Whether you loved it or hated it, everyone had a reaction to Chris Jericho's return this Monday. I wrote an aggressive (perhaps too aggressive, sorry Geno) article calling the return an embarrassment. I thought it was boring, anti-climatctic, and a complete waste of my time. I also understood what Jericho was doing, but thought it was recycled post-modern meta-fiction.
Geno wrote a post calling the return brilliant and unique. I've read so many reactions and I have to say, I think the audience is pretty even, but more fans seem to have liked the non-promo promo. But here's the thing: the more I analyze the return, the more complex it all seems. I've calmed down a bit and realized Jericho's return is a both a complete success and a complete failure, but not for reasons already explained.
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First off, before I put a unique perspective out there, let's address why Jericho did what he did. Chris Jericho knew that he would be cheered when he came out, no matter what he did. Jericho is talented and creative, so instead of just making fun of the local sports team, he decided to generate heat in a way never done before. Jericho comes out, hams up his own return, parodies the audience's unwavering enthusiasm, teases the audience, and never says a word. By the time Jericho left, some of the people cheering him were booing.
But what about the Internet wrestling community and posters on this site? Well, it seems the same people who loved the return... Now really like Jericho! But wait a minute... Wasn't the non-promo promo meant to generate heat? I've never seen so many people make Jericho .gifs to show how awesome he is. It seems like the same fans Jericho was catering to with his shtick now love him even more. These people are going to cheer for him. There will be members of the IWC chanting "Y-2-J!" next week at Raw.
These are not the actions of fans who hate Jericho. In a way, Jericho's 'unique' promo backfired: he's getting more love than ever. In this sense, the return is a complete failure. Jericho tried to out mark the marks in order to get them to hate him. He succeeded in making fun of certain members of the audience, but failed in expecting their reaction.
But what about the fans who disliked the segment? Is their reaction equally opposite to those who loved it? It appears not. Are these fans emotionally invested in the show now, or are they completely turned off? I assume most of the PG audience didn't even get it and Jericho's going to have to be a little more black and white next week in order to stop the boos. Most of the reactions voiced their dislike for the method of the return and not the wrestler. No one's talking about how much they hate Jericho--they're talking about how bad the nature of his return was.
Despite how creative the return was, and its intended goal, it seems to have backfired. More people love Jericho than ever, no one really hates him, and the WWE has to figure out a way to get the people to not cheer his name if he's actually going to be a heel. I have to say, I overreacted on how bad the segment was. The spot was a success if we are assuming the only goal was to get more people watching.
Perhaps we are assuming too much. Maybe the goal of the promo wasn't about getting heat. Because if it was, its a failure as far as the fans on this site goes. Maybe it was about getting people talking. More importantly, getting people watching. This is going to be interesting.