Although it is not THAT long since we got a full length documentary release on the career of Chris Jericho from WWE Home Video, it is fair to say that Jericho has been around long enough and had enough good-to-great matches to warrant a compilation of them like this. Whilst I am less of fan of the current Y2J than I was of him in, say, the early years of this century I would have no qualms about calling him one of the most talented in-ring performers the WWE has seen in the last twenty years. It is therefore with great anticipation that I slotted this 20 match compilation (with a further four BluRay only exclusives) into the machine and sat down to watch.
My mood darkened within the first few minutes as the conceit that Jericho is being interviewed in a stretch limo as he travels from one Fozzy gig to another seemed a way of not only shoehorning in an obligatory Fozzy mention but also a way of subliminally suggesting that Jericho is so busy with his band that there was no way he could spare half a day in the studio to document his thoughts on the matches herein. (I joke of course, knowing full well that the recent Mr. WrestleMania BluRay saw Shawn Michaels interviewed in a hotel room). That Jericho immediately springs to his own defence and claims he doesn’t take any time off from the WWE (merely that he has other priorities in his life) could have been a signal of what is to come, but after these opening moments, his pre-match comments become a lot more interesting.
There’s only one ECW match (his TV title win against PitBull #2) and two WCW matches (clashes with El Ultimo Dragon and Dean Malenko) from before his WWE stint. The ECW match is historically important (being Jericho’s first “big” title win in North America) and whilst the two WCW bouts are good, he’s had better with both men. From there it’s WWF matches all the way.
Jericho is candid about his struggles to adapt to the WWE style (whilst at the same time putting it over as “the” way to work) and acknowledges the help that X-Pac gave him at that time before we see their exciting Cage match from No Mercy 2000. There’s laughter as we go from Jericho spilling a cup of hot coffee over Kane to a Last Man Standing match at Armageddon 2000. Next is a match from Raw in June 2001 against Steve Austin that Jericho admits he can’t remember, despite the fact that Mick Foley was a special ringside enforcer before another Raw match, this time against Booker T. The inclusion of a WWE UK PPV match against Kurt Angle from Rebellion 2001 pleased me as I was in the Manchester Evening News crowd that night and the fact it is such a great match is all the more astounding given Jericho’s recollections of the hectic travel schedule making a one night UK tour meant.
Jericho rightly puts over how good his match with The Rock from Royal Rumble 2002 was and has some funny stories about working out the finish before suggesting that he is the George Harrison of the WWE compared to The Rock and Stone Cold’s Lennon and McCartney. Whether you agree with his analogy is for you to make your own mind up about. Four more TV matches end Disc 1 of the BluRay. A battle with Triple H is apparently on here because it’s the only time Jericho beat him and is accompanied by the admission that neither liked each other in the beginning, whilst Jericho puts over the “X Factor” of Jeff Hardy prior to their match. His match with Edge isn’t the best on the collection by any means but the fact that Jericho reveals how The Rated R Superstar’s injuries (and other external forces) put paid to planned feuds a number of times is an eye opener. Things wrap up for now with a Last Man Standing match with Shawn Michaels from a London Raw in November 2008. It certainly ends the first disc on a high note.
Disc 2 starts with another gimmick match, this time against John Cena in a Streetfight, a dark match from a Raw Taping. Jericho puts over the fact that he and Cena like to “work” dark matches properly, hinting that some on the roster don’t. A PPV match against Rey Misterio, in which Jericho’s Intercontinental Title is put on the line against Rey’s mask, is fun but perhaps not the match it would have been a decade earlier. A three-way tag match from Madison Sqaure Gardens in November 2009 where Jeri-Show take on Cena & The Undertaker and D-X is a prime example of star power taking over a match, as Jericho himself admits; the match is on here because of the setting and the stars, not the quality. It’s also the last match for over two years on this compilation as Jericho doesn’t take any time off again before waltzing back into the WWE to battle CM Punk over the world title at WrestleMania…It’s not that bout that’s here, but the Extreme Rules 2012 Chicago Streetfight with Punk. It’s a very good bout, and Jericho tells some interesting tales about what angle he would have liked to add to the feud.
A Raw match with Rob Van Dam from July 2013 is another one of those that would have been better a decade or so ago, but a Steel Cage match from last September pitting Y2J against Bray Wyatt is a very good bout indeed. Jericho says that he doesn’t simply want to come back to the WWE just for the sake of it and it’s feuds like the one with Wyatt that keep his creative juices flowing. The main feature wraps up with Jericho’s Night Of Champions 2014 bout with Randy Orton which is another satisfying encounter.
The BluRay features four exclusive matches, and accompanying comments from Jericho. A ladder match from 2004’s Unforgiven against Christian is a solid affair and a Payback 2013 bout against Punk is a heated battle. I’m less enamoured with a June 2009 Raw match against Rey Misterio and also feel that a bout from 2010’s Fatal Four Way PPV against Evan Bourne simply doesn’t do what it set out to do. Jericho suggests that after Bourne feuded with him he had no chance of progressing because anything after fighting Y2J is a comedown.
All in all this is a very good compilation. Although it relies on a few too many TV matches at times (presumably to live up to the “rare” portion of the subtitle now that all PPV’s are on the Network) there’s little here that disappoints in terms of matches. A wide range of opponents means that things never get stale and for the most part Jericho’s comments are interesting and note-worthy. It’s not the definitive Jericho collection, but it makes a fantastic companion piece to the Breaking The Code set.
Thank you to our partners, WWEDVD.co.uk and Fetch.fm for providing our review copy of The Road is Jericho – Epic Stories & Rare Matches from Y2J.The Road is Jericho – Epic Stories & Rare Matches from Y2J is available DVD & Blu-Ray from Monday, March 16th 2015 in the UK and on Tuesday, March 10th 2015 in the USA. You can pre-order your copy from WWEDVD.co.uk now by clicking here.