Jericho welcomes Conrad Thompson to the show.
Jericho notes that his original contract in WCW was for three years, and after that contract expired he was eager to test the market in WWE. He notes that he grew up with WWE, and his dream was always to wrestle for WWE. He calls his time in WCW a “means to an end” in order to get to WWE, where he really wanted to be.
Before his WCW contract expired he attended a WWE show in Calgary, Canada. Eric Bischoff wasn’t happy about that when he found out, but Jericho wanted to attend the show in order to mingle with WWE officials and Superstars. He notes that he met McMahon and his initial conversation didn’t go so well. He walked up to McMahon and said, “How do you like my town”, and McMahon said, “I like it fine”, then he turned back around.
Jericho adds that some of the members of the WWE locker room didn’t greet him so kindly either. Guys like Triple H and X-Pac were hostile towards him, as they still looked at him as the enemy at that time.
Jericho resumed his career in WCW, but as his contract was set to expire he had a meeting at Vince McMahon’s house with McMahon, Jim Ross, and other WWE officials. It was unbelievable to be in that position, and he notes that there was a huge difference between Eric Bischoff and Vince McMahon. While Bischoff walked around in jeans and a leather jacket with his hat on backwards, McMahon was tall, thick and intimidating. He was a different person altogether.
Jericho notes how the payoffs were different in WWE compared to WCW. In WWE, you never really know how much you’re going to make after each show until the payoffs are distributed. He notes that he’s been surprised by payoffs in the past, particularly when he main-evented WrestleMania 18 with Triple H. Triple H was paid 80% of the money distributed for that match while he only received 20%. He went to Jim Ross and complained, and McMahon agreed with his complaint and wrote him an additional cheque.
He notes that he went to McMahon with a similar complaint in 2016, when he was working alongside Kevin Owens in RAW’s main event angle. His payoffs were “shit” at that time and he thought he deserved more so he approached McMahon. McMahon once again delivered, giving Jericho an upgrade in pay.
Thompson notes that WWE announced Jericho’s signing on their website prior to his debut, and Jericho says he was bummed out when he saw that. He wanted his debut to be a surprise, but he understands that McMahon and WWE probably wanted to show the world that they’d signed another one of WCW’s talents since the Monday Night Wars were still ongoing.
Jericho notes that he was in discussions with WWE writer, Vince Russo prior to his debut. It was Jericho’s idea to be introduced with a countdown clock since there was a lot of panic around the Y2K phenomenon at that time. Russo thought it was a great idea and said he’d pitch it to McMahon, and after a short period of time he got back to Jericho, saying McMahon loved the idea and he was going to start the clock a month before his debut.
Jericho informs that he wore lifts in his boots in WWE two times in order to enhance his physical presence. He notes that WWE was the land of the giants at that time, and he felt like he needed to do something to compete with them. He quickly realized that he didn’t feel right wearing the lifts and he stopped. He adds that wearing those lifts could have been really bad for him because he was public enemy #1 in the WWE locker room anyways, and if his peers saw that they’d never let him live it down.
Jericho notes that Jim Johnson is one of the unsung heroes of the attitude era. He spoke with Johnson a month before his debut in order to discuss his theme music, and he brought some ideas that were really rock-based similar to AC/DC. WWE wanted Jericho to be a cooler, more contemporary character which required a more contemporary sound, and Johnson came up with “Break The Walls Down”.
At first the song had more of a rap element but Jericho asked for their to be way more guitars, and Johnson agreed. The version they agreed on is the same one he uses to this day. He notes that McMahon calls his theme “evergreen”, and as long as he’s working in WWE that’s the song he’ll be using. McMahon loved the theme, even head-banging to it when he was showing it to Jericho, and Jericho liked it right away.
Jericho recalls a meeting with McMahon prior to his debut. He told McMahon that he wanted to call his finishing move the “Y2J”, but McMahon told him that “Y2J” would actually be his name. This was McMahon’s way of making Jericho’s character his own. It turned out to be a great nickname that fans could chant along with.
Jericho informs that the one thing that scared him about WWE was some of the provocative angles they’d run. He told McMahon that he didn’t want to be part of anything like that, and to McMahon’s credit he never asked Jericho to be a part of something that made him uncomfortable.
The night of his debut he was anxious because he knew that if he hit a home run during his promo he’d be a made man. It was McMahon’s idea to have the countdown clock end during one of The Rock’s promos, and Jericho knew that this was a great opportunity for him.
He thought he nailed his promo after it was over, but when he went backstage McMahon didn’t say anything to him. Looking back now, he realizes that he didn’t hit the home run that he should have in McMahon’s eyes. The promo was too long and his facial expressions were not good. He thinks McMahon had his mind made up on him after that, and his career went on a downward spiral for a while.
He thinks he finally lived up to the hype surrounding him 8 years later, and now here we are in 2018 and he’s one of McMahon’s generals. He notes that McMahon could have fired him early on but he didn’t, and he’s very thankful for that.
That sums up this week’s episode of Talk is Jericho. You can listen to the show yourself anytime here, and I’ll catch ya next week for another recap!