Recently on Talk Is Jericho pro wrestling legend Chris Jericho talked about his nixed program with WWE Hall Of Famer Goldberg in WCW. As the story goes, during the rise of Goldberg’s undefeated streak in 1998, WCW inadvertently caught lightning in a bottle by lining up ‘The Ayatollah Of Rock And Rollah’ as Goldberg’s next victim. Jericho’s impeccable comedy act spoofing and ridiculing Goldberg elevated the feud into something more than just another Goldberg squash, but WCW went away from the angle. The situation has long been held as a major missed opportunity for WCW.
According to Jericho, who was hoping to break into the main event scene at the time, he suggested having their blowoff match on pay-per-view instead of on TV.
“They started getting hip to [the angle] and they wanted me to lose to Goldberg a couple of times on Nitro.” Jericho recalled, “and I remember saying, ‘why did we build this for three or four weeks only to have me lose in a minute to Goldberg on Nitro? Like, ‘we’ve got something here! People are into it. You can see by the crowd, and what they’re chanting, and what they’re doing. They want to see Goldberg kill me. Why don’t see make them pay for it?’ That was my point, ‘why don’t we make them pay for it rather than just giving it away for free on TV and that was great? Let’s do a pay-per-view match!'”
Apparently, WCW boss Eric Bischoff was keen on the idea at one point, even coming up with an idea to weave Judge Judy into the angle. Jericho recalled that Goldberg shot down that storyline.
“I remember at one point Eric was into it. He was even going to have Judge Judy on the show and he wanted something where Goldberg would be beaten up by somebody and I’d come in and put my foot on him, and pose, and take a picture, and go to Judge Judy and say, ‘here! Here’s my proof that I beat Goldberg! Look, my foot’s on him.’ And Goldberg’s like, ‘absolutely not.’ So that was Eric’s idea, to do something with Judge Judy. So when it kept getting put in my face where it was like, ‘you’re just going to lose to him like everyone else had in the streak,’ I put my foot down and I was like, ‘absolutely not. If this angle, this moneymaking angle, if you won’t even go through with this, I know I’m done. I know there’s nothing else I could do here. This is an angle that fell into your hands. It’s a legit match that people want to see.
“I never, ever wanted to have a normal match. What I wanted to do was to just have Bill kick the s–t out of me and like I said, do this cool little squash match with all the bumps and bruises and stuff. And I was going to be wearing amateur wrestling shoes. And I remember I had the whole finish. I was going to hit him with the belt, he was going to no-sell it, hit me, whatever, and give me a chance to pull the heel out of my shoe. And then, I was going to have him spear me so hard that he speared me out of my shoes. I was going to kick the shoe into the 15th row or whatever.” Jericho added, “Goldberg was really mad like [Bischoff and Thompson] talked about [on Bischoff’s podcast], like, ‘I’m the guy that just beat [Hulk] Hogan for the title. I’m the guy who stands in the sparks in the middle of the fire.’ And I remember saying, ‘and you’re the guy that’s going to go down if I kick you in the nuts right now’ and Bischoff going, ‘okay, calm down! Let’s not get carried away!'”
Consequently, the feud between Jericho and Goldberg in WCW was blown off awkwardly with Bobby Duncum, Jr. in Goldberg’s spot and Jericho and Goldberg would not work together until Goldberg made his way to WWE.
“I worked with Goldberg for three pay-per-views in WWE! I could’ve done all that in WCW, but they wouldn’t pull the trigger and give me a shot. And when they wouldn’t do that angle at the pay-per-view, as we know, as [Conrad Thompson] said, Goldberg cancelled because he was going hunting that weekend and he wasn’t booked for the pay-per-view, so he sort of skipped out. I worked with Bobby Duncum, Jr. and that was the blowoff. That was the blowoff for the Goldberg angle. Bill and I never touched after that.
“If you’re not going to follow through on this, knowing that people want to see it, then what chance do I have here? There’s never going to be anything that I do after two months, or three months, or whatever, because it was such a long buildup, there’s nothing I can do that’s going to top this as far as a match, and they may have been able to do more, but here it is. Right here, and if you’re not going to take it now, then there’s no way. It’s not going to happen for me.”
During the podcast, Jericho said that in WCW it was generally impossible for people to move up in the world. Moreover, working Duncum instead of Goldberg is what made Jericho look for greener pastures.
“I feel like I was brought in as a cruiserweight, I was brought in as a $200,000 guy, [and] this is where I’m going to stay!” Jericho confessed, “I’ll never get a bigger opportunity because when one was presented to them on a silver platter, they didn’t take it. So as a result, I’m done here. And that was the day, when I worked with Bobby Duncum on that pay-per-view, that was the day that Chris Jericho checked out of WCW and then it was time to get the hell out of there.”
Additionally, Jericho explained that Bischoff hurt his feelings by deciding to protect Goldberg’s ego instead of making the decision that was best for business. ‘The Master Of The Canadian Armbar’ concluded that Bischoff did not know what to do with Chris Jericho.
“[Bischoff] hurt my feelings because I know Eric is a very smart guy. I mean, the fact that he was able to take that company? I told Don Callis the other day, ‘don’t think that you can’t make this huge when you’re working with Impact [Wrestling] because Bischoff did it. One or two key acquisitions, and suddenly you’re hot, and people jump aboard.’ And that’s what Eric did. And I felt like as a businessman, as a guy who understood how to make money in the [pro] wrestling business, the fact that you’re not going to do this match because of ego over business when the whole end result was for Goldberg to win. And, once again, win and not to have a normal match. It wasn’t going to be shine, heat, false finish, false finish. It was going to be a just killing and entertaining one like I saw Pat Tanaka do with The Road Warriors.” Jericho continued, “when that happened, I knew Bischoff didn’t see it in me and if he didn’t see it in me? Bischoff told me once that you need to be on TV for 10 years to be a main eventer. That’s what he said, ‘you need people to be familiar with you before you can be a main eventer.’ And then, meanwhile, Goldberg was on TV for six months and he was super huge, so there [were] kind of some conundrums there. I just knew that it did, like, hurt my feelings as a professional to know, ‘man, like argh, if you can’t see it now when it’s staring you in the face, there’s really no chance for me here.’ And I still think that, believe that to this day. I remember before I left [for WWE], Bischoff made some kind of a comment that Vince McMahon won’t know what to do with Chris Jericho. I don’t think Eric Bischoff knew what to do with Chris Jericho either.”
Yeah boy! If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Talk Is Jericho