WWE star Chris Jericho on Vince McMahon rejecting the idea of tattooing C.M. Punk as part of an angle, says Brian Gewirtz is near genius, why he didn't work WrestleMania 30
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Is wrestling a lot less organic than it was when you were at the height of your career? "Brian Gewirtz is very much responsible for some of the greatest things we seen over the years. That guy is close to being a genius in the wrestling things on coming up with ideas as Vince. Then you had Shawn Michaels who is one of the best in the business and Chris Jericho who is a Shawn Michaels disciple who is at the peak of his game after 17 years in the business. It is a perfect storm of trust and creatively. You had the fans buy into it. When I punched Rebecca in the face it was supposed to happen but obviously I wasn't supposed to hit her for real. She zigged when she was supposed to zag and I zigged when she was supposed to zag and I actually hit her. We felt so devastated and I thought for sure Shawn was going to kick my ass and I gladly would have let him. All she got was a fat lip and after she got up she was like 'Is that all you got Chris?' people that were watching because people say then after a week we realized this was the best thing that could have happened. It made it real and the people are saying if anyone hit my wife, my husband, grandmother and grandfather I am going to kill them. That is when the feud went into overdrive because it got real."
Is it difficult for a fan to buy into the current state of professional wrestling? Well, it is different. After Michaels there was the Mysterio angle. That is what I pitched to Vince to work around Rey's mask. Vince said 'they don't care about the mask', and I said 'of course they do that is why they buy it.' We had this guy wear a mask and never explained what it means too him. I want his mask. Vince said 'Why do you want his mask'? I said because I am a bully. I want his milk money. I don't want any milk. I am going to take it and throw it into the lake. Then Vince loved it. Then with the CM Punk feud in 2012 my thing I wanted to take it to this next level I wanted to tattoo him. Vince loved it and then was kind of talked out of it. I think someone got in his ear that there is going to be blood. Plus, Vince said he has a million tattoos. Well, it doesn't matter if he has a million tattoos. What if I tattoo my initials on him FOR REAL? Punk was saying let's do this for real and that is like being violated. That is why we switched over to the alcoholic thing and I got a lot of hate for that. People saying 'Oh my father is an alcoholic and how dare you say and use that as a crutch for a pro wrestling storyline.' Guess what? That is why I did it."
Was Punk okay with the alcoholic angle? "I was begging Vince for us to do the tattoo angle; someone had told Vince that tattoos will create blood and Vince got scared. Plus no one would see it for the reason to describe but he doesn't have tattoos so he doesn't get it. He came up with the idea that Punk's dad has problems with alcohol and you think he wouldn't go for it and to Punk's credit and he went for it. I don't know if he had issues with his family and he wanted to take it out with them and I don't think he even told his dad about it. Punk gave us full 100 percent with it as he should have and then his sister got involved then it got real. Can we do that now, I don't know because you got to go into a deep place? When I came back with the Bray Wyatt thing and I was on fire and I was pitching so many ideas. I went in to pitch some ideas to Vince for Summer Slam and the PPV after that, and his response was (and this is great I should save it for my next book.) He was eating steak and I went through this entire 10 minute pitch about this and that and this guy will come back and this retired gunslinger will come in and help his old rival and this whole thing and his response while eating his steak and he says 'Bad cow' I said what? 'Bad cow, this steak is tough, bad cow' I am like' is that all you have to say?' And he is like 'what else you got' and I am like okay he doesn't like this idea. We didn't do much with the story but like I said all I can do is make suggestions and he is the boss, so he makes the suggestions, but I am a big fan for long storylines."
It seems like you always had Vince McMahon's ear: What happened was I finally came into my own in 2008. I came back in 2007 and it was kind of stagnant and I was still doing the Y2J thing that I was doing in the early 2000s and it wasn't working and I needed a switch. That is why I changed everything and I watched the movie 'No Country for Old Men' with the character Anton Chigurh the very quiet, slow speaking psycho, I am going to kill you and that is the way it is. I took that kind of mindset and some people were still 'Hey let me tell you something I'm going to do this!' I took it down and turned the volume down and made people listen and I remember people saying 'We can't hear you' when I was doing promo,s and I was like that is the point dummy. Just be quiet and listen to what I am saying, and when you have to pay attention to what I am saying, then you are going to understand that I am serious. I dropped the countdown, dropped all the catchphrases, dropped the highlight reel, stopped wearing tights and switched to trunks.
"I started wearing suits which people weren't doing at the time. Letting people know that this is different and this is KISS without the makeup. People still ask me why did you switch from tights to trunks? I still get that until this day! I also watched a lot of Nick Bockwinkel tapes. They did that AWA anthology and he was using big words and talking over people's heads and it pissed people off. Combine those two things and combine it and also with the Shawn Michaels hypocrite thing and bam I found who I am going to be. It made Vince a lot money and it caused a lot of problems. I was getting attacked on the streets. I got attacked by crowds in B.C. I had to pie face a girl who was on Nancy Grace. I was public enemy number one. The whole company was in an uproar. Rob Zimmerman who was the head of PR, he was angry, Stephanie was angry, the company was angry, but the only guy who stayed by me was Vince McMahon. He said you should never have been put into that position with all those fans in the first place. I will fight this until days end.
"When the glow stick happened I was cutting a heel promo and I had a glow stick hit me in the face. It actually hit me in the eye. I freaked out, and said 'who threw that son of a bitch, you want to throw something? Then throw it! Then all of a sudden a blizzard of glow sticks come into the ring. It's on YouTube you should check it out. Everyone in the company was so angry. I was going to get suspended for 15,000 and then Johnny Ace called me saying you're getting fined or even suspended. I was so angry that I called Vince McMahon and saying maybe the corporate Vince McMahon would be angry, but the Mr. McMahon the heel would be like this is what we work for. I caused people to hate me so much that they spent money for a glow stick and threw it at me.
"He got mad at me with the Brazil kicking flag thing. I can't say that he had my back on that one,but he did have my back to get me out of Brazil that night, He said 'you know you're in trouble? I want you out of the country.' You're fined and suspended and I want you out of the country, if not you can be in big trouble. He pulled some strings, and paid some people to help me get out of the country. Even though he was furious at me at the time, I didn't agree with it, but in retrospect he was right. In the end he knows I draw money for the company, and I had the best interest in the company, because I was never an asshole. Even though people thought I was hard to work with.
We missed you at WrestleMania 30; we know at some point you will come back but will you be back by WrestleMania 31? I was going to come back for WrestleMania 30, but we just couldn't find anything to do. There is a certain thing I need to do to come back to, but I will not do the Fandango thing again. The next night on Raw Fandango was the biggest character on Raw and I will put that directly on the work we did together. I need something that I can sink my teeth into. Something I can believe in and something that has some steam to it. It doesn't have to be for a title, but it needs to be a semi- main event or something that I think people want to see and that is why when I came back I wanted to work with Wyatt. I wanted to work with Wyatt at WrestleMania 30 but he had the Cena thing. I wanted to work with Daniel Bryan but he was first scheduled to work with Sheamus, but he went on into the main event. So for me to come back and be in the Andre the Giant memorial battle royal, that wouldn't have worked for me. I want to come back and it comes down to schedule with Fozzy and if I can work it out with Vince."
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