CHRIS JERICHO INTERVIEW RECAP • The Draft, Million Dollar Mania, Working with HHH, his feud with HBK and more.
(Note that the Interview was conducted on the day of the draft, airing on last Sunday’s edition of our show)
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Q : Alright right now we’re going to be joined by a man who we’ve had on in numerous occasions now in the past and somebody I love getting the chance to talk to; Chris Jericho, what’s going on, my man?
A: Nothing much, man, just non-stop rocking as usual.
Q: That’s great, we’ve got the draft coming up tonight on Monday Night Raw and you’re currently on the raw brand and my first question to you is would you mind being traded to Smackdown or ECW?
A: Uh, I wouldn’t mind getting traded anywhere. I mean the boss, our boss is Vince McMahon and wherever he wants me to go and wherever he deems I’m most wanted and most needed I’ll go, to be quite honest with you and it really is that way because nobody really knows exactly what’s going on, they’ve really kept it as a big, eh, kind of a big secret to everybody and um, that’s cool, I mean, whatever, however they want to play it. I’m a performer and I’m gonna do what I do to steal the show, no matter which show I’m on so that’s fine.
Q: So which wrestlers would you like to face in the future, did the possibility open up after this year’s draft, somebody from any of the three rosters?
A: Well I’m gonna wrestle everybody so many times and um, you know if I had my choice I’d stay on Raw, I like the live aspect of it and um, I’ve just kind of started a whole new, you know, a whole new thing on Raw and I’d kind of like to keep it there but you know, wherever I go, like I said, I’ve wrestled everybody so many times, I’ve never wrestled the Undertaker before though, ever, so you know if it ends up being Jericho versus the Undertaker, um, but other than that, I mean, anybody, it doesn’t matter. Everyone’s wide open, so…
Q: Well, tonight on Monday night Raw, we’re gonna see the third edition of Million Dollar Mania and um, we were wondering, you know there’s been a lot of talk from the critics on the Internet saying this is somewhat desperate, but uh, on the, you know, boys side of things in the back, your thoughts?
A: Well, I mean, if Vince wants to give a million dollars away every week of his own money, then even more power to him. Um, if people don’t like it then they can go and, uh, start up a business that becomes a cultural phenomenon and a worldwide success and then spend the money the way they see fit but you know, I have my deal with Vince and I make the money that I make and if he wants to give a million dollars away every week it’s got zero to do with me. So, um, there are, I’m sure there are some guys who are complaining about it but like I said, if they complain about it maybe they’ll become a billionaire and they’ll do what they decide to do with the money. But, Vince is, um, a visionary and he tries things and some of them work huge and some of them don’t work and some of them, you know, are kind of just in the middle. Um, he has ideas and things that you think are crazy and he’s been that way his whole career and his whole life, so, um, he’s trying this thing and we’ll see if it works and we’ll see what the, what the overall effects of it are over the next month, year, who knows? But, um, this is a very smart guy and he has no problem trying things and usually his instincts are right, I’ll say that for him.
Q: You’re currently embroiled in a feud with HBK Shawn Michaels and as we saw recently on the highlight reel, you bashing his head into your television monitor and that was just vicious. How did that idea come about?
A: Um, it was my idea. It was something that I was trying to think of, you know, something very, um, you know, unique and monumental for kind of, you know, this kind of quote/unquote heel turn. And kind of, you know, the way that Shawn did it back in the early nineties when he super kicked Jannety through the barber shop window. I wanted something like that, that iconic and something that people will remember for years and years and years. I had that Jeritron four years and never, ever even thought of doing anything with it until I guess I was just kind of sitting around the ring and I looked at it and I said that would be great if I could just put his head through it. But I, I, to be honest with you, I didn’t expect the stunt to look as good as it did. They really did a great job of setting it up and making it look great, so in my mind’s eye, what I was seeing wasn’t even as good as what they actually did, which is pretty rare. Over time it doesn’t look as good as you’d imagined. But this was even above and beyond.
Q: You know recently there’s been a trend to have, like, less blood involved in, Raw and pay-per-views and speaking of that angle when Shawn Michaels went through the television, wouldn’t you think that would be a time that someone would warrant bleeding on television?
A: Um, well, I don’t really have an opinion either way. I think that it didn’t really make a difference because it was such a vicious looking stunt and I think the fact that Shawn is now selling his eye; I’m all about doing things differently and if we can build a whole, whole angle around glass being in his eye, then we didn’t need the blood. So, um, people are going to make a complaint about everything. That’s one thing about critics and the Internet and whatever, so it doesn’t matter what it is, they are going to find something to complain about rather than just admitting that it was a great looking stunt and that it was a monumental night. There always has to be someone saying ‘Oh, there should have been blood’, ‘oh, you know, it should have been blood’. So I think just, you know, keep your mouth shut and continue watching the storyline and I think, uh, everybody will be happy in the end.
Q: Well, it did look good and it was a very effective segment. My next question is the following: Do you have any preference between working heel or face?
A: You know, I think there’s, there’s an art form to both and I think it’s a lot easier to make people hate you than it is to make them like you. I think it’s very difficult to be, um, a baby face is really, um, really, truly liked. And I also think it’s hard to be a heel that’s really, truly hated. I think a lot of times people "OK, we’ll boo this guy and we’ll cheer this guy cuz this guy’s the bad guy but this guy’s the good guy", but to really get that, to get that primal emotion of really not liking somebody, it’s a very difficult thing to do, so um, like I said, there’s real technique to doing both. But having said that, for me, I’ve always enjoyed being the heel more than the baby face because you don’t have as many rules, you can colour outside the lines and you know, I play a character when I’m on screen and I love playing the character of Chris Jericho the heel, so I’m excited to continue and kind of blossom in this role and I’m also trying some new things and trying to reinvent what I do as the heel and what, you know, a heel does in general, so so far it’s been working, we’ll see how it continues on.
Q: Hey Chris, this is the Viz, great to talk to you. I just wanted to ask you about the last pay-per-view you worked was One Night Stand where you had a run-in during the Battista and HBK stretcher match. How does this One Night Stand, the more recent incarnation, compare to the original ECW version where you wrestled the first match against Lance Storm?
A: Oh, they’re two completely different animals. I mean, obviously the first One Night Stand was more of a time machine, you know, nostalgia thing to go back to the old ECW days and that was a lot of fun, it was really like being in a time machine, and even to the point where I wore my old Lionheart costume and all that sort of stuff and it was fun. But this One Night Stand was, for me, much better, because there was a whole over-lie story and, you know, I would say that I came out to, you know, was I there to encourage Shawn Michaels, or was I there to try and trick him into going up and getting the crap kicked out of him even more so? You know, knowing where the story’s gone, that’s exactly what I was doing, I was trying to use his own ego against him to go back and get the crap kicked out of him again. You know, it was more the fact that it was more, you know, basically just a cameo but there was a huge story behind it. I’m all about storylines, man, I could wrestle anybody, any night, it’s all fine and dandy, but there has to be for me to really enjoy it, really get into it, I like a really good, intricate, unique, long-term storyline and that’s what I’m in the midst of right now. It started back, geez, I don’t know, two, three months ago now, so um, those are always my favorite things, are the good stories.
Q: Here on the show we have a segment looking at how the world of professional wrestling is expanding into other medias and recently you shot a role in the movie Albino Farm. Can you tell us a little bit about that?
A: Yah, um, I was looking to do some roles that were a little bit different outside of the box of what you would expect Chris Jericho to do and this really cool script for Albino Farm came across my desk and it’s a horror film but it’s not like a slasher film or a gore movie, I mean there’s some interesting deaths in it, but it’s more kind of disturbing, unsettling, creepy type of vibe and I play the character in it called Levi who you might not recognize me. It’s something that I really enjoyed doing because it’s something completely opposite of what you would expect your typical Chris Jericho role would be. And, we did the movie and now there’s a kind of bidding war going on for it with a bunch of different companies and you know it looks like it’s going to turn into a kind of Blair Witch, Open Water type of thing that started out as kind of a smaller movie that really went to the next level by how good it turned out so right now they’re just kind of fielding offers and I think they’re going to decide pretty quickly so I think in early ’09 it’s going to be released and I’m pretty excited about it, I’m very happy about the performance I gave. Just happy to do things, like I said, that are very unique and outside of the box, that’s what I’m all about.
Q: I’m looking forward to watching that one. I know this doesn’t really relate to you, but what do you think about the Ultimate Warrior returning to the ring this week?
A: Um, well, we’ll see. There’s something really doubtful about when you base your whole career on your body and his long hair and stuff like that and from what I understand he doesn’t have long hair anymore and I think he’s almost 50 so it will be interesting to see, I mean, just pure genetics of being human beings, I don’t know if he can have the same body at 50 as he had 25 years ago so we’ll see. I mean, um, it seems like people are really excited about it. All I have to say is I just remember the return of the Ultimate Warrior 10 years ago in the WCW and, you know, not be, you know, put this wisely, but it was not all that great. So it’s 10 years later and you know I guess we’ll have to see what happens. I’m kind of envisioning, like, I think I know what it’s going to be like but I think for a short term at least, people will be excited to see it at least from a nostalgia factor.
Q: Getting back to your career, Chris, you just wrestled Triple H on this past Raw in what I thought was an extremely smooth match, I thought it was great, and, um, you also wrestled in the Main Event, Wrestlemania 18, Hell in the Cell, you know you’ve been wrestling for years. What’s it like working with The Game?
A: It’s great, I mean, I haven’t worked with Triple H on a single match, probably since 2003, maybe, we did quite an intricate program at the time. It was great to get back in the ring with him. He’s a tremendous performer and he’s got a lot of great ideas and he is, you know, like you said, very smooth and it was a lot of fun. And we wanted to have a good match, we didn’t want to give away too much because you know there’s a lot in the can that we can do in the future, especially considering the amount of actual, legitimate, top guys in the business right now so we did the match just as kind of just a quick, little thing, as a little bit of a teaser. It’s funny, once again people complained "They gave away this match for nothing; they gave away this match for free". We didn’t give away anything, we did, I think, it was a seven minute match. That’s like giving it, it was a teaser, it was a little bit of a trailer to say "Remember these two guys exist, here’s a little bit of the chemistry that they have, so stay tuned for future developments" so I think it was mission accomplished all across the board. It was fun, I enjoyed it.
Q: I know you’ve probably been asked this a million times, what’s your favorite match, but how about I reverse that question to you and ask you what’s been your least favorite match in your career?
A: Um, I mean, those are a little bit, you kind of put them out of your mind because you have so many matches on a constant basis, you know when you have a real stinker you don’t really rate it because, you know, I learned a long time ago from, you know, from all my years experience, if you have a bad match, there’s always another one coming up tomorrow and you know, people don’t usually remember the bad matches. I’m sure there’s been quite a few. I don’t remember having any real stinkers in the last couple years because when you get to this level even your bad matches are still okay. But I mean there were some really bad ones I had with some really kind of crappy indy workers in Japan and in Mexico and I remember I had a match in WCW once against Halloween that was just god awful. I think that was quite a few years ago now. I mean, it was on Thunder and stuff like that. I mean if you would bring all the luchadors in, he was the worst one out of all of them. I remember he was just, it was one of those ones where, like, we’re two minutes into the match knowing I had 10 minutes left and I was just mortified, like I had nothing else I could do with this guy. And he was just kind of begging and pleading for it to end. I had a horrible match with Alex Wright on Nitro once too, that was terrible, in Chicago. There’s been some bad ones but you kind of don’t really give much attention to them and just focus more on the good ones.
Q: Well Chris, it’s been great to have you on the program today, as always. Welcome back anytime. Is there anything else that you were interested to discuss today?
A: I’m excited about tonight, to see what happens. I’m also excited to come back to Montreal. I know we were just there, but Montreal is a great city. You know, some beautiful girls there. I always have a good time when I’m in town so I’m looking forward to coming back to Montreal soon.
Q: That actually reminds me. I remember you faced Snitsky (at the recent Montreal House Show) and you were telling him to brush his teeth in French. Brossez les dents.
A: Yah, it was great. I enjoyed that match, it was fun. It was actually interesting because I was supposed to wrestle Kennedy that night but their plane was delayed and they were kind of on their way from the airport and no one really knew where they were and I was actually thinking I’d rather wrestle with Dean, it would be more fun, you know to do this with Jean, so I was kind of hoping that he wouldn’t get there and he didn’t and I think Jean and I had a really good match and it was fun.
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