clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Is Chris Jericho working the boys over his WWE falling out?

In remarkably coincidental timing, as soon as the news leaked that supposedly Chris Jericho's contract negotiations to return to WWE had broken down, WWE started a viral marketing campaign, somewhat reminiscent of how they hyped Y2J's debut in 1999 and his first return to the company in 2007, to build anticipation for the return of a major star on the first Raw of 2012.  Before you could say Jack Rabbit, Jericho made it known to fans that he would be too busy working in Hawaii on that date to possibly appear on the show.  Nothing too suspicious about that, as the ominous tone of the video would easily fit The Undertaker too, who will inevitably return to WWE screens before WrestleMania 28.

Where things get interesting is that Dave Scherer and Mike Johnson of that wrestling website which is ridden with spyware (unless you pay for the elite version) are insistent that the cryptic "It Begins" video on last Monday's Raw was to signify Jericho's return to the promotion.  They had heard the exact same stories from a couple of "B-level sources" as their rival Dave Meltzer had, but didn't buy them for a second, as "nine times out of ten that means that with Chris Jericho when you're hearing left, he's going right".  They even predicted his denial, though their suggestion was that "he'll magically announce that he's in Bulgaria for a concert that day or something".

Meanwhile, Meltzer had more details about Jericho's alleged falling out with WWE in his latest Wrestling Observer Newsletter.  As I initially guessed, the main hold up is that Jericho wants the freedom to continue pursuing entertainment ventures outside of WWE, while Vince McMahon wants the power to veto any agreements he doesn't approve of and feels that his company deserves a cut of the proceeds for those he sanctions.  This isn't just Vince being a controlling megalomaniac, but apparently NBC Universal, who has exclusivity on WWE programming, doesn't want WWE superstars appearing on rival networks.

As his disgruntled tweet about the latest WWE video game WWE '12 alluded to, he also felt slighted by not being included in the game's roster, while other big name outsiders like Brock Lesnar and Batista have been, a decision that will cost him a significant sum of money.  Apparently this was due to a communications breakdown between THQ and WWE, as the gaming company would have likely struck a deal with Jericho independently had they known that WWE wouldn't be able to sign him to a merchandising contract in time for him to be a part of the game.

However, Meltzer's closing sentences on this story raised the possibility that Jericho is merely taking a prior private gripe and using it to work the boys into believing he's not coming back in January, so he can swerve the fans and make his return all the more shocking:

Having said that, even though Jericho wrote what he did about saying he would never wrestle in WWE again and the snag is legit, and that he's really not in the video game which costs him a lot of money, some in WWE are still of the impression he's coming in for a Mania season short run and have not been told differently.  The wrestlers are under the impression that he's not coming in.

If this changes and he does decide to come in, I don't expect anything to come out because Jericho had already stated his feelings that if he were to return that he wouldn't want anyone to know ahead of time and for it to be a surprise.

Me being a cynic, Meltzer might as well have said:  "If Chris Jericho turns up on Raw in six weeks time, then I just want to make it clear that this story was legit and I wasn't being worked by a friendly conman".  Lots of hedge betting going on with the wrestling media regarding this story and maybe even by WWE themselves, who might have shot an angle for Jericho before he's even put pen to paper on a new contract, but are leaving it open ended so they can easily put someone else in the slot if needs be and a deal can't be struck, which was a possibility Scherer raised.  All I know is that whatever happens come January 2nd, it's unlikely that either party will admit to blowing the story six weeks earlier.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats