March 22, 2005
REAL NAME: Christopher Irvine
NICKNAME: Lion Heart, Corazón de Léon, Y2J
225 pounds, 6-foot
BORN: November 9, 1970 in Manhasset, New York
The son of former NHLer Ted Irvine (Rangers, Kings, Blues 1967-77), Chris Jericho has become one of the top wrestlers in the world today.
As the WWE is now quick to point out, Jericho was born in Manhasset, NY, but he grew up in Winnipeg. Jericho enrolled in the journalism program at Red River College, graduating in 1988. Introduced to Stampede Wrestling and the then-WWF at the age of 16, Jericho quickly realized that he wanted to get involved in the wrestling industry.
A year after graduating from college, Jericho was setting up rings for promoter Bob Holliday. At 19, he entered the Hart Brothers School of Wrestling in Stu Hart's Dungeon. Two months later, he was ready to start wrestling on independent shows, making his debut in October 1990. He took the name "Jericho" from the Biblical reference as well as a Helloween album, Walls of Jericho.
In the winter of 1992, he traveled to Mexico where he wrestled for several small wrestling companies as well as EMLL. In EMLL, Jericho took on Silver King, Negro Casas and the Ultimo Dragon en route to an eleven month reign as the NWA Middleweight Champion that began in December 1993. His burgeoning wrestling skills also took him to Japan in 1994 where he competed for the WAR promotion, facing the likes of the Gedo and Ultimo Dragon to whom he lost the WAR International Junior Heavyweight title.
1994 also saw Jericho reunited with his former teammate from Rocky Mountain Wrestling, Lance Storm as the Thrillseekers in Jim Cornette's Smokey Mountain Wrestling organization. In 1995, Jericho began wrestling for the Philadelphia-based ECW promotion, winning the ECW Television title in June 1996.
He met WCW head Eric Bischoff at Antonio Inoki's World Peace Festival. (Jericho lost a triangle match that involved Konnan and Bam Bam Bigelow at the big card, held in Los Angeles in June 1996) Fellow Canadian Chris Benoit had given Bischoff some good PR on behalf of Jericho, and Bischoff encouraged Jericho to contact him. Jericho arrived in WCW in August, 1996. In his debut match, Jericho defeated J.L. (Jerry Lynn).
Participating in WCW's highly competitive Cruiserweight division, Jericho would win the title on several occasions between June 1997 and August 1998, defeating the likes of Syxx (Sean Waltman), Alex Wright and Rey Mysterio, Jr.
However, his career remained stagnant in WCW until he began throwing temper tantrums in the ring after losses and turned heel. His newly-found arrogant attitude and mic skills coupled with his already well-known in-ring skills soon made him one of the most popular stars in WCW, sometimes to Eric Bischoff's dismay.
Jericho would feud with Dean Malenko, Booker T (over the WCW Television title, a belt Jericho won from Booker's brother, Stevie Ray) and Bill Goldberg. Or rather, Jericho tried to feud with Goldberg, cutting several promos but the match never actually took place.
Upset at his treatment and lack of opportunity with WCW, Jericho left WCW for the WWE in late June 1999 and debuted in August 1999. Jericho's debut came in the middle of a Rock promo, firmly establishing Jericho as a loud-mouth.
By the end of 1999, Jericho found himself in the Intercontinental title hunt, but found himself in the strange situation of having to battle a woman, Chyna, in order to gain the title. Even stranger, he and Chyna ended up teaming together to defend the title after a disputed pinfall during a December, 1999 title match.
In April 2000, a month after winning the European title in a match involving Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit at WrestleMania, Jericho had seemingly defeated Triple H for the WWE World title but the decision was soon overturned by the referee at Triple H and Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley threatened to fire the referee.
On December 9, 2001 at the WWF Vengeance pay-per-view, however, Jericho would return to the World title scene. First he defeated the Rock to win the WCW World Championship. Then in the main event, Y2J beat "Stone Cold" Steve Austin to unify the WCW and WWF World titles, becoming the Undisputed World Champion.
Jericho's reign as champion ended at WrestleMania 18 when even an alliance with Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley couldn't help Jericho get by Triple H. After the loss, Jericho went into a tail-spin, losing on every pay-per-view he appeared on until SummerSlam 2002 (including a "Hell in the Cell" rematch against Triple H at Judgment Day).
A month later, however, Jericho rebounded by defeating Rob Van Dam for the Intercontinental Championship. He also began teaming with Christian and the pair won the WWE Tag Team titles (Raw Brand). Jericho would still engage in the singles ranks (a Match of the Year candidate against Shawn Michaels at WrestleMania 19 and being part of the Elimination Chamber match at SummerSlam 2003 both stand out).
However, Jericho found his latest tag-team splitting up over a woman: one Trish Stratus. After making a bet that he could sleep with Trish before Christian could do the same with Lita, Jericho found himself falling for Trish. Unfortunately, his friendship with Christian suffered. Battling his former partner at WrestleMania 20, Jericho was blindsided by Trish of all people, who decided she liked being with Christian better. Before his feud with Jericho could continue, Christian was on the shelf with an injury, leaving Y2J to battle Tyson Tomko and Batista.
Edge's Intercontinental title would also be on Jericho's "To Get" list, but Edge would retain the I-C title at SummerSlam in a Triple Threat match involving Batista. September's Unforgiven, however, would see Jericho defeat a returning Christian for that very title in a ladder match.
That reign would end at Taboo Tuesday when Shelton Benjamin defeated him. Switching gears, Jericho, Chris Benoit, Maven and Randy Orton would try to take down Evolution, defeating the Triple H-led group at the Survivor Series.
The feud with Christian and Tomko continued until WrestleMania 21 when Jericho came up with the idea for a "Money in the Bank" ladder match, which was won by Edge.
Jericho then decided to set his sights on the Intercontinental title, which was held by Shelton Benjamin, to whom Jericho had lost it at 2004's Taboo Tuesday. On the "Highlight Reel" on April 11th, the two men had an altercation, leading to a showdown at Backlash 2005 where Jericho lost in his quest to regain the title.
Jericho and Benjamin would team together to battle Muhammad Hassan and Khosrow Daivari. However, Jericho would leave Benjamin in the lurch, saying that he had more important things to be concerned with. Instead of feuding with Benjamin, however, Jericho turned to teaming with Raw newcomer John Cena.
Jericho would turn on Cena after a bout against Christian and Tyson Tomko. Jericho then took aim at Cena's World Championship, becoming a thorn in Cena's side. Jericho would lead a team of lumberjacks during a lumberjack match between Cena and Gene Snitsky and then later challenge Cena to a battle of the bands (Jericho would forfeit saying the Cleveland audience was biased against him).
Of course, more important than a musical showdown was the upcoming World Championship match that would pit Jericho against Cena at SummerSlam. Jericho lost that match as well as a rematch the next night where the loser would be fired.
Jericho was, at least for now, gone from WWE, but instead of wrestling, he has turned his attention to his rock band. For, in addition to performing in the ring, Jericho also performs on stage, as lead singer (under the moniker "Mongoose McQueen") for the rock band, Fozzy. The band released their first album, Fozzy in 2000.
As well, Jericho also tried his hand at acting. His first flick Android Apocalypse, came out in 2006, he appeared with the Groundlings comedy troupe in Los Angeles, and in July 2006, starred in the play Opening Night in Toronto.
In the fall of 2007, Jericho's autobiography, A Lion's Tale came out, coinciding with cryptic messages on WWE television. Then, on November 19, Jericho returned to WWE TV on Raw to confront Randy Orton at the end of the program, setting off a feud and a full-time return to the ring. Jericho took the success of his New York Times best-seller into Armageddon to face Orton for the WWE title. Just when it seemed Orton would submit to the Walls of Jericho, JBL ran in and kicked Jericho, resulting in disqualification for Orton and a new feud for Jericho.
JBL came out of retirement and he and Jericho brawled all the way to the following month's pay-per-view. At Royal Rumble, JBL took the match but got a bloody beating for it when Jericho nailed him with a chair to get disqualified. Jericho would beat JBL a couple weeks later on Raw.
On the title front, Jericho missed winning a title shot at WrestleMania 24 when Triple H won an Elimination Chamber match at No Way Out, but did manage to beat Jeff Hardy for the Intercontinental title on Raw.
More important than his championship would be the fact Jericho inserted himself into the feud between Shawn Michaels and Batista, (who were getting into it over Michaels retiring Ric Flair), and his eventual heel turn. Jericho, who refereed the match, claimed Michaels faked an injury against Batista at Backlash, which allowed him to get the duke. Jericho and Michaels met at Judgment Day, which Michaels also won. Over the following weeks, Jericho would make like he respected Michaels. But on a Raw edition of the Highlight Reel, Jericho, after inviting Michaels down to the ring and calling him his mentor, completed his heel turn by smashing Michaels's head into the Jeritron 3000.
Michaels got a measure of revenge when, in spite of his "injured" eye, he distracted Jericho in his title defence at Night of Champions, which allowed Kofi Kingston to end Jericho's three-and-a-half month championship reign. This would just intensify his feud with Michaels feud, which began in the spring, and take it into the autumn.
At Great American Bash, Jericho got the best of Michaels, pounding his prone opponent until the referee called the match and awarded Jericho the victory. Jericho proclaimed he ended Michaels career, and at SummerSlam, Michaels, accompanied by his wife Rebecca, announced his retirement. Not happy with that, Jericho stormed into the ring and demanded that Michaels admit he retired because of Jericho. Jericho would try to sucker punch Michaels, but instead ended up hitting Rebecca.
This would goad Michaels back into action, and the two met again, this time in an unsanctioned match at Unforgiven. This time, Michaels beat on Jericho until the ref stopped the match. But a rejuvenated Jericho would return later in the evening to take CM Punk's place in the World Heavyweight Championship Scramble, and come out on top to take the belt.
This set up a ladder match between he and Michaels for the title at No Mercy. The two put together another outstanding match, with Jericho coming out on top to retain his belt. But his reign didn't last out the month, as he fell to Batista at Cyber Sunday. Although Jericho regained the title days later on Raw, he lost it again, this time to John Cena, later the same month at Survivor Series.
Jericho's next feud would be a strange one, as he traded promos with The Wrestler star Mickey Rourke, who challenged Jericho to a match at WrestleMania 25. Although Rourke backed off, that didn't stop Jericho from attacking several retired WWE legends, whom he compared to the movie's broken-down fictional character Randy "The Ram" Robinson. Jericho apparently did his job generating heat, but perhaps too well, as he got into an altercation with hostile fans outside a Victoria, B.C., arena following a show. Jericho's message was obviously received by Ric Flair, who, on behalf of fellow legends Jimmy Snuka, Ricky Steamboat and Roddy Piper, accepted Jericho’s challenge for a handicap match at WrestleMania 25.
There, Jericho made fairly quick work of "The Superfly" and Piper, but had his hands full with Steamboat in the Elimination Handicap match. Looking almost like "The Dragon" of old, Steamboat nearly got the duke on Jericho, but ultimately, Jericho was able to hit the Codebreaker to get the pinfall. Feeling even more cocky after disposing of Flair from the ring, Jericho called out Rourke, who was sitting at ringside. Rourke reluctantly entered the ring, but Jericho obviously took him too lightly, as Rourke ducked his punch and then connected with a left hook, dropping Jericho to the canvas.
Steamboat got some satisfaction the next day on Raw, helping defeat Jericho in a 10-man tag team match. The following week, Jericho was drafted to SmackDown. That, however, didn't stop him from having another go at Steamboat, and the two faced each other at Backlash, in Steamboat's first singles pay-per-view match since 1994's Bash at the Beach. Steamboat gave Jericho a good run for his money, but Jericho was able to win by submission with the Walls of Jericho.
Jericho next set his sights on Intercontinental gold, but lost to champion Rey Mysterio at Judgment Day. But in a not so extreme No Holds Barred match at Extreme Rules, Jericho would unmask Rey before rolling him up to win his ninth Intercontinental Championship.
-- compiled by John Milner and Richard Kamchen
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