wrestling / News

Chris Jericho Explains How Vince McMahon Lets Hot Acts Go Cold, Says He’s Proving a Point With AEW

May 17, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Chris Jericho - Mount Winnipeg

– Chris Jericho appeared on Busted Open Radio and discussed why Vince McMahon lets hyped new talent grow cold, his WrestleMania 29 match with Fandango and more. He also discussed his signing with AEW, why Fandango didn’t get over and more. Highlights and video are below:

On his match with Fandango at WrestleMania 29: “When Vince [McMahon] makes up his mind — hey, Jericho vs Fandango at WrestleMania? Wasn’t the biggest fan of it. Was pretty pissed off about it, to be honest with you. But you know, when I realized this is what Vince wants me to do and there’s no way out of it, now I got to make it great. If I can do that, then even though I don’t feel great about it, I’ll get the respect from the boss.”

On trying to suggest other options to Vince McMahon: “I gave him three or four other suggestions and he said no to all of them. He was super into Fandango. And I finally just said ‘There’s nothing I can do to change your mind is there?’ And he goes ‘Nope’. So I hung up on him. And then I called Undertaker. And I said ‘This what Vince wants me to do. He wants me to work with this guy who has never been on TV, hasn’t even had a match. I got to work with Fandango at WrestleMania. What am I supposed to do?’. And he said, ‘Do it. What’s the problem? That’s who he wants you to work – work him!’ Talking about Undertaker’s 20-0 streak at the time, he said ‘How many of those matches were stinkers?’ A lot of them were stinkers. The ones at the end were great when he was with Hunter and Shawn and all of those guys. And Punk. But the ones at the beginning, you know. Giant Gonzales, Jimmy Snuka far past his prime, and you know, Nathan Jones. He goes, ‘If you go and do your best and get this match over, and get this guy over, Vince will respect you more. And even if he doesn’t, this is your job! If we go to a Steven Spielberg audition and we get the part, and the part calls for me to blow my own nuts off, and fall down a flight of stairs going ‘Wacka wacka wacka!’ And I go ‘Hey Steve, I don’t want to do this’, [he’ll] say, ‘Okay, get the hell outta here, I’ll hire the next guy’. And that really was an eye opener for me. And I had three weeks to get it over. And I think — I remember he next night on Raw, people were chanting his name and signing along. It worked! I take a lot of credit for that.”

On McMahon’s tendency to hype new talents and then let them fall off: “I think you can answer your own question because a lot of guys that that’s happened to — you know, Bret Hart would say, ‘Vince plays with his toys until he’s bored and then throws them in the corner.’ It’s not that petty, but Vince saw something in the guy and was super hot on him and that’s your start. And that guy has to take it and go with it.”

On what happened with Fandango’s push: “Now Fandango’s done great with that — I mean, those guys as the Fashion Police and all that stuff. He also got hurt right when he was supposed to fit the title. Now an old-school brother like us would win the title first, and tell everybody you got hurt after. New-school brothers are told, ‘You go to the doctor first.’ He had a concussion, he was gone for a couple months and then the bloom is off the rose. And I was like, ‘Dude, just win the title first, you know. But that’s the way we think and it’s probably not the best way to think. But I mean, he did a great job with that character. He really did. I have a lot of respect for him. I didn’t want to work with him at first, just because it wasn’t what I was expecting. Working with him was a lot of fun and watching him was great.”

On the limitations of the gimmick: “There’s a certain shelf life with a character like that. I always say in my head, ‘Okay, what’s the guys name? Fandango.’ Can you imagine, ‘And the new World Champion: Fandango!’ Not really. World Champion. Can you imagine this guy with this name as a world champ? And if you can’t, you’ve probably answered your own question.”

On being out to prove a point by signing with AEW: “Yeah, absolutely. No, I’m out to prove a point. It pisses me off that, and it’s not in a bad way, but like I said. Being second on that WrestleMania [33], I never realized it until I started thinking about it just a few months ago. That really bothered me. It should have been a more-focused on match with the work we had done with it. And that’s when I was thinking, if I go back to WWE, it’s easy. It’s the easy way to go. I know what I’m going to be doing, I know where I’ll be. And that’s great, I could do it for the rest of my career. I don’t want that, I want to take a chance. I want to make a difference, you know. I want to do something that, by Jericho showing up, people are paying attention.”

On being able to make a difference in AEW: “That’s one of the things. Like, when I went to New Japan — I’m like a bridge. Because prior to this match right here, people knew New Japan, but most fans didn’t really pay attention much to it. Then, when they heard Jericho vs. Omega, a lot of people followed. New Japan World streaming went up 60% when I went to New Japan. Because people are following me saying ‘Well Jericho’s WWE right?’ No, he’s in New Japan. ‘What’s that? I like Jericho, I’ll check it out.’ And they see this great match. But not only do they see Jericho, they see everybody else. They see the Bucks and Tanahashi, and Naito, and Okada, and Ospreay, and it’s like, ‘This is great! This is so different from what I watch every Monday night.’ Same thing with AEW. ‘You’re still WWE, right?’ No, I’m AEW. ‘What’s AEW?’ A new company. ‘Oh, check that out.’ Because I’m such a WWE guy that going to AEW, it makes a difference. And that’s what I wanna do. I don’t want to go and just be another guy. I’ve never wanted to be just another guy. I’ll take a chance and make a difference. If it goes t**s up fine. At least we tried. But if it works, is that not that another feather in the cap of Chris Jericho, that he’s one of the reasons AEW became a big success?”

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