Brock Lesnar and Chris Jericho had a skirmish backstage after SummerSlam in Brooklyn that in some ways overshadowed the show itself.
Fight: Brock Lesnar vs Chris Jericho
Date: August 21, 2016
Location: Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY
Source: F4wonline.com, Wrestling Observer Radio, prowrestlingsheet.com
The big news coming out SummerSlam was the finish of the Brock Lesnar vs. Randy Orton match. The planned finish was for Lesnar to bust Orton up hardway (drawing real blood without using a blade) with stiff elbows and punches, drawing enough blood to where there would be a ref stoppage. And that’s exactly what happened, though he ended up bleeding a bit more than they anticipated. Orton needed 10 staples to close the wound.
The entire scene was real enough that many watching at home thought it was a shoot. As Lesnar stepped back, referees tended to Orton and tried to clean up the blood. Two doctors came to his aid to check on him as well.
Watching at home, it was unclear if the blood was planned or an accident. In no way did it seem Lesnar “shot” on him on purpose. When he went in for additional punches, it became clear it was a work, even if the blood may not have been planned (later it was learned that it was indeed planned).
The reason for doubting the finish is that WWE has been pretty adamant in recent years about blading (which has been used in wrestling for decades), feeling some sponsors might think it’s barbaric. In fact, when Batista and Chris Jericho bladed without permission years back, the company fined Batista $100,000 as punishment, which was one of the reasons Batista was never gung ho about coming back.
After SummerSlam was over, Jericho went to the gorilla position (just behind the curtain where the wrestlers come through, named after Gorilla Monsoon because that’s where he’d always stand) and was concerned about Orton and wanted to find out what happened. While it’s admirable Jericho cared about his friend and coworker, this was not his most shining moment, as he should’ve known it was the planned finish based on the continual punches Lesnar threw as the doctors were tending to Orton.
Jericho kept asking Michael Hayes what the finish was supposed to be, as Hayes is in a creative position and likely knew what was going on. The problem here is that most of Lesnar’s finishes are usually kept secret from everyone backstage. For example, almost nobody knew that he was going over the Undertaker in 2014 until it happened in the ring. Because of that unwritten gag order, Hayes was reluctant to tell Jericho about the finish.
Frustrated that he wasn’t getting any answers, Jericho yelled “This is bullsh*t” loudly.
Just as Jericho said that, Lesnar walked through the curtain and heard it. Even though the “bullsh*t” line was directed at Hayes for not telling him the finish, Lesnar heard it and thought Jericho was saying the finish of the match was bullsh*t. Oops.
Lesnar immediately told Jericho to mind his own business. He didn’t. Jericho kept pressing on for answers, and Lesnar wasn’t in the mood. They exchanged words, with one version saying they were shouting the whole time. At one point Lesnar pushed him with his fingers, and Jericho came back head to head, pushing his forehead with his own forehead like fighters often do at weigh-ins.
At this point, one version said Lesnar kissed him on the forehead and said, “Kiss me back, p*ssy.” He also said, “Hit me or kiss me, bitch.” It’s believed Jericho shoved him into a wall and they got tangled up before it was very quickly broken up by HHH. The exact sequence of those words still isn’t universally confirmed, but they all happened at some point.
After it was broken up, the heated words continued, with Lesnar taunting him further. They got into it again, this time with Vince McMahon breaking it up. Vince yelled at Jericho to be professional, and Jericho shot back saying Lesnar was the unprofessional one for shooting on a coworker (presumably meaning shooting on Orton rather than shooting on himself). Vince then yelled, “It’s a work! It’s a work! What’s wrong with you!”
HHH surprisingly stuck up for Jericho, telling Vince that it was Lesnar who started it and Jericho was just defending himself. Lesnar was then ushered away.
When Orton came back, he assured Jericho that he knew this was all coming. Jericho was still upset over his health and safety, but Orton was okay (aside from the staples), suffered no concussion, and it was planned all along for him to take those elbows.
Lesnar wasn’t punished for his actions, as usual. Jericho wasn’t punished either, probably because HHH came to his defense. If anything, Jericho should’ve been happy he actually got the win in the opening tag match (teaming with Kevin Owens against Big Cass and Enzo Amore) that he absolutely should’ve taken the fall in. The next night on Raw, it appeared Jericho was getting a renewed push with Kevin Owens as a tag team called JeriKO.
Everyone in this whole mess deserves a lot of blame.
Without question, Jericho looked like a fool. Honestly, he’s looked like a fool ever since he cut his hair and donned those jobber wrestling trunks of his. Most wrestlers start out looking like jobbers and morph into colorful stars. He did the opposite. But aside from his look, he was foolish for thinking the finish was a shoot the moment Lesnar went after him for more punches. Basically Lesnar and Orton were such good workers that they fooled Jericho into thinking it was real, and there’s a word called ‘mark’ to describe people like that. As one of the longest tenured veterans still on the active roster, he should’ve known better than anyone.
He’s also foolish for getting involved the way he did. Even if it was a shoot, he should’ve minded his own business (as Lesnar said) until the dust settled. And when Lesnar calls you names, you sit back and take it. If you’re Bobby Lashley, Frank Mir, Cain Velasquez, or Alister Overeem, maybe you can try defending yourself. If you’re Chris Jericho, no matter how tough you might really be, you’re not as tough as a fired up Brock Lesnar. Take your lumps and don’t risk your life. Jericho is already extremely lucky Bill Goldberg didn’t knock his block off (and he could’ve, he just chose to choke Jericho instead of knocking him out when they had their famous scuffle).
Vince was foolish for keeping the finish so well guarded. Would it have really made a difference if he told the boys what was going to happen? And if you’re going to keep it secret, at least let Michael Hayes tell the truth when asked. By the time Jericho inquired from Hayes, the match was already over and Hayes could’ve said, “It’s a work, Chris, that was the planned finish.” That would’ve prevented any of this from happening. Hayes shouldn’t be blamed for this, as he was likely following orders from Vince and how was he to know when it was okay to admit the truth.
Jericho did not address the fight on his podcast that week, but he did tease it. He teased telling the news that everyone has been talking about this week, and then went right into SummerSlam and Finn Balor’s injury. He then said something like, “What did you THINK I was going to talk about?” in reference to the fight.