Ever since the summer of 2016, the main highlight of Monday Night Raw has been watching the on-screen friendship between Kevin Owens and Chris Jericho blossom every week. We've seen their humble beginnings as an alliance. We've seen their relationship evolve into them becoming inseparable pals. We've seen their bond nearly fall to pieces on the road to Roadblock and we saw their reunion back to being the best of friends at that same pay-per-view. If the two didn't make for the most dastardly heel duo within the company, this would make for such a touching tale about friendship. Could even make for a Lifetime movie event. Even if this triumphant journey towards the ultimate friendship never sees the big screen, it's hard to deny just how enduring the story is between best friends Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens. In fact, as great as their stories are together, their separate journeys are just as interesting.
Before they were WWE's respective United States and Universal Champions, Chris Jericho have had some fascinating stories during their wrestling careers. Stories that the majority of their fans may not even know. Not just in regards to their WWE careers, but their careers in regards to everything they've done before making it to the big leagues. Some of those stories can be found in this list. If you ever wanted to learn more about Monday Night Raw's resident best friends, look no further than here and read on.
15 Owen Hart Inspired Jericho To Wrestle
From the way that Chris Jericho presents himself in and out of the ring, you get the impression that the guy has lived and breathed wrestling for his entire life. It shouldn't be a surprise to find out that he actually has. From a very young age, Jericho has an itch for wrestling. It all started when he was but a small boy living in Winnipeg. He would watch local AWA events with his family and one Canadian wrestler that really piqued young Jericho's interest in wrestling was Owen Hart. After seeing Owen Hart in action, Jericho's desire to wrestle only grew until he decided at the age of 14 to become a wrestler. Then, at age 19, he enrolled into the Hart Brothers School of Wrestling just 12 hours out of Winnipeg and two months later, Jericho hit the independent scene.
14 Wrestlemania XI Inspired Owens To Wrestle
When he was a kid, Kevin Owens was a fan and player for many different sports. Soccer, baseball, hockey, etc. Young Owens was a fan of many sports except wrestling. He didn't wrestle nor did he watch wrestling. That all changed when his father brought him a VHS copy of WrestleMania XI and they watched the show together. Owens was immediately wowed by the stunning spectacle of WrestleMania and by time he saw Shawn Michaels and Diesel duke it out for the WWE Championship, Owens was instantly hooked as a wrestling fan. From there, he was dead-set on becoming a wrestler. With his parent's consent, he started wrestling training at the age of 14 under Quebec legend Jacques Rougeau (The Mountie) in a barn and had his first match on his 16th birthday.
13 Michael Jackson Inspired Jericho’s Famous Pose
From the moment that Chris Jericho made his long-awaited WWE debut in 1999, Jericho has been known for doing his crucifix pose at the ramp upon making his entrance. A little known fact is that, as Jericho revealed in his book, Undisputed: How to Become the World Champion in 1,372 Easy Steps, it was Michael Jackson who inspired him to do that pose. Before his debut, in 1993, he watched Jackson make a "monumental entrance" in front of a Mexico City concert where he came up from underneath the stage with his arms spread apart in a crucifix position and his back to the crowd, who went nuts as they eagerly anticipated the icon to turn around. Remembering that moment, Jericho planned for months to duplicate it for his WWE debut. When his debut came, the crowd went nuts for him just like they did for Jackson years prior. Afterwards, the pose just stuck and Jericho has been doing it for decades now.
12 Jim Ross Taught Owens English
Given how fluently and eloquently Kevin Owens speaks English during his promos every week, people tend to forget that English is not actually his native language. As someone born in Quebec, Canada, his native language is actually French. Who taught him English, you may wonder? None other than Good Ole JR! Well, indirectly at least. When he was a child, Kevin Owens watched Monday Night Raw every week and by mimicking the promos and commentary he heard from various wrestlers at the time, Owens was able to naturally pick up the language. With Jim Ross being the voice of Monday Night Raw during the Attitude Era, Owens cites Ross as the voice he may have learned English from the most.
11 Jimmy Jacobs Came Up With Jericho’s List
One of the most entertaining aspects to Chris Jericho's latest run that everyone in the WWE Universe is getting a kick out of is his List. No one is sure exactly what it means to be on Jericho's list, but everyone loves to hear Jericho shriek on the microphone, "You just made the list!" For all of the innovations that Jericho has been known to implement into his characters, the List of Jericho isn't one of them. The List of Jericho was actually Jimmy Jacobs' idea. Ring of Honor fans will recognize the Zombie Princess as the psychotic 5-time ROH Tag Team Champion, but nowadays, he's just a writer for WWE's creative team. He gave Jericho the idea for The List and Jericho decided to try it out on television. From there, The List evolved into what it is today and it is one of the most popular things going on the roster.
10 Vince McMahon Told Owens To Tell Wrestlers To "F Themselves" On Debut Night
The night that Kevin Owens made his long-awaited main roster debut by attacking John Cena on the May 18th, 2015 episode of Raw, no one saw it coming. Not even the wrestlers in the back. Vince McMahon was stern about making sure no one knew about Owens' surprise debut. Owens was fine with not telling anyone, but one thing the was skeptical about was how he could possibly sneak passed his locker room mates while wearing his wrestling gear. Before the show started, Owens went into McMahon's office and asked what he should do if anyone backstage asked him why he was in his gear backstage. McMahon gave a very McMahon answer: "Well, tell them to go f*** themselves." So all day until he made his way to the ring, no matter who asked him why he was backstage in his gear, Owens had to begrudgingly tell them all to go f*** themselves.
9 Mickey Rourke Wanted to Fight Jericho
Not wrestle him in a WWE match. Mickey Rourke legitimately wanted to fight Chris Jericho during the road to WrestleMania. As some of you may remember, Mickey Rourke was in "wrestling mode" (as Jericho put it in his third book) after winning a Golden Globe (and eventually nominated for an Oscar) for playing Randy the Ram in The Wrestler and brokered a deal with WWE for a match at WrestleMania XXV against Chris Jericho. The seeds were planted in early 2009 with Rourke challenging Jericho on the Screen Actors Guild Awards red carpet and Jericho retorted in a scathing promo on Raw the next night. However, thanks to his manager's persistence, Rourke pulled out of the match. When the two had their scheduled Larry King Live interview weeks later, Jericho was instructed by Vince McMahon to goad Rourke into accepting the match on the show. That backfired as when Jericho verbally dressed down the actor on the show, Rourke was insulted and furious. As far as he was concerned, these were actual fighting words. It took Jericho forever to apologize and convince Rourke backstage that it was just a work, or as Rourke's people would call it, "acting."
8 Kevin Owens and His “Owen” Connection
We all saw Triple H hand Kevin Owens the Universal Championship back in September, but way back when Owens first entered WWE, The Game also handed The Prizefighter his new name. When it came time to transition indie star Kevin Steen into a name more fit for a WWE Superstar, Owens sat down with Triple H to brainstorm a few names. Both Trips and KO decided that Owens would make a fitting new surname while Triple H decided he should keep his first name, Kevin, as well. The Universal Championship uses the Owens name as a tribute to both his son, Owen, and the late Owen Hart. Owens idolized Hart growing up and for that reason, he names his son Owen. Owens loves his WWE name so much that he can't even imagine a world where he's Kevin Steen. What makes it even more special now is how Owen Hart inspired Owens' best friend Chris Jericho to wrestle so in the end, it all comes full circle from here.
7 The Origin of Chris Jericho's Name
After training for a couple months at The Hart Brothers School of Wrestling, Jericho was ready to step into the ring. Born Christopher Irvine, it came time for him to think of a ring name in time for his very first match on October 2nd, 1990 against Lance Storm. He ended up deciding on Chris Jericho. Well, technically, he decided on "Cowboy" Chris Jericho, but would drop the Cowboy part in due time. Now, it would be easy to assume why he dropped Cowboy from his alias (it sounds hokey) but that still may leave you to wonder what drew Irvine to the name "Jericho." He took the name from an album produced by the German metal band Helloween and the album's title was Walls of Jericho. He took the name Jericho for a surname and it stuck. It would continue to stick for the next 27 years of his career. He would go back to the Helloween well when deciding to name his new Boston Crab finisher The Walls of Jericho upon first entering WWE.
6 The Origin of "Fight Owens Fight"
When he was still Ring of Honor's Kevin Steen, an infamous chant that roared rampant through each arena he entered was "Kill Steen Kill!" What started off as a Twitter handle that Steen made up upon joining the site quickly turned into a unanimous battle cry in the same vain as "[Samoa] Joe's gonna kill you!" You hear that chant and you know immediately that Steen is about to absolutely wreck somebody in the ring. Soon enough, Steen became aware of the venomous ideology that his chant was creating. One day, he received a link to a video titled "Kill Steen Kill" where a man was bashing his head open with a beer can while Steen's theme song was playing. Steen was even more disturbed by the fact that the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shootings had just happened recently at the time he viewed the video. He had enough integrity to say that there was enough killing in the world and decide to change his slogan to "Fight Steen Fight." Now that he's WWE's Kevin Owens', fans have continued to respect Owens' change and chant "Fight Owens Fight!"
5 Jericho Didn't Know Wrestling Was Scripted Until He Was 18
Ever since he was a kid, Jericho was fascinated by the world of wrestling. That child-like wonder continued into adulthood and with that wonder was the impression that wrestling was real. To avoid inspiring some heated debate between what's "real" and "fake," let me clarify by saying that Jericho thought that wrestling was more than scripted. Despite the fact that Jericho spent years as a youngster working for different ring crews and even booking fantasy wrestling shows with his friends at his high school gym, wrestling was still real to him, dammit. It wasn't until he met independent wrestler, Catfish Charlie, at the age of 18 that Jericho wised up to the truth of the business. When he finally got the news, Jericho was baffled. Thankfully, the shocking news didn't halt Jericho's dreams of becoming a wrestler.
4 Stone Cold Convinced Owens to Hone His Mic Skills
Kevin Owens has long been considered one of the best promo guys working in the current wrestling business. We can all probably thank Stone Cold Steve Austin for Owens thriving to become one of wrestling's best mic stick workers. Back when he was still on the indies, Owens was on his way to a PWG show in California from Texas with Sami Zayn (then El Generio) and Austin happened to be on their flight. Owens was dead-set on talking to his idol and so they did. Austin was nice to them both and when Owens asked for advice, he told Owens "Just run your mouth. Never stop running your mouth. Learn how to talk. That plancha sh_t will kill you." Basically, Austin was telling Owens the importance of capturing the audience with great promos. Dives and "plancha sh_t" are nice to look at, but wrestling is all about talking and a wrestler can sink or swim depending on their promo ability. Owens to that to heart and dedicated his time from then on to perfect his promo skills. Needless to say, Owens did exactly that.
3 Jericho's Recorded Every Match He's Ever Wrestled
The List of Jericho isn't the only list that Chris Jericho makes and checks twice. In his first book, A Lion's Tale, as well as a Wrestling with Rosenberg interview from 2011, he revealed that he has been keeping track of all of his matches from his very first match to his latest match. What he writes about these matches isn't just the results of each match, but also specific details about who he wrestled, how good it was, the date, and at one point, how much money he made from the match. He stopped calculating money when it got too complicated with several different factors to consider. So Jericho has been recording every single match from his wrestling debut against Lance Storm to his most recent encounter with Roman Reigns from this past Monday Night Raw. One can call this obsessive, but it also seems like a smart way to improve one's abilities. Jericho frequently marking his list and critiquing his matches has helped him becoming the gifted wrestler he is today by constantly improving from the mistakes he made in his last match.
2 Owens Almost Retired in 2011
As much of a roll the Universal Champion has been on for the past few years between his work in WWE and the indies, there was a strong chance it never would have happened had he decided to go ahead with his original mindset of retiring. As most of us know by now, Jim Cornette hates Kevin Owens and vice versa. Back when he was in ROH as Kevin Steen, Cornette booked Steen to face El Generico in a Mask vs Career match and booked for Owens to lose and take a few months off of television. As Owens explained on the Kevin Steen: Hell Rising interview/documentary, Cornette didn't care if both men lost the match as long as he could get at least one of them off television. When Owens was taken off ROH TV, he couldn't work anywhere else and was told to sit on the sidelines for 6 months. And then when that 6 months wrapped, he was told to sit on the bench for another 6 months. In between all this time, Owens had grown painfully depressed and cranky. Not only was he deprived of doing something he loved in the world, wrestling, but he wasn't able to provide for his family in tough times without getting a check every week. At one point in his depression, Owens contemplated retiring. He doubted if ROH would ever bring him back and if he even wanted to go back. Eventually, Owens returned to ROH TV right before the year was up and in storyline, won his job back after defeating Steve Corino. He went on to become ROH World Champion and an indie darling that captured the attention of WWE.
1 Chris Jericho is a Grand Slam Champion
After recently winning the United States Championship away from Roman Reigns (with help from Kevin Owens), Chris Jericho earned the prestigious accolade of becoming the 7th WWE wrestler to become a Grand Slam Champion under the current format. The Grand Slam Championship refers to when a wrestler receives the achievement of winning every possible championship there is to win in the company. He has won the WWE Championship, the Intercontinental Championship, the Tag Team Championship, and now the US Championship. Under the last format, Jericho was the 4th man to earn that accolade. In addition to the previous titles, Jericho won the European and Hardcore Titles. So, in retrospect, as a 2-time Grand Slam winner, Jericho has won every championship that WWE has had over the past 2 decades. If that doesn't make him worthy of his G.O.A.T. moniker, I don't know what is.