Podcasts used to be alternative. They were voices you sought out to hear a different perspective than what was on the mainstream television and news sites.
Now, it seems everyone is doing it. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Jim Ross, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, “Rowdy” Roddy Piper all have fascinating wrestling/MMA podcasts for fans to listen to. It’s the history, the nuance, the back stories, and the fresh perspectives that we love to hear. You just don’t get that on WWE or UFC television.
Then Chris Jericho and the WWF had to go ruin it.
The WWE Network has now hosted two “Talk Is Chris Jericho” style episodes and talk about sucking the life out of something interesting. Podcasts are not supposed to be vehicles to perpetuate WWF storylines or false senses of history. We have Monday Night Raw, Smackdown and Triple H for that. Instead, Jericho has wrecked two potentially good interviews with John Cena and Stephanie McMahon, by asking almost no tough questions, and staying within the realm of WWE storylines.
Technically Jericho is not hosting a podcast. It’s an on-camera interview. The WWE calls it “Live With Chris Jericho.” But its function is the same, and the WWE marketed his appearance on the back of his podcast, which is available on Podcast One.
Technically Jericho is also not a journalist. He still owes fans a better interview.
What did we learn with last week’s interview with Stephanie McMahon? Pretty much nothing, other than her banished brother calls her “Vincess.”
Jericho, here are a few questions we would like Stephanie to answer:
1. Can the WWE succeed without Triple H and Stephanie as the perennial authority antagonists?
2. Could the WWE have done more to make CM Punk feel appreciated and keep him in the WWE?
3. Would it possible for you and Shane McMahon to work together on a shared vision for the WWE, or does Triple H stand in the way?
4. What do you think of those who say Triple has historically buried talent that he did not think had potential, while rewarding his friends, such as Kevin Nash and Sheamus?
5. Would you consider wrestling Ronda Rousey at next year’s WrestleMania? (granted, he did bring up Dana White’s opposition to Rousey appearing again, but Jericho never pressed her on this).
And that’s just to start. Fortunately for Jericho, Stephanie has a ton of charisma and stage presence, so even if she says nothing, she’s great to watch. But there’s so much more potential.
When he interviewed John Cena a few weeks prior to Stephanie, it was like a bad episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Cena, of course, is 100 percent vanilla. Jericho did little to bring him out of his shell. We get that Cena loves the sport and will play any role the WWE tells him, but can’t Jericho just push him a little bit on how he’s probably being held in purgatory for the rest of his career because Triple H doesn’t want him to tie pal Ric Flair’s all-time world title record?
Stone Cold Steve Austin hosted the first WWE Network podcast with Triple H. He asked Triple H if Chyna, his ex-girlfriend, whom he dumped for Stephanie, should be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. Bad move.
Triple H said “no” because Chyna can be found online participating in unsavory behavior. Guess that means X-Pac is also out forever. Jericho never came close to asking a real question like this. Will we ever see Austin’s interview show again on the WWE Network? We will see.
The Podcast on the WWE Network after Raw and Smackdown should be an attraction, something special, something unique. It shouldn’t be a perpetuation of WWE storylines. If Chris Jericho is going to be a mark for the sport, he should do it on his own podcast, but the WWE is making a mistake allowing him to act like Jerry Mathers on their platform.
The WWE is supposed to be drawing people to the network, not turning them away.