Chris Jericho: The new cerebral assassin?

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April 23, 2012

Mind games are nothing new for Chris Jericho. From his rise to stardom as a cruiserweight in ECW and WCW to his most heated championship rivalries in WWE, Jericho has toyed with all of his opponents and tried to intimidate them at every turn. (VIDEO PLAYLIST)

What he has been doing to CM Punk over the last several weeks, though, is more than just mind games. By targeting the WWE Champion's deepest personal feelings and tossing them into a blender, Jericho has transformed Punk into a more volatile, hot-tempered and, perhaps, mentally vulnerable Superstar. And it has made Jericho look not only like the favorite for their Chicago Street Fight at Extreme Rules, but evoked images of another Superstar who knew exactly how to get into his opponents' heads.

Over his legendary career, Triple H earned the moniker "The Cerebral Assassin" for his uncanny ability to pick contenders apart from the inside out. This was no more evident than during his fierce clashes with The Rock and "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, the latter of which included having Austin run over by a car at Survivor Series in 1999.

Similar to The Game, Jericho has uncovered his rivals' soft spots and poked at them as if they were open wounds. In his early career, that involved mocking other WCW high-flyers by stealing and wearing trophy items following his victories, or upstaging their signature handles, like calling himself "The Man of 1,004 Holds" to upset Dean Malenko. As he grew more experienced, Jericho became more sinister and resorted to such acts as relentlessly ridiculing and humiliating WWE Hall of Famers Edge and Shawn Michaels on his "Highlight Reel" talk show. Jericho even stooped low enough to put an end to Michaels' retirement address at SummerSlam in 2008 and showed no remorse for accidentally punching HBK's wife in the face.

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