Chris Jericho has praised his former boss in WWE, Vince McMahon, as a “once in a generation genius while speaking about Vince’s retirement from pro wrestling.
While Jericho is currently wrestling for AEW as one of the biggest stars in that organization (along with being their first World Champion), he worked for WWE from 1999 to 2017 with a few breaks in between.
Jericho is considered by many to be one of WWE’s biggest stars ever including becoming the “first-ever” Undisputed WWE Champion in 2001 when he beat The Rock and Steve Austin on the same night at Vengeance. Jericho is a 6-time for WWE World Champion, he won the Intercontinental Title nine times (the most of all-time) and won several other championships as well.
While appearing as a guest on current AEW Tag Team Champion Swerve Strickland’s Swerve City Podcast, Jericho spoke about Vince McMahon’s recent WWE retirement. Jericho spoke more about how Vince’s absence will affect WWE’s product moving forward.
“I can go back working for him for 17-18 years. Obviously, there are Vince-isms and Vince-foibles that don’t make sense, but I did learn a lot about the psychology of the business and how to be a star, how to conduct yourself, how to be a true main eventer and money draw. I think the pros, if that’s the right word, the pros of Vince leaving WWE will be seen very quickly.”
“There are a lot of changes right off the bat, very refreshing. Lots of in-ring time. The cons of Vince leaving won’t be felt for a few months, maybe more, six months, a year. There are a lot of things that Vince did, little things, and I know people bag on him for his recent booking, and obviously there was a habit he had, but the guys who are true main event stars are legit stars. Legit stars.”
“You can spot them from a mile away. Look at the difference between Drew McIntyre now, prior to the last run he had. Vince worked with him to make him a top guy and top star. Same with Roman (Reigns). Completely different now than it was before he turned heel. Brock as a babyface, I can tell Vince worked with him as being a babyface. You can spot it. I can see it. Tough guys usually don’t want to smile.”
Jericho went on to praise McMahon while explaining that he learned a lot from him as well as the late, great WWE Hall of Famer Pat Patterson earlier in his career. Jericho added that he thinks McMahon would be useful as a consultant, but it’s unlikely that it would happen.
“Triple H never really wanted to smile. Babyfaces smile. That’s part of being a badass, you open that door of personality. A lot of those guys are working in Vince’s image. Steph [Stephanie McMahon] has obviously been trained from day one. Hunter has been trained from day one.”
“All of Vince’s principles will probably still be used, but there is something to be said, I can be in a band with Eddie Van Halen and we’re in Van Halen, he’s the greatest guitar player in the world. He quits Van Halen, I bring in Steve Vai, who is just as good of a player, but he’s not Eddie Van Halen, he’s not a genius in the same way. Vince is a once in a generation genius.”
“People can watch this and say, ‘You’re standing up for him,’ I’m not saying anything outside the ring or whatever, I’m just saying, from what I learned about the business from him and Pat Patterson, another genius. Vince learned from Pat too. Learning in that era, it’s something that will end up hurting in the long run, by no fault of anybody’s own, just time moves on. That’s one of those guys that saw the business differently from anybody else.”
“It’d be great if he would still be able to be there to consult, but I don’t think Vince is going to consult anything. When he decided to leave or was asked to leave, whatever the story is, I don’t think he can be a guy that can hang around on the outskirts. He’s gonna have to go and find something else he loves to do.”
The main reason the 76-year-old McMahon retired is due to allegations of sexual misconduct toward several women that used to work for WWE. It led to reports of Vince paying multiple women “hush money” to not share what happened between them.
H/t to Fightful for the transcription.