The Monday Sharpshooter: Jericho is Punk’s Perfect Opponent in 2012By Thomas Avb BriggsWelcome to the very first Sunday Sharpshooter of 2012. Except for it’s Monday. Funny how that works, right? Needless to say, my New Years Eve and New Years day were filled with celebration, and I took a little break from writing. So I’m sorry if you looked for my column yesterday and wondered where the hell I was. Who am I kidding? Nobody looks forward to the Sunday Sharpshooter that much!Today is 1/2/12, so obviously I’m going to discuss the subject of many rumors surrounding the WWE 1/2/12 mystery videos. Yep, I’m going to talk about Chris Jericho. Will he be making his return tonight? I don’t really know. I certainly hope so. In all honesty, it’s just as likely that we’ll be seeing the Undertaker making his return. But regardless of whether or not he’s been behind all of these videos (which you can check out below), I’d argue that Chris Jericho is a necessity for WresleMania 28.<!--more-->Chris Jericho is simply the best opponent for CM Punk in 2012. That may seem a bit contradictory coming from someone who wrote an article on Austin vs. Punk as a dream match, but speaking strictly about this year, within the context of the WrestleMania 28 card, Jericho is the better opponent for Punk. After all, I think we can all wait until WrestleMania 29 to see Punk vs. Austin. (Some say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one)Stylistically, Jericho and Punk are fairly similar. They don’t fit the prototypical big-man mold that Vince McMahon loves so much, they both successfully incorporate a number of styles in their movesets, and they’re two of the best workers in the industry. They can both talk, tell a great story in the ring, and have played the rebellious, funny heel. More importantly, Punk has obviously turned full babyface, while Jericho left the WWE as a heel. One should be able to assume that he’ll return just as he left. Now, could we someday see a face vs. face showdown between Punk and Austin? Of course. I think that everyone expects Cena vs. Rock this year will be face vs. face. But right now, when the WWE is attempting to build Punk as a believable top face in the company, he needs to go over the absolute best heel talent, and if Jericho returns, that’s exactly what he’ll be: the best.Their story will be a fun one. There’s a natural issue between the two men: CM Punk strolled into the Chicago Allstate Arena on July 17th, at Money in the Bank, wearing a new t-shirt that read: Best in the World. Jericho, of course, had taken to calling himself “the best in the world at what I do” in his most recent time with the WWE. All the WWE needs to do is play that issue up. One of the best aspects of Chris Jericho is his commitment to storylines. All the way back on the 2nd of August, Jericho tweeted this:
Everyone is so excited that @CMPunk mentioned me on Raw. Newsflash...I don't give a shit. Mind ur own business and stop rippin me off Punk.I’d bet my last dollar that Jericho was setting up a possible feud with Punk here. Just consider that for a moment. The WWE is pretty terrible at allowing a feud to take its time to develop. Everything gets sped up these days, leading to less of a payoff. A few wrestlers have taken it upon themselves to alleviate this problem. Punk and Jericho are two of those guys. Both are intelligent and in-tune with the modern WWE audience. Unlike the WWE, they utilize Twitter in a way which will lead to money in the future. In October, Punk furthered his and Jericho’s online beef by stating in an interview that he was the best wrestler in the world, but Jericho is the best in the world at what he does - dancing with celebrities. Proving that both men are savvy enough to make the most out of the modern tools in front of them to further this feud.Can you imagine the promos that the two would have? At his best, Punk is the top guy on the mic in the WWE. Jericho has always been entertaining, but he was noticeably better than ever during his last run with the WWE. Credit acting and improv classes for the improvement. Jericho as a straight-laced holier than thou sociopath vs. a rebellious CM Punk could be some of the best television of the year. Again, both are intelligent enough to not need material written for them. The WWE would be wise in trusting the two to play off of each other. Their interactions could be classic.A large criticism of CM Punk as of late has been his tendency to tear down his opponents in promos, leading to anti-climatic showdowns. By mocking someone like Alberto Del Rio and implying that a match between the two shouldn’t be much of a challenge, Punk is lessening the excitement leading to the match itself. The writing is on the wall: Punk is better than Del Rio, and therefore he will be winning. He also tends to refer to various aspects of Raw and its superstars as “boring” in comparison to him. It’s a problem; he’s achieving his goal of putting himself over, but at the expense of hurting his contemporaries. With Chris Jericho as his opponent, Punk can’t really fall back on these bad practices. We’ve seen Jericho be entertaining (before he left the WCW, he was just about the only entertaining aspect to Nitro), and we know he’s one of the best ever in the ring. It isn’t a permanent solution to Punk’s problems (which should be addressed), but it’s absolutely the best solution for WrestleMania, the biggest show of them all.Jericho has entered a point in his career where he is best utilized in putting over talent. And because of his experience, various title holds, and legacy in the business, he has the ability to make a superstar if the stars align. While Punk doesn’t necessarily need to be made, he absolutely stands to benefit the most from going over Jericho. The WWE is lucky to have not had the two in a program with each other before, making this potential matchup a fresh one. I’ve argued all year that CM Punk going over Cena clean is a necessity, but even as great as that would be, no other opponent offers Punk the same quality match as Jericho. If given time similar to Punk vs. Cena (twenty five or more minutes), Jericho and Punk can put on a classic that very well could steal WrestleMania 28.Ultimately, WrestleMania 28 will most likely be remembered for Cena vs. Rock. That’s unfortunate, as there are a number of wrestlers who more deserve to be in the main event. CM Punk is one such wrestler. And at this point in his career, it’s of the utmost importance that he not disappear behind the allure of Cena and Rock. He wants to be the number one guy in the WWE, and the WWE certainly has invested much back into him. To avoid being lost in the shuffle, he needs just the right opponent. As much as I’d love to see Punk vs. someone like Dolph Ziggler this year, Chris Jericho just makes much more sense. He’s a name, he’s one of the all time best workers, and he would bring out the best in Punk.If we get to see Punk vs. Jericho at WrestleMania 28, we’ll truly be seeing the best face in the world vs. the best heel in the world. Both men would be being truthful in their claim. Thoughts and opinions? Share them with me! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @thjbriggs Blog:soundthecharge.comThanks for reading and Happy New Year! What do you think is going to happen on tonight's Raw? Will it be Jericho? Or Undertaker? Honestly, I'm not absolutely convinced of either. I like seeing Jericho deny it on Twitter, as it feels like he's trying to throw everyone off. I'll be fairly disappointed if it's not him. But even if it's not, there's always the chance that he'll make his return at the Rumble or whenever. I hope it's not me reaching, because I really do believe he represents the best possible match for Punk at Mania. As always, let me know your thoughts in the comment section!