Chris Jericho has been a lynchpin for All Elite Wrestling since its founding. The legendary superstar has a career that spans the globe, and he’s worked for nearly every major promotion. His veteran presence has led Tony Khan to consider him one of the company’s leaders and most valuable players.
With his wealth of experience in the squared circle, one of Jericho’s greatest strengths has always been his golden tongue. Recently, Jericho talked about the art of the promo. He gave a lengthy explanation to Richard Deitsch of the Sports Media podcast.
“How do I do a promo? I do write them down because I need to get my thoughts in order. Sometimes, it’s only an hour before the show and it works great and sometimes it doesn’t work. I put my thoughts together, bullet points, and then think about it and let it sit. If you’re going to tell a joke or insult, you better make sure it’s good and you better commit. You can’t force it, it just has to come to you. I hated that in WWE. I remember Vince [McMahon] made John Morrison use the insult of ‘platypus dung.’ I’m like, ‘John, you can’t say that, no one is going to laugh.’ ‘Vince wants me to say it.’ ‘Say you forgot to say it.’ He said it, it died, whatever. You have to be confident and have your thoughts in mind, but you also have to be cognizant if things change, you have to roll with that. If you ask Wayne Gretzky how he scores, it’s probably hard to explain because it’s just something he does. It’s always been that way for promos for me because when I first started in 1990, I wasn’t the biggest guy and I knew I wouldn’t be the biggest guy, but I could have the most personality and most charisma and best character.”
Jericho talked about how wrestlers like MJF sometimes cross the line between heel behavior and bad taste. Le Champion said that crossing that line makes fans uncomfortable instead of angry at a character. Digging too deep can leave fans feeling depressed rather than the desired reaction.
“People at this point know it’s show business and there’s only so deep you can go. There’s a line a few weeks ago MJF used about Lex Luger being in a wheelchair to Sting. I don’t think that gets heat. I think it makes people feel uncomfortable and feel bad. You don’t want that. There is a fine line between using real life issues and going too inside baseball where, ‘I don’t know what this guy is talking about, but it doesn’t feel right.’ To me, that is the fine line. If it’s something in the universe that people know, you can use it. If it’s something behind the scenes, ‘Your dad was a drunk,’ ‘where did that come from? His dad was a drunk? That sucks. My dad was a drunk too and beat the shit out of me. Fuck, I don’t want to watch this show anymore.’ That’s the way I feel. I don’t think it gets more heat, I think it gets reverse heat. We know it’s a show. It’s like watching Star Wars and they go, ‘Hey Kylo Ren, your mom had an abortion.’ What does that have to do with Star Wars? You can make things seem real with your intentions and the way you say things and the words you use, that makes it real. You have to be careful.”
Jericho is set to team up with Sammy Guevara, Jake Hager, Santana, and Ortiz against American Top Team (Junior dos Santos, Andrei Alrovski, and Dan Lambert) and Men of the Year (Ethan Page and Scorpio Sky) at the AEW Full Gear pay-per-view. He recently wrapped up another successful Rock ‘n Rager cruise and has already has another planned.
Do you think MJF goes too far with his promos? Let us know in the comments!
Thanks to Fightful for the quotes!