REVIEW: WWE SUPERSTARS CHRIS JERICHO
Although I have been a longtime fan of professional wrestling, particularly of the WWE, I'd never really made it much of a point to collect any of the action figures that have been produced over the years.
And certainly there have been action figures. Some of the first were from LJN, although these were little more than large lumps of non-articulated rubber. It's worth mentioning that Hasbro actually made a compatible figure in this form of Sgt. Slaughter as a rather odd extension of their G.I. Joe line. Hasbro would later have the WWE license (then the WWF), and would produce a lengthy series of impressive if rather exaggerated-looking figures. They would be followed by Jakks Pacific, who held the license for a very generous number of years, and turned out a vast array of products.
And now, it's Mattel's turn, and they've been doing a superb job of it. As to why I've never really collected WWE action figures, I suppose it comes down to, as much as anything, having other action figure priorities, and being more than a little overwhelmed by the amount of product available. However, it occurs to me that there are few action figures lines with which I am any sort of completist these days, and there was no reason I couldn't simply pick and choose the WWE figures that I wanted.
Further, Mattel's most basic WWE line, designated "Superstars", was certainly abundantly affordable, especially considering the size and quality of the figure one receives.
One of the additions to my collection is a well-known professional wrestler with a considerable history. His name is CHRIS JERICHO, and I'm going to have to seriously summarize his career to date in the ring if I'm going to fit it into a reasonably-sized review. So allow me to attempt that, and then we'll have a look at his action figure.
Christopher Keith Irvine (born November 9, 1970), known professionally as Chris Jericho, is an American-born Canadian professional wrestler, musician, actor, author and businessman. He is currently signed to WWE, and is also well known for his time in World Championship Wrestling (WCW) and Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW), and internationally in Canadian, Mexican and Japanese promotions.
Jericho has won 30 championships between WWE, WCW, and ECW - the three most prominent American promotions in the 1990s and 2000s. He is credited as being the first Undisputed WWF Champion, having unified the WWF Championship and the World Championship (formerly the WCW Championship) by defeating The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin on the same night in 2001.
In WWE, Jericho is a six-time world champion, having won the WWF Championship once, the WCW/World Championship twice and the World Heavyweight Championship three times. He is also a record nine-time Intercontinental Champion, and the fourth WWE Grand Slam Champion.
Outside of wrestling, Jericho formed the band Fozzy, in 1999, as their lead vocalist. He also competed in the 2011 series of Dancing With the Stars, lasting until the sixth week.
At age 19, Irvine entered the Hart Brothers School of Wrestling. Two months later, he was ready to start wrestling on independent shows, making his debut as "Cowboy" Chris Jerico, on October 2, 1990. He took the name "Jericho" from an album, Walls of Jericho, by German power metal band, Helloween.
In 1991, Jericho and Lance Storm started touring in Japan for Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling, where he befriended Ricky Fuji, who also trained under Stu Hart.
In the winter of 1992, he travelled to Mexico and competed under the name Leon D'Oro, and later Corazón de León, where he wrestled for several small wrestling companies, as well as the largest in the country, Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL). His burgeoning wrestling skills also took him to Japan in 1994, where he competed for Genichiro Tenryu's Wrestling and Romance promotion, facing the likes of Gedo and Último Dragón, to whom he lost the WAR International Junior Heavyweight Championship.
In 1996, thanks in part to recommendations by Chris Benoit and Perry Saturn, to promoter Paul Heyman, and after Mick Foley saw Jericho's match against Último Dragón, Jericho began wrestling for the Philadelphia-based Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) promotion, winning the ECW World Television Championship in June 1996. It was during this time that he drew the attention of World Championship Wrestling.
On August 26, 1996, Jericho made his first appearance with WCW, and on September 15, he appeared at his first pay-per-view show in a match against Chris Benoit at Fall Brawl. In January 1997, Jericho made his debut for New Japan Pro Wrestling, who had a working agreement with WCW, as Super Liger, the masked arch nemesis of Jushin "Thunder" Liger.On June 28, 1997, Jericho defeated Syxx in Los Angeles, California to win the Cruiserweight Championship for the first time. Jericho began his heel run when he won the title a third time by defeating Rey Mysterio, Jr. at Souled Out by forcing him to submit to the Liontamer.
On August 10, 1998, Jericho defeated Stevie Ray to win the World Television Championship (Stevie Ray substituting for the champion Booker T). Soon afterward, Jericho repeatedly called out World Heavyweight Champion Goldberg, in an attempt to begin a feud with him, but never actually wrestled him. Jericho cites Eric Bischoff, Goldberg, and Hulk Hogan's reluctance to book Jericho in a pay-per-view squash match loss against Goldberg, which Jericho felt would be a big draw, as a major reason for his deciding to leave the company.
Jericho's final WCW match came during a Peoria, Illinois house show July 21, 1999, where he and Eddie Guerrero lost a tag team match to Billy Kidman and Rey Mysterio, Jr.
Jericho alternated between WCW and a number of Japanese tours before he signed a contract with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) on June 30. In the weeks before Jericho's debut, a clock labelled "countdown to the new millennium" appeared on WWF programming. On the home video, Break Down the Walls, Jericho states he was inspired to do this as his entrance when he saw a similar clock in a post office. Vince McMahon gave him the green light to use it as his intro to the WWF.
The clock finally ran down on the August 9, 1999 episode of Raw, in Chicago, Illinois. Whilst The Rock was in the ring cutting a promo on the Big Show, Jericho entered the arena and proclaimed "Raw is Jericho" and that he had "come to save the World Wrestling Federation", referring to himself as "Y2J" (a play on the Y2K bug). The Rock proceeded to verbally mock him for his interruption. Later that month, Jericho made his in-ring debut on August 26, 1999, losing by disqualification in a match against Road Dogg on the inaugural episode of SmackDown! after powerbombing Road Dogg through a table.
Jericho's first long-term feud was with Chyna, for the Intercontinental Championship. After losing to Chyna at the Survivor Series, Jericho won his first Intercontinental title at Armageddon. This feud included a controversial decision during a rematch in which two separate referees declared each one of them the winner of a match for the title. As a result, they became co-owners of the title until Jericho attained sole ownership at the Royal Rumble. Jericho's subsequent alliance with Chyna, coupled with growing enthusiasm for his ring work and mic skills, effectively turned him into a face.
At the 2001 Royal Rumble, Jericho defeated Chris Benoit in a Ladder match to win the Intercontinental Championship for the fourth time. At WrestleMania X-Seven, he successfully defended his title in a match against William Regal, only to lose it four days later to Triple H.
At Judgment Day, Jericho and Benoit won a Tag Team Turmoil match and earned a shot at Stone Cold Steve Austin and Triple H for their WWF Tag Team Championship on Raw the next night. Benoit and Jericho won the match, in which Triple H legitimately tore his quadriceps and would spend the rest of the year injured. Benoit and Jericho each became a WWF Tag Team Champion for the first time
In the following months, Jericho became a major force in The Invasion storyline in which WCW and ECW joined forces to overtake the WWF. Jericho remained on the side of the WWF despite previously competing in WCW and ECW. However, Jericho began to show jealousy toward fellow WWF member The Rock. They faced each other in a match at No Mercy for the WCW Championship after Jericho defeated Rob Van Dam in a number one contenders match. Jericho won the WCW Championship when he pinned The Rock after debuting a new finisher, the Breakdown.
One night later, the two put their differences aside and won the WWF Tag Team title from the Dudley Boyz. After they lost the title to Test and Booker T, they continued their feud. On the November 5 episode of Raw, The Rock defeated Jericho to regain the WCW Championship. Following the match, Jericho attacked The Rock with a steel chair. At the Survivor Series, Jericho almost cost The Rock, and the WWF, victory in their elimination matchup by attacking The Rock again, turning heel once again.
Jericho was later drafted to Raw, where he won the Intercontinental Championship from Rob Van Dam. He then later formed a tag team with Christian, with whom he won the World Tag Team Championship, on October 14, 2002. Christian and Jericho lost the title in a fatal four-way elimination match, involving the teams of The Dudley Boyz, Booker T and Goldust, and William Regal and Lance Storm, on December 15, 2002 at Armageddon.
On January 13, 2003, Jericho won an over-the-top-rope challenge against Kane, RVD, and Batista to select his entry number for the Royal Rumble match. He chose number two in order to start the match with Shawn Michaels, who had challenged Jericho to prove his claims that he was better than Michaels. Jericho and Michaels fought again at WrestleMania XIX. In the end, Michaels scored the victory.
Later, Jericho turned on WWE Champion John Cena, turned heel once again. Jericho lost a Triple Threat match for the WWE Championship at Vengeance which also involved Christian and Cena. The feud continued throughout the summer and Jericho lost to Cena in a WWE Championship match at SummerSlam. His last appearance in WWE on the next night on the August 22 episode of Raw, Jericho faced Cena again in a rematch, this time in a "You're fired" match. Cena won again, and Jericho was fired by Raw General Manager Eric Bischoff, after the match, Jericho turned on Bischoff. However, Jericho was carried out of the arena by security, Kurt Angle attacked Cena. WWE announced that Jericho's WWE contract had expired on August 25, 2005.
After a two-year hiatus, WWE promoted Jericho's return starting September 24, 2007 with a viral marketing campaign using a series of 15-second cryptic binary code videos, similar to the matrix digital rain featured in The Matrix series. The videos contained hidden messages and biblical links related to Jericho. Jericho made his return to WWE television as a face on the November 19, 2007 episode of Raw when he interrupted Randy Orton. Jericho revealed his intentions to reclaim the WWE Championship in order to "save" WWE fans from Orton. On the November 26 episode of Raw, Jericho defeated Santino Marella and debuted a new finishing maneuver called the Codebreaker
In April 2008, Jericho became involved in the ongoing feud between Shawn Michaels and Batista when he suggested that Michaels enjoyed retiring Ric Flair, causing Michaels to superkick him. Jericho thus asked to be inserted into Batista's and Michaels' match at Backlash, but instead, he was appointed as the special guest referee
On the June 9 episode of Raw, Jericho hosted his talk show segment, The Highlight Reel, interviewing Michaels. Jericho pointed out that Michaels was still cheered by the fans despite Michaels' deceit and attack on Jericho during the previous months, whereas Jericho was booed when he tried to do the right thing. Jericho then assaulted Michaels with a low blow and sent Michaels through the "Jeritron 5000" television, damaging Michaels' eye, thus Jericho turned heel for the first time since 2005. At Night of Champions, Jericho lost the Intercontinental Title to Kofi Kingston after a distraction by Michaels.
Afterward, Jericho developed a suit-wearing "self righteous honest man" gimmick inspired by Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem) from the film No Country for Old Men. In doing so, Jericho purposely shed many of the trademarks associated with the "Y2J" character. Jericho and Michaels met at The Great American Bash, which Jericho won.
Jericho ended his feud with Michaels by beating Michaels in a Last Man Standing match on the November 10 episode of Raw after interference from John "Bradshaw" Layfield. Jericho's reign as World Champion lasted until the 2008 Survivor Series, where Jericho lost to the returning John Cena.
In 2009, after tag-teaming with Edge for a time, Jericho would form a tag-team with the Big Show, calling themselves Jeri-Show. Jeri-Show defeated Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase to retain the championship. The 140 day reign of Jeri-Show as Unified Tag Team Champions came to an end at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pay-per-view at the hands of D-Generation X.
Following various feuds, as well as being part of the group of WWE Superstats that tried to counter the efforts of The Nexus, a group of NXT wrestlers who had united to "invade" the WWE, on the September 27 episode of Raw, Jericho faced Randy Orton who punted him in the head. This was used to explain Jericho's departure from the company.
Beginning in November 2011, WWE aired six cryptic vignettes that implied that someone would be returning to the company during the broadcast of the January 2, 2012 episode of Raw. Jericho returned on the January 2 episode of Raw in a similar manner to his two previous WWE introductions; however, after physically hyping the crowd and relishing their cheers for a prolonged period, a smiling Jericho left without verbally addressing his return.
Jericho finally spoke a couple of weeks later to say, "This Sunday at the Royal Rumble, it is going to be the end of the world as you know it", but in the Royal Rumble match, he was eliminated last, by Sheamus.
In 2012, Jericho began returning to his 1999-2001 Y2J character when he explained his actions by claiming all the other wrestlers in WWE were imitations of himself, referring to many main-eventers and naming CM Punk as the worst offender by calling himself the "Best in the World".
On the June 25 episode of Raw Supershow Jericho interrupted, John Cena, announcing himself as the third man in the WWE Championship Money in the Bank match alongside Cena and the Big Show. At Money in the Bank, he was unsuccessful.
The following night on Raw, Jericho confronted newly crowned Mr. Money in the Bank, Dolph Ziggler, however Ziggler would interrupt him and claim that he had lost his touch. This resulted in Jericho hitting Ziggler with a Codebreaker, thus turning face.
At SummerSlam, Jericho defeated Ziggler in a singles match by locking him in the Walls of Jericho. The following night on Raw, Ziggler defeated Jericho in a rematch; as a result, Ziggler retained his Money in the Bank contract and Jericho's WWE contract was terminated as per a the pre-match stipulation put in place by Raw general manager, AJ Lee. After the match, Jericho attacked Ziggler with his own briefcase and hit a Codebreaker before leaving the arena. This was used to write him off so he could tour with Fozzy for the remainder of the year.
On January 27, 2013, Jericho made his return entering the Royal Rumble match as the second entrant. Jericho lasted over 47 minutes before being eliminated by Dolph Ziggler. Jericho later revealed to Ziggler that due to a managerial change on Raw, he had been rehired, resuming his feud with Ziggler.
Jericho is also the lead singer for the rock band, Fozzy. Since their debut album in 2000, Fozzy have released five studio albums; Fozzy, Happenstance, All That Remains, Chasing the Grail, Sin and Bones, and one live album, Remains Alive.
I know that was some lengthy reading, but believe me, it was as basic a summary as I could manage and still be respectful to the individual.
So, how's the figure? Really very nicely done. As I've said in other reviews of these WWE figures, one of my main criteria for bringing a WWE Superstar figure into my collection, is how much the figure actually looks like the individual. Fortunately, the packages for the WWE Superstars line feature photographs of the actual person.
In Chris Jericho's case, the likeness is excellent. The face might be a little on the narrow side, but it's well within an acceptable range. I will say that for the most part, Mattel does an excellent job sculpting these faces. There haven't been many I've seen that I thought were really off the mark. A few, but not many.
Which brings me to my other main criteria -- facial expression. There have been a number of instances in which Mattel has given a WWE action figure a quirky facial expression. Now, this might be an expression that the wrestler in question does in fact use as part of his in-ring or interview gimmick, but generally speaking, that person will not maintain that singular expression throughout the entirety of a match or an interview. And I think it would get a little annoying to look at that expression every time I look at the figure.
Fortunately, the Chris Jericho figure doesn't have any oddball expression on his face. It's just a basic, straightforward expression, on a sculpt that is a really superb likeness of the individual.
Chris Jericho has dark blonde hair, which he generally wears rather short these days, with a tendency to frizz or spike it up a bit on the top. This can be anything from relatively minimal to looking like he stuck his finger in an electrical socket before coming down the entrance ramp. Either that, or there's a short in the jacket that he wears to the ring. Chris Jericho has a light-up jacket with the approximate level of blinking, flashing lights on it that the average person might string on a Christmas tree.
The figure does not come with a light-up, blinking jacket -- although there's an Elite Collection version of Jericho that has a jacket with glow in the dark details on it -- and his hair has been sculpted, in great detail, to look a bit frizzy in the front, but otherwise is fairly neatly combed.
The Chris Jericho figure stands very slightly under seven inches in height. This puts him in the same height range as figures such as John Cena and The Miz. I must compliment Mattel on the wide range of body types that they have created for their WWE line. These aren't super-heroes, or Masters of the Universe. These figures are based on real people who, while needing to be in generally excellent physical condition to do what they do in the ring, do have different physiques, and not just because some are taller or shorter than others.
Mattel has allowed for this, with a wide range of body parts and types that see some multiple use, but not as much as some of their other lines, and it definitely makes for more distinctive WWE figures. I have no problem with multiple-use parts in lines that can get away with it, such as DC Universe and Masters of the Universe, but a process like that is ill-suited to the WWE line, and Mattel clearly recognizes this.
Chris Jericho is wearing black trunks, with a very ornate (and rather hard to define) yellow and blue design on the front and back, that has the word "Jericho" spelled out in it in jagged black letters. There is also some silver patterning on the sides of the trunks.
Jericho is wearing very large, black knee pads, which, although separately molded pieces attached to the figure during assembly, almost seem to merge with the boots, which are also black. The fronts of the boots have designs on them very much akin to those on his trunks, also with the word "Jericho" in them. There is also silver striping down the sides.
Interestingly, the boots do not have visible laces on them, but there appears to be sculpted detail that would indicate zippers in the back. Impressive detail work on Mattel's part. Completing the outfit are black wristbands, painted on the lower arms.
Jericho reportedly has four tattoos, two of which are on his left hand. The first is his wife, Jessica's name, which is tattooed on his ring finger. The second, is the letter "F" (representing Fozzy) on the back of his hand, which Irvine had tattooed in June 2011. On September 12, 2012, Irvine got his third tattoo, the album artwork of Fozzy's fifth studio album, on his left arm. Irvine had his fourth tattoo, a jack-o-lantern, done on September 28, 2012.
Mattel is very good about duplicating tattoos on these WWE figures, and quite a few WWE superstars do indeed have tattoos. These range from relatively small ones, to some seriously extensive work on folks like Rey Mysterio, CM Punk, or the Undertaker.
However, only one tattoo appears on the Chris Jericho figure. I suspect the ring finger tattoo was just a little too small for Mattel to duplicate. The very stylized "F" does appear on the back of his left hand. As for the other two, they're not present. However, given when Chris Jericho got these tattoos, in September of 2012, and given the lead time necessary in manufacturing action figures, I suspect that this Chris Jericho figure was made before the real Chris Jericho got the tattoos.
One can't help but wonder how frustrating this might be for Mattel, trying to keep up with this sort of thing, and I doubt it's the first time it's happened. You can literally watch the progression of tattoos over the years with some WWE Superstars. Maybe the next Jericho figure that comes out...?
Chris Jericho is very well articulated, and is fully poseable at the head, arms, upper arm swivels, elbows, wrists, legs, knees, boot tops, and ankles. Some might criticize the fact that the figure doesn't have mid-torso articulation, nor do the legs move in an outward direction, but these WWE Superstars are the basic line. If you want those additional points of articulation, you need to head into the Elite Collection. These are excellent figures, but they also cost about 1-1/2 times as much as the Superstars Collection. For me, that's a bit much for that degree of articulation difference. I'm entirely content with the Superstars.
So, what's my final word? The WWE is one of the most popular outlets of entertainment around today, and certainly Mattel is doing a superb job with these action figures. Chris Jericho is a longtime and prominent member of the wrestling community, having worked for all of the major American organizations, as well as overseas, and has established for himself an impressive career. Certainly any fan of the WWE will want to add him to their action figure collection, and this is really an excellent rendition of him.
The WWE SUPERSTARS figure of CHRIS JERICHO definitely has my highest recommendation!