Chris Jericho def. Bray Wyatt

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July 20, 2014

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TAMPA, Fla. — It was 15 years ago when, with much fanfare, The Countdown to the Millennium landed at zero signaling the highly anticipated arrival of Chris Jericho in WWE. For parts of three decades, the legendary Y2J took sports-entertainment by storm with historic title wins, captivating interviews and by going toe-to-toe with everyone from Bob Barker and Mickey Rourke to Triple H and The Rock. And for 15 years, it sometimes really did seem Jericho was saving us.

And now here we are, three presidential administrations later, and here’s old reliable Chris Jericho: Still entertaining, still saving us and still holding the WWE Universe in the palm of his hands with a stunning victory over Bray Wyatt at Battleground. If there has been one Superstar who might be defined as the anti-Y2J, it would be Wyatt. The so-called Eater of Worlds also believes he has the ability to lead a cult of personality, much like Jericho has so well and for so long. And while Wyatt had defeated John Cena in 2014, even Cena does not match the career of Chris Jericho, one of sports-entertainment’s few remaining era-spanning performers.

Flanked by the indestructible Luke Harper and Erick Rowan — who earlier in the night competed in a grueling tag team title bout — Bray set out to prove the power of both his words and actions top the finesse of the smooth-talking and technically proficient Jericho. Early on, his prophecy seemed to be coming true with a series of devastating impact maneuvers. But when Y2J took out all three members of The Wyatt Family with a flying crossbody from the top turnbuckle to the floor , momentum began to shift. It continued in his favor when referee Mike Chioda ejected  Harper and Rowan from ringside  after witnessing blatant interference on the part of Harper.

But Jericho’s offense didn’t last long. Whenever the multi-time champion nailed a kick, axehandle or running clothesline off the ropes, Wyatt countered with several manhandling momentum-shifting sequences, including an organ-crunching belly-to-back into a gutbuster onto the hero. In one instance, the cult leader’s head snapped on a turnbuckle, allowing Jericho to cover his opponent, but Wyatt had the presence of mind to grab hold of the bottom rope to break the pinfall attempt. One moment later, Bray was in control again with a DDT on the ring apron. Y2J even failed at locking in The Walls of Jericho, leading many  to believe that he was outmatched by his younger foe .

But out of nowhere, with the suddenness of his arrival in 1999, Jericho connected with a Codebreaker. In the middle of the ring, Bray had no ropes to clutch, no followers to bail him out, and no saved victims in the palm of his hand. The once and always Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla covered his demonic rival for the three-count, shocking Wyatt and the many who listen carefully to his preachings.

With Bray’s loss in Tampa to the first-ever Undisputed Champion, Wyatt must now re-examine if he still believes himself to be WWE’s reigning puppet master. If Bray is looking for someone to save, perhaps he should think about himself.

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