Chris Jericho is starting to develop a pattern: return to WWE (usually for WrestleMania season at the very least), pick up like he never left and then depart unceremoniously for a Fozzie tour. On Wednesday, he announced that the end had already come:
While Jericho has been known to mess with the fans' heads on Twitter before, there's no real reason to think he's lying. He always does short runs now, is legitimately going on tour and lost all of his matches this week.
So, how does this latest run stack up?
It's not necessarily fair to compare it to his first return run, as that lasted almost three years from 2007 to 2010. His last run in 2011-2012, however, was of similar length.
Outside the ring, I think the two runs are kind of a push:
- The deliberately cryptic 2011 hype videos were amusing, as were the weeks of segments where he wouldn't speak beyond yelling phrases like "C'mon Baby," but they didn't go anywhere. The feud with CM Punk took a strange turn from "Hey, let's have the best WrestleMania match ever" to Jericho trying to get Punk to become an alcoholic or something. There was also that little matter of him being suspended for desecrating the Brazilian flag. Only the Dolph Ziggler feud that ended the run can be considered an unqualified success.
- He returned out of nowhere this year at the Royal Rumble and immediately resumed his feud with Ziggler. From there, he had nothing as ambitious as his last run, but in turn, nothing misfired as badly. Aside from his match with CM Punk at Payback (built by great Jericho-Paul Heyman promo duels), he mainly stuck to the midcard, with his WrestleMania loss to the debuting Fandango being his second-most high-profile match of the run.
In the ring, I think the 2011-2012 run was undoubtedly better.
2013 arguably had better peaks: There's an argument for the Payback match being better than either of the 2012 Punk PPV matches, Monday's long match with Rob Van Dam was a great moment with a super-hot crowd, and Jericho got to work with The Shield.
Still, he was much more consistent last time, with more strong matches, thanks in large part to the Punk and Ziggler feuds.
Overall, I think he did just fine, but after his surprise Royal Rumble appearance, his return was much less of an "event" this time out.
Final grade for Chris Jericho's January-to-July 2013 run: B.