For decades, Chris Jericho has been heralded as one of the best promos in wrestling. Jericho has switched from babyface to heel throughout his career in WWE, NJPW, and AEW, but has always been able to garner a reaction with his words.
His current persona as the leader of the Inner Circle has been no exception as fans cheer when he cuts down members of American Top Team.
Speaking to Richard Deitsch on the Sports Media podcast, Jericho discussed how he puts his promos together.
"How do I do a promo? I do write them down because I need to get my thoughts in order. Sometimes, it's only an hour before the show and it works great and sometimes it doesn't work. I put my thoughts together, bullet points, and then think about it and let it sit. If you're going to tell a joke or insult, you better make sure it's good and you better commit. You can't force it, it just has to come to you. I hated that in WWE. I remember Vince [McMahon] made John Morrison use the insult of 'platypus dung.' I'm like, 'John, you can't say that, no one is going to laugh.' 'Vince wants me to say it.' 'Say you forgot to say it.' He said it, it died, whatever. You have to be confident and have your thoughts in mind, but you also have to be cognizant if things change, you have to roll with that. If you ask Wayne Gretzky how he scores, it's probably hard to explain because it's just something he does. It's always been that way for promos for me because when I first started in 1990, I wasn't the biggest guy and I knew I wouldn't be the biggest guy, but I could have the most personality and most charisma and best character," he said.
Jericho continued, bringing up his first promo when he had just entered wrestling.
"I remember driving for my first promo ever in Calgary and they were like, 'you have to make sure to promote the midgets.' David Lee Roth's new record had just come out and Dave was doing inserts and talking to promote the album and he said, 'There's a fine line between a pat on the back and a kick in the pants, so let's dance.' I thought it was the greatest thing ever and I would say it in my promo. Totally shoehorned it in and said it with no conviction ever. David Lee Roth can say that line and it sounds cool. Chris Jericho at 19 could not say that. 'There's a fine line between a pat on the back and kick in the pants so let's dance. Next week, the midgets are here.' I had no idea what I was saying, but at least I took a chance and tried to have some charisma. Over time, that came and it's been ingrained in my system as a good guy or bad guy. Being fearless, committing, not worrying what people think about you. If you're locked in and believe what you're saying, others will believe as well," he said.
Jericho was asked about "shooting" in promos and how the lines have been blurred throughout the years as wrestlers will mention behind the scenes happenings or real life issues as part of their promos.
Jericho gave his take on "shooting" in promos by replying, "People at this point know it's show business and there's only so deep you can go. There's a line a few weeks ago MJF used about Lex Luger being in a wheelchair to Sting. I don't think that gets heat. I think it makes people feel uncomfortable and feel bad. You don't want that. There is a fine line between using real life issues and going too inside baseball where, 'I don't know what this guy is talking about, but it doesn't feel right.' To me, that is the fine line. If it's something in the universe that people know, you can use it. If it's something behind the scenes, 'Your dad was a drunk,' 'where did that come from? His dad was a drunk? That sucks. My dad was a drunk too and beat the shit out of me. Fuck, I don't want to watch this show anymore.' That's the way I feel. I don't think it gets more heat, I think it gets reverse heat. We know it's a show. It's like watching Star Wars and they go, 'Hey Kylo Ren, your mom had an abortion.' What does that have to do with Star Wars? You can make things seem real with your intentions and the way you say things and the words you use, that makes it real. You have to be careful."
MJF often uses real life references in his promos, drawing a chorus of boos from the live audience.
Jericho is set to team with his Inner Circle mates Sammy Guevara, Jake Hager, Santana & Ortiz against The Men of the Year (Scorpio Sky & Ethan Page), Junior dos Santos, Andrei Arlovski, and Dan Lambert at AEW Full Gear.
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