This feud between Chris Jericho and Dean Ambrose, which will come to a head in an Asylum match tonight at Extreme Rules, can be looked at so many different ways. It can be looked at as super silly with two men fighting over a potted plant and a jacket. It can be looked at in deeper ways if you try. Our own Geno Mrosko made an argument that it could be a story of consumerism.
This story is out there enough that it makes sense to look at it in any way. I choose to look at it as a story about two guys who are fighting for their identity as the other tries to take from them what makes them who they are.
When this all started, prior to their original match at Payback, it was because Dean Ambrose took over Y2J's Highlight Reel and started his own talk show called the Ambrose Asylum. The Highlight Reel was always part of Jericho's persona: A flashy, arrogant individual showing that off on his own talk show.
After Ambrose's defeat of Jericho at Payback, the next night, the Lunatic Fringe was stripped of his Ambrose Asylum show by Stephanie McMahon in favor of the returning Highlight Reel. Not surprisingly, Dean Ambrose was not upset about it. He expressed that he knew very well that this wasn't his schtick. Sure, he's got the personality for it, but it's been something for the flashier superstars, such as the Miz or Jericho, so he understood that. Losing the Ambrose Asylum wasn't upsetting to Dean because he never identified himself by that.
It was what happened afterwards that threatened Ambrose's identity and that's when Chris Jericho crushed Mitch the potted plant over his head, sending Ambrose off to the hospital. While Mitch did have some value as a plant to Ambrose (and likely represented his brief taste of a different life in WWE), it also injured him, risking his future as a fighter. And if Dean Ambrose has been anything since his time in WWE, it's a fighter.
So when Ambrose returned to take his revenge on Chris Jericho, he decided to take a piece of Jericho's identity. Prior to an advertised main event between Big Cass and Chris Jericho, Ambrose knocked out Jericho, stole his light up jacket, and then tore it to shreds in the ring.
While the jacket carried a cost ($1500 to be precise), it was also a big piece of Jericho. Y2J has often identified himself as a flashy and flamboyant rockstar. He's worn that jacket to make an entrance for the last three years. And now Ambrose has destroyed it.
Since then, Jericho has tried to claim the title that has belonged to Ambrose since the Shield broke up: The title of Lunatic. Dean Ambrose has earned that name through what some can consider his "whacky antics" or his never say die fighting style. For better or worse, it is part of him in WWE. But now Jericho claims he's the lunatic. He's the man who's survived everything in WWE since the almost two decades he debuted. And he's survived every match.
Now, at Extreme Rules this Sunday, they will battle in the first time ever Asylum match, a cage match which weapons hanging and no escape. If these men want to prove to each other they are lunatics, to claim that term as their own, they are going to have to do it in this match.
These men will continue their war with each other tonight at Extreme Rules on the WWE Network, which starts at 8 EST.