Pro wrestling great Chris Jericho stopped by 317 Gimmick Street for a conversation with WWE Hall Of Fame Steve Austin. Among many other things, Jericho talked about the first time he met Austin, his transition to WWE from WCW, his original concept for the Highlight Reel, and how he was able to avoid many of the trappings of pro wrestling.
Jericho claimed that he first met Austin on a plane while he was still in WCW and Austin was in WWE.
"I met [Austin] on a plane one time and [Austin] gave me the greatest line of all time." Jericho continued, "no, [Austin was not rude]. It was a great line! I was walking on the plane. It was one of those rare moments when you would see WWE and WCW on the same plane. And [Austin] walked by me and [Austin] said, 'hey'. I only knew Steve Austin. I was like, 'hey,' he was like, 'hey, there's a gay guy on the plane.' I said, 'really?' He goes, 'yeah, give me a kiss and I'll tell you who it is.'"
Apparently, Jericho faced a very difficult transition from WCW to WWE. The self-described 'Man Of 235 Holds' admitted that he did not even know what bumping and feeding a comeback meant when he arrived at Titan Tower.
"I came in as a heel, so I had no problem." Jericho recalled, "I didn't know you weren't supposed to talk s--t about The Undertaker in a promo or talk bad about Steve Austin in a promo! That's what heels do to babyfaces! Right? But I learned very quickly that that's not what heels do when they first come in. I had no idea! Nobody ever taught me that in WCW. They didn't even tell me how to bump and feed a comeback. I had been in WCW for three years and I had no idea what that even meant as crazy as it sounds right now."
During the inteview, Jericho explained that he realized early on in WWE that he could change people's opinions of him by working well with mid level talents.
"I knew I can't win with [Triple H] and DX." Jericho remembered, "and Rocky was always cool and [Austin] was in and out. [Austin was] always on your own, but [he was] always cool to me. But what I did was I worked really hard always, but I knew if I could get over with the bullpen, with the mid level guys, that would bleed up to the top. Bob Holly, those type of guys, JBL, Bradshaw at the time, working with those types, Rikishi, having great matches night after night, after night, with those guys, where I was programmed, word gets around, 'hey, that guy's not an asshole. You guys are talking s--t about him, but he's really good and he's a really good guy.' That really helped to alleviate some of the tension that was there."
According to Jericho, his original idea for the Highlight Reel was to provide a forum for impromptu interviews with underutilized talent.
"My initial idea was learning from one of the greatest, I don't know what you would call him, backstage interviewers, was Gene Okerlund who could lead you through a backstage promo even if you didn't know what you were doing. Right?" Jericho added, "my idea when I started the Highlight Reel was I wanted to be the Gene Okerlund, have guys that didn't get promo time, and let me do an improv promo. Let's see what they've got. Of course, that did not fly with Vince. He wanted an actual promo segment with top level guys."
On the subject of drugs and the pitfalls of the road, Jericho indicated that he stayed away from opioids because drugs never interested him. While Jericho experimented with so-called magic mushrooms, his drug of choice remains alcohol, as he enjoys to drink it in, man.
"I was never interested." Jericho considered, "I don't do drugs. Why would I want to do drugs? And I just never started with any of that. I never did any of the pills even back in Calgary [Canada] and Mexico, guys that I'd hang with would do all the pills. I just didn't! I don't know why. Still to this day, I've never done cocaine in my life. Never! I just never had the desire to for whatever reason. No. Never once. Yeah, I mean, I did 'shrooms and that sort of scene and that sort of thing. I just liked having a drink. The guys I ran with just liked to have a drink."
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Source: The Steve Austin Show