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Chris Jericho Remembers Vince McMahon Threatening to Fire Him

Chris Jericho's arrival in the WWE during the summer of 1999 was one of the most memorable debuts during the famed Monday Night Wars.

For weeks and weeks, WWE played a countdown clock that would eventually end during a RAW is WAR episode in Chicago while The Rock was in the ring cutting a promo. That night, Jericho cut one of the best promos of his life and arrived in the WWE after becoming increasingly frustrated in WCW over the previous several years.

The part of this story you may not know is that Vince McMahon apparently threatened to fire Jericho early on during his WWE run.

Well, perhaps McMahon was being just a little sarcastic, but the threat surely perked up Jericho's ears at the time. He recalled the incident during a recent episode of Talk is Jericho.

“So when I got to WWE, I’d been working for 9 years and I’d been over in every company that I ever worked for so you know there’s certain guys like when Daniel Bryan came into the WWE I knew he’d get over no matter what," Jericho recalled. "He’s been over everywhere he’s ever worked, he’ll figure it out and that’s what I did. I figured it out and it didn’t take long but there was a huge bullseye on my back and I smartened up to it very quickly.

Jericho continued, "And the other part of the story…what Vince {McMahon} told me was ‘you’re working with X-Pac tonight, if you don’t have a good match you’re fired.’ Which was a guillotine over my head… and then afterwards Vince was super cool, he pat me on the back, ‘hey pal, give me a call tomorrow and oh by the way every match that you have from now on run it past Sean Waltman first and make sure that it makes sense…In retrospect there’s a reason Vince did that. As we know Vince is a f***ing genius and we were peers but Sean you knew how to work that style {WWE STYLE} so he put me with you to figure out how to do it. I’m really happy he did that because I learned right away…That’s why Vince did it and it worked.”

These days, Jericho has a much more relaxed position with WWE. He's brought in as needed, essentially as a free agent working on a show by show basis. He has no long term agreement with WWE, though the company clearly very much values his contributions when he's brought back. This year he worked RAW 25 and Greatest Royal Rumble, despite the fact that he started out the year working NJPW WrestleKingdom 12 on January 4th.

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Since the Greatest Royal Rumble, Jericho has returned to NJPW and is currently the IWGP Intercontinental Champion, having won the title at Dominion in early June.

[H/T Still Real To Us]