Chris Jericho spoke with Brian Fritz of FOX Sports.com about his return to Madison Square Garden this past Saturday and his twenty-five years in professional wrestling. Here are the highlights.
Congratulations on your 25-year anniversary from your start in wrestling. What was it like this past weekend having friends and family to celebrate it with you along with having a match in the iconic Madison Square Garden?
You do so many matches over the years and it’s kind of one week into another. Something like this it doesn’t happen very often. There are not a lot of guys in the history of the business that can even claim that. And then it’s funny because it seems like, for years, very timely shows happen in big stars’ hometowns. For example, I remember one time John Cena and I worked â I think it was at Survivor Series â for the world title in Boston and he wins. Or I remember Shawn Michaels in San Antonio for the tag team titles. Anytime we’ve seen these shows with hometown guys that would win titles, I would always be how coincidental is that? I never had that because we don’t really go to Winnipeg.
Does it feel like it’s been 25 years since you started?
Not really. I’ll bet anyone would probably say that. I just had Paul Stanley on my podcast to talk about the 40th anniversary of “Kiss: Alive,” and I said does it feel like 40 years? No. It doesn’t really feel like 25 either. I guess if you go through the body of work year by year and that sort of thing, yeah, it’s been a long, illustrious career. But when I think back to Oct. 3, 1990 and the Ponoka Moose Hall, it doesn’t seem like that long ago, yet it kind of does. I guess if you go through it and break it down year-by-year, territory-by-territory and country by country, man, I’ve been doing this a long time. When you think 25 years, it doesn’t feel like it. I still go out there and perform at the highest of levels. I guess to give you the wishy-washy answer yes and no, but I don’t feel like it at this point. When you look at the history and the money then yes, yes I do.
Lately, you’ve been working with WWE again, but mainly just on house shows (non-televised events). How enjoyable has that been for you to still be involved in wrestling but just can just focus on having fun in the ring and not having to deal with storylines?
It started about a year ago when they asked me to go to England to do a tour because somebody got hurt and I said sure. Then I thought, well, if I can do that in England, I should do it in the States. I don’t need to be on TV ever again. People know who I am. I’m Chris Jericho no matter what. Maybe it’s made me even more popular that I’m not on TV because people are surprised to see me. Even though we advertise it and I talk about it all the time on my podcast, on Twitter, etc., most people don’t pay attention and are surprised when I come out.
I usually do a quick promo with whoever it is, Cesaro or (Luke) Harper or Kevin Owens lately, and we kind of set out own little tone and set our own little story and have the match. By the end of it, people are enjoying it and having a blast watching it. Easy for me; no stress, no hassle. Don’t have to worry about what the storyline is. Don’t have to argue with Vince about something that I don’t like. Just go out there and do what we do best and that’s perform. It’s so easy and so much fun that I can’t believe they still let me do it. I pick the shows I want to do. I pick the guys I want to work with and just go out there and get the job done. It’s still fun for me to do. I really, really enjoy that. It’s what I’ve been doing since I was 19 years old. As long as I can do it at the highest of levels and know that on any given night I can walk out of there and people saying it was the best match of the show, that’s all I need.
You mentioned you and Vince getting into arguments over storylines. What’s the worst argument the two of you have gotten into?
The worst argument is when I got the job to host “Downfall,” the game show that I had to audition for quite a few times. I didn’t tell him because I didn’t want him getting involved because sometimes the company will get involved and screw things up for you. (laughs) And when I finally got the gig, I didn’t tell him and it was on the front cover of the Hollywood Reporter, which he flipped out at. He forbid me from doing it and I was going to do it. No you can’t. Yes I can. Well, you’re fired. You can’t fire me because I quit. You can’t quit because you’re fired. I’m going to fly to Connecticut to punch you in the face. I’ll give you my address. I’ll be waiting. That sort of a thing. We kind of just hung up on each other. We ended up working it all out but that was the biggest actual argument.
Most of the time with Vince, it’s not arguments, it’s just debates or it’s a very calm, “this is what you’re doing.” I wasn’t supposed to be working with Fandango at WrestleMania 29. It was supposed to be Ryback and that was kind of the deal we had made. That was the promise that was made and it was changed very quickly for no real reason. I wasn’t happy about that either. Nothing against Fandango, but that spot wasn’t a really WrestleMania worthy match, but once again, once I was told that this was my role, I made it a WrestleMania-worthy match. We had about three weeks to come up with an angle and if you go and watch that match and watch the night after, the most over guy on that show was Fandango. And I’m taking a huge chunk of the credit for that, thank you very much.
You can read the entire interview here.