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WRESTLING COLUMNS

The Road To Wrestlemania 18
Chris Jericho on OFF THE RECORD
March 17, 2002 - By Chris Fothergill-Brown

We've seen him before - but we're going to see him again. He's now the WWF Undisputed Champion, Chris Jericho. Bring it on!

Has he changed, is he a big shot? Jericho thinks Lansberg's become the big shot with the Paul Stanley style opening. "Who's changed Lansberg? Who's the real prima-donna?"

How cool is it as a Canadian to be returning to Wrestlemania in Canada as the champ? This has been a dream of his since he's been a kid. He's accomplished everything he's ever wanted to. This is a great vidication.

When did they let him know he was becoming the champ and why? He says he's always the last guy to know everything, and Steve Austin told him two weeks before Vengeance he was supposed to become champ. He never took it to heart until it happened.

Was he more nervous that normal? There wasn't time - he had to focus on going for 40 minutes straight.

Is working the main event any different than the midcard? Well it's more pressure, because everyone's out to get you. Everyone wants to knock you down in real life. If you do 99 things right, and 1 thing wrong, everyone will use the 1 thing against you to knock you down. Working your way up is hard, but on top is even tougher. He was speaking with Pat Patterson the other day. Patterson said some guys will help you on your way up - but once you're on top, they'll be the first to knock you down. It's the truth.

Does he feel like he's getting the respect he deserves? Not really. He says it's part of the rights of passages, it's his first run as the champ. He spoke with Kurt Angle, and Angle felt the same way his first time around. He says management hasn't really gotten behind him and neither have the upper card. In this business you never know who your real friends are - but he thinks some of the guys at the top are alright guys.

How prepared is he to go to a different spot should he lose the belt? If you're one of the best, as he is, it doesn't matter. He'll be fine.

When he's in the ring with Austin or someone like that, who leads? It's half and half. They don't have time to practice the match, nor can you remember it. Austin doesn't remember much, and he doesn't want to, and that's because that's where he is. You have to be able to roll with the punches. The young guys call everything in the dressing room, and when you go out to the ring and if you forget it, you're caught with your pants down. His favorite match of all time was Ricky Steamboat and Savage at Wrestlemania 3. His second favorite was Great American Bash 1989 between Steamboat and Flair. He asked Steamboat which of the two he prefers? With Savage, they went 22 minutes and had a script where over 200 moves were called. With Flair, all they had was the finish prepared and they went 60 minutes. Which do you think is better? There's the answer, if you can call the match for 15 minutes by improving and have the crowd with ya, that's when you're there.

Wrestling has always been dominated by large men - and all Jericho's life he's been told that he couldn't cut it. How does he respond? Screw you, go to hell. This isn't 1988 anymore, it's about entertaining the fans. Fast paced matches are in.

Does he feel good about being able to stick it to Eric Bischoff? It's not worth it for him to stick it to Bischoff. Bischoff's a guy who ran a company, got lucky with one idea that he stole from Japan, and as a result thought he knew everything about the business. Chris Jericho, The Big Show, Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, Dean Malenko, Triple H, Mankind, and Steve Austin all came from WCW and he failed with all of them.

Malenko and Benoit were known as the Vanilla Midgets by Kevin Nash. He was never called that, but may as well have been. It was a different place back then, the inmates ran the asylum. Hulk Hogan, Randy Savage, Kevin Nash, DDP, all of them were calling their own shots. Leaving was the best decision he ever made.

Are small guys going to have to do the bumps? Well if you don't have the personality - you have to do something. Jeff Hardy has to, because he has no skills on the mic. When Jericho was 22, that's what he did. You have to make the audience care about you one way or another.

A Japanese wrestler got paralysed doing the Lionsault - does that scare him? He says they risk their lives everyday.

Vince came out and said that wrestling's fake, and Jericho jumps all over that saying that Vince saying such a thing is bullshit. He shouldn't say that, because it's not fake. It's wrong - they risk their lives. There's nothing fake about what they do. Are they trying to kill their opponents? No. But they could get hurt at anytime.

What happened in San Jose with Triple H? He was waiting outside for him, and couldn't figure out what happened. The ref told Jericho that Triple H was hurt. Jericho then asked Triple H, and Triple H told him his leg was fuc..errr, screwed up. So they did the spot on the table. Triple H told him to. Jericho rolled him over into the Walls Of Jericho and tried very hard to be careful. Jericho thought the leg was broken or the ACL was torn or something. Who was he thinking about - the fans or Triple H? Jericho wonders how hurt Triple H is. Did he stub his toe or break his leg? If Triple H had thrown in the towel, no one would have blamed him, but because he continued it showed his strength.

QUIRKY FACT: Chris Jericho lists the Wrestlemania X ladder match between Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon as his favorite match... that he was not involved in, of course.

TODAY'S E-MAIL

Jericho, Who are your best friends in the WWF? Ryan Carr

Bubba Ray Dudley, The Hurricane, Chris Benoit, Edge and Christian, The Rock, and Steve Austin are all good guys.

Jericho, Of the current WWF mid-carders, who do you think will be main eventers in 3 years? Matt Boag

Edge, Rob Van Dam, Booker T, Christian is untapped. You never know, it could be anyone.

Chris, How would you feel if Goldberg came to the WWF? Thanks Jonathan Weber Savannah, GA

He'd love to beat his ass in the WWF. Goldberg didn't like him because Jericho wanted to give him a different angle. He hopes Goldberg's grown up. If Goldberg wants to work with him, come on in.

Yo Chris, Who's greater: Iron Maiden or Judas Priest? Mike Marks Toronto

Gotta go with the mighty Maiden. Lansberg mentions some of the heavy metal guys he's had on the show, and Jericho's impressed.

Fozzy's just finished their second album, and it'll be out in the summer. It's a great side project.

Jericho, What did the Canadian guys do for the U.S./Canada gold medal game. Did you all watch? P. Kite

He was at home that day, in Tampa, and watched the game. He was cheering and screaming like mad among his American friends.

Chris, How does the demise of ECW and WCW affect the chances of new talent emerging? Mark Smith

That bothers him a little. He started out in small territories and worked his way up. Now there's only one place to go. Guys aren't learning the same way.

Jericho's contract is up this summer. Is that a bad thing since there's no where else to go? There's ALWAYS other places to go. Outside of the business there's places to go. He could go into music or acting, or could do a sports talk show. Jericho thinks he could handle the show. So Jericho takes over.

How long has Michael been doing this? September 8, 1997 was when they debuted.

Jericho wants to know about the relationship between Lansberg and producer Bob. We go to commercial.

He's a marginally talented sports host - Michael Lansberg. What's he doing in town this weekend? He's going to Wrestlemania 18, and has some acting lined up. He's got a website to plug. Jericho doesn't care about the website and changed the question.

For a suave talk show host, why do his cards have coffee stains? It's because he works late into the night preparing questions for lame guests who can't carry the show. Jericho's had enough and gives it back to Lansberg.

He's a fan of The Rock. Who's going to come out the real winner at Wrestlemania between Rocky and Hogan? The fans. The Rock will carry that to a decent match. Smark marks will be surprised with how entertaining. It will NOT be as good as the main event.

Is he as good as The Rock? Yes, verbally and physically. The Rock is his favorite guy to work with.

Is The Rock the same guy and Dwayne Johnson? No, he manages to separate them. So does Jericho with Chris Jericho and Chris Irvine.

Lansberg asks for his cards back so he can say goodbye. Goodbye!



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