Recently on WOOOOO! Nation with Ric Flair, ‘The Nature Boy’ spoke with Chris Jericho about a number of topics including Jericho’s first meeting with Vince McMahon, the Monday Night Wars, and Jericho’s difficult transition from WCW to WWE.
According to Jericho, his first meeting with McMahon occurred in the winter of 1998 while Jericho was still under contract with WCW. As the story goes, Vince Russo put out feelers to Jericho’s friend, Don ‘The Jackyl’ Callis, to see whether Jericho would be interested in working for WWE. From there, a secret meeting was arranged and McMahon’s driver picked up Jericho in New York City under a fake name to bring him to the McMahon residence in Connecticut.
“I go to Vince’s house in Connecticut, and this was the only time I’ve been there, and I knock on the door and Shane McMahon opens the door and he’s like, ‘hey, Chris! How are you?’ and I go inside and sitting at a table is Vince, Shane, Bruce Prichard, Vince Russo, Jim Ross, and another cat, I think his name is Ed, another writer guy. And they were having a booking meeting to discuss that week’s [WWE Monday Night] RAW and they invited me to sit down with them, okay? So think about how crazy this is. I’m under contract with WCW, sitting down at a booking meeting for next week’s RAW at Vince McMahon’s house, right?” Jericho continued, “that would never happen again and I’m still not completely sure why it happened then. I did ask Vince about it years later and he said, ‘well, I wanted to see if I could trust you. I wanted to see if I could bring you in here and have this booking meeting and see if it would get out the next day. And when I knew I could trust you, that’s when I knew I wanted you to come work for me’.”
Jericho suggested that working for WCW during the Monday Night Wars was a trying experience. ‘The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla’ said that it was such a negative environment and everyone who had a bad attitude in WCW’s heyday completely changed in WWE.
“At the time, I don’t know what was going on in that place. It was the pressures or the stress, but everybody, I mean, like, not everybody, but so many people were just total assholes there at the time. Like, so many people. I don’t want to start naming guys, but when they got to WWE, they all had different attitudes. I’ll tell you one now because I talk to you about him all the time and he’s one of my best friends, The Big Show. The Big Show was a total dick in WCW and he’ll admit it. It’s just the environment that it [bred] that environment of being a jerk and then you get out of that environment and you go to work for Vince and you lose that attitude pretty quickly.”
With that being said, Jericho admitted to having a difficult transition from WCW to WWE. The Monday Night Wars was a real struggle to the performers in both companies and Jericho was seen as the enemy in the locker room when he joined WWE in 1999. ‘Y2J’ believed he was going to be fired from WWE after only working for the company for three months. Jericho accidentally gave Chyna a black eye in a match between the two in Miami, Florida.
“At the time, [Chyna] was Hunter’s girlfriend and when I went to talk to Vince, he said, ‘do you have any problems working with a woman?’. I said, ‘well, no’ and he said, ‘I don’t want you to go easy on her. I don’t want you to think of her as a woman. I want you to go in there and work’.” Jericho recalled, “the next day in Tampa [Florida], I show up and I’m called into Vince’s office. And I’m thinking, ‘I’m going to get, like, a pat on the back for having this great match with Chyna’ and when I went in there, man, he went ballistic on me about how dare I give Chyna a black eye because she’s a woman.”
Jericho was forced to apologize to Chyna and he was given the ultimatum of putting on a good match with X-Pac or be terminated.
“I think it all came down from Hunter’s crew. I think they didn’t like me. They didn’t like the way I was conducting myself. And they had Vince’s ear and a lot of stroke and a lot of influence.” Jericho added, “[McMahon] made me go apologize to Chyna, which was brutal because I don’t like to apologize to anybody, especially for that. But actually, I told [Chris] Benoit this and he talked to Bret Hart about it and Bret said that Vince did something similar to him when he first started. He said [McMahon] likes to break people down and build you back up like a soldier. Maybe at the time, that’s what he was doing. I don’t know.”
In addition to these topics, Jericho talked about getting drunk with Kevin Nash, his feud with Shawn Michaels, and more. Click here to check out the rest of the show. If you use any of the quotes from this article please credit WOOOOO! Nation with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: WOOOOO! Nation