As previously noted, current IWGP Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho was recently a guest on The Jim Ross Report with WWE Hall Of Famer Jim Ross. Among many other things, Jericho talked about his upcoming Rock 'N' Wrestling Rager At Sea, how difficult it was to get NJPW, Impact Wrestling, and Ring Of Honor to work together on the project, and what he makes of the joint ROH/NJPW G1 Supercard event at Madison Square Garden.
According to Jericho, he approached WWE with his idea for the cruise first, as he imagined the cruise hosting NXT initially. Apparently, ROH accepted his offer 10 minutes after WWE passed on the idea.
"I did offer this to WWE at first." Jericho explained, "my vision at first was to do NXT, but pretty much knowing that they'd probably say, 'no' because we know if Vince [McMahon] wants to do a cruise, he doesn't need Chris Jericho to do a cruise, he'll do it himself. But, I wanted at least to do my due diligence and give them the offer and the courtesy, which I did. And then, when it came back that they decided not to go for it, I think Ring Of Honor agreed 10 minutes later."
During the interview, Jericho stated that his close personal friend, Don Callis, who is also a commentator for NJPW and an executive for Impact, pitched him the idea of having ROH versus Impact on the Jericruise. The Fozzy frontman claimed that getting the different promotions to work together was easier than he thought, though none of it would have come together if he was not contracted to NJPW at present.
"It's interesting because it's a lot easier than I expected and I think a lot of it is because I'm in New Japan now." Jericho continued, "and, once again, [Ross] know[s] me, and I'm always thinking. And don't think that wasn't one of the ideas I had when I decided to sign with New Japan. Yes, it was a big match, Jericho versus [Kenny] Omega, but also, now I can get close to these guys and see, kind of, what they're all about. Alpha Club versus Bullet Club never would have happened if I wasn't working in New Japan and my relationship with The Young Bucks, and with Kenny Omega, and, of course, with Cody who I've known for years.
"The whole Ring Of Honor/Impact thing, it actually came from an idea from Don Callis, who kind of called me and pitched me the idea. And I said, 'well, I'm not sure if they'll go for it, if it'll work, but I'll give it a try.' It really didn't take too long because what I've noticed, and [Ross] said this to me months ago, Jim, when I had [him] as the host and I said, 'if 'The King' wants to come, can I make you guys co-hosts?' and [Ross] said, 'you do what you want - you're the booker.' And because I'm the 'booker', I'm basically saying to Ring Of Honor, 'this is my cruise, I'm paying you X amount of dollars to be here, and I want a couple of Impact/Ring Of Honor matches, so let's ditch the bulls--t politics and let's just make it happen.' And I think because I have a pretty good reputation and I'm still involved at a high level, but they said, 'do you know what? Let's give it a shot. Let's hear what he has to say,' and I know how companies work, who's going to go over and who's not going to go over, who's going to look good and who's not going to look good, and kind of smooth over any issues amongst the brass because I still understandů [Ross] know[s] how it is, man. [He has] done the same thing for years. You've got to smooth out everybody's ego and make everybody think they've got one over on the other guy."
In Jericho's view, smaller promotions should work together to keep their buzz going.
"The [pro wrestling] business is so healthy right now." Jericho added, "there are so many great guys out there outside of the WWE system and there [are] a lot of opportunities for guys to make money, which is great, but let's not kid ourselves. WWE is still the A1 juggernaut. You cannot beat it. You won't beat it. You'll never beat it. So if that's the case, then why no do what New Japan did years ago? It was always All Japan versus New Japan, Tokyo Dome matches and Sumo Arena matches, going all the way back to [Giant] Baba and [Antonio] Inoki. They realized if they work 'together', they could really do some great business. I think if you're working outside of the Vince [McMahon] universe, why not band together? Like Ring Of Honor, or Impact, or New Japan, or PROGRESS, or whoever you want to throw in the mix, will never be bigger than WWE, so why not have a couple of special matches when you're working together to continue the buzz?"
In Jericho's estimation, the NJPW/ROH Madison Square Garden event could not have happened 10 or 15 years ago. Jericho went on to hypothesize that WWE Chairman Vince McMahon is probably glad that the pro wrestling business is thriving right now.
"It is a ballsy deal and that couldn't have happened 10 years ago [or] 15 years ago. And I honestly thinků I've been around 30 years and [Ross] [has] been around even longer than that. I think the [pro wrestling] business is healthier, maybe not bigger, but healthier that it [has] ever been and that's exciting. I bet you, even deep down inside even Vince would say, 'okay, this is good.' This is good for business because it makes everybody work a little bit harder, it gives the fans more options, it gives the [performers] more options. It makes the business healthier overall."
Check out the podcast here. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit The Jim Ross Report with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: The Jim Ross Report