Chris Jericho On His Future With New Japan, Vince Threatening To Fire Him & More

Chris Jericho was Sean Waltman’s guest on the latest episode of the X-Pac 1-2-360 podcast, which you can listen to at iTunes and Omny.fm.

Here are some highlights of what Chris Jericho said about:

The time Vince McMahon said he’d fire him if he didn’t have a good match with Sean Waltman:

“So when I got to WWE, I’d been working for 9 years and I’d been over in every company that I ever worked for so you know there’s certain guys like when Daniel Bryan came into the WWE I knew he’d get over no matter what. He’s been over everywhere he’s ever worked, he’ll figure it out and that’s what I did. I figured it out and it didn’t take long but there was a huge bullseye on my back and I smartened up to it very quickly.

And the other part of the story…what Vince told me was ‘you’re working with X-Pac tonight, if you don’t have a good match you’re fired.’ Which was a guillotine over my head… and then afterwards Vince was super cool, he pat me on the back, ‘hey pal, give me a call tomorrow and oh by the way every match that you have from now on run it past Sean Waltman first and make sure that it makes sense…In retrospect there’s a reason Vince did that. As we know Vince is a f***ing genius and we were peers but Sean you knew how to work that [WWE] style so he put me with you to figure out how to do it. I’m really happy he did that because I learned right away…That’s why Vince did it and it worked.

His match with Naito at NJPW Dominion:

“We went to the Dojo the day before and I had some ideas…but once again I was thinking more along the lines of what’s the story I want to tell? And here’s what I always go with, if I ever do a promo or match. What’s the vibe of this promo? What’s the vibe of this match? What’s the mood that I wanna set? Once I circled in on that then the rest just came together very quickly.

I wanted something that’s a little uncomfortable, a little bit stiff. Cause Naito’s style is tranquilo as his catchphrase, very laid back…I wanted a different Naito, I wanted a Naito that did give a shit and wanted to fight…That whole start of the match was his [Gedo] idea; attack him before the bell, attack him before he takes his suit off, put him through a table. Like I didn’t think of it that way… It sets the tone of being this super intense brawl.”

Working a Brock Lesnar-type schedule with New Japan and his future with the company:

“A lot more tales to tell with Chris Jericho in New Japan. And almost doing a Brock Lesnar type of schedule to where I am not there for every show but the ones that I am there for are now special cause Jericho is there. I didn’t expect to be doing more matches with New Japan as of January of this year and now that I’ve done another one and there’s a couple more in the pipeline I might decide to stay a little longer.”

Wanting to make his Rock ‘n Wrestling Rager Cruise an annual event:

“My schedule is ridiculous I’m not gonna have any fun at all, I am working the whole damn time but I have to sell this cruise, I have to make it a success. So you know wrestling fans are gonna have a great time, it might be a little bit crazy for the boys but it’s gonna be a fun experience for everybody because it’s people from all of the same mind set of really loving this certain art form of wrestling and rock n’ roll as well as love live comedy and love live podcasts all that sort of thing. It’s never been done before, I am taking a big chance but I had to do it and so far so good. My goal is for it to be an annual destination vacation. In year two, I’ve already got X-Pac 12360 on the docket for a live podcast if you could put up with it [laughs].”

The “WWE Style” of Wrestling:

“It’s all part of the learning process. Anytime you come into a new company it takes a while to figure it out. Now I always laugh when people say ‘WWE style? There’s no WWE style.’ Yes there is a WWE style, it’s a main event style, it’s how you really work. And anybody that comes through the system, it makes me laugh when you see guys from NXT that came from the indies that were super great and critically acclaimed…there’s always an adjustment period when you come into the WWE, I don’t care who you are – AJ Styles it was an adjustment, Bobby Roode or Samoa Joe or any of those guys … There is a way we work in WWE and once you can work that way you can take that style and work it anywhere on the planet and always have the best match on the show.”

How the wrestling business was different in the 1990’s:

“It was such a different business in the 90s. Even if it was only twenty years ago it might as well have been fifty years ago with the way the boys thought, the way the business was…it doesn’t even matter who the main event is anymore, whereas back in the 90s, if you were going to make the big money you had to be in the main event. And as a result, to stay in the main event there was a lot of political imagination going on behind the scenes to keep guys down or help guys out whatever it was. And those sorts of politics don’t really exist anymore.”

Backstage politics in WCW compared to WWE:

“When I came into WWE; it’s hard for people to actually believe this but at that time frame the wrestling war was real… there was a little bit of underlying heat amongst the boys if you came from WCW or vice versa. It’s just the way that it was. And so when I came into WWE… the first night I interrupted The Rock, I’m sure I had nuclear heat just by the fact that I was doing it. I was completely oblivious to that, knew really nothing of the politics that were going on. I was just doing my thing…”

Chyna having the stiffest forearm strikes:

“I remember the first real feud that I had was with Chyna. And [Vince McMahon] said to me, ‘Do you mind working with a woman?’ and I said ‘No I don’t mind, I’ll be happy too.’ And he goes ‘ I don’t want you to treat her with kid gloves, I want you to work with her like you would work with a guy. I don’t want you to pull any punches, I don’t want you to stiff her but do what you do.’ So I did that and I remember as a result she did get a little bit of a black eye once. By the way her forearm strikes were stiff as f***.”

You can listen to the full episode of X-Pac 1-2-360 with Chris Jericho below: