By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Insight With Chris Van Vliet with guest Chris Jericho
Host: Chris Van Vliet
Podcast available via Podcasts.Apple.com
On the first five years of AEW: “Well, I was gonna say I don’t think things could have gone better. Obviously, I think there’s always things that can go better. But I think overall, I think it’s far exceeded what most people expected. I don’t think it’s exceeded what Tony Khan expected, because I’m sure he was thinking big right out of the gate, which we know he was. And I can’t say that it’s exceeded what I’ve expected. But I can’t say that I’m not a little bit pleasantly surprised. It’s just, how big the company is after, like you said four years, five years now. It is unbelievable to think about that, you know, any company wrestling, or if you have a pharmacy, or if you’re a band, or whatever it may be if you’re a law firm to grow that big, in less than five years is inconceivable, but yet, here we are.”
On Vince McMahon: “I mean, once again, there’s the reasons why he was stepping aside, and I’m not talking about that side of things. I never thought he would step down. And then I think had those other issues not come up here, there’s no way that he would have. But also, Vince is also smart. And I bet you he was like okay, I’m at the point now where this is not good for me to be here. So he trained and groomed Triple H for twenty years, and probably felt confident enough that things are gonna continue without him. And I say this all the time in AEW, I think everybody could use six months working for Vince McMahon. Because that’s what you really understand what wrestling is, the wrestling business and how the business works. And I loved working for him and I loved going head-to-head with him and creating ideas and debating ideas and arguing ideas.
“But he always used to say, I’m not here just to teach you wrestling lessons, I’m here to teach you life lessons. And he did teach me a lot of life lessons, the guys really f—ing a cool guy. You know, from my experiences with him, and [he’s] not easy to deal with an asshole sometimes, but he’s your boss. You’re not supposed to be friends with your boss all the time. But then you can still get on the private jet and drink for four hours. [What does he drink?] I think it’s Dewar’s. He drinks whiskey, but I think it’s Dewar’s, it might be Macallan or something like that. [And you are a vodka guy?] Yeah. So he could never understand that. That actually was great. When I was hosting Tough Enough in Orlando, I had a press day in New York the next day, and he would always fly in and out of White Plains. That’s close to where he lives. And they said you can just jump in on the jet with Vince. It was me and Vince, Triple H and Kevin Dunn. And we’re flying back from Orlando and actually, they oil-spotted me and left me at the venue. And then, [they say], where you at? We’re at the plane, where are you? [I say] You guys are supposed to give me a ride. [They respond] We weren’t supposed to give you a ride, haha. F—ing assholes [laughs].
“So then I get there and I get on the plane and we start to fly. And he and I are drinking and Triple H and Kevin decided to go to sleep. And so Vince and I are just kind of hanging out listening to The Stones and AC/DC because they are his two favorite bands. And when we land he goes, Let’s go to the gym. I’m like, dude go to the gym? It’s like literally like 4:30 in the morning. Like, I gotta get up at seven. He goes I gotta get up at six. We’re f—ing drunk. He’s like, let’s go to the gym! I’m like you’re not going to the gym. I’m not going to the gym, I’m going to sleep. So I get to my room and go to sleep at 4:30 and wake up at 6:30 I got a text on my phone picture of Vince flexing in the gym. And he writes Vince 1 Jericho 0. He was probably 73 at the time. But he has that work ethic, he would always say, I don’t expect you to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself. And that rubs off. There’s a way that the WWE works where you don’t say no to anything. I mean, they asked you to do press, you do it. They ask you to sign 1,000 action figures, you do it because if you don’t, you know there’s gonna be consequences and big ones. And that’s just kind of I think everybody in AEW needs to understand that sometimes.”
On not being interested in a WWE Hall of Fame induction: “I always like going against the grain. Like, I loved it when Axl Rose didn’t show up to the Hall of Fame and sent a note saying not only am I not showing up, but you’re not allowed to say my name. I love that shit. Like, that’s f—ing rock and roll, man. So I don’t really understand the point of a Hall of Fame. If you think I’m in it, that’s great, there’s no real Hall of Fame. It’s all kind of in WWE’s mind in their chambers of the mind. And, I mean, it doesn’t really matter if I’m in it or not. You go up there and give some approved speech where you have five minutes to f—ing encapsulate 33 years. Because I was at the Hall of Fames when you had Hillbilly Jim talking for 45 minutes. F—ing hell, dude. You’re on Saturday Night’s Main Event once, you don’t have a lot to say, nothing against Hillbilly Jim. Yeah, he’s a cool guy. And he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. And then you get the frickin’ Undertaker, and he gets 15 minutes. I’m not interested in that at this point. And like I said, it’s not a disrespectful thing. It’s just like, I don’t really see the benefits of it. And I kind of like doing the opposite things.”
On CM Punk returning to WWE: “I mean it doesn’t surprise me. I mean it’s the Vince attitude like if you can make money with somebody then you bring them back. He brought back the NWO, he brought [Eric] Bischoff in. Yeah, and Vince isn’t in charge. But Triple H learned from Vince once again. And the fans, keeping the fans entertained and happy, man. Look, he came back and it was the highest viewed social media segment that they’ve ever had. So once right out of the gate, it was a benefit to them. So it didn’t surprise me.”