AEW superstar and former world champion Chris Jericho recently spoke to TalkSport about his current feud with American Top Team, and what the Demo God thinks of the MMA talents, including Jorge Masvidal and Paige VanZant. Highlights from the interview are below.
His thoughts on working with American Top Team:
“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.”
Discusses what it’s like working with MMA talents in wrestling:
“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. 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].”
How Paige VanZant is a natural for pro wrestling:
“Paige is part of the story. I remember the first week she came out and I was like ‘we need Paige here next week.’ And they were like ‘you want her here?’ And I was like ‘she’s part of the story now.’ She’s a natural. You can see right away. ‘This guy’s stuff looks great. This guy is into it. She’s feeling the character part of it,’ you know what I mean? She doesn’t even really have to do anything. I said to her last week ‘just come out and act like a bitch, that’s all you got to do.’ And she did, and people are booing. “If you get it, everyone loves being the bad guy. ‘It’s so cool, they’re booing me and telling me that I suck’ – you can’t get that in UFC. It’s a sports environment whereas AEW, especially with our amazing fans, it’s a whole different vibe and I can tell they’re feeling that. They all come out of the ring stoked and excited like ‘that was so great, this is awesome!’ because it’s something different for them and they’re embracing that.”