Once it became clear that Chris Jericho would be working with Fandango at WrestleMania 29, scheduled for Sun., April 7, 2013, at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, "Y2J" was, predictably enough, heaped with praise. After all, his short lived return, expected to last from the Royal Rumble through WrestleMania, will have seen him put the business first yet again as he busts hump to help get over a young talent.
But to hear him tell it, that's not at all what he wanted, at least not at first.
In a recent interview with Wrestling Observer Radio, Jericho went into stunning detail on the process of how he went from a planned heel turn to work with Ryback to Vince McMahon calling him in to convince him to work a program with Fandango because, surprise, he is one of Vince's favorite new acts.
"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."
So it wasn't so much that Jericho was eager to come back to help get over a talented young up-and-comer, it's that McMahon loves the Fandango gimmick and had to convince Jericho, a respected veteran with the skills and name value to help Fandango's push, to buy in to it. Now that he has, "Y2J" gets to challenge himself in an attempt to steal the show at an event that is stacked with talent, both in name and otherwise.
While the feud wasn't all that intriguing upon its arrival, the two have done a remarkable job of driving interest in a very short period of time. Now, it's one of the few matches on the card that actually holds value due to its unpredictability and curiosity at how Fandango will look in an actual match.
Hopefully by the time all is said and done, we'll all be winners.