They said he was too small to ever be a "main-event superstar." They said he couldn't "win the big one." Chris Jericho proved them all wrong.
Jericho first appeared on WWE television on the August 9, 1999, episode of RAW -- live from Chicago. Windy City fans have a reputation for being rabid -- and on that day, they more than lived up to it. When "Jericho" appeared on the Titan Tron, the fans went crazy. A star was born. Jericho immediately gave himself a nickname -- Y2J -- to emphasize that he was the superstar for the new millennium.
During the ensuing two years, Jericho won the Intercontinental Championship on four occasions, the Tag Team Championship twice, and the European and Hardcore titles as well. An impressive resume to be sure, but after coming in with such a bang, some critics suggested that his first two years with the company had been a disappointment because he didnít win the WWE Championship. Before coming to WWE, Jericho had four unquestionably disappointing years in WCW, so some doubters suggested that Jericho lacked the size necessary to ever make it to the top. It certainly couldn't have been a lack of charisma or athletic ability - Jericho has those to spare.
Finally, in late 2001, Jericho forced all his doubters to, as he would say, "shut the hell up." He "won the big one," defeating The Rock at October's No Mercy Pay-Per-View to capture the WCW Championship. Then, in December at Vengeance, he became the only man to defeat The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same night, and thus became the Undisputed Champion.
That night, Dec. 9 in San Diego, Calif., he also became the only superstar to have held five different WWE titles.
With all those accolades, it is perhaps no surprise that Y2J took on a significantly more conceited attitude in subsequent weeks. He'll step in the ring and get face to face with a man like Ric Flair -- arguably sports entertainment's greatest of all time -- and call himself a "larger-than-life superstar" and a "living legend." He'll insist that fans "clap their filthy little hands" in his honor.
It may seem unbelievable to many fans. After all, Y2J was one of the World Wrestling Entertainment's most popular superstars. But even if they want to boo, his detractors can never again say that Y2J won't make it to the top. In 2001, Chris Jericho proved them all wrong when he became the first-ever WWE Undisputed Champion.