Having spent almost two decades as a part of the WWE system, it’s fair to say that AEW star Chris Jericho knows former WWE Chairman & CEO Vince McMahon very well.
Jericho now finds himself positioned as one of AEW’s top stars, having left WWE in 2018, where he currently leads the Jericho Appreciation Society.
The former AEW World Champion recently appeared on the True Geordie Podcast, where he explained that whilst McMahon comes across as an intimidating billionaire, he’s really just a guy who likes to have fun. Jericho also noted that although he doesn’t currently have much of a relationship with WWE’s former Chairman, McMahon would still text him back quickly if he reached out.
“Vince is just a lad at heart, you know what I mean? He’s just a fucking dude. And yes, he is very intimidating, and he’s a billionaire, and he’s the creator of this massive iconic company. But deep down, he’s just a dude that likes to hang out, likes to joke, and likes to drink. But everybody that surrounds him, not everybody but so many people, he’s surrounded by yes men, as most guys in that position are. He doesn’t want yes men, and I had a really good relationship with him. I don’t have much of a relationship with him now because obviously I don’t work for him so there’s a little bit of a career issue. But if I text him right now, he’d text me back in five minutes, always.”-Chris Jericho
Jericho continued to touch upon his relationship with McMahon, and highlighter that whilst many often question his booking decisions these days, it’s important to remember that he’s been overseeing the WWE product for 40 years, and thus some dip in quality is to be expected.
“I loved working for Vince McMahon. I loved how Vince would challenge me and push me. And I also laugh when people say, ‘Oh, Vince has lost it,’ and oh, look at Vince, he’s a terrible Booker and all this other stuff. Maybe it’s not great sometimes, but you’re also dealing with a guy who’s been doing this for 40 years. Imagine doing this for 40 years. I remember when I left in 2005, I said I need to get away. And he said to me, ‘I wish I could get away sometimes, but I can’t.’ Kind of wistfully for like three seconds, then he was back to Vince McMahon,”-Chris Jericho
The leader of the JAS then went on to describe the specific nature of McMahon’s creative genius, noting that whilst he would often come up with the original idea or creative direction, McMahon would ultimately provide the finishing touches that elevated the concept.
“Of course, it’s hard to do this job, but what Vince does the best, and people don’t know this unless you really work closely with him, is that he used to say, like, ‘How am I supposed to do this, Vince?’ I don’t know, I just book the shit, you make it work. Okay. So then I’ll come back with an idea, and I’ve got this perfectly formulated idea, and let’s pretend the idea is this water bottle here, right. And, ‘Here it is, Vince, here’s my idea, this water bottle, and it’s half full and it says Evian on it, and it’s gonna make fucking a dollars for us, I know.’ And he’ll look at it and think about the idea. Now most people, if we were talking right now, and I started thinking, after about 30 seconds, if you weren’t on the air, you’d feel compelled to jump in and talk, create sound. Don’t do that with Vince. If he’s thinking, let him think. He doesn’t wanna hear your stupid small talk. He’ll just sit there, and sometimes it’s 30 seconds, and sometimes it’s a minute, and it’s very uncomfortable. But he’s thinking. And then what he’ll do is, take the water bottle and like turn it let’s say 180 degrees. And then you see this idea that I came up with, that I thought was brilliant. And this one little small twist that he adds to it makes it from a good idea to a great idea. That’s the genius of Vince McMahon. With me, he never came up with the genesis and the foundation of the idea. I would, but when I would present it to him, he would add the one little part that made it great. And most of the big hits, and some of the stuff we discussed already, was made great by the little twists that Vince added to it.”-Chris Jericho
One particular example of this shared by Jericho revealed that it was Vince’s idea to have the countdown clock end during The Rock’s promo to signify the arrival of WWE’s newest star. Jericho additionally noted that McMahon made the decision to change “Y2J” from the name of Jericho’s finisher to his nickname.
H/T to Fightful for the transcription.