Shawn Michaels is considered the best in-ring performer in Wrestlemania history, but many people are not giving Chris Jericho enough credit because he’s the one who should be considered “Mr. Wrestlemania.” On paper, the WWE Universe would not even consider a discussion about anyone else but The Heartbreak Kid having the moniker of “Mr. Wrestlemania.” However, those same people need to take another look at Y2J.
In my opinion, there is more to being “Mr. Wrestlemania” than having great matches on the grandest stage of them all. If that were the case, you could argue that John Cena, The Undertaker, or Hulk Hogan and some people do. The nickname was bestowed on HBK because he had the best match of the night each year, which is how many people measure success. That is valid, but I believe people are too focused on who had the best match. I think that there is something to be said about someone making the most out of what they’re given.
By that logic, Shawn Michaels had an advantage in most years that other WWE Superstars didn’t have. I am not saying that HBK didn’t earn that right to be booked with other great performers, but someone like Chris Jericho wasn’t afforded the opportunities to face Bret Hart, The Undertaker, or John Cena on the grandest stage of them all. Instead, he was able to get good or great matches out in less hyped matches and situations.
Shawn Michaels became “Mr. Wrestlemania” after lasting sixty minutes in an Ironman match with Hall of Famer Bret Hart and beating him in overtime. The famous quote, “The boyhood dream has come true” is a significant part of WWE history. However, HBK wouldn’t have another great match on the grandest stage of them all until Wrestlemania 19 against Chris Jericho. HBK versus Y2J stole the show in Seattle that night.
Over the next few years, Michaels had great matches with Kurt Angle, Ric Flair, John Cena, The Undertaker, and even Vince McMahon. Aside from the latter, everyone mentioned is a WWE Hall of Famer or will be in the near future. HBK had some of the greatest WWE Superstars to work with on the grandest stage of them all. It’s not surprising in the slightest that the matches were amazing and considered to be some of the best.
There is no doubt that Shawn Michaels vs. Undertaker at Wrestlemania 25 is one of the greatest matches of all time. WWE just ranked it as the top match in Wrestlemania history on a recent list on WWE.com. But if you look at the card, Chris Jericho was putting on good matches under the radar without a ton of attention.
For instance, Chris Jericho was part of a three on one handicap match against Jimmy Snuka, Rowdy Roddy Piper, and Rickie Steamboat. Not a great match, but highly entertaining because of Y2J’s heel work. He also had good matches with William Regal, Chris Benoit, Kurt Angle, participated in Money in the Bank ladder matches, and even put over Fandango at Wrestlemania 29. Jericho did the best with what he was given.
There are great matches with CM Punk, Edge, and Shawn Michaels on his Wrestlemania resume. However, you can’t help but wonder if we would be calling Chris Jericho “Mr. Wrestlemania” if WWE officials had put him in better matches. Y2J main evented Wrestlemania 18 with HHH, but that match was overshadowed by Hulk Hogan vs. The Rock. The one time Jericho was given a chance to perform like HBK was against him.
I know the WWE Universe will never reconsider Jericho to be the new “Mr. Wrestlemania.” No one is trying to argue that Jericho is better than him. The point is that he could have been a more important performer in Wrestlemania history if he had been given the chance. Shawn Michaels will always be “Mr. Wrestlemania,” and that’s awesome, but Jericho could have taken that role from him if WWE history was a little different.
[Featured Image by WWE]