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The Epitaph: The Great White Hope
by Marcus Madison on 2001-10-21

The belief that Jericho was simply going to walk into the company in '99 and take over the thrown as the next messiah of the company was a bit unfair. During his stay with the old regime of WCW it was quite clear that he had the potential for being the leader of any company he was with. There is no doubt that unfortunately although he has not lived up to expectations in the mind of some, he has shown glimpses of "greatness" in high quality matches which he has competed in.

There have been instances where he maybe was rushed into a position where he was not ready to compete against the likes of The Rock and Steve Austin. He has incredible mic work without a doubt, but he has not had his in ring skills refined to point where he is both able to combine all of his attributes to the point where he will be regarded in the eyes of his detractors such as my partner in literal crime TD here and become the next leader of the company.

Is potential enough? Potential - capable of coming into being or action. The capacity for use or development.

In this day where skill alone has not elevated many of today's superstars, Chris' has seen all to well what tends to happen when improvement is not made in all areas. Vince, and only Vince responds to what appeals to him and that is all that matters. He does not necessarily react to the response of the fans as he does the characters ability to be both creative and controversial all at the same time. In the three-ring circus, that is Titan Inc, Chris in the eyes of some may not have done all he could to reach the standards that may have been set before him. I disagree, his work in the company along with his ability to put someone else over speaks volumes for the kind of character and "leader" he is. Jericho's attempts to achieve main event status was not without effort.

Is character enough?

Character - a distinct collection of peculiarities qualities that distinguish an individual or group.

I tend to believe that Jericho most definitely has these qualities. Jericho combines a certain charisma with a particular character that today's wrestling fans can appeal to. He has the ability to captivate an audience in a way that is often not duplicated by several of today's talent. It is a tremendous skill, to both shock your audience and have them praise you all of the same time. I feel the only other character that can do this today is the Rock.

This leaves Jericho in terrific company a company that is pretty exclusive if you ask me. This is the key element in what needs to be exploited in Jericho. His character alone is what has contributed to his success. He has taken part in some very good matches during his time in the WWF but it is his ability to speak clearly and cohesively that has captured the attention of fans everywhere. The ringleader or puppeteer, pulling the strings of Jericho is one Vince McMahon. Just as Vince's impressions of Chris' potential is under his watchful eye so to is his character.

How much closer is he?

At the depth of this argument lingers the true fact that the distance at which Jericho first entered the WWF, until now has definitely drawn closer. The real question that remains is where does he currently stand with the company? Jericho, for all of the criticism and rumors that surrounded him one thing has always remained...his attitude.

He has had many matches, which have clearly shown he has moved forward with the company. Although he was not victorious in these matches he faced such men as the Rock and Triple H. Here we can clearly see if he had not moved forward in the company they would not put him into such competition it they did not feel he was prepared for this main event caliber competition. It is unfair for anyone to have the expectations of savior attached to their name and Chris is no different. Jericho is clearly on his way, in my eyes all that stands before him is "air and opportunity" and fans know that he is certainly ready to take over for the like's of Steve Austin.

In order to a be the great white hope… We need to look at the big picture when it comes to Jericho and see what he needs to do in order to advance. The on again, off again feud with Stephanie although was terrific it did nothing to help build his standing in the company if only for a short while. So with this said there are a few rules that Jericho must follow in order for him to take his rightful place as a main event main stay in the company: 1)Allow character to run free - he needs to allow every possible character trait that he has both tapped into and not, be acknowledged(i.e, attitude, style, athleticism...etc) 2)Drop the comedy act - once the gimmick of the Greenwich blue-blood was gone from Hunter look how far he went. The third generation wrestler idea of one "Rocky Maivia" never amounted to much either. I say no gimmicks will amount to something great for Jericho he to able free to run the monarchy of the WWF in his own fashion. 3)Play safe - no one would ever think Jericho would make it based on his in ring style. He needs to ensure that he wrestles clean matches and is not as stiff with the competition.

"Well, he's got great mic skills. He's a great worker. He's got the look of a champion. And what do these things mean? Absolutely nothing. Why? Because if you believe this, then it is because you have been conditioned to believe it."

These are the feelings of my partner TD in this dispute over, Jericho. I however will oppose this comment for a few reasons. To say this is almost to say that wrestling fans can not make an opinion on Jericho's fine skill alone, and that they are easier to influence then Pavlov's salivating dogs. Today's fans are such more educated when either attending an event or watching one on television. They could spot a someone without talent a mile away. They do not need to be conditioned to know that wrestling is allot more entertainment, and that Jericho has talent then anything else today. It is that very element (entertainment) that fans have come to love. They see the star power in Jericho and know that he has tremendous ability without the influence of any reporter, columnist or such writers. The fans view of Jericho is untainted, and pure it actually is a breath of fresh air to see that these fans believe in him regardless of his position in the company. His "champion like look", does mean something however when you are looking at the big picture about Jericho. It is that look, that is marketable and we all know Vince is all about marketing and promoting. We all deserve a little more credit than that.

"Would The addition of Curtis Hughes help his credibility during those crucial initial few months? Obviously not."

This was of no fault of Jericho's but of that of the company themselves. He is unfortunately a pone in the giant chess game that the WWF is playing with its talent. His credibility however was previously already established, and although poor angles may not have helped his cause it certainly should not have hurt it either. TD is correct to say that the first few months were important in having him addressed to new audience, the WWF fan as appose to the WCW fan. However, these attempts were used as a means for him to receive television time and not anything else. Although these angles were weak from the position of whom he was being associated with it could not have buried his chances for the attaining main event status.

"For someone who was seemingly destined to headline the WWF of the new millennium, he's still toiling in the midcard awaiting the opportunity to achieve the momentum necessary in order to break through the so called "glass ceiling".

Alas, the "glass ceiling", it is true that he toils in the mid card status he has not been elevated. However, this is because of the backstage pandering that has taken place with some of the other talent. The rumors of Triple H having series heat with him seem more valid now more than ever. Even though Triple H has not been an active participant he has still remained a major influence in the company. I believe, (and am not conditioned to believe this) although Triple H has been recovering from injury he has prevented Jericho from moving forward. I believe he has legitimate heat with Jericho and this influenced Vince to some degree. Regardless of what fans think of Jericho, it is ironic that his career has suffered the "Walls of Jericho" itself courtesy of "The Game".

"Whenever Jericho works with an experienced and accomplished worker, the match is worth watching, yet, put him in the ring with a weaker worker, and this will expose the holes in Jericho's work."

The holes in the arsenal of Jericho are that which only need to be refined with the proper tutoring which I feel he has not received. Was it not Chris Benoit that received the criticism that he was to stiff? Jericho was the one has received the most scrutiny because, others felt threatened by him. If they did not feel this way then why would he receive all this press if to not deflect the blame away from any praise he should receive. "Aside from a relatively weak finisher, his arsenal is not something that can lend itself to improving his credibility when competing at the top level and this is exactly where his problem lies."

The "walls of Jericho", appears allot more affective then the any Boston crab in my opinion. Although it appears to be a variation on the "Lion Tamer" it still appears to be effective. If a finishing maneuver must be something that is going to be an essential part in furthering the development of a character, they why can't a submission move be it? The sharpshooter was a variation of a Boston crab to some degree and Bret Hart was successful for many years with that as a finisher himself. Jericho, wrestled in Japan as well as ECW with the likes of Chris Benoit and both were trained by the Hart family. His arsenal is in fact something that can be worked with and his skill must be harnessed.

"With all these opportunities, questions have to be asked as to whether it is the WWF which is preventing Jericho from rising to the top or that he was never actually as good as we thought he was."

Hold on good buddy, I stands all I can stands and I can't stands no more! Jericho is very good. The question has been answered several times over. He has had the opportunity to showcase his skill and although he has never had the opportunity to maintain his position as one of the top three in the company this should not have been taken away from him either. Everyone whether it is in life or in the ring develop differently and at their own pace. Jericho, "Y2J","the great white hope" call him what you will, had a great deal of expectations placed upon him that several fans today can not imagine. It was unfair to believe to have to live up to that. Did Austin, Hart, Michaels, Rock have them? Nope! Only Jericho and I believe he has done a fine trying to live up to the hype.

In conclusion, wrestling fans all realize Jericho has exactly what is takes to be the leader for the next generation of the WWF. The only "great white hope" is that others in the company finally realize this and keep him in a position, the boss can finally recognize his drawing power. He has surpassed simply having potential because, potential will on get him as far as a brief television on MTV's "tough enough". His character and microphone skills have made him the man that is only surpassed by the Rock in my estimation. The only reason he is not as close as he should be is because of the poor gimmicks and angles he has been forced to take part in. So I say believe the hype and lay down before for "The Great White Hope" Chris Jericho will take the thrown of emperor of organized chaos and defeat all that oppose him. So it is written so it shall come to pass, quote the madness forever more.

Marcus Madison...Can you read through the madness?

You too can read through the madness listen to Marcus Madison's return to Joltin Joe's Wrestling line on Starphone November 1st.(416)350-3000 ext.2049. Long distance charges may apply

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Quotes from the boys: Moondog Manson says "After a long hard thought about what I wanted to do, I realized retirement isn't what I wanted. Why would I give these knuckleheads the satisfaction of retirement when I can terrorize them ten fold in the ring.".
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