5 Biggest Takeaways from Chris Jericho on ‘Broken Skull Sessions’
The forbidden door swung open once more Sunday as All Elite Wrestling’s Chris Jericho appeared on the WWE Network’s The Broken Skull Sessions, hosted by “Stone Cold” Steve Austin.
The engaging two-hour special featured an in-depth conversation about pro wrestling psychology and Jericho’s career, leaving no topic off the table. The former foes and Attitude Era icons talked AEW, Jericho’s run in WCW and his departure from WWE, among other topics.
What were the biggest takeaways, and why?
Find out with this recap of the potentially game-changing special.
Vince McMahon Approved AEW Star Jericho Appearing on the WWE Network
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The idea of Vince McMahon okaying a wrestler from another company, primarily one that is the closest thing to genuine competition since WCW, on his WWE Network platform is so ludicrous that it would never happen.
Austin confirmed early in the special that it was McMahon who gave his blessing to have AEW star Jericho on Broken Skull Sessions, calling it a “great idea.”
This flies in the face of conventional wisdom, as WWE is essentially giving the opposing company free advertising by featuring its biggest star so prominently—even more so when he is sitting across the table from the biggest box office attraction in wrestling history and a pop culture phenomenon like Austin.
McMahon was likely thinking of new subscriptions for Peacock and keeping business partners happy rather than the repercussions of such a move, but he might have also seen this as an opportunity to extend an olive branch to a company in AEW that has proved all-too-willing to knock down the so-called forbidden door and do business with other promotions.
Does this mean fans should start expecting to see promotional crossovers like AEW has ongoing with Impact Wrestling? No, but it does suggest that McMahon has softened a bit in his later years or, more likely, thinks that much of Jericho as a man and former employee.
Jericho Says AEW Is Not Competition to WWE
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The most interesting line from Jericho came early on in the podcast when he almost flippantly revealed he doesn’t see AEW as competition to WWE because the promotion is trying to do something different and be an alternative.
He did also say AEW was “thrown into that by proxy” in regard to being competition for WWE.
This, from the same guy who took more than one shot early on in AEW’s run at the company he starred for.
AEW’s stars have repeatedly expressed that they consider their promotion to be more of an alternative than the competition to WWE, only to take pot shots at McMahon’s company. It has oftentimes felt like a “talking out of both sides of your mouth” situation in which they don’t want to be perceived as the overly aggressive bad guys but also want to stick it to the E every opportunity they get.
That stance has softened from what it was earlier in AEW’s infancy when Jericho twisted the knife, calling Jake Hager’s “We, the People” persona a “stupid idea from bad creative.”
With that said, the idea of an alternative is to compete with the stale and stagnant dominant brand. Rather than provide the audience with the same old, same old, someone comes along and presents another option in hopes of luring the disenfranchised, thus creating competition for the audience.
It Was McMahon’s Idea to Have Jericho Interrupt The Rock’s Promo on Debut Night
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Jericho talked up McMahon’s ability to take people’s ideas and fine-tune them to create the best, most optimal execution, revealing it was the Chairman of the Board who pitched the idea of Jericho interrupting The Rock’s promo on the night he debuted.
“How dare you, little jabroni, interrupt The Rock,” The Great One said in response to Jericho’s audacity in one of the greatest debuts of all time.
Jericho said McMahon isn’t always the idea man but that he knows how to see the bigger picture, what works and why. He can tweak the smallest detail and make an entire segment better. Jericho credited the boss with making the debut that much more memorable just by recommending he interrupt Rock rather than waiting until he had finished his promo.
Eric Bischoff Pitched Jericho on Joining WCW by Comparing Him to Shawn Michaels
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Eric Bischoff pitched Jericho on joining WCW, claiming he saw Lionheart as the company’s answer to Shawn Michaels.
Jericho was excited, especially since Michaels was the WWE champion at the time, and could not wait to hear which program Bischoff would start him off in. “I’m gonna put you with Brad Armstrong,” Bischoff said, as Jericho recalled.
Not Sting. Not Ric Flair or Hulk Hogan. Brad Armstrong.
Jericho explained that it was no disrespect to Armstrong, whom he considered one of the great in-ring technicians. However, the second-generation star was seen by many as an opening match guy, certainly not someone Michaels would have been wasted with on WWE TV.
It was the first indication to Jericho that the grandiose plans Bischoff spoke of may have been little more than lip service.
Creative, Kevin Owens Match Led Jericho to Go Elsewhere to Continue His Career
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Jericho went into detail about his departure from WWE and why he felt it was time to move on, citing creative stagnancy.
He knew if he went back in 2019, the first thing he would have had to do was put someone on The List of Jericho. While it was a red-hot element of his character in 2016, it was passe. He wanted to continue innovating, not hanging on to to a gimmick from the past.
Furthermore, he knew management would try to turn him into a guy in the second match of the card, putting over young stars. No disrespect to any of them, he said, but he still saw himself as a valuable asset.
He mentioned the Kevin Owens feud of 2017 and the story they had behind them. Originally slated to be the Raw main event of WrestleMania, that honor went to Goldberg and Brock Lesnar while he and Owens were shunted down the card, into the second match on the WrestleMania broadcast.
He was better than that and had more to offer, so he went to New Japan Pro-Wrestling to do business with Kenny Omega, generating incredible numbers and encouraging one Tony Khan to put into motion the genesis of a new North American wrestling promotion.