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Top 7 Chris Jericho Moments 2000-2009

October 23, 2020 | Posted by Steve Cook
Shawn Michaels and Chris Jericho face off wwe No Mercy

Last time, we ranked the best moments of Chris Jericho’s first decade in the wrestling business. I gotta admit that Michael L. in the comment section brought up one I should have included, Jericho humorously introducing all of the competitors in the Cruiserweight Battle Royal at Slamboree 1998, then Ciclope unmasking after winning the match as Dean Malenko, at which point everybody lost their shit because Jericho had been badmouthing Malenko for months. One of those great WCW moments that people forget about when they want to act like everything the company did sucked.

The second decade of Chris Jericho was confined to WWF/E, which wasn’t a bad thing! We were all excited when Jericho left WCW because he was going somewhere that would at least give younger performers a chance to move up to the main event. Jericho had some bumps in the road, some obstacles in the way, but he overcame them all and became one of WWE’s biggest stars. Y2J was a staple of the Attitude Era & some years after. He took a couple of years off in the middle of the decade to do other things, but once he came back and re-invented himself for the first time, there was no limit to what Chris Jericho could do.

Here are the Top 7 Chris Jericho Moments from 2000 to 2009.

7. The Wager

One Canadian dollar was on the line in a bet between tag team partners Chris Jericho & Christian. What did they have to do to win? Well, Jericho had to convince Trish Stratus to sleep with him, while Christian would try the same with Lita. The ladies found out about this after a few weeks had passed, and were none too pleased. 

Christian moved on, but Jericho had become infatuated with Trish. He kept trying to convince her he was a good guy, and finally got in her friend zone. Christian was annoyed because this took Jericho’s focus off of their tag team endeavors, and eventually took advantage of Y2J’s absence one Raw to attack Trish. 

This led to the two men facing off at WrestleMania XX. Trish re-emerged after a brief absence, seemingly to assist Jericho. After Trish accidentally hit Jericho instead of Christian and cost him the match, we found out that it was in fact no accident. Christian & Trish were an item, and Jericho really only had himself to blame. He lied to Trish, Christian was always honest about who & what he was to her.

She liked it rough! A sensitive boy like Chris wasn’t going to do it for her. He learned.

6. Taking Rey Mysterio’s mask

By the time 2009 rolled around, Jericho had grown tired of hypocrites. He had noticed how the fans excused poor behavior from certain people while welcoming it from others. He was tired of playing to the crowd, and was now going to enforce his standards of honesty & virtue on his fellow WWE Superstars.

Extreme Rules 2009 was a shining example of Jericho’s new mission in life. Rey Mysterio had spent his life hiding behind a mask. Proper-thinking folks welcome masks in 2020, but back in 2009 it was easy for Jericho to assume that Rey wore a mask because he was hiding something. He wanted to reveal the real Rey Mysterio & punish him for his transgressions.

The best way to do this: unmask Mysterio and defeat him for the Intercontinental Championship. Jericho promised to do both, and lived up to his word as the man of honor he was. It’s interesting how Rey keeps finding himself feuding with moralistic heels.

5. Welcoming Mr. WrestleMania back to WrestleMania

No, Shawn Michaels was not yet known as Mr. WrestleMania in 2003. He had had some classics though. The Ladder Match with Razor Ramon, a world title shot against Diesel & an Iron Man Match with Bret Hart had all drawn great praise, and his effort against Steve Austin with an injured back deserved respect. However, Shawn had yet to earn that Mr. WrestleMania moniker. 

That would start at WrestleMania XIX. Michaels had made his long-awaited return at SummerSlam 2002 & won the World Championship at Survivor Series. Lost it the next month to Triple H, but that happened a lot in the early 2000s. Michaels needed a big feud for WrestleMania, and there was no better choice on WWE’s roster than Chris Jericho, a man who reminded many of a younger Shawn Michaels. In fact, that was the story. Jericho had grown up modeling himself after Shawn, but had surpassed the Heartbreak Kid. At least, in his own eyes. The only real way to find out was to face off at WrestleMania.

It was the first of a string of classic matches Shawn would have at the Showcase of the Immortals, cementing himself as Mr. WrestleMania. HBK got the win, but Y2J got the last laugh when he low-blowed Shawn during a post-match hug. Talk about your WrestleMania Moments.

4. Royal Rumble 2001 Ladder Match

This one’s kind of been forgotten about over the years for the same reason most events involving Chris Benoit have been glossed over. We’re not here to talk about that, just to talk about this badass ladder match that still holds up almost twenty years later.

These crazy bastards went all out on each other since they knew their friendship could take it, and they went insane. If you are one of those people that doesn’t get weirded out by Chris Benoit matches in 2020, I highly recommend re-watching this thing. Two of the best of their time going at it! If you don’t want to watch it, I’m not judging.

Jericho won the Intercontinental Championship more times than anybody, but this was the most earned title reign here. Another part of the process Jericho had to go through in order to prove himself to the higher-ups.

3. The Title Change That Wasn’t

WWE Champion Triple H was scheduled for a non-title match with Jericho to open up the April 17, 2000 edition of Raw, largely because Jericho had made a habit out of insulting his wife, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley. Jericho continued with the insults prior to the match, goading Triple H into putting the title on the line. Jericho also retained the services of the APA to keep H’s friends from interfering. Oh. And Earl Hebner was the referee, and he had had some issues of late with Triple H due to H getting physical with him and constantly criticizing his officiating.

You can guess what happened next. H got physical with Earl, Jericho hit a lionsault, Earl made a fast count and Chris Jericho became WWE Champion for the first time. Well, not quite. H bullied Earl into reversing his decision and the match was declared to have never happened.

It was still a huge moment for Jericho. For those few minutes, the fans reacted in a way that proved that they would buy him as a world champion. Vince McMahon definitely noticed that, and kept it in mind for later usage.

2. Knocking Shawn Michaels Cross-Eyed

There are so many different moments from the Jericho/Michaels feud in 2008 that could have made this list. Just a great bit of storytelling from start to finish. You might prefer their No Mercy ladder match, or Jericho “accidentally” striking HBK’s wife, or any number of other options. 

I have to give my nod to Michaels’ appearance on the Highlight Reel on June 9, 2008. The whole thing started with Batista getting mad at Shawn for retiring his mentor, Ric Flair. Jericho’s interview show ended up in the middle of this, and he served as special guest referee for a match between the two. Michaels faked a knee injury in the process of winning the match, which offended Jericho, but not as much as the crowd reaction offended Jericho. 

They didn’t care! HBK could do anything he wanted and the fans would still cheer him. Jericho knew from personal experience that the rules weren’t the same for him. He had to pander to the audience and play by the rules to get the fans to like him, which was something he thought was important. Not anymore. Jericho would no longer attempt to entertain an audience of hypocritical sycophants. He became the last honest man in wrestling.

Ramming Michaels’ head through the obscenely expensive Jeritron 6000 was the first sign of what was to come.

Honorable Mention: Leaving Raw in 2005

This was a tremendously divisive moment when it happened. The fact that Jericho was leaving WWE was pretty well known when the “You’re Fired” match between Jericho & John Cena was booked for Raw. Jericho losing was the expected result. What really got a lot of fans upset was the aftermath. Jericho became a whimpering mess, having to be drug off into the sunset by security. Many Internet fans were convinced that this was WWE’s way of punishing Jericho, making him look bad on his way out the door. How dare they!

Meanwhile, a lot of us thought it made perfect sense. Jericho’s character was that of a whiner that bitched and moaned when he didn’t get his way, who thought he deserved everything. Why wouldn’t he have to be dragged away kicking & screaming on his last night? Fit his character like a glove, and was memorable.

Jericho later revealed that the whole thing was his idea. Of course it was!

1. The First Ever Undisputed Champion

After the Invasion ended, we still had two world championships left over. Ric Flair, who had become co-owner of the company right after the Invasion, wanted to have a straight up singles match between Stone Cold Steve Austin & The Rock. Vince McMahon wanted a one-night tournament, where Austin would face Kurt Angle, Rock would face Chris Jericho, and the winners would wrestle the same night to determine the Undisputed Champion. To be honest, Jericho probably would have rated fourth if there was a poll asking who fans thought would win the tournament. Austin & Rock obviously being the top two, with Angle having had a stronger push for most of the time period he & Jericho had been in the company.

I don’t know what Chris Jericho considers the greatest night of his career. I do know that Vengeance 2001 gave him all the credibility he ever needed in WWE. For the rest of his time there, whenever announcers or Jericho himself would list his accomplishments, you could count on it being brought up that he defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin & The Rock in the same night to become the first Undisputed Champion. It didn’t matter in the long run that Jericho needed help to beat both men. It also didn’t matter in the long run that Jericho’s reign on top was somewhat lackluster and led to a feud with Triple H involving Jericho walking Hunter & Stephanie’s dog. Most people forget these minor details in history that people think will ruin careers when they happen.

What ultimately mattered for Jericho’s career was that he was the first Undisputed Champion, and he beat Stone Cold Steve Austin & The Rock in the same night to do it. Nobody else in pro wrestling can say that. No matter what else Jericho did in WWE, he wasn’t going to top that.

To his credit, that sure didn’t stop him from trying.

article topics :

Chris Jericho, WWE, Steve Cook