wrestling / News

Bruce Prichard on Why Chris Jericho Didn’t Go Over Rock In His WWE Debut Promo, Jericho’s First PPV Match Being a Loss

August 10, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Chris Jericho WWE Debut 1999

– On the latest Something to Wrestle, Bruce Prichard talked about Chris Jericho’s WWE debut and discussed why Jericho immediately got put in his place by The Rock. Jericho’s debut was heavily built to in teaser videos of a clock counting down to “the new millennium,” which was Jericho’s Y2J gimmick. When he came out, it was an interruption of a promo by The Rock. Once Jericho’s promo talking about how he was going to “save WWE” was done, Rock cut a promo calling Jericho’s promo “three boring minutes” and ran Jericho down. Prichard also discussed Jericho”s first PPV match, which was against X-Pac and resulted in a loss when Jericho’s bodyguard Mr. Hughes interfered.

Highlights from the discussion, and the full podcast, are below:

On if it was a mistake to have Rock shut Jericho down in his first promo: “Oh yeah, [Rock] totally killed Austin and Mick Foley, and everybody else that he ever worked with, yeah. It’s just terrible, that’s just the worst. [Jericho] should have just come out and pinned the Rock first night and then beat everybody in the company on the very same night! We should have had a gauntlet of every single guy on the roster and beat ’em 1-2-3 in the middle of the ring that night. And take every belt and put it on him, and never have him lose another match. I’m just saying what everybody thinks we should have done, we shouldn’t have put him in the ring with the biggest goddamned star in the company at the time, and have him banter back and forth, and have more eyeballs on him than he ever did work with some guy named Juventud years before.”

On Vince McMahon’s reaction backstage after the segment: “Yeah, I think he was [pleased]. For me, I was extremely pleased. I thought he was able to hold his own, and was right there. There were a few missteps where he was tickled by what Rock was saying. You can catch him laughing in some of that stuff. But at the same time, some guys get flustered in that position. And Chris didn’t miss a beat. He was able to hold his own, and hang in there with The Rock. And that’s what it was meant for. He was either gonna sink or swim right off the top. And he swam.”

On Jericho losing his first WWE PPV match to X-Pac: “Yeah sure, that’s exactly why. Because we hated his guts, we didn’t want to do anything with him. We just wanted to pay him a lot of money and kill him. It’s a story, and it’s again, it’s the longer-term story. And the whole thing in this was about telling a story throughout.”

On pairing Jericho with Curtis Hughes: “And also, you know, debut of Curtis Hughes, trying to give Chris that extra edge. And you look at Howard Finkel [working with Jericho], and Howard wasn’t working as a lackey, maybe Chris needed a heater. And Curtis Hughes had gotten in great shape. And the fun thing about it was, was I think when we were talking about Curtis Hughes coming in with Jericho, in our mind it was the old Mr. Hughes. You know, big, nasty, mean. And Curtis comes back and he’s all ripped up, he’s in tremendous shape, looking better than he ever had in his career, but not as impressive. And I think that he had missed or lost a lot of the edge that Curtis Hughes used to have. And then we dressed him up to be more Jericho-like in the silver shirt and kind of bodyguard stuff instead of the suit and tie. And there just wasn’t a whole lot of chemistry there either. So we were trying some different things with Chris to dress him up and do some different things.”

On if Vince tries to test performers’ dedication by depushing them: “Well again, he didn’t get pinned, and it was a DQ. It was a schmoz finish. Again, it was a story. It was a schmoz, just to get the character over win, lose or draw. We’re selling stars here, and believe it or not, wins and losses, I don’t think that people count ’em unless you’re going to count them and fudge them, and great, hip hip hooray for you. I think people want story, and I think people want characters. That’s what we were giving them. We were giving them story and characters, and it wasn’t ‘Oh, let’s go out and beat him and make sure he knows who the boss is.’ That’s just s**ty business, and not the way it is.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Something to Wrestle with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.