho later revealed to Ziggler that due to a managerial change on Raw, he had been rehired by Vickie Guerrero, resuming his feud with Ziggler. Guerrero then placed the two in a "Strange Bedfellows" match against WWE Tag Team Champions Team Hell No (Daniel Bryan and Kane). The match ended with Ziggler being chokeslammed and pinned by Kane after Jericho framed him for pushing Kane. On the February 11 episode of Raw, Jericho defeated Daniel Bryan to qualify for a spot in the number one contender Elimination Chamber match for the World Heavyweight Championship. Six days later at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, Jericho was the fourth man eliminated from the match by Randy Orton. The following night on Raw, Jericho teamed with Ryback and Sheamus to face their rivals The Shield (Dean Ambrose, Roman Reigns, and Seth Rollins), but were defeated after Ambrose pinned Jericho. On the March 11 episode of Raw, Jericho faced The Miz in a number one contenders match for Wade Barrett's Intercontinental Championship, but the match was ruled a no contest after Barrett interfered and attacked both men. As a result, both men were entered into the title match the following week on Raw, where Barrett retained his title. Earlier in the episode, Jericho had a run-in with Fandango which led to Fandango costing him his match with Jack Swagger and attacking him four days later on SmackDown. On the next episode of Raw, Jericho attacked Fandango and then immediately defeated old rival Dolph Ziggler via submission. Afterwards, Jericho was attacked by both Ziggler's ally Big E. Langston and Fandango. On April 7 at WrestleMania 29, Jericho was defeated by Fandango in a singles match. On the April 12 episode of SmackDown, Jericho was defeated by old rival and now World Heavyweight Champion Dolph Ziggler in a non-title match, after which, Ziggler, Langston and eventually Fandango hit their finishers on Jericho. Three days later on Raw, Jericho was again defeated by Ziggler after Fandango's theme song played and allowed Ziggler to capitalize on the distraction. Later that night, Jericho attacked Fandango following a match and proceeded to dance with Fandango's dancer. On May 19 at Extreme Rules, Jericho defeated Fandango in a rematch to end the feud. On the May 27 episode of Raw, Jericho hosted the Highlight Reel with Paul Heyman as his guest. Jericho questioned Heyman about the return of his client CM Punk and ultimately challenged Punk to a match at Payback, which Heyman accepted on Punk's behalf. At the pay-per-view on June 16, Jericho was unsuccessful in his attempt to defeat the returning Punk. Jericho then began feuding with Ryback, which led to a singles match on July 14 at Money in the Bank, where Ryback emerged victorious. The following night on Raw, Jericho was defeated by the returning Rob Van Dam in the main event. On the July 19 episode of SmackDown, Jericho unsuccessfully challenged Curtis Axel for the Intercontinental Championship and was afterwards attacked by Ryback. This was done to write Jericho off television as he was taking a temporary hiatus to tour with Fozzy for the remainder of the year and possibly January and February. In an interview for WWE.com, Jericho revealed that he will not be a full-time wrestler due to his musical and acting ventures.
After a one-year hiatus, Jericho would return on the June 30, 2014 episode of Raw, attacking The Miz, who had also returned minutes earlier. Jericho would then immediately be attacked by The Wyatt Family. This set up a match between Jericho and Bray Wyatt at Battleground, which Jericho won, with Wyatt winning the rematch at SummerSlam. On the September 8 episode of Raw, Jericho would face Wyatt in a steel cage match, once again in a losing effort, ending their feud. Later that night, Jericho would be attacked by Randy Orton backstage after Jericho had insulted Orton the previous week. This would led to a match at Night of Champions, which Orton won. After a brief hiatus, Jericho would return on the November 14 episode of SmackDown, hosting The Highlight Reel with The Authority as his guests. On the December 15 episode of Raw, Jericho would be the guest General Manager for the night, hosting The Highlight Reel with Rusev and Lana as his guests before booking himself in a match against Paul Heyman. The match would never start after Brock Lesnar would return and attack Jericho.
In January 2015, Jericho would reveal on Twitter his new WWE contract, with him working 16 non-televised live events from January 10 to March 1, before signing another contract to work 19 non-televised events between June and August. In May, Jericho would be announced as the host of the sixth season of WWE Tough Enough.
See also: Fozzy
Jericho is also the lead singer for the heavy metal band Fozzy. Since their debut album in 2000, Fozzy have released six studio albums; Fozzy, Happenstance, All That Remains, Chasing the Grail, Sin and Bones, Do You Wanna Start a War͵ and one live album, Remains Alive.
In 2005, Jericho performed vocals on a cover of "The Evil That Men Do" on the Iron Maiden tribute album, Numbers from the Beast. He made a guest appearance on Dream Theater's album, Systematic Chaos on the song "Repentance", as one of several musical guests recorded apologizing to important people in their lives for wrongdoings in the past.
In the mid-1990s, Jericho wrote a monthly column for Metal Edge magazine focused on the heavy metal scene. The column only ran for about a year. He started his own weekly XM Satellite Radio show in March 2005 called The Rock of Jericho, which aired Sunday nights on XM 41 The Boneyard.
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