The news came out recently that none other than Chris Jericho was voted as the Wrestler of the Year for 2019 in the annual Wrestling Observer Newsletter Awards. By my estimation, this makes him the oldest wrestler to ever win the award at 49 years of age. This is his third time winning the award after his peak WWE career years in 2008 and 2009.
This makes no sense to me.
Chris Jericho, by no means, had a bad year. In fact for the way that he was utilized, I’d say that he pretty much achieved most of what he was meant to. As a big name used to lend credibility to All Elite Wrestling as a budding new promotion, he was an ideal pick as he carries decade’s worth of good will from fans across multiple eras of wrestling going as far back as the Attitude Era all the way into the early PG WWE era. People know Chris Jericho and as a business move, it makes perfect sense to showcase him as a top level wrestler.
But was he the best wrestler in the world in 2019?
If you’ve seen my own personal list, you’ll already know my answer to that question. So why do this project? Well, I suppose it’s an exercise in questioning my own biases which I think we all should do every now and then in pro wrestling. Perhaps there was something I missed or just didn’t see the first time around. If so, then I’ll gladly talk up Jericho’s positive attributes in this project.
More likely though, this will end up merely an exercise in confirmation bias for myself. From there, what remains is merely to put forth an argument that by no means is Chris Jericho the 2019 Wrestler of the Year. I will be transparent and tell you that I fully expect nothing about this project to change that assertion of mine. Instead, this venue will provide me a space to examine Jericho’s flaws as a worker in 2019 and hopefully even help dispel the myth that has somehow propagated about Jericho being a Greatest of All Time candidate. That latter assertion might be harder to prove isolating only his work in 2019 but I do think that there will be points to discuss that will tie themselves into that as it’s a narrative that really makes very little sense to me at all.
So, just to be clear, Chris Jericho wrestled twelve matches in 2019 across two different promotions. I can confirm that I have already watched all these matches so this will be a rewatch project with me reviewing each match individually for this blog. I will make time to discuss his promos as I do believe that has built the real solid foundation of his case as WOTY for most people.
So I hope you read along and keep up with this project as I try to explain why Chris Jericho was NOT the 2019 Wrestler of the Year.
The Year of Jericho reviews can be found here.