Another Taboo Tuesday for Y2J?

Last year's Taboo Tuesday was the first-ever interactive pay-per-view, and nothing was more in the hands of WWE's fans than Chris Jericho's Intercontinental Championship Match. With a multitude of possible opponents, Y2J was in a near impossible position. Would he face a powerhouse such as Batista, a supreme athlete such as Shelton Benjamin, an old adversary such as Christian or a wild card such as Tyson Tomko? It was controlled chaos and a truly unique position in which to put a champion. With Taboo Tuesday on the horizon for Nov. 1, caught up with Jericho between commitments in Los Angeles to discuss his first-hand experience at Taboo Tuesday 2004: Going into Taboo Tuesday, you were put in the unenviable position of having many potential opponents. How do you feel about that and the event itself?

Chris Jericho: The thing about Taboo Tuesday, first of all, is I was defending the Intercontinental Championship, and my match was on first. My match was the hardest one to prepare for, and I'll tell you the reason why. In the other matches, people either knew who they were going to be wrestling against and the stipulation was voted on by the fans, so they knew, ‘okay, we have a match, but it's going to be a Cage Match or a Chain Match or a freakin' whatever on a pole Match,' but at least they knew who they were wrestling against. I didn't know the guy I was going to be in the ring with. I couldn't think about what he does, what he doesn't do and here's the three possibilities I might have (for approaching the match).

The other one was the world championship where Triple H was defending against one of three guys. So, at least you can narrow that down to three guys, and plus, the opponent for that match was announced, I think, two matches before because of the ramifications of the tag-team match. The two guys who weren't wrestling for the World Heavyweight Championship would be wrestling for the World Tag Team Championship. So, because that match had to happen first, Triple H and Shawn Michaels had at least had at least 20 minutes to think about whom they were fighting.

Everybody else basically knew who they were fighting against. For me, I had 15 or 20 guys — basically everyone who wasn't yet on the pay-per-view — potentially facing me. Of course, there were some guys who I had a little bit more of inkling that they might get the nod. Obviously, I thought more about working against Christian or Batista than I did Chuck Palumbo or Rosey. Having said that, because the fans were voting, how did I know that there wasn't a huge group of Chuck Palumbo fans out there voting who were just dying to see him get a Intercontinental Championship opportunity. I didn't know, and you can't take that lightly because in WWE, every Superstar is there for a reason. So, even though some Superstars are more popular or have more experience, every guy's there because he's good. I even talked to Vince McMahon about it and I said, "It wouldn't surprise me if Coach (Jonathan Coachman) won the voting!" If I were a fan, I might think that I'll vote for coach just so when he's announced as the winner, people say, "What??!!" It's like voting for Jesse Ventura in the (Minnesota gubernatorial) election. People did it, I think, as a joke, and then when he won, people said, "What? I don't believe it!" So, I was even thinking that Coach might get in there.

But I basically concentrated my efforts and my thoughts on Christian, Batista and Shelton Benjamin. I also put some thought into what I would do if Coach got the vote because I thought he had as much of a chance as Christian or Batista or Shelton did just because of how people are and how Internet fans are. So, those were the four guys that I put the most thought into. I also had to think about 16 or so other guys just in case, because you never know. And part of being a true professional is not being caught unexpected. So it's safe to say that you were more prepared to face some of the top contenders compared to others?

Chris Jericho: I wrestled Batista quite a bit that Summer. I faced Christian a million times. I would have just beat the sh*t out of Coach in like two minutes. So, Shelton was the only guy I'd never worked with before. I'd seen him wrestle; he had just come to RAW about a month before. Because when you're working on RAW, you really don't have time to watch a lot of the other show. I don't know if that's unprofessional, but that's just the truth. So, I had seen him and kind of knew what he could do, but I didn't know much about him. So, that's where I kind of stood on that. At the time, did Shelton's selection feel like a worst-case scenario for you, since you hadn't ever had a match against him?

Chris Jericho: No. I wouldn't say that it's a worst-case scenario at all because, I'm going to pat myself on the back a little bit here, but I think there are only a few guys who could have been in that position and handled it the way I did — and know that it doesn't matter who wins the voting, that I'm still going to have a good match. With some guys the match obviously would be better than with others. Under these extreme circumstances, was there any way you thought you might walk out of Taboo Tuesday without the Intercontinental Championship, or in your mind, was it just a matter of who would end up in the Walls of Jericho?

Chris Jericho: I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know who I'd be wrestling against until Shelton's music played when the pay-per-view was on. And that's the truth. Where does this match sit in your mind?

Chris Jericho: It was one of the most exhilarating, most fun matches I've ever had. It's one of my favorite matches that I've ever had. On my Web site, I list my Top 20 matches, and that's one of them because it was completely an unknown; I had no idea who my opponent was going to be, didn't know anything until the music hit for Shelton Benjamin while I was already in the ring. Most fans are still really in the dark as to what Taboo Tuesday was like for a Superstar that day. Can you shed some light on that?

Chris Jericho: It was chaos for me because I had the toughest position for that day. I had something like 20 guys that I had to deal with that I may be wrestling that night for the championship. Like I said, everyone else knew at least whom they'd be facing.

The voting was 100 percent legitimate. I had no idea who I was facing, and I didn't have any tips, either. They didn't say as of an hour before the show, these three guys are in the lead. They didn't say anything. Nobody told me anything until I got to the ring and heard Shelton Benjamin's music. So, it was 100 percent real for me. It was really unknown. In a way, however, it was really exhilarating because it felt like so much fun. Looking back on it, or even thinking back to the experience at the time, do you like the fact that you weren't given any tips or hints as to who your opponent might be based on early voting tabulations? Or do you feel that you should have been given the top three possibilities an hour before the show?

Chris Jericho: At the time, I would have liked more information. Looking back on Taboo Tuesday, it was the most exhilarating match that I had for a long time because it was such an unknown, and I think that it should be the same way this year. Because I think that if you're legitimate, true-blue WWE Superstar — if you're a legitimate champion — you should be able to deal with those circumstances and make it good. I think that I did. I take even more pride in the fact that I was the only guy in the position. I had the hardest job that night out of the entire WWE roster. And it went great, and a lot of that had to do with Shelton, and a lot of that had to do with the fans, and a lot of that had to do with me. It was just one of those nights where all of the cards lined up and everything worked out great. I'd like to think this year that the same thing will happen. How do you feel your match was received?

Chris Jericho: I think the fans loved it; the guy that they voted in won the Intercontinental Championship. It was a surprise. It was one of my favorite matches. And when I got back into the dressing room, it was one of my coolest moments as a pro because everybody told me I did a great job. Just to have the guys say that, it was real appreciation and respect for what I did.

It's not something that a lot of guys could do nowadays. It's just not the way that it is now. So, it made me feel really good knowing that not a lot of guys could do this, but it was a real test and I passed with flying colors and I really cherished that night because it went so well. Who on the current RAW roster would you feel comfortable being put in that difficult position this year, if anyone?

Chris Jericho: On the RAW roster, I think Triple H could easily do it. I think Edge could do it. Obviously Ric Flair could do it because that's how he worked for many years. Shawn Michaels could probably do it. But other than that, I don't think there's a lot of guys who could do what I did at last year's Taboo Tuesday. I think Kane could do it, as a matter of fact. Also, Stone Cold could do it. Mick Foley could do it; guys who have been around for a long time could do it. Hogan could. But other than that, I think a lot of other guys in that position — standing in the ring as I was not having a clue who they were going to be facing — I think would almost be ready to have a heart attack. And that's just an experience issue. I'd say 80 percent of the roster would not fair very well with that kind of a situation. If it were made possible, would you want to be a part of Taboo Tuesday this year?

Chris Jericho: I'd like to be a part of Taboo Tuesday at some point in the future, but not this one. It seems like I've been gone for such a long time, but it's only been six weeks. I'm just starting to get used to the idea of being away. If somehow you were voted into a match at this year's Taboo Tuesday, would you show up, or would you be unavailable?

Chris Jericho: I'm always available for the fans. That's who I am available for. That's a different story. I honestly think if you had a list of people who they wanted to see get a world championship shot, I'd always be up in the running. The SummerSlam reactions will show you that people want to see me fighting for the world championship, and I think that's something where if you gave the fans a chance, they might give me the vote of confidence. That would be a whole different story.

I mean, the fans have been great since I've been gone. I'm getting tons of e-mails and people on the street asking when I'm coming back, and I've only been gone six weeks. So, it's nice to know that people aren't forgetting who I am. I didn't expect them to; people don't forget. They didn't forget Steve Austin, Foley or Hulk Hogan or Triple H when they were gone for awhile. They're not going to forget Chris Jericho, either. Is there anything you'd like to tell the fans about what you've been doing since your last RAW appearance?

Chris Jericho: I've been pretty busy. I'm actually in Los Angeles. I've been working on a lot of different stuff out here, from VH1 where I do the program, "The Best Week Ever," each week. I enjoy that because it's like being a comedy writer. That's a lot of fun. I came back from Australia in September; I went over there with Fozzy and we had a really good tour. We're heading over to the U.K. this week for a couple of weeks to tour there. Being away from RAW has given me a chance to do the touring that really needs to be done for the demand because a lot of people want to see the band play. So, we're getting a chance to do that. And I'm just really getting into studying acting. I wouldn't mind even doing a play, to be honest with you. Of course movies and TV is the ultimate goal, but I think I would love to do a play and do some serious stage work because I'm really enjoying the stuff that I've been doing as far as that goes.

Taboo Tuesday 2004 Intercontinental Championship final voting results:
Benjamin 37.48% (won the vote)
Batista 20.11%
Coach 7.01%
Christian 6.69%
Rhyno 5.77%
Maven 4.23%
William Regal 3.81%
The Hurricane 3.77%
Tyson Tomko 2.49%
Tajiri 2.36%
Steven Richards 2.24%
Val Venis 1.69%
Rosey 1.10%
Chuck Palumbo 0.68%
Rodney Mack 0.58%

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