By Graham "GSM" Matthews
Before we get started here, I just want to throw out a few relevant cheap plugs: Firstly, be sure to check out my full review of Chris Jericho's first DVD released in 2010, "Breaking the Code - Behind the Walls of Chris Jericho," here. Also, you can read my exclusive interview with Jericho himself as conducted for HiddenRemote.com here.
All right! With all that out of the way, let's get down to what you came here to read: my two cents on the newest "The Road is Jericho" three-disc DVD set. Now, let me preface my review by saying all of the following thoughts on it are my own. Granted, WWE sent me a free copy for the interview (which I'll be forever grateful for), but even if that opportunity didn't arise, I was stilling planning on buying it, anyway. Although I'm a massive Jericholic, that didn't affect my viewing of the DVD, as I enjoyed it for what it was, and genuinely thought it was worth picking up.
For those that may be unfamiliar with what it's about, it's not your typical WWE documentary, which are always very well done. They already did that with "Breaking the Code - Behind the Walls of Chris Jericho" back in 2010, so there was no point in releasing something similar. Instead, this is a basic compilation of some of Jericho's more underrated matches along with a few forgotten gems from his days in ECW, WCW and of course, WWE. In between each match, he reminisces on that while driving in his limo to wherever he's headed next, but what's interesting about it is that Jericho didn't watch any of these matches beforehand (or so he claims).
In fact, there was one match on the DVD pitting him against Stone Cold Steve Austin with Mick Foley as the special guest referee, and Jericho said he didn't remember it at all. He cited having worked with Stone Cold so many times on house shows during that period that they all kind of blended together, but the fact Jericho couldn't even recall this particular match is surprising given that his memory is usually great. That's not to say that's a bad thing, as I think it adds a little honesty to the DVD that you wouldn't get anywhere else (it's not like he lied and did say he remembered it).
While all of the matches featured on the DVD are good to great, not many of them are essentially classics, but that's what I think makes them worth picking up. On what other DVD set would you get Jericho vs. X-Pac in a Steel Cage match from Raw? Or a random match against Jeff Hardy from February 2008? What makes these matches stand out is that they highlight Jericho's best opponents throughout his career. They aren't exactly his most memorable matches with that person, but they're still entertaining encounters that offer a snip-it of what they were able to accomplish together.
For example, Chris Jericho's Last Man Standing match against one of his greatest rivals Shawn Michaels from the November 10, 2008 edition of Raw is on the DVD. Personally, I have an attachment to the match because it occurred during a time that I was still becoming a huge fan of the product and I loved every match these two had, but for someone else, they might say, "Well, why isn't Jericho's Ladder match with Michaels from the No Mercy pay-per-view on here?" Arguably, yes, that was the best match those two had that year (which is saying a lot because they were all fantastic), but for one thing, that match was on his first DVD. This specific match between them is one you may not remember, and the story behind it was interesting, so it was worth including.
The stories alone from Y2J are excellent, and the advertising is correct in saying that they have never been told before. As previously mentioned, I'm a major Jericholic, so I listen to all his podcasts, read all his books, watch all his matches, etc. So, if I heard a Jericho story before, I would've recognized from somewhere else. However, that wasn't the case here, as he told a few tales (which I won't get into here to avoid spoilers) that were fresh, fun and intriguing. They're great tidbits of information to include before each match as a small precursor in regards to what you're about to watch.
Among the matches featured on the DVD is a dark match he had with John Cena from 2008. Other than a whole DVD they released featuring dark matches and segments just last year, it's not too often you see this kind of footage on a WWE DVD, so that was cool to see (especially without commentary). It wasn't a classic match or anything, but it was a nice change of pace from the rest of the matches that you've likely seen before but just don't remember. I also really enjoyed his matches with CM Punk (who I was surprised to see included given his current standing with the company), Rey Mysterio, Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton on the match listing as I really enjoyed them all, whereas fans who have been following his career since the start will like his bouts from WCW and ECW and from the Attitude Era in WWE.
From a promotional standpoint, I was slightly surprised the DVD wasn't pushed more aggressively than it was. It was advertised quite a bit on WWE's main shows for a few weeks, but then it disappeared after only being out since mid-March. Part of that might be due to Jericho not being an active performer at the moment, so therefore it's a bit more difficult to promote, but still, they could have done better with pushing it on the program given how much they talk about the WWE Network, the WWE App, etc.
In closing, don't buy "The Road is Jericho" thinking its a documentary; that was already done with his previous DVD. Rather, similar to the DVD sets on Sting and Ultimate Warrior from last year, this is mostly a compilation of great matches, but in between the bouts you can catch some very interesting stories from Jericho himself you won't hear elsewhere. That said, I had a blast watching it and the seven hours seemed to fly by. Jericholic or not, I'd suggest picking up a copy and enjoying an array of exciting matches and moments in the career of Chris Jericho.
Should you see this movie? Yes.