Like a werewolf in London (his hair was perfect), Chris Jericho returned to our wrestling world last night at WWE's Royal Rumble pay-per-view (PPV). It was a truly remarkable feat; no major or minor, legitimate or social media outlet even had a hint of his plans.
So when "Break the wall down" hit the sound system at US Airways Center and the only thing lighting the stage was that incredible jacket, this writer and a ton of fans around the globe got to mark out like the internet hadn't ever been invented. Except that after we screamed and high-fived, we commented, tweeted and touted about it.
But what now? Jericho has been active with his band Fozzy and vocal about that being a big focus of his career now. How long will the Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rolla be in sports entertainment this go 'round? He's the host of Robot Combat League debuting Feb. 26 on WWE partner network SyFy. Who will he have time to wrestle with on our television screens?
A WWE.com exclusive video seems to answer a few questions right off the bat. In the clip, a backstage video from last night's Rumble, Jericho talks about being "re-hired". In kayfabe, Jericho was terminated last August when he lost to Dolph Ziggler in a rematch of their contest on the SummerSlam PPV. The rematch added a stipulation pitting Ziggler's Money in the Bank contract against Jericho's employment contract.
In story, it appears that changes in management (current Ziggler paramour AJ Lee was General Manager of Raw when Chris was let go) have allowed Jericho to re-sign with the company. Y2J also mentions in the clip that he will be on Ziggler's case "day-in, day-out" for "weeks, months, a year". We can be assured that this was not the proverbial one-shot deal; the first undisputed WWE Champion and Dancing with the Stars alum is back - for now.
A continuation of his feud with the Show Off also looks to be a lock, based on their work in the Rumble match last night (Ziggler edged Jericho in time for the Iron Man prize and eliminated him from the match), the WWE.com video and information circulating through the internet dirt sheets. Several rumors point to his going with the cheers he received last night and working a program as a babyface against the holder of the blue Money in the Bank briefcase through the Elimination Chamber PPV.
From there, the buzz has him turning heel and battling Ryback up to and at Wrestlemania XXIX. Reports indicate that he will exit the WWE following 'Mania, most likely to free him for a summer touring with Fozzy.
It is probably a safe bet that Ziggler and Ryback will emerge victorious from their conflicts with Jericho. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion has long been on record stating that, at this point in his career, he believes his role in wrestling is to make new stars. Both Dolph and the Hungry One are guys that WWE is counting on having around the main event for the next several years, and both are in need of some wins to add luster to their reputations after coming up short in feuds against John Cena and CM Punk, respectively.
How do these rumored plans sound to you, Cagesiders? Excited as I am for whatever it is Jericho wants to do in WWE? Still wondering what was up with his hair last night? Let us know in the comments, and stay tuned to Cageside Seats for any news or updates on the "Best in the World at What He Does".