Jericho came tumblin' down
By SCOTT ZERR -- Edmonton Sun
Calgary-trained Chris Jericho (right) tangles with Edmonton's Chris Benoit at the WWF show at Skyreach Centre yesterday. Benoit won the Intercontinental championship match. - Robert Taylor, Edmonton Sun
There are times in pro wrestling when you have to give up a win for your opponent.
The lingo describes it as "putting the guy over." Chris Jericho is a "babyface," the type of character who usually gets the victory while the "heel'' suffers the loss.
But when the "heel'' is making his first appearance in his home town and performing before a highly partisan crowd, the roles are reversed, the good guy becomes the wrestler who draws the wrath of the fans.
Jericho got the positive push Saturday night in Calgary, then had the tables turned on him last night at Skyreach Centre.
"I had the fortune of working in Winnipeg my first show for the WWF," said Jericho, who was born in the Manitoba capital and trained for six years in Calgary.
"People like to see their local boys do good. I think Chris is going to get a hero's welcome and he deserves it."
But Jericho, who was in fine interview form for a couple of local stations prior to the show's start, was about to just lie down and let Benoit walk all over him for the 1-2-3.
"He's going to get a hero's welcome, but that doesn't mean I have to be happy about it," he smirked.
While the pair often exchange barbs during televised shows, they are friends behind the scenes. Jericho, who like Benoit, escaped rival World Championship Wrestling to become a major star in the WWF, mocked his counterpart by calling him "Ben-Oit'' while the cameras were rolling, then tussled the hair of Benoit's son, David, away from the lights.
"We run so many shows that one town almost blends into the next - Peoria, Illinois, becomes the same as Springfield, Missouri, which is the same as Lafayette, Louisiana," said Y2J.
"We work hard for everybody but when you come to a place like this where you have family and friends or a good history and are kind of excited to be here, it makes it very special. For me, Calgary was a very special night and it'll be the same for Chris tonight."
Jericho wasn't the only Canuck to draw the wrath of the fans. Edge and Christian, the tag-team champions from Toronto, received a minor pop compared to the ovation their opponents, Matt and Jeff Hardy, were honoured with. They received even more passionate boos when they came out to assist Kurt Angle when the American Olympian was being given the "stinkyface'' from Rikishi.
And it appeared as though Trish Stratus and her tag-team of T and A were going to get rave reviews from the fans until Stratus went on a comical tirade ripping into Edmonton. Her duo of Test and Albert got the victory over Too Cool, but Stratus got an embarrassing tongue-lashing from Grandmaster Sexay that had her headed for the locker room.