‘It was an insult,’ Chris Jericho reveals WrestleMania incident that led to his exit from WWE
Chris Jericho is a legend in professional wrestling. His ability to engage the audience in any segment has made him a top star in the company. He came to the WWE in 1990s and stayed with the company for more than 15 years. He was amassed a plethora of title with the WWE including becoming the first Undisputed WWF Champion. He even defeated Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock on the same night to win the title.
Jericho was having the time of his life during his last run with WWE. His friendship and rivalry with Kevin Owens became a major highlight of Monday Night Raw and ‘Festival of Friendship’ segment is considered one of the best segments in the history of the WWE.
However, Jericho soon left the company after WrestleMania 33 where he faced Owens for the United States Championship. He started wrestling in the New Japan Pro Wrestling before becoming the inaugural AEW world champion.
Jericho has now revealed on the Mature Audiences Mayhem podcast that the placing of the match was one of the main reasons why decided to leave the WWE.
“Probably the best story [at WrestleMania] was Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens,” Jericho said.
“We were best friends, and all the dastardly stuff we were doing until he turned on me at ‘The Festival of Friendship.’ Then, we had this big WrestleMania match - the confrontation. Originally, that was going to be the main event for the world title. Kevin Owens was the champion and I was going to beat him in the main event of WrestleMania as a babyface.
“Bill Goldberg and Brock Lesnar had a match, Brock really liked it and wanted to have a rematch. He put Goldberg over and they had a rematch, but only if he won the title from Bill Goldberg. That was Brock’s idea so they changed it. Vince said that it’s going to be me versus Kevin Owens for the world title at WrestleMania and you are going to win the title, f--k yeah! Next week, he doesn’t tell me, but I hear that it’s changed to Brock Lesnar versus Bill Goldberg for the title.”
“And not only did they take us out of the main event - and, once again, just because I was told I have no right to it and things change all the time, I’m a big boy, I can handle it. But to take us from the main event slot and then move us to the 2nd match on the card on a card that has 12 matches on it? I was like, that’s a f--king insult!” Jericho exclaimed. “And I didn’t realize it at the time, but afterward, I guess about 3-4 weeks later, I was like, wait a second, we were 2nd on the card? It wasn’t even 1st. The first match on the show at a WrestleMania is a very important match, maybe event second only to the main event. But to put us on second is an insult and it doesn’t even matter now what I did.
“We had the best storyline of the year but it doesn’t matter, it’s still not going to get me higher on the card to be second on the card at WrestleMania,” Jericho continued.
“I need to leave; that is how you know. When the time comes when you are put in that spot as an insularity guy? Then I went through this whole thing when I went on tour with Fozzy and had the Tokyo Dome match against Kenny Omega. This whole new world of creativity opened up and this whole new star power for Chris Jericho, and we drew a lot of money for New Japan at that Dome show. And that was how the road to AEW started.”
Jericho is probably right as he indeed had the best storyline in the WWE with Owens. He had even stated earlier that Vince McMahon was extremely unhappy with the match.