Chris Jericho is one of the biggest names in wrestling and has wrestled for companies all across the globe. He has fought his way through Canada, Mexico, Japan and finally into the United States.
The future Hall of Famer has wrestled in all the big companies in America, including WWE, WCW and now AEW, where he is a former world champion. However, he also wrestled in one of the most innovative and controversial companies in wrestling history – ECW.
Chris Jericho’s ECW run is fondly remembered by many and it helped introduce him to a nationwide audience for the first time in his career. He had previously wrestled for smaller regional companies, like Smokey Mountain Wrestling, but had never had the full experience of wrestling on a big TV like he did under Paul Heyman at ECW.
ECW signed Chris Jericho
It is just over 27 years since Chris Jericho faced Ultimo Dragon – under the name Lionheart – in the WAR promotion (Wrestling and Romance) in Ryōgoku Sumo Hall. The match was well received, and wrestling promoters were clamouring to see the match to check out one of the top young stars of the day.
That man was Ultimo Dragon, the Japanese technical whizz that ECW promoter Paul Heyman had his keen eye on. He had heard the buzz around Ultimo Dragon and wanted to see what the fuss is about. He asked Wrestling Observers Dave Meltzer for a tape of his match against Chris Jericho, with a view of signing Dragon to a deal.
Meltzer sent Heyman the tape, and that is where the ECW boss discovered Chris Jericho. Heyman then contacted Jericho to wrestle for ECW (after a year of dodging Jericho’s calls) and the rest, as they say, is history. He had a stint in ECW before moving on to WCW, then WWE where Chris Jericho would become a WWE Champion and carve out a Hall of Fame career for himself.
It was Dave Meltzer who revealed he was the reason Chris Jericho got signed to ECW. On the anniversary of the Jericho-Dragon match, he tweeted out that it was he who sent Paul Heyman the tape and was the catalyst for Chris Jericho’s ECW career.
“I sent a tape of this match to Heyman, who wanted to see Dragon because he wanted to push him in ECW. He got the tape, somehow never got Dragon, but it opened his eyes to Jericho, and that’s how Jericho got into ECW.”
Chris Jericho himself responded to the Tweet, claiming he was not aware Meltzer had sent Heyman the tape and had him to thank for his ECW career. He also revealed that it was (indirectly) the match that got Jericho into WCW and eventually into WWE later on in his career.
“Wow I’m not sure I knew that! It’s also this match that indirectly got me into WCW too.”
Chris Jericho has a lot to thank Dave Meltzer for. His ECW career was a lunching pad in America to big and better things. Without it, he’d never have earned a move to WCW and later WWE. His WWE Championship victories would never have come, nor would he have been the marquee name to help launch AEW as their first ever world champion.
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Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.