AEW star Chris Jericho sat down with Hollywood Life to talk about his recent interactions with Mike Tyson on AEW Dynamite. When asked why guys like Tyson, Shaquille O’Neal and Bad Bunny have done so much better in wrestling than celebrities like Jay Leno back in the Monday Night Wars, Jericho said it was due to newer celebrities having more respect for wrestling.
“You now have guys that have a large amount of respect for pro wrestling,” Jericho said. “You can throw Jay Leno’s name in there and I will raise you a Karl Malone, a Dennis Rodman or a Lawrence Taylor way back in the day. There are athletes and guys like Bad Bunny who have been lifelong fans of wrestling and really respect what we do and want to be involved. Those are the ones that always work the best. If you take a guy who doesn’t want to do the training and do the things to put on a good match, you will not get one. Then it becomes more of just a stunt casting.
“Shaq took it very seriously. He worked very hard to put on the match he did. The same thing with Bad Bunny. You can tell the training was there because what he did was very much like the match we had with Shaq.
“I don’t think these recent celebrities want to come in there and embarrass themselves or, more importantly, embarrass the sport with all the respect that they have for it. It’s the same thing with Mike Tyson. He loves being around the business and respects the business, and he has since he has been a kid. All he wants to do is his best. And at the end of the day, he is Mike Tyson, so there is always that element of what he is going to do. But if he didn’t want to be there for the right reasons, he wouldn’t be there.”
Jericho was then asked if any fellow rock stars he’d like to wrestle. The Fozzy lead singer offered a surprising answer.
“I don’t think of it that way,” Jericho said. “People ask me that, thinking it is a fun question, but to me, it is like, ‘if you want to do it, you have to put the time and effort and the right angle and storyline.’
“To me it’s like, ‘Who in the metal world would you put in a wrestling match that would be believable?’ The Bad Bunny thing was a little different, and I suppose you could find somebody like Zakk Wylde who could probably train and actually do it. But, you have to be an athlete first and foremost. That’s why Shaq was so good or Tyson being involved is so good. Because of the intensity that he (Tyson) has because he knows what it is like to be in a fight . When he is in the ring, he’s not thinking that this is some kind of ‘haha’ type thing.
“So, if the story is right, and the guy wants to put the right time in, then once again, sure. What we did with Shaq and what WWE did with Bad Bunny are perfect examples of the right story and the right guy who is willing to put in the time to do well.
Jericho then made one last point.
“When I did Dancing with The Stars, the guys that didn’t respect what they were doing or out in the time to rehearse were out quickly. I realized if you don’t rehearse six or seven hours a day, every single day, you are not going to last long, and that is why I did so well.
“I went into that world with the respect and desire that you needed to succeed, and that is what you have to do in wrestling as well.”