On August 9, 1999, The World Wrestling Federation welcomed one of sports-entertainment's future superstars,
Chris Jericho. The 6" , 231 pound grappler made his federation debut in memorable fashion as he not only
appeared live on a Raw Is War card from Chicado, but came out while The Rock was doing an interview and
interupted the WWF's #1 superstar.
Also, at the time of his entrance, the federation was making a fuss about the coming of the new millenium
and had had a countdown clock in place for weeks which wa supposedly running down the days until the year
2000, or, more specificly, the dawning of a new era. Little did anyone know that it had nothing to do with
the year 2000. The countdown was all about the new age of wrestling and the WWF officials sent a message
loud and clear as to who they felt was going to carry the federation into the new era-- "The Lionheart"
The millenium clock wound down to zero upon his arrival and Jericho immediately stole the show by claiming
the program to be his, stating to the crowd: " Welcome to Raw is Jericho!" Not only did Jericho debut by
interupting The Rock, he also came into the arena in half-time-show-like fashion, whith loud rock music
blaring throughout the facility and fireworks covering the ceiling. It was truly an awesome display for
someone who hadn't even seen any ring action in the federation.
He would get into a match that night, but it wasn't physical-purely vocal. It would still send a message to
all who were watching and listening. Jericho wouldn't get a piece of The rock that night, but he certainly
would give him a piece of his mind. The WWF's new arrival claimed that he was there to not only save the
crowd from The People's Champion's boring interview, but more important, he was there to carry the federation
on his back as he was now the new WWF party host.
Well, this don't go over too well with The Rock, and he would later become more enraged as Jericho interfered
in his match against The Big Show. His interference didn't affect the outcome of the match, as he still got the
win, but the fact that Jericho was interfering in one of his matches didn't sit well with the popular wrestler.
Speaking of popular, that's just what Jericho was becoming with the fans. He was enjoying the push beeing given
to him by the federation higher-ups, and although he hasn't surpassed The Rock as the WWF's #1 babyface, he's
well on his way to superstardom.
But Jericho hadn't always wrestled as a face during his career. As a matter of fact, his biggest popularity run
in World Championship Wrestling came when he was a crybaby heel. Jericho had arrived in the WCW about the same
time that many former WWF stars had come onboard, and his character was basically playing second fiddle to these
guys. He was involved with storylines that weren't getting him noticed, so the wrestler decided to make matters
into his own hands--fists, in this case.
One night, after an unexpected loss in the ring, he took out his frustrations by cursing, pounding his fists and
breaking everything in sight. The following week, he would apologize to the wrestling audience for his actions
and would promise to never throw a tantrum like that again. But Jericho would break this promise night after night
by throwing tantrum after tantrum. This would not only fuel his fire in the ring, it would also put him over with
the fans. Though thay booed the tantrum-throwing villain, it didn't matter, as he was drawing a response from the
WCW fans like never before.
Despite these actions being out of character for the high-flying, acrobatic wrestler. it didn't phase him one bit. All
he wanted was to fit in and be noticed, and he learned the hard way that nice guys sometimes need to kick it up a notch
in order to get attention and respect.
"I remember the old sportswriter of years ago who said, 'In professional contact sports, nice guys finish last.' Well I
leearned that eventually, though it took me awhile, "he explained. "I've been around and abused by some of the big names
of the WCW, and I was getting a little tired of beeing abused. So i changed my ways and decided to create a different
attitude. If that's how I want to wrestle, then I have that right."
Jericho was at a point in his career that he wanted to be wrestling with the big boys; after all, thats what the federation's
motto, and he wanted to be part of the big-time action. He knew he was beeing paid a great sum of money to grapple on this
level, and he wanted to give the organization and fans their money's worth, even if it meant stepping on some toes and hearing
boos from the crowd.
"A lot of fans don't like me. They boo me and carry these big insulting signs at the arenas, but it doesn't bother me," he
claimed at the time, "I'm making big bucks and climbing to the top and that's what's important." In a shortamount of time
Jericho had won 6 different titles in the WCW, but he wanted more. He knew he had what it took to be heavyweight champ, and
he wanted his fair shot.
"Just like WCW says--'where the big boys play'--and that's who I want to fight with," a frustrated Jericho said. "Not these
chumps with no size or strength. I like tough competition. I'm not afraid of it, and I'm always eager to take on any
and all challengers. That's why Chris Jericho has gone so far in wrestling, 'cause I'm ready for anything."
The WCW bad guy wanted a piece of the federation's top good guy, who also happened to be the WCW's #1 star, Goldberg. But
the top officials weren't buying what he was selling.
This would be the beginning of the end of his WCW career and he would move on to more challengimg pasteurs at the WWF. Here he
would also thrive in no time. From his first entrance up till today, Jericho has been all and more of what he was advertised
to be. Although he admitted to beeing nervous on his opening night, he was more than ready.
"I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't nervous," he said, "but I was nervous in a way that I knew it was my time to shine. This
wasit, my time had finally come, and I deserve it. Not because I'm some kind of extraordinary talent or anything, but because I've
been working my butt off for 9 years to get there and I was ready for it. It was a huge entrance and a huge amount of hype, but
i knew i could live up to it and people wouldn't be disappointed. i don't think I've disappointed so far."
Jericho is certainly right about that. The Ayatollah of Rock'n Rolla has more than lived up the hype. He has surely stood up to
and been involved with many of the federation's biggest stars in his short time there. As a matter of fact, the week after he
made his debut, he stepped into the ring with literally 2 of the WWF's biggest stars in The Big Show and The Undertaker. The 2
towering grapplers were doing an interview on Raw is War, and Jericho decided it was his duty to save the fans a yet again
boring segment. Even though The Undertaker was less than thrilled by his presence, the fans were hyped as he was proving little
by little that he didn't care who was in the ring. He was ready to face any and all "takers."
Another wrestler who was less than thrilled by his presnce was Tiple H. The WWF's baddest heel got into a feud with the baby-faced
Jericho for some time because Jericho began trash-talking his wife, Stephanie McMahon-Helmsley. These words would cause a classic
clash of good against bad.
At one time or another Jericho has gone at it with The Road dog,Chyna,The Rock,Chris Benoit,Ken Shamrock,Kert Angle,Jeff Hardy,Eddie
Guerrero,and many more. The list just keeps getting bigger, just like the wrestler himself. There's no limit to Jericho's potential,
and who knows how long he'll stay a face, but you can bet your bottom dollar that he'll wear heayweight gold in the near future.
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