WWE – The Road Is Jericho (Cert 15)
2 Discs Blu-ray / 3 Discs DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 411 minutes approx.
Chris Jericho – King of the Jerichoholics, Y2J, The Ayatollah Of Rock & Rolla, The Man of A 1004 Holds, The Best In The World At What He Does – gets a second DVD dedicated to his illustrious career, following on from the 2010 release Breaking the Code. While that title contained a retrospective documentary and a selection of matches this one is all matches, with links provided by the man himself.
Filmed in the back of a limo en route to as Fozzy gig – the rock band for which Jericho is the lead singer, just one of his many “other jobs” outside of wrestling – we are treated to a little insight into the matches presented in this set, and the occasional comic aside where our host reveals a loose grip on everyday reality – vis a vis his inability open a cup of coffee or recognise a film camera!
The match list was handpicked by Jericho himself and features bouts to compliment those on the previous DVD, which Jericho claims he has never seen. It kicks off with his ECW TV Title win in 1996 over Pitbull #2 in a fun match although male viewers may be distracted by the near naked Francine at ringside. Not the greatest match but it does remind us of how much fun ECW was back in the day with the arena faithful in full vocal enthusiasm mode.
Representing his WCW run we get two PPV matches against Ultimo Dragon and Dean Malenko. For the first Jericho admitted that no-one cared about the match as this was during the height of the nWo period but the quality of their work won the fans over in the end. The Malenko match was the first of their feud in which Jericho caused Malenko to rethink his career, resulting in a great angle to conclude it a few months later
From hereon in every match is from the WWF/WWE and we learn that upon arriving from WCW, Jericho wasn’t well liked by the WWF locker room for coming from the competition (how very mature) and his wrestling style which was at that point much more exciting than the punch-kick style of the WWF at the time. Jericho reveals that Vince McMahon appointed Sean “X-Pac” Waltman as his personal agent so any match or idea he had, he was to run it by Waltman first, which at the time Jericho didn’t appreciate.
We get roughly one match per year with a little backstage story or a personal anecdote accompanying each one as before. Interestingly, one match – against Austin with Mick Foley a special referee from Monday Night RAW in 2001 – Jericho has no recollection of at all, which bemuses him as he said he would assuredly remember something of that magnitude. Truth is, I had forgotten it too but as Jericho points out, in the current era of big TV and PPV matches occurring regularly it is easy to forget the odd match or two.
This in some ways is the appeal of this set as I am sure many of the RAW and Smackdown matches will have been long forgotten by us fans since we usually indulge in countless hours of wrestling a week. And if not every match is a bona fide classic, they have been chosen by Jericho for personal reasons and as it stands, the picks have been of a rather high standard.
For the later matches the curtain gets pulled back more as the reason behind the choices are relative to how the business works than a personal reflection by our host. For instance we see a dark match against John Cena which Jericho explains is often the only advanced advertised match for a TV taping and insist they deliver no matter how tired the wrestlers are. Or Jericho talks about how he likes to work with younger guys who he is happy to put over if they are going to get a push, but often they don’t when their next match against a “lesser” opponent.
This makes Jericho seem like he has a high opinion of himself with such pronouncements but to be fair he is one the best and most reliable workers today, and can usually have a good match with most people. With a 25 year career to his credit which boasts many great matches perhaps he can afford to be a little big headed but Jericho does also share this credit with his opponents, pointing out their good points as a worker and why his matches against them work.
One particular story which will make British fans squirm concerns a street fight Jericho had against Shawn Michaels during a RAW taping on these fair shores in 2008. The match took place in Manchester (and not London as Jericho claims) but as ever the usual UK-centric stage setting of the red telephone box and the black cab was in place. However Jericho kept referring to the cab simply as a “UK car” which I am sure will make others cringe a much as it did me!
Despite the more well known matches already having been featured in the previous release the selection presented to us on The Road Is Jericho is a fairly comprehensive look at the extensive and varied career of one of the more charismatic and competent wrestlers of the past two decades – sans his Japanese, Mexican and SMW output naturally.
Held together by the enlightening and entertaining stories this is a great set that should satiate the thirst of any Jerichoholic out there!
English SDH Subtitles
Landing Butt First
WWE IC Title Ladder Match – Chris Jericho (c) vs. Christian – Unforgiven – September 12th 2004
WWE IC Title Match – Chris Jericho (c) vs. Rey Mysterio – Monday Night RAW – June 15th 2009
Pushed Out Of The Nest
Chris Jericho vs Evan Bourne – Fatal Four Way – June 20th 2010
The Ultimate Violation
Chris Jericho vs CM Punk – Payback – June 16th 2013
Rating – ****
Man In Black