Jericho winning the Undisputed Title at Vengeance 2001 - Was it really unexpected?
I was watching the Monday Night Wars documentary at the Network recently and the episode on Chris Jericho they talked about how him winning the Undisputed title at Vengeance 2001 was something no one saw coming or was totally unexpected.
Then over the years I've heard comments on people saying the same thing regarding this topic.
I always wondered. Was this really that Unexpected?
I ask because the moment I heard that in Vengeance 2001 was going to be a mini-tournament to determine the Undisputed Championship between The Rock, Austin, Kurt Angle, and Chris Jericho from the get go I was predicting Jericho to win.
Now people may not believe me and say I have the benefit of hindsight and yes I wasn't 100% sure at the time. But If I was going to put money into who was winning I was somewhat comfortable in picking Jericho at the time.
If you look at the circumstances, at the time, there were many reasons to think Jericho was winning the title:
1. Vengeance 2001 was at December meaning Wrestlemania 18 was only a few months away. Now traditionally the Champion heading to Wrestlemania is normally a heel. Now if Austin stayed a heel after Survivor Series 2001 I probably would have predicted Austin to win but he already turned back to a right after Survivor Series and The Rock was a face as well. That leaves us between Kurt Angle or Chris Jericho which brings us to reason #2.
2. Between Angle and Jericho, Jericho was the one with the most heat and momentum as a heel. He turned his back on Team WWF at Survivor Series and already has started a feud with The Rock which, at the time, was still pretty fresh. If you were going to keep the momentum of Jericho's recent heel turn giving him the title would be it.
3. Triple H's return. In my mind I was thinking that WMX8 was going to be between Triple H vs. Jericho for some reason. Maybe it's because they had some great matches in the past and do have a history but the moment Triple H's return had a timeline you knew that he was winning The Rumble and I felt Jericho vs. Triple H made sense since both Austin and Rock were babyfaces and Angle/Triple H might be a tad redundant since we saw that Triple H/Stephanie/Angle story line already.
4. Finally it's fresh. Angle, Rock, and Austin were all previous World Title holders. Jericho, held the WCW for a couple of weeks ony, it seems like if WWE wanted to generate interest and present something fresh giving it to Jericho would make the most sense. WWE was, at the time, creatively stagnant and they just killed of the Invasion storyline. So to try something new why not take a chance at Jericho? Plus he had a really solid 2001 being in most of the top programs. Giving the title to Jericho would be fresh and credible.
So what do you think? Were you all shocked to see Jericho win the Undisputed title or was it just me?