During his latest podcast, Jim Ross spoke about Chris Jericho and how hard he had to work in order for Vince McMahon to initially agree to sign him to the company.
“I had to negotiate with Vince basically to get Chris on the radar because of his fucking height. That was it,” Jim Ross said very bluntly. “But what would you dislike, what would be your bad box checkmarks with Chris Jericho? He can’t work? No, he’s a real good worker. Oh, he can’t talk, can he? Oh, he’s a real good talker. Is he injury [prone]? No, he hasn’t been injured, he’s as durable as anybody we’ve ever hired. So what is it? His blue eyes? Fact that he’s from Winnipeg? The fact he survived that Tony Cardello death tour one time? No, he’s short, in Vince’s eyes, short.”
Jim Ross then spoke about the WrestleMania 2000 main event in particular. He claimed that Jericho’s height was the reason he was swapped out of the main event for Mick Foley, which JR admitted was the wrong call.
Jim continued, “That’s why Jericho wore lifts in his shoes in those early days in WWE. But nonetheless, that’s it. What else could there be? I mean, he wasn’t hard to get along with. He worked his ass off. He was talented, was highly skilled, great skill set. He was not the ideal height to be in a main event at WrestleMania, in Vince’s view. And the way it works there… The world revolves around Vince. It’s not about anybody else. He didn’t like Chris’s height and therefore, he was able to make a major change, and it was not a good change. I love Mick Foley, I hired Mick Foley, I went to the wall from Mick Foley more than one time. I don’t have any regrets, but Mick Foley retiring for 60 days or whatever it was, was not good business for anybody.” (H/T to Fightful.com for the transcriptions.)
Of course, Jericho went on to become a top star in WWE who headlined countless PPVs, including WWE WrestleMania X8 with Triple H.