Pro wrestling legend Chris Jericho recently caught up with WWE Hall Of Famer Jim Ross on The Jim Ross Report. Among many other things, Jericho talked about WWE Superstar Roman Reigns and his ongoing struggles to garner positive fan reactions. Additionally, Jericho stressed that fans often forget that the performers have no control over the way in which they are booked.
On the subject of Reigns, Jericho indicated that while it is very difficult to be a heel nowadays, he has worked Reigns several times and they were able to get 'The Big Dog' babyface reactions more often than not.
"It is [difficult to be a heel nowadays], but, once again, I've worked with Roman Reigns in 2017, I don't know, two dozen times." Jericho recalled, "I had so much fun working with him in every single aspect and I'd say in those two dozen times there were only two or three times where he wasn't the super over babyface. You just have to know what to do [as a heel]. You have to know how to live in that moment. Just be a piece of s--t, man! It's really easy to do if you know how to tap into it and Roman is a tremendous worker. He's fun to work with. So, once again, heel/babyface, all I know is that it's the proverbial thing where if you show up at the arena, and you look at the card on the wall, and you see, 'okay, Jericho versus Roman Reigns', I'm like, 'okay, I'm done. See you in two hours. Let's just go out there and have fun.' You don't have to sit there. You don't have to worry. You don't have to go over a bunch of s--t. You just go in there and just work."
Jericho compared Reigns' negative crowd reactions to the fan response garnered by John Cena and pointed out that he always had good matches with Cena as well. 'Y2J' professed that fans are too concerned about turning Reigns heel despite the fact that turning him heel would make him a babyface anyway.
"And that's the same thing as [John] Cena when people were really booing John Cena." Jericho said, "I always had good matches with Cena. I always had good matches with Roman Reigns, but whichever side of the coin people want to land as far as how they're going to react, it's still going to be great. It's still going to be a blast. And people are still going to have an awesome time watching those matches, so like I said, I think people get too preoccupied with, 'oh, turn him heel!' Okay, turn him heel. Then what happens? Everybody that was booing him starts cheering him, so then he's a babyface anyways! What difference does it make?"
Jericho went on to say that the wrestleverse forgets that the performers work hard and have no control over the booking when they are cheering and booing from the stands.
"There's one thing that people have to realize and it's that you can't change the booking [as a performer]." Jericho explained, "not even I can change the booking. Not even Brock Lesnar can change the booking. If the booking dictates, 'well, here's the finish of the match with A, B, C, and D,' and you think it sucks, it doesn't matter. Vince [McMahon]'s big quote is, 'I just book this s--t - you make it work.' If he books something that's not good, you've got to do your best to make it work and sometimes it doesn't work and it's not the talents' fault. Nobody's going out there and dictating their own finishes or dictating their own angles and storylines. You can have influence, but at the end of the day, there's one guy that decides what we all do. And I think sometimes the fans need to relax a little bit and realize, 'hey, it didn't work, but those [performers] put on a good show and did the best they could do under the circumstances,' and give them a round of applause."
According to Jericho, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon puts the onus back on talents to get an angle over through their performances. Jericho claimed that McMahon will defer to talents when they feel passionately about a subject and if they have a track record with McMahon.
"In my case, he made me a lot of money. I made him a lot of money in return. And there is some give-and-take as far as, 'I think this idea is better.' And, again, nine times out of 10, if talent really feels it and Vince [McMahon] has respect for you because you have a good track record with ideas with him, he'll go with it. But even still, once in a while, 'Vince wants this' and you're like, 'alright, there's only so much I can do!' And that's it. And it's your job. If you're an actor and you go get a part in a Steven Spielberg movie and you don't like the script, you don't go up to Steven Spielberg and go, 'hey, Steven, this doesn't work for me. I need to change this.' 'f--k off, man. I'll get someone else to play this part.'" Jericho added, "it's only wrestling, man. And we do the best we can with what we're given and the part we're supposed to play. And you can put your two cents in it and even for me sometimes, I'll come up with ideas that Vince goes, 'they don't work!' But you do the best you can with what you're given. And at the end of the day, as long as people are making noise and go home with a smile on their face, and feeling they've got their money's worth, that's all that matters."
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Source: The Jim Ross Report