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RECAP AND REVIEW: Talk is Jericho – 83 Weeks rebuttal with Conrad Thompson: why he turned down the NWO, why there’s no love lost with Scott Hall, working with Ralphus, why he “didn’t really like” Eric Bischoff in WCW

Talk is Jericho- Jericho vs Bischoff in WCW- the 83 Weeks Rebuttal

Release Date: 06/15/2018

Recap by: Caitlin Lavelle

DIRECT LINK TO LISTEN

Timestamps

0:00- Introduction (podcast starts at 0:38)
3:23- Interview starts
7:30- Jericho on Meeting Eric Bischoff
18:20- Ad
21:10- Interview resumes
28:30- Jericho on ‘ATM Eric’
29:40- Jericho on his initial WCW booking
31:50- Jericho on Scott Hall
37:00- Ad
39:25- Interview resumes
42:15- Jericho on calling ‘cruiserweight’ a ‘dirty word’ in WCW
56:08- Jericho on Bischoff in WCW
1:00:30- Jericho reflecting on his time at WCW
1:12:15- Jericho on the Dean Malenko framed picture from WCW TV
1:16:45- Jericho on turning down a spot in the NWO
1:22:25- Jericho on Ralphus
1:29:20- Jericho on the match he wanted with Goldberg
1:44:30- Jericho on meeting with Vince McMahon at his house
2:01:25- Jericho on why WCW closed
2:07:25- Outro

0:00- Introduction (podcast starts at 0:38)

A couple of weeks ago, Eric Bischoff and host Conrad Thompson took to their podcast 83 Weeks to discuss the WCW career of Chris Jericho. Today, Jericho offers his rebuttal, with special guest cohost Conrad Thompson.

3:23- Interview starts

7:30- Jericho on Meeting Eric Bischoff

Jericho talks about meeting Bischoff at the Antonio Inoki produced World Wrestling Peace Festival show in June 1996 in Los Angeles, California. Jericho says he was introduced to Bischoff by Chris Benoit, and that Bischoff immediately offered Jericho, who was working for ECW at the time, a spot in WCW. Jericho wrote about this encounter in his first book, A Lion’s Tale: Around the World in Spandex, where Jericho describes that he couldn’t believe how quickly and easily Bischoff made this offer. When this meeting is discussed on 83 Weeks, Bischoff explains that he only made this offer so quickly because he had already made up his mind that he wanted Jericho in WCW. Jericho elaborates that he was so surprised because he had been trying to contact WCW for years, through Haku and Ric Flair, but his calls had always been dodged.

18:20- Ad

21:10- Interview resumes

28:30- Jericho on ‘ATM Eric’

On 83 Weeks, Bischoff and Thompson discussed the initial financial negotiations between Bischoff and Jericho. Bischoff explained that Jericho asked for $100,000, and that Bischoff countered by offering Jericho $135,000, as well as an additional $30,000 to relocate to Atlanta. Bischoff explains that he made this offer to Jericho because it was the same amount WCW was paying Jericho’s friends, Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko, and Bischoff didn’t want a disparity in pay to lead to a conflict down the road. Bischoff takes great offense to being referred to as ‘ATM Eric’ in Jericho’s book.

Jericho says, “The reason why I use (ATM Eric) is because he was so generous and gave me more than I ever asked for.” Jericho says he wasn’t trying to offend Bischoff. Jericho also says that he wasn’t at the same level as Guerrero, Benoit or Malenko at the time and wouldn’t have been offended to be making less money than they were.

29:40- Jericho on his initial WCW booking

Jericho says he knows Bischoff took offense to Jericho’s negative characterization of the babyface persona that he was saddled with in WCW. Jericho explains that around this time, “There was a cultural shift. That was around the time of the rise of Steve Austin. If you looked the way I do, people would boo you, not cheer you.

“To be painted as this kind of babyface, and to be booked that way right off the bat, it was out of touch. It wasn’t what you should be doing with a guy who looked like me at the start. Either have me come in and win, or come in as a heel. It was a tough place to be in, especially when you have the NWO, which was filled with cool heels.”

31:50- Jericho on Scott Hall

To this day, Scott and I don’t have any love lost for each other. I just don’t think we ever really got along, or maybe because I have a really bad attitude toward him because of that time (in WCW). There’s no secret that he was messed up quite often. Those guys are very sarcastic, and almost kind of bullying in a way.”

Jericho says that he was in the opening match with Jerry Lynn on a house show in Minneapolis. He says they had a good match that might have been a little long, but that no one had given them any time constraints.

Jericho says, “Scott came up to me and said, ‘Look man, no one is paying to see you. Get in there, do your 5-10 minutes and get out. No one wants to see you.”

“Scott Norton, who was a friend of mine, basically said to me, ‘If you don’t say something to him next time he bullies you, I’m going to say something. Either you do something about it or I will. If he says something, I’ve got your back.’

“I just went up to (Hall) and said, ‘Don’t ever talk to me like that again, you understand me?’ (Hall said) ‘Hey man, calm down. Yeah, yeah, yeah, whatever. Jeez Jericho, can’t you take a joke?’ That sort of thing.

“That was Scott Hall for you. He was always like that. It’s a shame, because (he was a) great worker, a great performer, but (there’s) no love lost for him, even to this day.”

37:00- Ad

39:25- Interview resumes 

42:15- Jericho on calling ‘cruiserweight’ a ‘dirty word’ in WCW

On 83 Weeks, Bischoff took offense to Jericho saying that cruiserweight was a dirty word in WCW. 

Jericho says, “I think Eric in his mind is remembering the legacy of the cruiserweight division. The reality of it is that it was constantly ignored, constantly swept under the carpet, and basically meant nothing until Syxx won the cruiserweight championship.”

Jericho recalls that non-cruiserweight wrestlers, such as Jim Neidhart and Booker T, resented working with the cruiserweights. 

Jericho says, “At the time, if you were in (the cruiserweight division), it meant you weren’t ever working anywhere near the main event, you had no potential to work in the main event, and it was impossible to work with guys who weren’t cruiserweights.”

56:08- Jericho on Bischoff in WCW

Jericho says, “When I think of WCW, I didn’t really like Eric. I didn’t really get along with him. WCW had a real black cloud over it, where most of the guys who were there weren’t as cool as they were in WWE. Eric in WWE was a different guy. In that world, in that environment, it was kind of toxic, and a lot of guys were jerks.”

Jericho recalls when Bischoff worked Larry Zbyszko at Starcade in 1997. After the match, Jericho says Bischoff was with the wrestlers in a bar, “standing there like the Fonz, with everyone lined up to tell him how great he did.” Jericho says the match wasn’t good, and he didn’t think that was how a leader should behave.

1:00:30- Jericho reflecting on his time at WCW

Jericho says, “When I think of WCW overall, I’m very glad that I went there. The good experience much outweighs the bad. I learned a lot. I wouldn’t change it for anything. When I was there, it really did drain a lot of my love for the business.”

1:12:15- Jericho on the Dean Malenko framed picture from WCW TV

Jericho says, “I had to get that picture made myself, I had to find an easel, and I had to figure out a way to transport it. They wouldn’t do it for me. I would have to buy a new frame in every city, and I then roll the picture up and put it in the overhead bin so it wouldn’t get destroyed in my bag. Same thing with the easel. I had that easel with me at all times going through the airport in my carry on or just carrying it in my hand.”

1:16:45- Jericho on turning down a spot in the NWO

Jericho says, “I remember telling (Bischoff), I don’t play well with others when it comes to this sort of stuff. There’s no reason for me to be in the NWO. You guys don’t need me. 

“Meanwhile I’m thinking to myself, and I sure as hell don’t need you guys. Let me keep doing what I’m doing and be my own guy.

“Eric said fine, don’t do it then.”

1:22:25- Jericho on Ralphus

Jericho says, “I thought, well, Goldberg always walks out with his big security detail, which I always found sort of confusing. If he’s so tough why does he need all this security? But I thought, I could get all of these WCW powerplant guys.

“But there was this truck driver guy who I would see from time to time. And he had no teeth in the center and giant fangs that protruded out of the side like candy corn. And he had this big goofy smile. And I thought I could get that guy. That would be cool. 

“I just went up to him and said, ‘Hey man, want to come to the ring with me?’ And he said, ‘Sure, what do you want me to do?’

“That’s where it all started. Low and behold, the guy started getting over because he’s super entertaining just by being goofy.   

Eventually, Jericho arranged with Craig Leathers, WCW Director and Producer, to give Ralphus $500 a night for working shows. 

“I remember one time he said, ‘I need to get a contract’. I thought to myself, he probably does deserve a contract. He’s more over than 90% of the show, and you could do more with him. 

“When I was about to go to work for Vince, for about a two day period, I thought it would be cool if Ralphus came with me. I don’t know what I was thinking. I remember telling him, ‘I’m thinking of going to WWE. Would you want to go?’ He’s super into it. I remember about a week later, he came up to me and said, ‘So when are we going to New York?’ That’s an inside wrestling term! I never told him the word ‘New York’! Somehow through the biz, he found out what that was. 

“I was trying to find him. I got a tweet from somebody recently saying I know John Riker (that’s ralphus). I know where he is. I was like really? Do you have his email? I’d love to talk to him. 

“I sent him an email, (saying) ‘Hey Ralphus, it’s me, Jericho. How are you? Would you like to do my podcast and reconnect?’ He emailed me back and said, ‘Is this the real Chris Jericho?’ I said, ‘Yeah man, this is my number, give me a text or give me call.’ Never heard back from him again. I got big leagued by Ralphus.”

1:29:20- Jericho on the match he wanted with Goldberg

Jericho says, “I did not want to have a real match with Goldberg. I had seen a squash match years earlier on Saturday Night’s Main Event with the Legion of Doom vs. Pat Tanaka and Paul Diamond. It’s one of the greatest squash matches you’ve ever seen. It’s like a five-star squash match. That’s what I wanted to do. All I wanted to do was get a pay-per-view match out of it, because I thought, people are into it.

“It kept getting put in my face, you’re just going to lose to him like everybody else in the streak. I put my foot down – ‘Absolutely not.’ If you won’t go through with this money making angle, I know I’m done. There’s nothing else I can do here. 

“I never wanted to have a normal match. What I wanted was to have Bill kick the s**t out of me. I was going to be wearing these amateur wrestling shoes. I was going to have him spear me so hard that he speared me out of my shoes. I was going to kick the shoe into the fifteenth row.”

1:44:30- Jericho on meeting with Vince McMahon at his house

In 1998, WWE got Jericho an economy plane ticket to JFK Airport. A limo driver took him from JFK to Vince’s house in Stamford, Connecticut.

Jericho says, ‘I did have tight black shirt and cowboy boots on. I was 225 (lbs),  jacked up. I don’t know if I was on the gas or not at that point, but most of us at that point were at least dabbling. I was never crazy on it, but I probably knew (the meeting with Vince) was coming up and did a cycle to look a little more sharp and a little bit more cut, because this is Vince, right?

“It’s the only time I’ve ever been at Vince’s house. I remember knocking on the door, and Shane answered and said, ‘Hey, I’m Shane McMahon’, and I’m like, ‘No s**t’. 

“They took me to this room and it’s like Vince, Jim Ross, Bruce (Prichard), Ed Ferrara, Shane (McMahon), (Vince) Russo, and they’re all sitting around a table having a booking meeting. 

“We (Jericho & Vince) went into this other area of his house that had a big oil painting of him, it was like this sunken living room, and we just talked. He never once asked me to come work for him. He was very smart. He never followed up. He never called me. He just said, ‘When your contract is about to be up, you call me.’

“Vince played his cards right. I asked him years later, ‘Why did you have me over at your house?’ He said, ‘Well, I wanted to see if I could trust you. I wanted to see if it would get out that you were at my house.’ Of course I didn’t tell anybody. 

“I haven’t heard anybody else in history who’s been at Vince’s house while they’re working for another company.” 

2:01:25- Jericho on why WCW closed 

Jericho says, “I think the reason why WCW closed- whatever you want to say, in my opinion- is they didn’t ingratiate the younger guys with the older guys. It was the Indian Caste System, like I mentioned. The guys that you saw really making a difference, it didn’t matter. You could never get out of that level you were seen at. I think that’s basically the main reason WCW closed.”

2:07:25- Outro

Rating 7/10-

This episode is far too long, but fun to listen to if it’s been a while since you read Jericho’s first book, A Lion’s Tale: Around the World in Spandex. If you did listen to the Chris Jericho episode of 83 Weeks and just want to hear Jericho correct Conrad’s pronunciation of Gedo, skip to 52:40.

Writer Bio

Caitlin is a wrestling fan who hopes to one day discover that she is the illegitimate daughter of Vincent Kennedy McMahon and the rightful Anonymous RAW General Manager. Until then, she’ll keep on living in Orlando, Florida with her husband and son.

 

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