30 years ago, when a young up and comer called “Cowboy” Chris Jericho hit the scene on independent shows, no one would have been able to predict that this is how his career would have gone. Chris Jericho has transcended any limitations that have ever been put on him. He has adapted and changed with the times when so many before him had failed to do so. He truly is one of the greatest of all time, in my opinion. Within this illustrious career of Jericho’s, he has swapped between SmackDown and RAW a cornucopia of times and in this piece, I am going to be looking at, what I believe are, Chris Jerichos Top Five SmackDown moments!
Chris Jericho’s SmackDown debut vs Road Dogg – 26th August 1999
On August 26th 1999, SmackDowns only second-ever episode, it was the WWE in-ring debut of a young Chris Jericho. Sporting a blonde ponytail and a babyface he ever so nonchalantly walked his way to the ring, in unison with his soon-to-be iconic theme music. Although the match only going five minutes and ending in a DQ there was plenty to be excited about during this clash of charisma. Chris Jericho showed he had the fundamental wrestling skills to hang with the top guys, his overzealous selling provided pure entertainment and his little nuances, such as shouting to the crowd, was just the start of what would become one of his best attributes. Despite this not being the best wrestling match bell-to-bell, it certainly is a historic match in regards to the history of Chris Jericho and his association with SmackDown.
Rhyno Gores Chris Jericho through the SmackDown set – 9th August 2001
On a 9 August 2001 edition of SmackDown, Chris Jericho was facing off with WCW’s Hugh Morrus. Convincingly, Jericho dealt with Morrus in just over two minutes eventually making him submit to the Walls of Jericho. It was then, when Jericho was walking up the ramp in celebration, that he was greeted by Rhyno in the form of an ambush. Following a painful-looking Suplex onto the steel ramp-way, it was then when one of the most memorable Gore’s happened. Rhyno stormed full speed at an uneasy Jericho and Gored him straight through the SmackDown set in what made for an amazing visual. It is moments like this, despite it not being a match or a promo, that stay in the minds of fans for a very long time. Quiet the send-off for the iconic Smackdown Oval stage design.
Chris Jericho vs Chyna – Intercontinental Championship Match – 30th December 1999
In what was the third match-up in just over a month between the Ninth Wonder of the World and Y2J, with this one standing out due to its very unique ending. The pair had been brawling for a few weeks prior to this SmackDown with Chyna successfully defending the championship at Survivor Series only to then drop it to Jericho at that years following PPV, Armageddon. Chyna, who was accompanied to the ring by Kat, made her way first followed by Jericho who received a raucous reception from his “Jerichoholics”. It is during the match when Jericho spinning heel kicks Chyna that she accidentally bumps into the ref.
This leads to Jericho capitalising on the situation and grabbing a steel chair but is stopped by Chyna who delivers a Pedigree to Y2J and secures the visual pin-fall whilst the ref is down. It is not long before another referee makes his way to the ring and by that time Jericho kicks out. With the pair up and fighting again we are now left with two referees in the ring. One back body drop from Jericho onto the chair is all that’s needed for both superstars to be down and out. This is where the unique ending comes into play, as they are both down and out with an arm across each other the two referees declare two different winners leading to lots of misunderstanding and an after-match brawl. It was a unique ending and one that had not been seen for some time hence why, in my opinion, this is up there with Jericho’s finest moments on SmackDown. This spot was certainly a microcosm of his career; creative.
Chris Jericho vs Edge – Steel Cage Match – 25th July 2002
It was following a Steel Cage match with Kurt Angle that Edge wounded up hurting his shoulder, which the ever opportunistic Jericho took advantage of. On the next episode of SmackDown, following the aforementioned Cage Match, Jericho took out Edge and used a steel chair to try and break the shoulder of Edge. The two then embroiled in a feud that led us to the 25 May 2002 episode of SmackDown where they, ironically, faced off inside a Steel Cage.
This match was your typical old school, Steel Cage match. Nothing too flashy, nothing too fancy just hard-hitting offence. We get to see Edge spear Jericho into the steel cage at one point, we also see Edge get cut open after having his head grinder up against the Steel. The pinnacle of the match comes when Edge hits an Electric Chair from the top rope and then climb out the cage for the victory. His victory is short-lived however as The Anti-Americans (a stable consisting of Christian, Test and Lance Storm) came to the ring and beat Edge up. This match is up there with one of Chris Jericho’s best on SmackDown, it was an effective but entertaining Steel Cage match which was a luxury to see on live television during 2002.
Edge & Chrisitan vs Dudley Boyz vs The Hardy Boyz vs Chris Jericho & Chris Benoit – Four-Way TLC Match – 24th May 2001
It had been just a few days since Jericho & Benoit won the Tag Team Titles, on RAW against Triple H and Steve Austin, and things were not getting easier for them as they were set to defend them in a Fatal-4-Way TLC Match on SmackDown against three of the best tag teams of all time, and the innovators of the TLC match, the Dudley Boyz, Hardy Boys and Christian & Edge.
The match was set up as a punishment by Vince McMahon as he was infuriated that Benoit and Jericho beat the Two Man Power Trip. In what was Chris Jericho’s first-ever TLC match, he walked to the ring looking in the best physical shape of his life and with a determined look in his eye. Furthermore, to the surprise of nobody, this match included an abundance of jaw-dropping spots such as a bulldog from the top of the ladder from Jericho, the Walls of Jericho stretched across the top of two ladders and Jericho being speared by Edge from the top of a ladder. Fittingly for this piece, Jericho and Benoit managed to retain their Tag Team Championships in what has become not just a classic SmackDown match but a classic TLC match.
There we have it, Chris Jericho’s Top Five Moments on SmackDown, in my opinion. Being part of Generation Z I was not alive to witness most of Jericho’s classic moments on both RAW and SmackDown but there is still no doubt in my mind that Chris Jericho is one of the greatest of all time and has been consistently proving so ever since his debut in 1990.