As previously noted, professional wrestling great Chris Jericho recently spoke with Inside The Ropes on a number of pro wrestling topics. Among other things, Jericho talked about the moment when he realized he had something special working with Kevin Owens, the original plans of making him Universal Champion, and WWE creative changing whenever Vince McMahon is not present.
With respect to Jericho’s angle with Kevin Owens angle, ‘Y2J’ said it all started when he realized Owens is funny.
“The idea initially was just getting to know him.” Jericho elaborated, “that guy’s f–king funny, man. He’s really funny. He [has] got a great sense of humor. I remember just working a couple of random matches where I was like, ‘I could do something with this guy.’ It seemed so weird at the time, Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho, we’re at different levels, didn’t really look the same or wrestle the same, but just his personality was so sardonic and sarcastic.”
According to Jericho, when Owens ran down the aisle post-match and jumped in his arms, he realized they had something special.
“What happened was we were in London [England] last April and we did some random tag team match and at the end, he ran down the aisle and jumped in my arms because Vince [McMahon] had just told him, ‘act like you just won the World Series; act like you won the Stanley Cup, the Super Bowl, because I had gotten the pin, but you act like it’s the biggest thing ever.'”
Jericho continued, “we went up the ramp way and he goes, ‘we’re the best! You’re the GOAT and I’m the donkey! We’re the best!’ And I’m, ‘yeah, you’re the donkey!’ And he goes, ‘yeah, I’m the donkey!’ We get to the back and Vince is laughing his ass off and I was laughing. We were all laughing and we were like, ‘we’ve got something here!'”
During the interview, Jericho divulged that the original plan was for him to beat Owens for the Universal Championship and then lose it to Brock Lesnar.
“I think once we got to about December,” Jericho recalled, “I started pitching to Vince, I said, ‘listen, like this Jericho character, this is not me, this is the most popular I’ve ever been.’ I said, ‘you could put the world title on this guy if you wanted to. And this is not pitching.’ And he said, ‘yeah, absolutely.’ So I said, ‘why don’t we have a title match at The Royal Rumble, me and Owens, and what if I win and he wins the next week?’ I think originally he was supposed to lose to Brock at WrestleMania. And Vince finally came back to me, I don’t remember when it was, and he said, ‘I want you to beat Owens for the title at WrestleMania and then you lose to Brock’ and I said, ‘f–k yeah!’ And that changed the next week.”
Interestingly, Jericho shared that Triple H tried to change the creative for Owens’ turn on Jericho to a garden variety sneak attack from behind instead of the slow reveal that played out during The Festival Of Friendship.
“I came up with The Festival Of Friendship in Las Vegas [Nevada] a few months before.” Jericho claimed, “I knew exactly where we had to do it and The Festival Of Friendship was my idea from the start.”
Jericho continued, “we went over this and Vince approved it. It was rehearsed, not rehearsed, but it was a done deal. Then, in that day in Vegas, Vince wasn’t there and when that happens, things always change. And Triple H wanted Owens to just attack me, like out of nowhere. He goes, ‘it’s too long. Why wouldn’t he attack you earlier?’ And I said, ‘it’s just the drama. It’s Game Of Thrones. It’s The Red Wedding.’
“I said, ‘it’s the drama!’ I pull out The List Of KO and I’m like, ‘why is my name on this?’ and then, there’s the realization for me and the audience, like, ‘oh, no!’ and here he comes. And [Triple H] is like, ‘no, it’s too comical.’ I said, ‘it’s not too comical if I don’t deliver it comical! ‘Oh, it’s The List Of KO! Why am I on this?’ No, it’s drama because I don’t ever see The List Of KO, I just see, ‘oh, a new list! That’s great! [The audience] see[s] The List Of KO, but I don’t. ‘How come my name is on this?’ List Of KO. Realization, ‘oh f–k.” I actually had to have a pretty heated debate with Hunter about that. And I like Hunter a lot. He’s a good friend of mine. This is not a Jericho versus Hunter thing. That was done a long time ago. [It was] a very heated debate and I said, ‘listen, I’ll call Vince right now. This is the way to do it.’ I think he just kind of threw up his hands and walked away. And afterwards, he even texted me, he was like, ‘you were right. That was great. You totally made the right call on that.'”
Similarly, Jericho said McMahon agreed with him that he should win the WWE United States Championship, only for the plans to change when McMahon was not around.
“I was supposed to just work with Owens and then do RAW the next night and be done.” Jericho explained, “but I was like, I remember thinking, a few days before, ‘what if I win? What if I win and go to SmackDown then he kills me there?’ And I pitched it to Vince and Vince actually thought it was really cool. And once again, I show up for the pay-per-view and Vince isn’t there. They wanted to change it to Owens beating me. I’m like, ‘if Owens is beating me, then I’m just done tonight. Why show up on RAW? The story needs this extra twist because it was a great story from April to April. All the twists and turns. What if I win? ‘Well, what are you going to do, beat Owens and then he beats you back and there’s no momentum?’ I said, ‘there’s no momentum in this title anyways! It doesn’t mean anything! If I beat him? ‘anything can happen in the WWE,’ that’s what we always say. Nobody thinks I’m going to win, not one person, because ‘Jericho’s leaving – he’s going on tour with Fozzy.’ What if I win? Then we go to SmackDown, we draw a rating on that show, he beats the f–k out of me, and I’m gone. It’s the perfect ending to the story. It’s the great Game Of Thrones good guy, bad guy, bad guy wins, Game Of Thrones, you slice his stomach and you get one last thing, boom, boom, boom, good guy’s dead. Finished.’ And that’s the way I wanted it. That’s the way the story should have ended and it ended at the right time.”
Check out the interview here. If you use any of the quotes that appear in this article, please credit Inside The Ropes with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Inside The Ropes