WWE Network Review: Steve Austin’s Broken Skull Sessions – Chris Jericho

This episode of The Broken Skull Sessions with Steve Austin features former WWE/current AEW superstar Chris Jericho. It is available on-demand on Peacock/WWE Network now. It has a runtime of 2:07:32.

The show begins with Steve Austin asking how did this all come together. Jericho says he owed a call to Austin after watching The Undertaker episode which led to an hour-long conversation. With Jericho working on AEW, Austin was not sure if he could have Jericho as a guest until he texted Vince who gave him the green light. Austin says Jericho is in the conversation for being one of the greatest ever especially being the business for thirty years. Jericho believes no one will have a career like his, having worked everywhere and through multiple generations. On AEW, Jericho says he never saw himself working outside of WWE. However, he felt something different with this company after speaking with founder Tony Khan. When it comes to having a successful company, Jericho says you need three things, those being finance, talent, and passion. They had a bunch of talent off-contract such as The Young Bucks, Kenny Omega, himself, Cody Rhodes, and Adam Page whom they could build off of. They were able to get a TV deal with TNT which was big as they were looking at other options such as Netflix or HBO. However, Jericho does say AEW is not competition to WWE. He would mention his appearance at New Japan Pro Wrestling helping spike up the business which gave Tony Khan the spark to create the company. Jericho would acknowledge it was a big risk since he felt it could be something huge or might not work out. He spoke about possibly returning to WWE but felt like he would be stuck doing the List gimmick. Jericho would talk about carrying the company for the first few months and leading by example. While he will never call himself the locker room leader, he will help talent whenever approached.

Talking about how he got into wrestling, Jericho spoke about growing up in Winnipeg and watching it with his grandmother. While his grandmother loved the good guys, Jericho loved Jesse Ventura and grew up wanting to be a wrestler and a rock star. To pursue his dream as a wrestler, he applied for training at Stampede Wrestling. After wrestling at the Stampede promotion, Jericho would go to Mexico. He planned to work in Mexico, and hope to get noticed by Ultimo Dragon who would then take him to Japan. Jericho’s plan worked as he would then go on to Japan thanks to Ultimo Dragon. After his tenure in Japan, he would come back to Mexico as the “heartthrob” superstar ‘Lionheart’. Jericho understood that while he was not big in size like Hulk Hogan, who used his charisma to draw attention. After the crash of the peso, he would move on from Mexico to the United States. He would get his start at ECW after Mick Foley noticed him at a show in Japan and suggested him to Paul Heyman. Jericho originally thought he blew his chance after missing an opportunity at a show, however, Heyman would call him a year later. He would note that he was only in ECW for about eleven weekends but that helped him get to WCW. Jericho would tell the story about how he got to WCW which was from being booked on an Antonio Inoki tribute show which featured WCW superstars. When he was booked in a triple threat match with Konnan and Bam Bam Bigelow, the match would gain Eric Bischoff’s attention and WCW hired him.

Looking back at Jericho’s WCW career, Austin brings up his “Man of 1004 holds” promo which was Disco Inferno’s idea based on Dean Malenko’s “The Man of 1000 holds”. Jericho reveals he listed out ten holds before going to commercial. During the commercial, he started insulting Chicago sports teams, and then when he came back on, he continued so the fans booed him a lot. As for his WCW run, Jericho says he would not change anything during WCW because he learned how valuable TV time was. However, he did feel WCW made a mistake not mixing up the young guys with the veterans. As for his top ponytail hairstyle, Jericho got it from Gene Simmons. As for his entrance where he could not find the stage, the idea came from Spinal Tap. As for Ralphus, he was a truck driver for WCW and got the idea to use him as a bodyguard from Goldberg’s entrance. Jericho says his WCW run ended because he always wanted to work for WWE/Vince McMahon and to become Intercontinental Champion. When asked about the Goldberg issue, Jericho says the storyline was supposed to be a joke which Goldberg did not like. It would build up a match between them but did not happen due to politics. Jericho reveals he was working at WCW with no contract for the first 17 months. When it came to his contract expiring, he hoped no one would notice until Bischoff approached him about re-signing. Jericho would not re-sign and end up dropping the United States Championship to Konnan before leaving.

On the discussion of his WWE recruitment trip, Jericho says he was close with Don Callis who worked at WWE at the time. Fast forward to January 1999, while under contract with WCW, Jericho would fly down to Stanford to meet with Vince. Jericho would sit with Vince as the staff went over a booking meeting for Raw before going down to a room that had a giant painting of Vince himself. After the meeting, Vince told Jericho to let him know when his contract is over. Years later, Jericho would ask McMahon about the meeting at his house which Vince said he wanted to see if he could trust him.

On the millennium countdown, the idea came from Jericho and Vince Russo. One day at the post office, Jericho saw a countdown clock to the millennium which he thought would be a cool idea to debut with. The idea for Jericho to interrupt The Rock came from Vince. Jericho credits Vince for finding the small details that help make the moments better. For his debut promo, Jericho says he wrote it in his apartment two weeks before and only The Rock and Vince Russo knew. The nine-time Intercontinental Champion reveals he got heat from the locker room for his promo. As for his signature “back to the crowd” entrance, Jericho got the idea from Michael Jackson after seeing him do it in Mexico City. Still transitioning from WCW to WWE guy, Y2J felt like there was a big target because he came from WCW, had a guaranteed deal, and some feeling he was trying to take their spot.

Jericho would then tell the story behind him temporarily winning the WWE Championship on Raw in April 2000. At the time, he was floundering, losing to everyone. Chris was ready to let Vince know he was going to leave when one of the creative members informed him that he is going to win the World Title and the situation afterward. Jericho spoke about working with Triple H that night. Triple H told him to slow down and to “bump and feed”, a term he had never heard before. After winning the championship, Jericho remembers looking into a mirror with the title and being happy to hold it. When asking Vince if it was weird for him to give it back (Triple H was given back the title about 15 minutes later), Vince told him he would get it back one day.

Looking at Vengeance 2001, Jericho would become the first-ever WWE Undisputed Champion defeating The Rock and Steve Austin in the same night. Jericho tells the story of Vince making a joke about the business going down the toilet having to put the championship on him. After winning the championship, Jericho talked about going to the locker room and celebrating by himself as everyone in the locker room was gone. He then tells the story about being locked out of his hotel room the night after winning the championship.

Talking about his match against Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 19, Chris recalls writing down the finish of their match at a Dick’s Sportings Good. Interestingly, Shawn came up with the beginning of the match, and the ending of doing the pin which he saw Owen Hart do. As for the low blow after the match, the idea came from Pat Patterson to help him gain heat after the loss. Jericho called Shawn one of his heroes along with Ricky Steamboat and Owen Hart and says it is his favorite Wrestlemania match.

Moving forward to 2005, Jericho’s contract was expiring and was not going to renegotiate. He was at a point in which he felt burned out and was done with wrestling. Originally he was supposed to be done after his match against Cena at Summerslam but after some back and forth with Vince, he would leave on Raw the next night after losing a “You’re Fired” match. At that time, Jericho was not sure if he would come back to wrestling, so he tried to expand his horizon by taking up acting. While taking acting classes, he learned how to commit to a character and to bring out real emotion, which helped his character in 2008.

During his hiatus, Jericho says he did not follow wrestling until he saw John Cena vs. Shawn Michaels at Wrestlemania 23. Y2J admits to being jealous, which led him to come back. However, during the beginning of his return, Jericho felt like he was a watered-down version of himself and more of a nostalgia act. It was not until he started his feud with Shawn Michaels in 2008 that he reinvented his character. The character was inspired by AWA’s Nick Bockwinkel and Anton Chigurh from the movie “No Country for Old Men”. That led to Jericho and Austin talking about Jericho’s great feud with Michaels in 2008 when Chris was a suit-wearing heel that used big words to piss off the fans. They watched highlights of when Jericho retained the World Heavyweight Title against Michaels in a Ladder Match at No Mercy 2008. It was one of the best matches of Jericho’s career.

In 2016, Jericho would have “The List of Jericho” which was an idea from Jimmy Jacobs, who was a writer at the time. Chris says the art of a promo is confidence. The partnership between him and Owens started when after working together in London when they realized they had good chemistry. The idea for their breakup at the Festival of Friendship came from a David Lee Roth video. On the day of the segment, Jericho reveals Vince was not at Raw that day and those who were in charge were changing up the original idea for the segment. Going back and forth, Jericho texted Vince, who said to go with the original idea which ended up happening on Raw. The original plan for his match against Owens at Wrestlemania 33 (in 2017) was to be for the Universal Championship, which he was going to win as a babyface for the first time in his career. Then he would drop the championship to Brock Lesnar at the next PPV before leaving a month later to go on tour. While he was okay with not having the Universal Championship match (because WWE did Goldberg vs. Lesnar instead), Jericho was more upset about being in the second match especially with the storyline built for his match. Jericho said even first match would have been great, but they didn’t like going on second. He would then leave in April 2017, but says he loves working for WWE and working with Vince.

Wanting to do more, Chris spoke about going to New Japan, which was set up by his friend Don Callis. Callis approached him about working with Kenny Omega, who is a Winnipeg native and was the top superstar in the promotion at the time. With Vince’s blessing, Jericho would go on to have a match with Omega which did big business. On the idea for the Painmaker character, Jericho says he was feeling more violent and wanted to bring a serial killer gimmick. He says wrestling felt fun again and left the door open for another appearance after beating down Naito the night after Wrestle Kingdom. Jericho would go back to WWE again for the Saudi Arabia show which he was originally scheduled to face Undertaker in a casket match. He remembers telling Vince about his possible match against Naito, which he believed might be the reason why he was swapped with Rusev.

On the topic of wrestling during the pandemic, Jericho says it is a different vibe working in front of nobody and says he has a lot of respect for those wrestling with no crowd. Austin compliments Jericho for breaking out of the Cruiserweight box and becoming a legend in this business. Jericho says it is heartwarming to see the old clips and thanked Vince and Tony Khan for making this happen. As for how long does he has left, Jericho says he feels good, and as long as he does not feel like a parody of himself, he will continue. Austin congratulates Jericho for chasing the dream before they take a shot to end the show.

Aneil’s Take: I thought it was pretty cool of WWE and AEW to allow Jericho to appear on The Broken Skull Sessions. While this does not break down the “Forbidden Door”, it does show WWE’s willingness to work with others. At the beginning of the show, they start by talking about AEW, which I think was WWE’s way of saying, hey we are aware of your brand but not threatened by it. I think it is more of the fans trying to recapture the “Monday Night Wars” by pitting WWE and AEW against each other, especially when Jericho acknowledged AEW not being competition to WWE and just trying to do their own thing.

With AEW out of the way, there was a lot to cover with Jericho’s thirty-year career. Jericho says he got into wrestling after watching it with his grandmother which was the same way Beth Phoenix did, as well as how I became a fan. While Jericho spent a few years in Japan and Mexico, I did not know his tenure in ECW was only for a few months. On his WCW run, Jericho did make the best of his time there but could have been a bigger star if he was not pigeonholed in the Cruiserweight division. As for his WWE career, I loved hearing the stories behind his ideas such as his signature entrance, his Wrestlemania matches, and the Festival of Friendship. You also could tell how much Jericho loved working with Shawn Michaels as his best matches were against him at Wrestlemania 19 and No Mercy 2008. One reoccurring topic was his match at Wrestlemania 33 against Kevin Owens which was supposed to be a main event match for the Universal Championship. However, the championship was moved to Lesnar and Goldberg (which I believe did not need it) and their match was second on the card. It was a big reason why Jericho left his last run but also showed him as someone who knows his worth.

While I understand the time issues because it ran for over two hours, I would have love to hear about his program with Chyna, the backstage fight with Goldberg, an incident with Brock Lesnar a few years ago, working with CM Punk, the idea for the Money in the Bank, and a few others. He does cover a lot of those things in his books, podcasts and interview appearances, though. Jericho has such a decorated career; they barely scratched the surface on this session. Great watch. I would recommend it to anyone who has two hours to spare.