Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Post Y2J Crisis: What Happened After Chris Jericho Made His WWE Debut - Part 1

For the WWE, the Countdown to the Millennium came a few months early (and technically, a year and a few months early) as it arrived on August 9th, 1999 with the debut of Y2J, Chris Jericho. Everybody remembers the debut of Y2J as it is one of those transcendent moments that is still talked about nearly 20 years later. It helped that there was a countdown for weeks in advance; it helped that it came during the middle of a promo from The Rock, and it helped that Jericho is one of those wrestlers who doesn't just have fans, he has fanatics. If you need a refresher on the moment, take a gander below.

Even though The Rock shut up Jericho, Y2J got his revenge later in the night when he interfered in The Rock's match with The Big Show and helped Mr. Ass beat up The Rock. Maybe the most important takeaway from all of this is that yes, the WWE had a lot of stupid names during the attitude era.

The debut was obviously great, but today, I want to focus on what happened after the debut. There was a ton of momentum with Jericho coming in, but it's not like he immediately took the belt off Stone Cold Steve Austin and become the top guy in the company, so where did Jericho go from here?

Well, the next week he kept the momentum going as he interrupted The Undertaker and The Big Show which was a true "Save Us Jericho" moment as Undertaker should never speak for more than 30 seconds. He rightfully called The Undertaker "the personification of boredom." Still, it ended much like Jericho's first segment where Jericho went on his rant about saving WWE, but the WWE stalwart got the last word.

He then went on to SummerSlam to talk trash to Road Dogg, and it goes exactly like all of Jericho's previous interactions where he lambastes the stalwart WWE Superstar, and the WWE Superstar gets the last word in. Maybe the best part is when Road Dogg gets on commentary right after and admits to not owning a computer. Back then, computers were for nerds. But in a matter of a couple weeks, Jericho has gone from feuding with The Rock to The Undertaker to The Road Dogg.

Well, at least there is nowhere to go from there but up. Haha, nope, the next night he interfered in a hardcore match with Road Dogg and Al Snow. After that, Y2J needed to use Howard Finkel, who was basically being cast as a poor man's Ralphus, as bait so he could get one up on Road Dogg. And he did this all in Ames, Iowa.

Jericho finally had his first WWE match on the very first episode of Smackdown. Jericho lost the match by disqualification after putting Road Dogg through a table. After the match, he put the Walls of Jericho on Road Dogg while he was passed out on the broken table, and the entire crowd cheered the nefarious heel. Since submissions hurt far more if they are done on a table, this injured the Road Dogg, leaving Jericho to move onto his next feud.

Later in the show, Jericho saved Howard Finkel from a Ken Shamrock beatdown by hitting Shamrock with a chair before sprinting away. This led to Jericho tricking Shamrock into fighting him in a parking lot where Jericho beat him down with a shovel. Then, in a very underrated moment that I wish would have become a thing, he made Howard Finkel take polaroids of him while he had Shamrock locked in the Walls of Jericho. Finally, Jericho agreed to meet Ken Shamrock face-to-face at the following week's Smackdown.

The biggest thing that came from this was the firing of Howard Finkel as Jericho could not depend on The Fink and needed to find better help.

And so Jericho brought in Mr. Hughes. That gave him protection against Ken Shamrock without any worries of personality, so he got dressed up like this.
Before Jericho could get his hands on Shamrock, he had a match with Mr. Ass, another heel, for some reason which just showed how little WWE actually cared about Jericho's impact.

Instead of waiting until a PPV for Shamrock's first match with Jericho, they instead had Jericho take him on in a first blood match on the Smackdown immediately before INSERT PPV. Jericho wore full hockey gear to protect himself, and thanks to help from Curtis Hughes, was able to win the match by causing Ken Shamrock internal bleeding. Ken Shamrock LOVED to internally bleed. And this, yes, a comedy match, on a random Smackdown, with Jericho making him bleed with a splash while wearing hockey gear, would be Ken Shamrock's last match in the WWE.

Chris Jericho's first real feud ended with no hoopla and limited buildup, but he did technically retire Ken Shamrock. Would Jericho use this momentum to take him to new heights? LOL, it gets WAY worse from here, but I'll tackle that next time.

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