A veteran of more than three decades, Chris Jericho has seen and done a lot throughout his esteemed wrestling career. ‘The Ocho’ is a multi-time World Champion, currently in possession of his first under the Ring of Honor banner. When he first debuted in 1990, there was no predicting the success he’d go on to have.
Chris Jericho touts himself as a master of reinvention, hence why he’s almost unrecognisable from his debut. A number of famous characters have since been born along the way, including ‘The Painmaker’, ‘Lionheart’, and ‘The Demo God’.
Chris Jericho Wrestled His Debut Match Near A Mental Institution
Speaking during a recent Inside The Ropes live event via Talk Is Jericho, Chris Jericho discussed his debut match, which came on October 2, 1990 vs. Lance Storm. Emanating from Moose Hall, Jericho discussed working his first match near a mental institution:
“So my first match was October 2, 1990 In Ponoka, Alberta, Canada, which is about halfway between Calgary and Edmonton. It took place in the prestigious Moose Hall. And the Moose Hall was right next to a mental institution, which pretty much is the perfect analogy for the pro wrestling business right out of the gate. And it was against Lance Storm, or as he was known at the time, Lance T. Storm, and the T stands for ‘Thunder’.
So we had been working all summer long at the Hart brothers pro wrestling camp, and this was our big debut match. And we were on I believe, first or second, and it was a 10-minute Broadway, which means 10 minute time limit.”
Elaborating, Chris Jericho explained how times have changed with regard to how matches are put together:
“So it’s interesting because I just watched it back a few months ago, right when I was putting together The Complete List of Jericho, so maybe a year or so ago, whatever it was. And times have changed so much in how you put together matches, like now you put together a match pretty much for the most part from beginning to the end. And you might have some improv in there, but pretty much it’s the beginning, middle, end. There, all we had were two high spots that we had practised over and over again at wrestling camp. And the rest of it was just making stuff up.
And if you watch the last minute, we ran out of things to do. It was supposed to be this hot finish, where it’s like, ‘Okay, I’ll give you a schoolboy’. ‘Yeah’. ‘And then I’ll roll you up’. ‘Yeah’. ‘And then I’ll give you a small package’. ‘Yeah’. ‘What else do we know?’ ‘And I don’t know, give me another small package’. So you watch it back and it’s just like, it was just a different time.
But I do remember specifically, there was probably about eighty people there in the Ponoka Moose Hall. And I had to do this thing where you’d put the guy’s arm in the ground, and the big move was you would stand on your hand and put your knee up [and] drop your knee into the guy’s arm. So I did that to Lance, and then I said, and then a kid in the crowd said, ‘Do it again’. And I said, ‘Should I do it again?’ And like four kids went, ‘Yeah!’ And I was like, ‘I’m bigger than Hulk Hogan’.
I couldn’t believe it. They were actually reacting and all these sort of things. So we did the match and had the Broadway and came back into the dressing room. And I remember we were just flipping out, like we couldn’t believe how amazing it was. These people are just going crazy for us. There’s seventy people from Ponoka that we’ll never forget this night.
And at the end of the night, I got my pay envelope, which said Chris Jericho, spelt ‘J E R I C O’, it was spelt wrong. And I opened it up and there was a $20 bill and a $10 bill, $30 for 10 minutes work. I was like, ‘Holy sh*t, I make five bucks an hour at the deli and work eight hours a week and get 40 bucks. I almost made the whole thing in 10 minutes. I’m rich!’ And that’s when I was stuck forever and hooked on the wrestling business.”
It wasn’t always this extravagant for Chris Jericho, though, as he detailed how much, exactly, he was ‘paid’ for his second outing:
“And then our second match is at a kid’s birthday party and I got paid a hot dog and a glass of orange juice.”
Chris Jericho is next scheduled to wrestle on Saturday, November 19, defending the AEW World Championship against Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli, and Sammy Guevara at AEW Full Gear.
If you use any quotes from this transcription, please credit Talk Is Jericho and link back to this article with a H/T to Inside The Ropes.