The List of Jericho: The six greatest moments from Chris Jericho’s comeback run
On this week’s SmackDown LIVE, the run of Jericho might have come to an end, maaaaannnn. Chris Jericho was so thoroughly brutalized while losing the United States Title to Kevin Owens that nobody seems sure when, or if, we’ll see him again. But, if this is that last we’ve seen of him for a while, let’s take a moment to remember the peaks of his most recent run. Of course, this already-legendary comeback has too many moments to condense into a single article, but we at WWE.com managed to narrow it down to six. Read on to see what made the list, which is not to be confused with The List. Although, of course, The List made the list.
Jericho’s first major rival when he came back in the wee hours of 2016 was AJ Styles, who had recently debuted in WWE. What began as a friendly competition between the two world-traveled grapplers quickly escalated into both a classic series of matches and an impromptu tag team dubbed Y2AJ that fell an inch short of capturing The New Day’s WWE Tag Team Titles in one of WWE.com’s favorite matches of 2016. Despite the narrow title loss, Y2AJ were good enough that they even got a T-shirt … just in time for Jericho to turn on AJ, throw the merch in a trash can and light it on fire. In a stint that saw Jericho tap into his deepest wells of creativity, it was the cruelty of this moment that made it stand out.
Jericho vs. “Mike Tom”
Of all the foes Jericho battled during his recent run, perhaps the most prevalent of them was any and every announcer who tried to get an interview with him. The most loathed of these would-be inquisitors was easily Tom Phillips, for whom Jericho harbored such an intense hatred that he seemed to think every backstage interviewer was, in fact, Tom Phillips. The evidence? For months, Jericho referred to Raw announcer Mike Rome as “Tom” despite Phillips being drafted to SmackDown LIVE. He only relented when he ran afoul of both men at WWE Payback, and even then, he claimed his only mistake was not realizing earlier that they were clones of each other.
Jericho’s rivalry with Dean Ambrose in 2016 gave the WWE Universe a great many gifts — literally. “The Gift of Jericho” originated around this time. Its most memorable moment, however, was when The Lunatic Fringe tossed Jericho onto a bed of thumbtacks in the first-ever Asylum Match at Extreme Rules. It was the first time Jericho had ever taken such a tumble, and the moment proved to be a lasting one. Not only did Jericho’s shrieks of “69 TACKS!!!” (the exact number that the fall embedded in his flesh) become his battle cry for weeks afterwards, but Jericho’s agonized face when he plummeted onto the tacks was instantly meme’d to high-heaven.
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Before Jeri-KO imploded in earnest, the self-styled “best friends” only flirted with disaster once. After Team Raw’s loss at Survivor Series, Jericho called for an “autopsy” of the defeat, seemingly as an excuse to place the blame on Kevin Owens’ shoulders. The Prizefighter arrived to plead his case, and right as tensions seemed to be building to the point of a fight, both Superstars decided they’d rather just simultaneously blame Roman Reigns and hug it out. If your favorite Chris Jericho is the melodramatic, self-righteous talk show host with pinpoint timing, look no further than this.
The List of Jericho
There was a time when the only list Jericho was known for was his 1,004 holds. But in 2016, Jericho did his WCW self one better. What began as a running list of grievances against then-Raw General Manager Mick Foley turned into a roll call of “muttonheads, barbarians and stupid idiots” that eventually came to be known as The List of Jericho. If The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla put your name on the list, it was tantamount to a declaration of war, and any and all individuals were subject to placement. From Braun Strowman, to belligerent members of the audience, to AJ Styles’ haircut, to Xavier Woods (twice), nobody was safe from Jericho’s pen. Well, almost. Stephanie McMahon remains the first, and only, individual to have herself removed from the list. (Dean Ambrose tried as well, but was ultimately denied. Remember: 69 tacks.)
The Festival of Friendship
This is it. This is Jericho’s masterpiece. His Mona Lisa. His Ninth Symphony. His Sistine Chapel (literally). The Festival of Friendship was Jericho’s full-length tribute to his best friend Kevin Owens, staged with all the pomp and circumstance of a Las Vegas extravaganza. From Jericho going full Rainbow Randolph during the entrance, to somehow roping Gillberg out of retirement to “lose” to KO, to his mildly obscene version of “The Creation of Adam,” The Festival of Friendship was Jericho’s insane, entertaining, and indescribable comeback run condensed into miniature form, right down to getting obliterated by Owens in the final minutes (Jimmin Marvinluder would have never done such a thing). One can only hope that, next time we see him, he tops himself again, maaaaannnnn.