wrestling / Columns

411 Exclusive Interview: Chris Jericho on Dark Side of the Ring, Chris Benoit, & His Feud With Jon Moxley (Full Transcript)

March 27, 2020 | Posted by Jeffrey Harris
Chris Jericho AEW Dynamite

Former AEW World champion Chris Jericho recently joined the 411 Wrestling Interviews podcast for an exclusive on-on-one interview with Jeffrey Harris, where AEW star and Fozzy frontman discussed his work on Season 2 of Dark Side of the Ring. Jericho provides interviews for the season premiere, which covers the Chris Benoit tragedy and also serves as narrator for the rest of the season. Here’s what Jericho had to say on the new season and more:

Jeffrey Harris: What did you think about director Jason Eisener and producer Evan Husney wanting to tell this story and bringing you on board, and did you have any initial reservations once you got started?

Chris Jericho: No, I didn’t. Because basically, Chavo Guerrero contacted me and kind of got me involved in this. And then once we knew that Chavo was involved, it’s kind of spearheading the whole thing. That’s why I was involved. I knew that if Chavo was doing it that it would be done properly. And his point was, “If we don’t do this ourselves, someone else is gonna do it and not gonna do a very good job of it. So, we really came together. We got Dean [Malenko] involved, and Vicki [Guerrero] and everybody else. It just came together really well, it was done for the right reasons by the right people. And I think it’s a tremendous look into what really happened from the people that were really closest to him and Eddie.

Jeffrey Harris: This documentary felt very authentic to me. I appreciated that people like you, Dean Malenko, Chavo Guerrero, Vickie Guerrero, and also Sandra Toffoloni all had prominent interviews in this episode. I’m so glad this story was told because I don’t think this story has ever been told in this day, Chris.

Chris Jericho: No, it hasn’t [been told in this way]. It’s never been told in this way because the people that were involved had never kind of come together all at the same time to chat about it, to be involved with everything. So I think that you know, when you get David [Benoit] and Sandra [Toffoloni, Nancy’s sister] and Jericho, and Chavo and Dean Malenko. I mean, those are you people — and Vicki Guerrero — that were closest to Eddie and Chris. So you can’t even attempt to do something like this if you didn’t have those people involved. So that’s another the reason why I wanted to be involved. If those guys were going to have their say, I wanted to be a part of it as well.

Jeffrey Harris: This is such a tough subject, but I think you can’t tell the Chris Benoit story without you, and in my opinion vice versa. How do you feel about that?

Chris Jericho: Exactly, and that’s kind of what I said in the documentary when I said — when you talk about Chris and his career, how great he was in the ring, it’s not glorifying a murderer talking about that because there has to be a point where you can separate the two and never forget what he did or understand it or not be completely serious about it, but there is also is a whole side of him in the ring which was pure genius. And it’s something that when I was working in WWE, and they would do — I think we did three of them, kind of the Jericho retrospectives on DVD, you can’t include those Benoit matches, and they were very important. They were very much an integral part of my career in the WWE, and those matches will never really be seen again. And it’s hard to watch even if they were. There’s a huge chunk of my career that was affected by that, not just from a friendship level, but from a professional level as well.

Jeffrey Harris: I think some of the best parts of this documentary are when you get to hear from David Benoit and Nancy’s sister, Sandra Toffoloni. I think think they were both victims in this as well, and I remember this coverage going back 13 years ago. I was at Night of Champions in Houston, Texas the night Chris Benoit was supposed to wrestle CM Punk. I’m very grateful we got to hear from David and Sandra because I feel their story was lost in all of this 13 years ago. Would you agree?

Chris Jericho: Yeah, absolutely. I think that specifically Nancy for sure. Nancy and David were the innocents in this. And I think Nancy had a huge career behind her that gets forgotten because she is a victim, the wife that was murdered by her husband. But once again, you have to separate her last weekend of her life with her amazing career. She was great at what she did. And I think that should be critically acclaimed and should be spoken about more. So, once again, it’s one of those things where a lot of things get affected by this weekend. I mean David’s life definitely gets changed course huge when this happened to him. So, there’s a lot of things that we have to remember that are more than just about the death. It’s the people who are left behind, and the legacy that are left behind that are also tainted forever by what happened.

Jeffrey Harris: I’m grateful they had that moment and you got them together, where they were able to meet and have that moment with each other, and have that realization. I thought if there’s anything that can come of this — I thought it was beautiful that they could hug and embrace each other and have that realization together. And you got to be a part of that. What inspired you to bring them together at that point?

Chris Jericho: Well, I mean I got them together — I had interviewed Sandra a few years ago for my podcast. I think that was the first time she ever really spoke publicly about what went down, and I wanted to talk to her once again, kind of more about Nancy than about Chris. You know, obviously the conversation goes there because Sandra was affected as well, but once she kind of came and spoke to me because I had never met her before either, I said, ‘Do you ever talk to David?’ ‘I don’t have his number.’ ‘Well, here’s his number.’ And I gave her number to David. I gave his number to her, and they started a relationship kind of contacting each other. It kind of came to a head by both appearing on this show, and I think they’ve hung out a few times. I think, if anything, I feel really proud of the fact that I was able to bring them together after they hadn’t talked for, I don’t know, 10 years or whatever it was at the time. They should be together because nobody in the world was affected as much as those two were. So, it was really gratifying for me to see that they struck up a relationship that still exists to this day.

Jeffrey Harris: Your tenure on Season 2 is going to continue beyond this episode. You will be the narrator throughout Season 2. Can you share with us how that came together following this episode?

Chris Jericho: Basically, I mean, like I said Chavo got me involved with the Benoit shows. And then Evan [Husney] and the guys came over, they asked me quite a few questions about Owen Hart as well, who will also be profiled on this season. And then they just asked me to narrate it, and I was more than happy to do that because I was really a fan of the show. I watched the whole first season. I liked how they did it. So, I felt that it was a really cool little thing to be involved in. And I really appreciate the history of wrestling, so I enjoyed the fact that I was involved and learned quite a bit. Was able to kind of see these shows from the ground level up.

Jeffrey Harris: Docuseries are really becoming prestige TV shows as of late. When you think of Making of a Murder and then you see a show like this, just by this episode alone, this is superlative work. And I think it should get awards recognition in my opinion. What do you think it is about this show that makes it so good with the way it taps into these stories for wrestling history?

Chris Jericho: Well I mean, like I said. I think there’s a lot of stories that if you’re a wrestling fan you kind of have heard before. You know, obviously, there’s ones that are more prominent like Benoit. Probably the biggest news story that happened over the last 25 years was the Benoit tragedy and the Owen Hart tragedy. So you know these things, but you might not know everything about it. You definitely haven’t heard from the principles involved. But when you talk about like the Brawl For All for example, Gino Hernandez last season; I didn’t really know about these stories. I’ve heard about them, and obviously Brawl for All is a tragedy. But just the whole concept behind it was so interesting.

I really enjoy watching these shows. The New Jack show, I had no idea the reign of terror that he went on in the late ’90s, early 2000s — and [New Jack] could give two s**ts about it. I just thought that was unbelievable how nonplussed he was over these horrible things that he had done.So I, once again, like watching wrestling history. I like seeing it from the horse’s mouth so to speak. And I appreciate how the guys produce Dark Side in that it’s very informative, it comes from the source. It’s not sensationalistic. It’s not garish. It’s not — it doesn’t make you feel dirty when you watch it. It’s done very classy, I guess you’d say. So it was a pleasure to be asked to be a part of it.

Jeffrey Harris: At AEW Revolution, I believe your title was stolen by Jon Moxley, and I think it’s a croc that Jon Moxley is celebrated because he basically faked an eye injury, which is dirty as hell. What do you think about that Moxley is celebrated and stole your title after faking an eye injury?

Chris Jericho: Yeah, I mean it was a great performance, and Moxley really came to life since he came to AEW, which I really enjoy. I think he’s one of the early stars to really break out for us and one of the best stories that I’ve been involved in. I’m just glad we were able to pay it off before everything went down, so the focus can be on him as the champion now and not have to worry about all these excess things that are happening. So, good for him, and I’m sure that we’ll have a great rematch when the time is right. And we’ll continue to tear the house down and provide great moments for wonderful people such as yourself.

0:00: Introduction
0:51: On being brought on for the episode and whether he had any reservations doing it
2:18: On the episode’s different approach to the Benoit story
3:25: On Benoit’s importance to his own career and Benoit matches not being included in WWE retrospectives
5:04: On Chris and Nancy Benoit’s family members participating in the episode and telling their story and bringing them together
9:29: On narrating the rest of season two’s episodes, being a fan of the show’s first season
10:24: On Dark Side of the Ring tapping into wrestling history and shedding a new light on wrestling stories
12:43: On losing the AEW Championship at AEW Revolution to Jon Moxley, Moxley being one of AEW’s early big stars

And if you’re enjoying all of our recent interviews with names like Gail Kim, Alexander Hammerstone, Mance Warner, Lance Archer, and Ken Shamrock and want to support us getting more interviews with big names in wrestling, please leave us a 5 star review on Apple Podcasts, it only takes a few seconds to do and really helps us out!

You can subscribe and listen to the 411 Wrestling Interviews Podcast via the above player on Transistor, or on the following platforms:
* Apple Podcasts
* Spotify
* Stitcher
* Google Play