Posts Tagged ‘chris jericho’

The first World Heavyweight Championship run of CM Punk’s career came to an abrupt end at Unforgiven 2008 when he was attacked backstage by Randy Ortonand Legacy. On a recent episode of Something To Wrestle with Bruce Prichard, the former WWE producer recapped the pay-per-view and shed some light on the situation.

Punk won the world heavyweight title by cashing in his Money In The Bankbriefcase during an episode of RAW. Prichard revealed that the reason WWE put the title on him was because of injuries to top stars John Cena and Randy Orton. Despite not being considered a top star by many backstage officials, Punk had a dedicated fan base that mostly consisted of the younger audience and WWE figured it was the right time to give him a run with the title.

“CM Punk was somebody who was on the rise, and someone from the television studios – which is a much younger group of guys – really liked CM Punk for whatever reason,” Prichard said. “If you were to ask someone like me or Vince McMahon or Michael Hayes what the appeal was to CM Punk, we couldn’t tell you.

“It was until I took him up and sat him down and you actually take the time to know someone. John Cena is out, Randy Orton is out, all these guys are out. You have to make the move. It forces you to pull the trigger to make the move and pull the trigger, and with CM Punk we did that. We felt that this was his opportunity where one door shuts and the opportunity comes your way to make the most out of it. We went with CM Punk during that time, which was all there was to it. It wasn’t much more thought other than necessity that we lost all of those guys at once due to injuries that we had to put somebody else in there, you have to play the game and you needed players which were how CM Punk originally got in there. From my vantage point, and me speaking my opinion, I thought CM Punk deserved it and I thought that Punk would do well in that role.”

Punk was expected to defend his title in a Championship Scramble match during the main event of Unforgiven. However, the backstage assault that included Orton punting Punk in the face rendered him unable to compete in the match, and he was forced to forfeit his championship. Chris Jericho eventually won the title, and Prichard said it was because the WWE wanted to raise the stakes of his rivalry with Shawn Michaels. Prichard said it was a clear mistake to take the title off of Punk at the time because he needed it to elevate his status. Prichard revealed that Punk was not happy about the situation.

“CM Punk was confused. Really confused, and when you look back, to me [Chris] Jericho and Shawn [Michaels] did not need that title. They needed a prop for a ladder match, okay, but they sure as hell didn’t need the championship. I thought CM Punk needed the championship. I thought that the championship helped Punk, but at that point, it was needed for a prop to have a ladder match so as crazy and as many conspiracy theories people want to throw out there it is as simple as that,” Prichard said. “It sucked, and you can see, hindsight being 20/20 you see the interview with CM Punk where they [Legacy] jump him and Punk is not even into it. He’s frustrated and probably upset, all rightfully so by the way, so you feel before he even gets jumped he’s thinking, okay fine, I’m going to do this f**k it. It did suck because it made no sense.”

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Although Chris Jericho had previously claimed that he’d never work a non-WWE show in America out of respect for Vince McMahon, the 47-year-old has now changed his tune.

‘Y2J’ appeared at ALL IN, where he disguised himself as Pentagon Jr. to ambush Kenny Omega, and now has his sights set on another landmark non-WWE show: Ring Of Honor and New Japan Pro Wrestling’s upcoming G1 Supercard (6 April 2019) at Madison Square Garden.

Per the man himself on a recent episode of Busted Open Radio, Jericho is open to all possibilities as a free agent. He didn’t confirm anything, but said there’s a chance he’ll work the G1 Supercard, provided his schedule allows it.

2018 has seen the former WWE Champion take his career into his own hands. He wrestled Omega at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom 12 in January, then took Tetsuya Naito’s IWGP Intercontinental Title a few months later. Up next is his Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Rager cruise (27-31 October), then, surely, a New Japan return.

It’s hard to imagine Vince McMahon being best pleased at this, particularly as the G1 Supercard takes place over WrestleMania weekend, though his control over Jericho is now non-existent.

Drew McIntyre’s return to WWE last year took place after he spent three years on the independent scene. He recently spoke to Lilian Garcia on Chasing Glory about his WWE release. McIntyre used his 2014 separation from WWE as motivation to go out and prove himself. However, that didn’t make it any less shocking to get the news he was no longer an employee of Vince McMahon and Company.

“It was a shock initially. At the time, I was doing the 3MB with Jinder and Heath and we were on literally every show so it was very unexpected. Even though I’d see my Twitter popping up that some people have been released or whatever, it still never cross my mind that a missed call from WWE might have been to tell me that I was getting released. I assumed it was ‘Hey Drew, you’re on the road a week earlier.’ When I got it I was like, ‘Oh, okay. I’ll be seeing you very soon.’ And I sat and I thought about it.

“My girlfriend at the time who is now my wife and I had just moved into the apartment that I got the call three days prior. It was our first place together, so I was thinking, ‘how am I going to tell her? How am I going to tell my dad?’ He’s always been my number one fan. I’ve just been released from WWE after eight years and then I get worried about the next step and then eventually I told myself, ‘You know what, this is the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.’ The position I was in it’d be very hard to hotshot me into anything serious. I’d been there for so many years.

“It was the right time to be away from the company for a while and to have learned so much. I really believed in myself and knew this is all I know and I can really do something and the wrestling scene outside of WWE is really picking up, I believe I can make a splash and I was ready to prove it to the world so I got a little excited after the initial shock first.”

During McIntyre’s WWE hiatus, he picked up several championships on the indie wrestling scene. He appeared for promotions like Evolve, Defiant, ICW, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and many more. While using his real name Drew Galloway, he also became TNA World Heavyweight Champion and Impact Grand Champion.

McIntyre had a desire of returning to WWE, but he wanted to go through NXT first. The popularity of NXT drew him in and he wanted to be a part of the passion surrounding WWE’s developmental territory. McIntyre knew he would eventually be back in WWE as well. He saw NXT as an excellent way for a faster return to Raw or SmackDown.

“[NXT] was what I wanted. I told my wife in the beginning when NXT really started catching fire, ‘You know what babe, ideal when I go back there first, if I do my thing here and I get a reputation in the independent scene, then I believe I can get an angle to NXT because it’s such a passionate fan base. I think that would be the place for me to go to really show what I can do. And then when the time is right, because the transition is so much smoother from NXT to RAW and SmackDown because it moves so fast. RAW and Smackdown, there’s so many hours of unique TV every single week all year round.’

“That was the way I saw it and that’s what I told her in the beginning. I told Chris Jericho, he was the first podcast I did. [Jericho is] another one who really helped me in the beginning and really get my message out there was Chris and I told him, ‘I will be back.'”

Conrad Thompson was a guest on Talk Is Jericho recently when Chris Jericho addressed a subject that was brought up on Thompson’s 83 Weeks podcast with Eric Bischoff. Jericho discussed his backstage heat with Scott Hall. Y2J said he and Hall “don’t have any love lost for each other” and they “never really got along.” He then elaborated a little on what caused that backstage tension.

“Those guys are very sarcastic, and almost kind of bullying in a way. I did things my way with my group of guys like Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, Chris Benoitand those kinds of guys,” Jericho said.

He continued to tell a story about how he once had an opening match at a house show in Minnesota with Jerry Lynn. Hall walked up to Jericho and told him “it may have been a little long, but it was a great match” even though WCW didn’t give Jericho and Lynn and time restraints.

“Scott Hall came up to me and told me that nobody was coming to see me, get in there, do your 5-10 minutes and get out. No one wants to see you. I remember thinking, wow, what an asshole. Why would you say that? I told Chris Benoit that, and Benoit was already furious with Scott Hall after Hall pissed on Chris Benoit’s cowboy boots by the urinals. He just leaned over while they were both pissing and he leaned to the side and pissed on his boots.”

Jericho said Scott Hall was the kind of guy who “whenever he talked you just wanted to slap him in the face.” He asked Jericho how his “little Terry Taylor push is going” and threaten to stop it the next day with one phone call. Thankfully, a good friend was there for Jericho to provide some extra motivation.

Scott Norton, who is a friend of mine from my time in Japan said to me that if you don’t say something to him next time he bullies you then I am going to say something and I will bully you. Either you do something about it or I will. If you do something about it and he wants to cause anything then I got your back.”

Jericho trusted Norton to have his back and the next time Hall made a comment to him, Y2J let him have it. This seemed to at least temporarily remedy Jericho’s backstage problem with Hall, but the two still aren’t friendly to this day.

“When Scott made another comment I went up to Hall and said to never f–king talk to me like that again, you understand me? I told him that there was no rib, or no joke, don’t ever f–king talk to me like that again. He would tell me to calm down and that he was just joking, ‘geez Jericho, can’t you take a joke?’ I looked over at Scott Norton and he was just smiling like I did the right thing. That was a Scott Hall for you. He was always like that, which is a shame. He was obviously a great worker and a great performer but no love lost for him even until this day.”

Former WCW President Eric Bischoff recently discussed Chris Jericho’s WCW run on his podcast, 83 Weeks. Bischoff addressed some of the criticism of WCW that Jericho wrote about in his book, as seen below:

Chris Jericho calling Eric Bischoff “ATM Eric” in his book because Bischoff offered him $130,000 in WCW when Jericho only had asked for $100,000:

“Yes, I did offer Chris Jericho what I offered Dean [Malenko] and Eddie [Guerrero]. The strategy is really simple – when Eddie, Dean and Chris [Benoit] came in to talk about a deal they came in together. That was part of the deal. They weren’t going to negotiate individually and I wasn’t going to try to split them up. I didn’t do business that way or now. I am pretty transparent how I do things. When they came in they wanted to come in together. I knew exactly the roles that I wanted them to play. I knew exactly how much money I had in my budget to pay them. I knew exactly what my expectations of them were, and I agreed to pay them all equally.

When I brought in Chris Jericho, it was my full intention to bring Chris in at the same level as those guys, and the last thing that I wanted to do was low ball a guy so that once he gets there and finds out after he has been there for a couple of weeks from his good friend Chris Benoit and Eddie and Dean that they are making 20% or 40% more than him then I would end up having a pissed off camper, and I didn’t want that. I wanted to try and create a parity, if you will, with certain guys as often as I could.

You couldn’t always do that, especially with your top guys, which these guys were, at that point as talented and amazing as they ended up being later on because of the opportunities that they all got on Nitro because of the Cruiserweight division, but at the time they were relatively unknowns outside of the hardcore wrestling audience. The mainstream audience didn’t know who they were, we had to build that, but we paid them fairly because we knew where they were going to go, and I wanted to treat Chris Jericho fairly. If that makes me a bad guy, if that makes me ‘ATM Eric’ so that it fits the cutesy little narrative to fit Chris Jericho’s book, then so be it.”

Jericho’s character in WCW:

“I brought him in – my mandate to Kevin Sullivan and Terry Taylor was that I wanted to push him to the top of the Cruiserweight division. That was my input. The Cruiserweight division, if you go back and look at it; Chris Benoit didn’t have a gimmick. Dean Malenko didn’t have a gimmick; Eddie Guerrero, when we brought him in didn’t have a gimmick. The Mexicans did because they were Mexican and they brought their culture with them, which was different, but the four guys, we were kind of gimmick free at that moment. The nWo, we used their real names. They didn’t have robes and flashy lights, things that were so gaga prior that were commonplace decades to that. We didn’t have a crew of that like we had with Glacier for example where we wanted him to come out to look like Elvis, but only like a badass.

It was partially up to Jericho to get himself over and to find his character, much like Bill Goldberg and a lot of people did. Maybe not a lot, maybe the ones that got over. Diamond Dallas Page, I stripped him of his gimmicks. He didn’t get over until we got rid of all his gimmicks. He was a walking gimmick festival for God’s sake. He looked like a walking and talking flea market when he came to the ring. It wasn’t until we pulled that stuff out of him and made him a blue collar guy, then he got over. The prevailing tone and tenor, at least in my point of view was not to come in with some pre-made, manufactured just add water type of character. A lot of it was to feel it out, but again, keep this in mind. I brought him in to be part of the Cruiserweight division. None of the core people in that division had gimmicks. They performed.”

Jericho saying in his book that the Cruiserweight division was a “dirty word” and if you were a Cruiserweight, it meant you didn’t work main events:

“Man, I’m surprised to hear him say that. Look, he felt the way he felt. I can’t get into his head back in 1996 or 1997 and comment on how he felt. It’s disappointing that he would write that because the Cruiserweight division, until this day, it was then, he may not have felt that way – this isn’t really specific to Chris Jericho, although it is to a degree because it was an issue later on to Chris. When I first created that Cruiserweight division and I sat down with Malenko, Guerrero and Benoit, even later on Chris Jericho, those guys were excited as can be. It was the first really big opportunity that they had. It was also the first time they were ever consistently on a television platform that they could get themselves over. That is a fact.

They were thrilled to death that they could have gone out there and showcase their athleticism and their abilities. That Cruiserweight division was over and is still over until this day. When I go to autograph signings and when I am out among Pro Wrestling fans, they want to talk about the nWo and most things that were obvious, but almost always if I am talking to them for 5 minutes they want to talk about the Cruiserweight division, and that Cruiserweight division allowed Chris Jericho to get over. We built that division, we built that division where not even until this day WWE can figure out how much excitement for that division that I did, and we did as a team. It never happened before and it’ll never happen again, so to hear Chris, who got his opportunity to move on and springboard to WWE as a result of that has a bad taste in that, I have to be honest with you, I am disappointed.

Look, he feels the way he feels, or he needed to write what he needed to in order to make himself feel better, I don’t know. I don’t regret how I built the Cruiserweight division. Could I have done better, sure? Absolutely. I’m sure I could have, especially with 20/20 hindsight. I just don’t know of anybody that I talk to that looks back at that division and says, oh man, that sucked.”

Kenny Omega recently completed his years-long quest to capture the IWGP Heavyweight Title and dethrone Kazuchika Okada in the process. Omega’s monumental achievement at the Dominion show not only caused Dave Meltzer to create another star to give their two-out-of-three falls encounter a seven-star rating but it also marked the second Winnipegger to capture a title that night.

Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega share the hometown of Winnipeg and with Y2J’s IWGP Intercontinental Title win at Dominion, he gave their Canadian hometown something major to be proud of. Now both top singles titles in New Japan Pro Wrestling belong to Winnipeg natives.

“For Chris and myself to win (NJPW’s) No. 1 and No. 2 belts, belts that are generally perceived by fans, critics and wrestlers themselves as the most prestigious titles in wrestling, it isn’t something that happens every day. And the fact that two foreigners, who are not only Canadian, but both from Winnipeg, is wow, just an incredible occasion,” Omega told the Winnipeg Free Press.

Omega’s epic sixty-five-minute battle with Okada might have capped off the night at Dominion with some marvelous storytelling but Chris Jericho’s brutal victory over Tetsuya Naito was a totally different kind of match. However, both Omega and Jericho see eye-to-eye on the fact that there are some very big things in New Japan’s future as the company continues to solidify their reputation and stretch their reach.

Even though Y2J stated he won’t work for New Japan in the United States out of respect for Vince McMahon, Jericho also discussed New Japan’s growing influence as a company “that’s slowly but surely increasing its worldwide popularity and basically breathing down the neck of the WWE. It’s a Japanese wrestling company, the top stars are Japanese, but there we were, two foreigners, headlining and main eventing the Tokyo Dome. It would be like two Japanese football teams in the Super Bowl. The fact it’s two guys from Winnipeg is a really huge deal.”

WWE made a colossal misstep in initially naming the upcoming WrestleMania 34 Women’s Battle Royal after The Fabulous Moolah, whose legacy is tainted with vile accusations of sexual exploitation and manipulation.

They eventually made the right call in switching to a significantly less problematic title, but not before an almighty backlash from fans and sponsors, with Mars Wrigley Confectionery publicly blasting the company.

WWE wouldn’t have been short of options had they decided to re-christen the bout after a less repugnant women’s wrestling pioneer than Moolah. ‘Sensational’ Sherri Martel may have been a leading candidate, and according to Chris Jericho on his latest podcast, ‘Y2J’ texted Vince McMahon to suggest he call it “The Sensational Invitational.”

The Chairman’s response? “Thx.”

Yes, “thx.” How very Vince.

Jericho then went on to translate this as “in other words, shut your mouth you f****** idiot and let me handle the hard work,” which sounds about right for the Chairman.

Given how out of touch McMahon seems to be with his audience, the fact that he’s a 72-year-old grandfather, and the myriad of wacky backstage stories surrounding the guy, it’s easy to believe him being unable to send a text longer than three characters. Still, big “LOLs” from Vince here.