On the latest episode of the Talk Is Jericho podcast, Chris Jericho and Luther concluded their two-part podcast by discussing the other places Luther could have signed at before ultimately signing with AEW. Luther discussed his short time at ECW and his conversations with Paul Heyman.
“So ECW I went there to have my tryout or whatever you want to call it. I had a couple matches there,” Luther recalled. “Flew out and I thought they went really good. He [Heyman] said they went really good. I wrested Mike Awesome for one match, which we’ve wrestled a million times before, so I know that match went great, and then I wrestled Tommy Rogers. It was good. I thought it went good. It was just the classic when you go into an arena and no one knows who you are
“So I wrestle [and] do the matches. They said they were really good. He pays me a little bit, and he was pretty up front. He’s like, ‘we’re having money issues right now. I can’t bring you in.’
“I think honestly, not to be a dick, but did you use points to get there or frequent flyers because I got you the audition,” Jericho revealed. “And you flew yourself there. So he couldn’t afford to fly you from the west coast.
“And I was like, ‘well, I can move and stuff’ because I have no problems with that stuff,” Luther said. ‘And he’s just like, ‘I couldn’t pay you very well or whatever’ because a couple of the guys, like Mike, he was working for like nothing, and I couldn’t work for nothing. I think I probably would have got a job there if [I lived in Philly].”
Luther went to WCW around 2000 where he recalled his match against Vampiro on the last WCW Worldwide. Luther noted that those who had heat with Jericho, as Vampiro did, also had in with him resulting in a not-so-friendly encounter and match.
“So then WCW I go and it went so-so,” Luther admitted. “I did a couple shows, but you know how they have you sometimes as security guys or whatever like that, backstage talent or whatever. So, it was cool. I mean, you still get to make a payday, but then I’m wrestling in Kelowna against Vampiro, and so I talked to him the day before and he was not super cool. He was pretty drugged out in my opinion. I’m not a drug counselor, obviously, but I don’t know.
“I even was super nice because he wrestled in WAR. I was like, ‘hey, we’ve worked for the same company in Japan and just wanted to say hi because we’re working tomorrow,’ and I always feel like I get along with people in the dressing room. And he’s just being a dick. He didn’t like you, and I noticed a couple people. People who had heat with you, then had heat with me off the bat, and I was like, whatever dude. So we go over the match. It’s on TV. It was the very last Worldwide. So we go out, and we have all this stuff, but then he’s kind of no selling my s–t.
“And I’m selling all his stuff, and then time for me to do stuff and he’s like, ‘no, we got to take it home.’ But then that day before, he comes up to me actually before the match, and he’s like, ‘I just want to apologize. I didn’t know who you were yesterday, and then people were telling me you were like big in Japan. Sorry for how I acted.’ Your a dick. I don’t really care, so that’s how that went.”
However, Luther said he was approached by Terry Taylor and another individual to sign with WCW for a three-year deal with the first year paying him $130,000, the second year paying $210,000 and increasing more in the final year. However, Luther was living in Canada at the time, and he did not have a work visa. He said he was told by that WCW could not sign people that they would have to give visas to because WCW was going to be sold in the near future.
“Then talking about the deal, which sounded really awesome,” Luther said. “It was three years for I want to say 130 then to 210 and then 3 something. It was crazy. It was awesome money, but WCW’s throwing money around big time, and I was just like, holy s–t. That’s a game-changer, even to this day standards. And so I was like awesome.
So then they’re talking about like, ‘oh you’re work visa.’ I was still living in Canada at the time, and I was like, ‘oh, I don’t have a work permit.’ And they’re like, ‘what?’ At the time, my girlfriend was from America. I was like, ‘well, my girlfriend’s American.’ They’re like, ‘you should marry her.’ I was like, ‘I don’t want to do that just to get there’ and even that takes time. They just don’t give it to you. So then I was like, ‘well, I don’t have a [work visa],’ and so they start to pull this paper back.
“Then he said, ‘well, we’ll tell you something we’re not really telling people, but we’re not signing people we have to get permits for because we’re actually selling.’ So I knew they were selling to WWE before because he just basically told me that. So if I were to have my American Visa at the time, then I would have got signed.”
Jericho spoke on the last podcast they did and said that Luther’s AEW signing was earned and not just a result of them being friends. Luther admitted that he was speechless and thought it was a rib when Cody Rhodes and Christopher Daniels approached him to sign with AEW. Luther recalled his thoughts during that day, and Jericho talked about how Luther’s signing was earned after 30 years in the wrestling business.
“I was actually speechless. I remember when they offered me the contract, I thought they were ribbing me,” Luther admitted. “So Daniels and Cody took me into a room, and I thought I was getting fired.”
“Because you had signed two five-show deals or whatever it was,” Jericho added. “So they’re signing you for five, and then they give you another five, but there’s nothing guaranteed.”
“So I go in there, and I’m like, ‘oh my god. This is not going to be good.’ I get a little anxiety once in awhile, and then my brain starts going crazy,” Luther stated. “I’m like, ‘oh, this is not good.’ So I go in there, and they offered me a full contract. I was just sort of sitting there, didn’t know what to do or what to say, but they’re looking at me, and they’re kind of smiling.
“So I thought, they’re ribbing me, and I said straight up, ‘are you ribbing me?’ He’s like, ‘no, no,’ and I was like, ‘maybe he doesn’t rib,’ but that’s something that would have happened to us back in the day. Those guys would have done that, so that’s where my head goes right away, and then I was speechless. I probably didn’t act like I would have been my head where I’d be like, ‘yeah,’ but in real life, I was trying to be all cool. But I was also like, oh my god.
“That’s what they talking about like, ‘what do you think Luther wants for his deal?’ A bag of used hockey pucks and a Eugene Levy t-shirt,” Jericho remarked. “He don’t care, but the point is you finally got this major contract, and it was so amazing. But the reason why it was so amazing not because you deserve it and you’ve had so many years, but got burned so many times.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.