A week ago, the wrestling world was divided (what else is new, amirite?) about AEW’s Blood & Guts match.
The focus of much of the debate was on the ending of The Pinnacle’s May 5 win over Inner Circle, which saw Maxwell Jacob Friedman force Sammy Guevara to surrender by threatening to throw Chris Jericho off the cage, and MJF shoving Jericho off anyway for not-ready-for-Hollywood landing.
Well, let the debate resume. The first episode of Talk Is Jericho recorded since last Wednesday’s Dynamite dropped, and that means we get Le Champeon’s take on all things Blood & Guts.
Among the interesting info Jericho revealed was that the idea for the finish was a group effort:
“The idea was, he hits me with the ring and he’s going to throw me off unless I surrender. We thought, how much of a piece of shit would he be if the guys did surrender and he threw me off anyway. It was a combination of a Tony Khan idea, an MJF idea, and a Jericho idea.
“I don’t pretend like I want to take crazy stunt bumps. I didn’t want to take a thumbtack bump in the Ambrose Asylum and I didn’t really want to take a bump from the top of the cage to the floor, but it was best for the story. The original plan was for Santana & Ortiz [to surrender], but Santana had the idea for Sammy to do it because it was more of a babyface thing for Sammy.”
Not that it’s any secret that AEW is priming Guevara for a big babyface run - even before the ending, Blood & Guts was a showcase for the young man - but that’s more confirmation about that. But back to Jericho not wanting to take “crazy stunt bumps”:
“I was really nervous, all day long. I’m not about taking crazy bumps like that, but it was the perfect way to continue the story. A few weeks prior, a month prior, we kind of came up with the idea, along with Tony and MJF, about what to do. When you’re doing a live stunt show — we’ve seen instances where stunts do go wrong, there is no second take, it’s live. There is an element of danger, which I think people have become desensitized to because they’ve seen everything so much. It almost demeans stuff that happens, even in the ring with high spots because people make it look so easy, people forgot how hard it is and the margin for error.
“We figured out a way to do the fall and the idea was to gimmick the stage. I thought the fall looked amazing, maybe because I was the one who took it and I knew how scared I was. Not scared, but nervous. There’s an element of worry. Earlier in the day, when they’re building everything, they had a big giant air mattress about ten feet high. I was like, ‘wow, that looks like an easy fall.’ Sammy was falling into it and was like, ‘Do you wanna try?’ I wanted to save it for later. Turns out, they were just testing it for the trajectory.”
After the trajectory tests were done, the crash bag went away, which brings us to the lackluster visual of Chris’s landing:
“It was a black gym mat, about six inches high from the bottom, and it was a bunch of cardboard boxes, just empty cardboard boxes. That’s what professional stuntmen fall on and we had a stuntman there. He orchestrated the bump Kenny and Sammy took at Stadium Stampede. Then there was plywood and decoration, like a flat piece of plastic, that looked like a steel grate. That was it.
“It went from being a ten-foot air mattress to a thing that was three feet off the ground, which made the fall about 18 feet. I watched the stunt guy take the fall and he had a ‘turtle shell’ to protect his back and a helmet. I didn’t get a helmet. He told me to take a step off, not to flip back, which was what happened when I took the powerbomb from Wardlow off the stage. I watched him do it and videotaped it to watch a bunch of times.
“We made a couple of additions on top of the cage because originally it was a step down with a gap in the middle, so we built a platform up there so it was more of a step just to be safer. There was a lot of praying and you just think, ‘this could be it.’ The other time I felt this way was when I took the bump into the thumbtacks.”
On the reaction to the landing, Jericho accepts the criticism, but believes it came from a minority of fans:
“I tell Max, ‘Give me a shove’ because I needed to feel something so I could take a pushback. I step back and I thought the bump would go by fast, but I just kept looking at him as I fell. Then, I landed, and of course, it takes the breath out of you.
“I’ve seen a few people bagging on it being a crashpad. It was no crashpad, it was a cardboard box. I don’t give a shit if it was a crash pad, you just go for it. It felt great, obviously, it hurt, but I could move my arms and legs and I wasn’t dead. The crowd went completely silent and I just laid there until they took me away on a stretcher and the people [in attendance at Daily’s Place] started clapping.
“It was later on that I started hearing ‘the fall didn’t look great.’ For me, when I watched it back, I thought it looked amazing. When you watch it back, I barely missed hitting my head on the lights on the stage. I almost overshot everything. Everyone in the business knows how dangerous this can be and how terrifying it is and the margin for error is slim. You have the right to bag on it. Out of the 1.3 million who watched, if 3,000 people didn’t like it, that’s a very small percentage. Most people thought it was crazy and I got great feedback.”
Fair enough. While I would count myself among the critics of how the spot came off, I definitely respect Jericho having the guts (pun intended) to take it. I’d estimate the people who didn’t like it at more than 3K, but I also don’t think that reaction will hurt AEW in the long-run. Time will tell.
If there’s anything I was hoping to hear addressed that wasn’t on this TIJ, it’s criticisms about things like having Darby Allin’s stairs fall on the same episode of Dynamite as Jericho’s fall of the cage, or if the television production of the finish (including how much time was left in the show after he landed, or the shots which revealed how the landing was gimmicked) came off as planned.
Perhaps we’ll hear about that stuff in the future. Chris will have plenty of chances to talk about it, because he says it’s the last spot like it he’s ever going to do.
“I hope you enjoyed it because you’ll never see me do it again. I’m glad it turned out the way it did... I wouldn’t change anything.”
Check out Talk Is Jericho’s May 12 episode “The All Out Assault of Blood & Guts” for tons of great details about how and why last week’s match was put together.