Chris Jericho is no stranger to working with professional athletes in a wrestling ring. He's shared the ring with Mike Tyson, Shaquille O'Neal, and now MMA fighters Junior Dos Santos and Jorge Masvidal.
At AEW Rampage Grand Slam, Jericho took a flying knee from Masvidal, which the UFC welterweight famously used against Ben Askren to put him to sleep in a record five seconds.
Speaking to Alex McCarthy of TalkSPORT, Jericho discussed working with American Top Team on AEW.
“As you see with Jorge Masivdal, I think one of the unique things we’re doing with Dan Lambert and American Top Team here is these aren’t retired UFC fighters, these are guys still in the thick of it. Masvisal is probably one of the biggest names in MMA today. And the fact Junior is having the match with us as a former UFC champion, it’s a whole different thing for me because I’ve never really been on that side of it. When I first got to WWE a thousand years ago, I worked with Ken Shamrock briefly but this is a whole different vibe. When we started doing this story with Dan Lambert and American Top Team, I was really intrigued because it’s so different," he said.
On the subject of taking a knee from Masvidal, Jericho said, "It’s going to be really cool to see Jorge in there. The knee he hit me with was vicious, but I wouldn’t expect anything different. These guys are not trained pro wrestlers doing tackles, dropdowns and leapfrogs. They mount you, they punch you in the face and knee you in the cranium. That’s what you’re buying when you get them involved. It’s a little more dangerous, but it’s cool and exciting and different than anything else I’ve done before so I’m really excited about that.
"It’s a see-where-the-chips-fall thing," he said when asked if he asked Masvidal to pull the knee at all. "I mean those guys are tough, but there’s nobody tougher in the business than wrestlers.It’s one of those things like ‘how bad can it be?’ [laughs]. I’ve been knocked out by a lot tougher and I’ve been knocked out by a lot less. Standing there with Mike Tyson 10 years ago waiting to get punched and not knowing what you’re going to get, you have to be pretty crazy. It’s the same thing with Masvidal and his knee but I’ve seen that knock guys out in five seconds. It’s almost like Kenny’s V-Trigger except this one has legit wins behind it. You just kind of grit your teeth and hope for the best. If it gets people more involved and invested in the story, then it was all worth it. Doesn’t feel too good the next day, but once again, there’s nobody crazier than me so I don’t mind [laughs]."
Masvidal will be in the corner of Junior Dos Santos, Ethan Page, and Scorpio Sky as they take on Jericho, Sammy Guevara, and Jake Hager on Friday's AEW Rampage.
Fightful will have live coverage of AEW Rampage beginning at 9 p.m. ET with the Buy-In.