Jericho seems to have become the official benchmark for up-and-comers to see if they are ready for the big time. Fandango received as much momentum as one could get in a single night primarily through working with Jericho at WrestleMania 29.
Wyatt, NXT's sinister madman, has been dishing out the kind of promos that leave fans unsettled. His Max Cady-like character has been getting rave reviews, but the question has been if he's ready in terms of his ring work.
Fans who tuned into the WWE NXT TV that aired on May 2 saw that he is ever so close to being main-roster ready.
Darren Gutteridge of ProWrestling.net wrote that Jericho vs. Wyatt was "a great match, but I expected it to be. Jericho had one or two rough looking spots near the end, but overall the match flowed nicely, and the pretty obvious result didn't detract from the near falls."
The stipulation for this match was that if Jericho lost, he'd have to join Wyatt's "family." Jericho started off with an offensive flurry that made that possibility look highly unlikely.
Even in the ring with an icon and even when he was getting whipped, though, Wyatt remained defiant. He rolled out of the ring at one point to bide his time. As he stood there laughing with the Wyatt Family, Jericho flew in and dropkicked him in the mouth.
Later on, Erick Rowan pulled on Jericho's leg and the referee promptly threw him out. That left only Luke Harper to stand at ringside and await openings to cheat in Wyatt's favor.
Wyatt showed off great heel work in this bout.
He distracted the referee from his knees to allow Harper to land a cheap shot. He attacked Jericho with a startling viciousness. Wyatt came off as equal parts sniveling coward and dangerous predator.
Wyatt also had a surprisingly athletic moment when he flipped over when taking an enzuigiri.
When Harper wasn't taking liberties with the rules, Jericho was in control for the most part. He landed a Codebreaker, but Wyatt rolled out of the ring. Wyatt did squeeze Jericho in some wear-down holds, but it was mostly Jericho's springboard offense that was the driving force of the action.
Wyatt wore a devious grin throughout the match. He came off as the disturbed man he does so well in his promos. It's this consistency of character that has fans wondering how soon he'll make the jump to the main roster.
The excellent showing ended when Jericho caught Wyatt in the Walls of Jericho and forced him to tap out. It was a preview of the kind of work Wyatt can do in the near future against top competition. He doesn't quite look ready in terms of endurance, but it shouldn't be long.
Jericho told Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via PWMania.com) that he "estimated Wyatt will be a main roster star in a year and a major star in two."
If Wyatt can be a part of a match this good now, then imagining what he'll be doing in a year's time is an exciting prospect. Jericho won this battle, but the talk will be about Wyatt's growth and ability to captivate between the ropes. It's a test that Wyatt passed with a flourish.
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