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Chris Jericho Recalls Undertaker Talking Him Into Match With Former WWE Champion

Chris Jericho

AEW star Chris Jericho may be an expert at compiling lists – but The Demo God’s new venture is a monstrous undertaking three decades in the making.

Speaking exclusively with Inside The Ropes’ Kenny McIntosh, former AEW World Champion Chris Jericho opened up about his new book – The Complete List of Jericho – and how he never planned for it to be a book, nor for the details he’d meticulously kept since 1990 to be released in any form in 2021.

“Well, I was never even really planning it to be a book, it’s just something that I’ve always done. You know, I always kept a list of every match that I ever had just because no-one else ever did. And I just thought, ‘Well, I want to know how many matches I’ve had, even if nobody else cares and whether I have I have one match or 1,000 matches, I want to have them written down.’ So I started October 2nd, 1990. I literally remember writing this down on the piece of paper that I still have to this day and kept an entire collection of all these matches since that day.”

It isn’t just the classics which are detailed in the book, as Chris Jericho opens up about a match he was hesitant to do with Daniel Bryan, who reportedly may be AEW-bound. Chris Jericho and Bryan, of course, didn’t have a lengthy storyline – but they did wrestle in a match which Chris Jericho, by his own admission, had no interest in competing in but was told by Undertaker to “show them” why he was champion.

“Yeah, I mean, I didn’t want to have that match. I just thought, ‘Why is the WWE Champion having a match against some guy that’s just coming in for NXT?’ I remember it was Undertaker that was like, ‘Go out there and show them why you’re the champion.’ And I think it was a very short match. It was only six minutes. I remember Bryan hit that tope and he kind of came out so fast, I didn’t expect it. And he overshot and hit the desk and had had we had more time, we could have built the whole match just around that and changed it all on the fly, but we really didn’t have the time to do that. I don’t think I wrestled Daniel many more times, maybe two or three times, but none of them memorable. That one was the one that was memorable and who would have thought it at the time? But here we are, you know, ten years later and people still talk about it because it was such a monumental match and the first meeting between two guys that, you know, are still doing it pretty much at the top of our games ten years later. Like you said, had this book not been released, you might forget about those matches and not even remember it. So it’s right there for all the world to see.”

As for the other 2,700-plus matches, the list was already there to discuss them in the book. For Chris Jericho, the idea was planted before he’d even wrestled his first match.

“Yeah, I mean, it was first day of wrestling school and it was the Hart Brothers Pro-Wrestling Camp, but Keith Hart showed up only on the first day, basically to collect our money and then we never saw him again. It was a little bit nerve racking because this is Keith Hart. I saw him on TV and here we are at wrestling school, and he came in the ring and asked a couple people questions. And I remember I asked him, ‘How many matches have you had?’ And he said, ‘Nobody keeps track of that. That’s kind of a stupid question.’ And then he called me a ‘gearbox’ which, to this day I’m like, ‘That’s the worst insult I’ve ever heard.’ But point being is that I was thinking about that. Well, if I want to know how many games Wayne Gretzky’s played, I can go to a library and look it up in a book! I can’t look up how many matches Keith Hart has had, that seemed very strange to me. So let me give people the option, and me the option, to know how many matches I’ve had by keeping my own record.”

Jericho then recalled that first match – noting the opponent, location, length of match, his own personal rating and the payment received.

“So that’s kind of where it all started and that’s why the very first night, my first show, October 2nd, 1990, like I said, Ponoka, Alberta in Canada versus Lance Storm. And it was a ten-minute draw and I gave it I can’t remember what I gave it, two and a half stars, and my payoff was 30 bucks. And the crowd was, you know, 110 people. So I wrote that down. And then every night afterwards, I’d finished my match and write down the information. And then suddenly, you know, one match becomes ten, becomes 100, becomes 200. Then it just becomes a thing that I do to where the book has 2,722 matches included in it from October 2nd, 1990 to October 7th, 2020.”

While the AEW and WWE legend is an expert at compiling lists, Jericho was adamant he wouldn’t just release a notation of each match – detailing the substance within The Complete List of Jericho.

And then I started thinking, ‘Well, I don’t want to just put out a book of just lists, but what else would I do with it? And that’s when Alex Marvez and Pete Fornatale, who I worked with on this, started coming up with ideas of doing top ten lists and doing, you know, having some of the biggest stars in wrestling and journalists and people giving their memories of Chris Jericho and the kind of all the information and details, and pie charts, and graphs, and all this other stuff and then kind of finding, you know, all of these rare pictures because, back in the early days, there was no cell phone to take pictures. You would bring a camera and take the pictures and so you would develop the actual stills. So I have hundreds of those from the first five or six years of my career and I just had to go find them and kind of make this big collection of the career of Jericho. And that’s kind of where it all started and how it became to be.”

While the book doesn’t detail every single segment Jericho was involved in, though, segments like the “musical chairs” RAW happening are detailed.

“I believe, going back to it was against Randy Orton that night and probably talked about musical chairs ’cause what I did too was, Alex was very instrumental in this. Alex would pull you know, obviously I can’t write a description every match but I said, ‘Pull, you know, 20 or 30 or 40 important moments and I’ll write paragraphs on those matches. And that’s kind of what we did. So obviously, the most memorable thing about that night in Winnipeg was the musical chair matches, or musical chair contest – which I won, by the way. But the point is, you now know what date it was. And I could probably look it up if I had a couple of seconds. I believe it was in 2005 in the summertime and I can find that type of information in here, and nobody else has that.”

The Demo God went on to say how Tommy Dreamer and Frankie Kazarian claim to have their own lists, but that the timeframe involved really makes the book a special achievement for him.

“That’s one thing I really liked about it. You know, there’s people like Tommy Dreamer’s claim that he’s done that, and Frankie Kazarian says that he’s done it, too. But other than that, I mean, this would be like an especially spanning the time frame of 1990 to 2020, just how much the business has changed and this would be the equivalent of like if Shawn Michaels or Ric Flair or somebody did it, just imagine the names that you would see. And that’s the thing too. You can go in here and find out what was going on in CMLL at the time or going on in in Japan at the time, or Germany when I went, in Smokey Mountain. All of that is included in here. So I just thought it was just… There’s nothing left out. And as a result, you can go through this and learn so much, not just about me, but about wrestling in general.”

While answering the question, Jericho of course managed to find the entrant for musical chairs within seconds of being prompted about the moment – and delivered the accompanying stats. The AEW star then pointed to a book behind him, from iconic rock band Rush, and drew comparisons.

“That’s kind of the idea behind it. Like, we we weren’t able to do every single match that way but I would go through the pictures that we had and go through some of the matches that we were talking about, and just kind of see which ones would be relevant to tell certain stories about. It’s one of the things I’ve been doing on the Saturday Night Special, where I asked people just to choose a number and then I can tell stories about that number just by looking at the book and just say, right now it was July 5th, 2004. That was the night of the musical chairs, because I fought Randy Orton in Winnipeg, it was match number 1,734. I lost to a roll up and I gave that match four stars. So, you know, it’s all in there. And I can tell you those stories just from this book. It’s a lot of fun of me. To read it all the way through is kind of strange. If you look behind me, I have a Rush book right there. It’s called Wandering the Face of the Earth. That has every single Rush gig ever, all the details about it and all the stories and the setlists. Obviously, I’m not going to read it all the way through but if I want to look at the the Rush gigs that I saw, I can find them. And that’s what a lot of people are doing with the Complete List of Jericho – looking up the matches that they were at and kind of seeing what’s been said about them.”

The no-holds-barred book omits nothing, with Jericho also discussing his RAW tag team match with Chris Benoit against Triple H and Austin, noting that there’s an asterisk alongside the match now due to the future which followed for one of the competitors, but said he believes the work side of the match still has to be given its own credit.

“Well, I mean, at one point, it was voted the best RAW match of all time. And of course, now it’s got an asterisk to it because Benoit is in it. But take out the personal side of things. From a work side, it is one of the best matches of all time. It’s one of the only times that I can recall where Steve Austin was legitimately a heel and had heel heat. That night in San Jose, people were going crazy for it. And there’s you know, there’s something big at stake of the tag team titles. And, of course, these two huge megastars fighting the young up-and-comers. The false finish was amazing and, of course, it becomes even more legendary with the fact that Triple H tore his quad during it. So it’s kind of gone beyond just the match and gone to almost folklore at this point in time because of all the elements surrounding it. It is one of the greatest matches of all time and I’m not saying that from an egotistical standpoint. I’m saying that from just the circumstances surrounding it. Definitely one of the most talked about. Like I said, has almost become mythical in all of these different things that happened, all these fruits that lined up to make it so. So when you go through and read that book, and see it and then I can talk about a little bit more, I think it’s in my top ten favorite matches of all time, which once again, how do you choose ten matches out of 2,722. It’s not easy but I did my best to do that.”

The book features information about over 2,700 more matches, and of course the legendary career hasn’t even had the surface scraped with the former AEW World Champion’s comments while speaking with ITR. For the entire list, you can by Chris Jericho’s biggest list yet at Jericho30.com

Thanks to Chris Jericho for taking the time. To order your copy of The Complete List of Jericho, as written by Chris Jericho, click here.