Chris Jericho has moved to dispel a popular 23-year-old rumour from his time as Cruiserweight Champion in WCW.
In February 1998 Chris Jericho was into his third reign as WCW Champion, having captured the championship at Souled Out in January defeating Rey Mysterio. After retaining the title against the likes of Dean Malenko, Jericho entered into a feud with Mexican star Juventud Guerrera.
This led to a match between the pair at SuperBrawl VIII, but it wasn’t just any match. As well as Jericho’s Cruiserweight Championship, Guerrera’s mask was also on the line. At the event, Jericho emerged victorious meaning that he had to remove his mask.
Fast-forward two decades and Guerrera sat down with Chris Jericho on his Talk Is Jericho podcast, where the pair reflected on the match. The Mexican veteran said removing the mask was shocking before wondering whose decision it was for him to lose his trademark face covering.
“That was shocking because when I started my career, every wrestler, you don’t want to lose your mask, you always want to have it. For me to be in this position to lose this mask, it wasn’t something I really wanted to do. In a way, something was telling me, ‘Maybe you can do it.’
I was just happy to be there and I went with the flow, but it was shocking. I didn’t know how the people were going to respond or how they would feel about me because I always try to look good and give a good look.
When you took the mask, it was perfect because I was trying to pull the mask little by little and you just took it away. It was perfect. “I always was wondering, it was Eric Bischoff, but did you have something to do with it? Whose idea (was it?)”
In response, Jericho scotched suggestions that he had anything to do with pitching the stipulation, explaining that he wasn’t even consulted about the decision.
“It wasn’t me at all. I had no power or anything at that point. You and I worked many times and Eric went through this idea that Luchadors should lose their mask and you were a handsome guy. I understand the Mexican culture better than anybody that wasn’t Mexican because I had worked there. I remember thinking, ‘If he has to lose his mask, what can I do to help this?’
I’m the heel, so I would say you looked like Quasimoto, Quasijuice, you were the hunchback of Notre Dame and when you take your mask off it’s, ‘Fuck, this is a good looking guy.’ I was never really asked or consulted. We were working and it was, ‘You’re going to have this match with Juvi and you’re going to take his mask.’ I was like, ‘Really?’ ‘Yes, that’s what Eric wants.’ I didn’t have anything to do with it.”
Jericho continued, saying that he didn’t hold any kind of influence at the time and was only doing what he was told.
“It’s cool you noticed that and now and AEW, and even in WWE for a number of years, as you go up the ladder, you have a lot of influence. Then, I wasn’t being asked anything. It was just, ‘Here’s what we want you to do, we think it’ll be a good match and draw for the pay-per-view.’ That’s what it was. I was never asked, ‘Do you want to do this?’ and I certainly never went, ‘Hey, I want to take Juvi’s mask,’ I wasn’t at that level. Had I been at that level, maybe I would have, but I didn’t.”
By the end of 1998, Chris Jericho moved away from the Cruiserweight division winning the World Television Championship, before heading to WWE in August 1999.
Jericho and Guerrera reconvened their rivalry in August 2021 with the Mexican competing as the ‘Third Labour of Jericho’ in AEW. The Demo God eventually won the match, advancing to meet MJF at All Out.
H/t to Fightful for the transcription.