Remember that report several weeks ago when Chris Jericho returned at the Royal Rumble about his plans for WrestleMania 29? Once those plans appeared to change fans were surprised, some disappointed, but none were as disappointed as Chris Jericho.
Jericho returned back at the Rumble as big surprise. The last time Jericho was seen was when he was feuding with Dolph Ziggler. It would have appeared that Jericho and Ziggler would rekindle their feud at WrestleMania but Vince McMahon had other plans. The original plan was Jericho to come back, turn heel, and wrestle Ryback at Mania.
Once news started to break that this was the new direction, fans were taken back a bit. Why in the world would you bring back Jericho just to wrestle Fandango? What happened to the Ryback match? Not only were the fans looking for answers, so was Chris Jericho.
Jericho recently appeared on a F4Wonline.com podcast with Bryan Alvarez and Dave Meltzer to promote his new Robot Combat League show. Once he was done promoting the new gig, the boys got into some wrestling talk with Y2J. They asked Jericho about the shift in plans and the first ever undisputed world champion gave a very candid answer.
“So I called them in November and I said I would like to do Rumble to ‘Mania and they were like ‘great.’ So there we go. I just want to know what I’m doing for ‘Mania, that’s the only thing I want to know. I don’t care about anything else, you know how I am. We kind of went back and forth. There was a couple ideas, one really lame mixed tag idea that I hated, couple things that I pitched that Vince didn’t like, and then the idea was it was going to be me and Ryback, that was kind of the idea that they were going with.
So I came back, did the big gig and a month of shows, then I went to Australia for Soundwave and we did that Metallica thing and then I started kind of hearing rumors that things had changed as far as what I was doing at WrestleMania. I was kind of thinking like ‘why, what is going on? What’s changing?’ Then I asked Eric Pankowski at the time, who was still there, what is going on he said, ‘well, Vince wants to talk to you face to face.’ And that’s when I knew he’s either got a total genius idea that he knows I’m going to love or he’s got something that he thinks I’m not going to like.
So when I finally tracked him down and we talked about it and he told me what he wanted me to do, you know, diplomatically speaking it was not my first choice. I was kind of a little bit, I guess I would say, not happy about it maybe. But Vince is my boss and this is what he wanted me to do and this is my task and there was no debate about it so five minutes later after I finished my little tantrum, I said ‘okay, well, this is what I have to do. So I’m going to take this as a challenge, something that I’ve always done. I take great pride in the fact that I’ve had great matches with a lot of guys that haven’t had great matches from Viscera to Glacier, all these different types of guys. So I just started looking at how can I do this, and what can I do, how can I make this work? I just started kind of putting my thought process to it and also knowing that if I do a great job, it’s just another feather in my cap within the company and with the fans and with myself. And of course a lot of people are booing it but this guy is not a bad worker. I’ve looked into some of the stuff he’s done, and I think you’ve seen over the last couple nights his leg drop off the top rope how he kind of pops up there like Van Dam does and even how he kicks his legs over the top rope when he goes in, the guy is very deceptively agile. And the gimmick is a strange gimmick but I’m sure Undertaker was a strange gimmick too when people first saw it. It’s all how you work it and how it gets put over. Vince loves it, it’s one of his favorite new things, so it’s my job to go out there and do the best I can and I’m actually really looking forward to it because over the last three shows, it’s really starting to come together. I’m actually thinking it’s going to take a lot of people by surprise. But is it a surprise? When I’m involved in it, you know that I’m going to do my best to make it good, and especially for WrestleMania. It’s kind of been the number one task for me over the past three years. Anyone can go out there and steal the show with Shawn Michaels or Rey Mysterio or John Cena; if I go out there and probably not steal the show but have a really good match and a really surprisingly good match, it’s going to make everybody look good.”
I have to give Jericho a lot of credit for his honesty in discussing the background of the bout. One big takeaway I have from this is as much as people are criticizing the Fandango character and recent angles, he isn’t going anywhere. He is a Vince McMahon favorite which means he is not only likely to win at WrestleMania, he is probably gearing up for a big run with John Cena in the immediate future.
I may be crazy but after hearing Jericho talk about it and listen to his excitement, I am actually more interested in the match than I was before. I can’t imagine it would be any more exciting than Jericho vs. Ryback but you never know. If anyone can make magic with Fandango it is Jericho.