Chris Jericho has worn many hats in AEW. He’s the company’s biggest mainstream star following his time in WWE. His presence and seemingly effortless ability to get catchphrases over have helped AEW go viral. He was the company’s first world champion and remains its top heel. He’s helped mentor AEW’s young roster, from opponents like Darby Allin to Inner Circle teammates like Sammy Guevara.
Jericho’s latest role in AEW is one of his most important yet, as he’s joined the announce team on recent episodes of Dynamite. With the rest of the announce team sidelined due to COVID-19, Jericho and fellow WCW alumnus Tony Schiavone have been left to hold down the fort on commentary.
Jericho’s commentary has been a highlight of recent episodes. He’s been able to further feuds with everyone from the Elite to Vanguard 1. He’s also called out anyone who gets on his nerves, which has covered basically everyone at the lightly attended shows from referee Aubrey Edwards to enhancement talent Suge D, who Jericho dubbed “Pineapple Pete” for his colorful attire. He even took a shot at Hikaru Shida’s hometown of Kanagawa, Japan, calling it “a dump.”
Jericho’s commentary has been fitting for a top heel used to feuding with everyone in the promotion, but he doesn’t just talk trash. Kenny Omega’s match with Alan Angels was a good example of how Jericho was able to elevate a squash match with his commentary.
Jericho brought up his enmity for Omega, calling him a “pumpkin-headed dipsh*t.” He also referenced their shared history in New Japan Pro Wrestling, where they first worked together, with Schiavone calling their match at Wrestle Kingdom 12 a classic.
Jericho also referenced Omega’s brief history in WWE developmental by talking about his time in Deep South Wrestling, where Omega wrestled early in his career. Jericho talked about how he wasn’t used properly in DSW, one of the few things Omega’s likely to agree with him about since Kenny lasted less than a year there before requesting his release.
But Jericho’s biggest contribution to the match was justifying its existence by bringing up the advantages of it for both competitors. For Omega, it was a way to keep his skills sharp, like a “stand-up comedian dropping in to Yuks Yuks to do five minutes just to keep his chops up,” while also padding his win total for AEW’s singles rankings.
For Angels, Jericho argued that the match was something to add onto his resume and demo reel to show promoters. It’s hard to argue that a nationally televised match with Omega wouldn’t be good for any indie wrestler’s career when indie promotions start running shows again.
Of course, it’s unlikely that Jericho is actively auditioning for a full time spot on AEW’s commentary team. Jericho is still an active competitor with main event matches in his future against the Elite and Matt Hardy. AEW’s announcer roster is also pretty stacked at the moment, with Schiavone usually working a three man booth with Excalibur and Jim Ross. Taz, who worked as a color commentator in WWE and TNA, is also in the mix.
Unlike most wrestlers turned commentators, Jericho still has plenty of gas left in the tank. Given his famous durability and AEW’s relaxed schedule, Jericho could very well wrestle for many years to come. Like fellow AEW roster member Dustin Rhodes or New Japan’s Minoru Suzuki, he’s still performing at a high level at a time when most wrestlers are preparing to retire (or only wrestle for Saudi Arabian paydays). That said, he will be 50 in November. Jericho’s recent run on commentary has shown that he will still be able to contribute to AEW once he finally hangs up his boots, whenever that is.
Jericho’s ability to be entertaining, add context to the matches he’s calling, and put over the competitors while still being a thorough heel puts him in good company. His announcing has recalled all time greats like Jesse Ventura and Bobby Heenan, and is even more impressive given how he’s never done commentary before. The closest he’s come so far was working as backstage interviewer Clint Bobski on WWE’s late, lamented territory wrestling parody Southpaw Regional Wrestling. As entertaining as he was in that role was then, no one could have predicted he’d get the chance to show off his announcing chops for real one day.
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Chris Jericho's recent run on commentary proves he has a future in announcing whenever he's ready to retire from the ring.