One of the Writer's over at Lords of Pain, made a great observation on his podcast: "People all across the IWC are calling this one of the greatest comebacks in history. They're wrong and here's why. The IWC is made up of people who do their homework, some to a great extent, some to a lesser extent, but they mostly all ready articles of people who do their homework. The IWC makes up about 10% of the WWE's viewership these days. 10% of the viewership liked his return. Everyone else in America thinks it sucked. How is that a great comeback? Cater your product to your purchasers."
He's right. We can all debate how great this comeback was, but the only true bottomline is how it impacted the majority of the WWE watchers. So the vast majority turned the channel due to feeling ripped off. That's not great. That's the opposite of what is wanted.
And now in week two, we shall see if the casual viewers will tune in to see more or if this comeback is "Brett Farve of Wrestling." (Brett Farve on comeback #3 was a flop.)
You are right - the only way they can really call this a success is if people tune in to find out what the hell that was. He is a heel - and in wrestling, the fans don't always have to enjoy what a heel does. But as long as they watch, it's a victory. So no matter how good or bad we think the spot was...
What I do find interesting is all of the pre-comeback stuff. If you recall, the first three or four promos didn't actually air on TV. Instead it was just a YouTube URL posted onscreen without comment. And in the final few weeks of the promos, when they DID air on TV, Cole and King didn't acknowledge them at all. Even the time when the promo interrupted a Beth & Natalya promo, the announcers talked about the Divas promo as if nothing happened. On the actual show, there were no mentions of "weeks of speculation" or anything. Jericho just came out, and when the segment was done, Cole and King quickly brushed aside their bewilderment to talk about Cena and Kane some more. And a quick browse of wwe.com seems to suggest that the site never mentioned the promos or some strange January 2nd return until a week before it happened.
In my mind, this all means that the whole Jericho return wasn't aimed at the casual fan, but crafted specifically for the IWC.