It’s now been over five years since Chris Jericho collided with his former best friend, Kevin Owens, at WrestleMania 33. And as Jericho has discussed many times in the past, he remains very proud of the lead-up to the match — though he’s less proud of what came next.
In an interview with Inside the Ropes regarding his WrestleMania matches, which Jericho then used for his latest episode of “Talk is Jericho,” the AEW star revealed when he knew the partnership, and eventual breakup, with Owens, had legs.
“We got to SummerSlam and I said to Vince, ‘I think we can take this to WrestleMania,'” Jericho said. “We were the Best Friends before the Best Friends were in AEW. That’s kind of where the whole thing started. And people kept thinking ‘Okay, they’re going to break up now.’ And we wouldn’t. The one time I was like, ‘You know what the problem is here?’ He goes, ‘Yeah, I know what the problem is here.’ ‘You know what the problem is here?’ ‘You know what the problem is here?’ ‘ROMAN REIGNS!’ We say it at the same time.
“So that was kind of the thing … and finally, we get to the Festival of Friendship, and we do the big breakup. And it was around that time, probably a couple of weeks after that, Vince said, ‘The main event of WrestleMania this year is going to be Jericho vs. Kevin Owens for the WWE title.'”
Jericho was excited he was for the match to be a main event, especially since he had never won a world title in his career as a babyface. Of course, things didn’t turn out the way Jericho expected.
“About a week later, Goldberg beat Kevin for the title, and they changed it,” Jericho said. “Vince didn’t tell me. He told me, face to face, about the main event plan, but he didn’t tell me about the change, that he was changing it to Brock vs. Goldberg. I’m a big boy. I get it, I’m a professional. He changed his mind, it happens. It’s not an insult to me or personal. But what really bugged me about that was we went from the main event of WrestleMania to putting us on second.
“Now if you know anything about placement on a wrestling show, if you’re not last, you want to be first. If you’re not first or last, you want to be the semi-main event. Other than that, it’s pretty much a quagmire, unless you can get a good spot like Shawn and I did. But we had 29 minutes. This did not have that. It was scheduled for 15 minutes, and don’t forget, it takes a minute and a half to walk to the ring. It was just a match that was just there. And it really bothered me because that story was one of the best, if not the best story, of that whole WrestleMania season. I still think the Festival of Friendship was still one of the best segments in ‘Raw’ history.”
Jericho also revealed that the combination of the match, and the reaction it received afterwards, helped contribute to his departure from WWE.
“When we were on second, I was already kind of like ‘I don’t know if I want to be here anymore,'” Jericho said. “And then we get the review from Vince for our match. Vince said to Kevin Owens ‘That was the worst match in WrestleMania history.’ That’s what he said. He just did not like that match, and I was like ‘Really? Did you not see Giant Gonzalez vs. Undertaker? Really?’
“For whatever reason, he was really on Kevin’s case … He said, ‘You’re fat, you’re out of shape, you do too many moves, and you’re just not a good heel.’ He was really on Kevin at that point in time. And our match was just collateral damage, I think. I think the match we had the next month was much better, for the US title.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription
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