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Chris Jericho had to convince Vince McMahon to put over a young John Cena: "He said, 'Why? He doesn't mean anything.'"



On this week's "The Kurt Angle Show," Chris Jericho stopped by to explain what happened at WrestleMania 2000, politics in the WWE, and heat he got for expressing his opinions.

Chris Jericho explaining that he was supposed to be in the main event at WrestleMania 2000:

"The original plan for that WrestleMania if you remember it was a four way title match with a McMahon in every corner. Okay. It was Rock, Big Show, Triple H, and Mick Foley with, you know, Vince, Shane, Linda and Stephanie with whoever they were with.”

“The original plan for that match for the four way was Hunter, Rock, Big Show, and Jericho. If you think that I'm just saying that because I heard rumors, or someone told me, they actually made promotional pieces for the match, and this is kind of like the press kit for Wrestlemania 2000 was what they called it."

"So you can see like, I was never officially told that I was in the match, but why would I be there if it wasn't true? There was a billboard on Sunset Boulevard with this exact picture on it. I remember seeing it driving down going, 'Wow, that's really cool that I'm on that.'”

“Then I think Vince didn't have the belief in me, I guess, to put me in that spot yet, so he brought Mick back. That was after Mick had retired."

"Mick told me that Vince offered him enough money to pay his kids college educations, so he came back. What I was holding up for people that aren't watching was a press kit that has the four pictures on there, with mine being one of them."

Jericho talking about the politics going on in WWE when he debuted:

"There was a lot of politics at that time, and when I say this, it's not from a bitter point of view or an angry point of view. It's just the way it was."

"So to come in, there was a lot of legit heat between Hunter and myself. It involved Chyna. It involved a little bit of X-Pac as well, but Hunter and I just didn’t like each other.”

“I think Hunter had such a pull at the time and such power that if he didn't like me, of course, even if he's not going out of his way to bury me to Vince, I'm sure anytime my name came up, he would be like, 'Gosh, that guy, come on.' You know, it's just kind of the way the business worked at the time."

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"So I think that might have had a lot to do with it. You know, 'You don't want Jericho in there. He's not a big enough name. Bring back Foley or see if Austin's available', or whatever it may be. That's probably kind of one of the reasons, and once again, I'm not saying that I've heard this, I just can tell. I could read the room for the past that we had.”

“We're really cool now, but at the time, we just fu*king didn't like each other. It just didn't work. So that had a lot to do with my standing where I was at the time."

Jericho said he got a lot of heat early in his WWE career for expressing his opinions:

"They were like, 'If we tell Jericho something, he might question it', meaning, well, if we want to do it this way, maybe try it this way, and it might work better, and they didn't like that."

"Some guys didn't like that at the time. So I really got hammered a lot at first because of that. But it was also because of that quality that I was able to make it as far as I did, and probably the reason why I'm still here today, why we even started AEW because I always spoke my mind and stood up for what I thought was right,” Jericho said.

“I called Vince one night when Cena was first starting our first Pay-Per-View and I said, 'Vince, you have to let me put this guy over'. He said, 'Why? He doesn't mean anything.' I said, 'He could mean something, but if you just put him on this big Pay-Per-View and I win, then what's the point?’ because he had just done the big match with you, Kurt, and it was great, and you beat him as you should have. But if we keep fu*king beating him, it doesn't matter."

"So he did a great job with Kurt, and Kurt beat him. He'll do a great job with me. And what if he beats me? Oh my gosh, he's starting to rise. So it wasn't ever about, I have to win or I have to do this, it was what's best for the show, and what's best for the match. Because I had an opinion and never cared about expressing it, that got me heat at the beginning, but then that got me respect in the end."

Jericho said the Invasion angle could have been played out much longer in WWE, and his payoff for the match was proof of it:

"There's a million things they could have done. They could have run that Invasion Pay-Per-view for a year."

"The Invasion Pay-per-view was the highest payoff I ever got in the WWE besides two or three Wrestlemanias," he said. "I was in 12 Wrestlemanias and it beat nine of them. That's how big it was. It was a giant, giant check and it was a 10 man match. Think about that. How much money did that Pay-Per-View make to pay the 10 guys in the main event that much."

"So what if that was the first one? Vince wasn't interested. He'd been at war with WCW for so long. He bought it. He got a big blow off from it, and he said you're done, and that was his goal. He wants to kill it, squash it, end it, done. That's what he did."

If you use any portion of the quotes from this article please credit "The Kurt Angle Show on" with a h/t to for the transcription.