When a ‘terrified’ Chris Jericho let hard hitting boxing icon Mike Tyson knock him out on WWE – ‘What if he misses?’
As talk of Mike Tyson’s return to boxing continues, it is strange to think the boxing icon is also a fully paid up member of the WWE Hall of Fame.
Iron Mike is one of the squared circle’s most legendary figures and one of the most lethal, polarising fighters the sport has ever seen.
He is also a man who became a household name beyond the ring.
At a time when Tyson was still vying for heavyweight boxing titles, WWE was locked in a war with WCW for Monday night supremacy.
WWE had lost for 83 successive weeks in the ratings battle before they got their next win. And the man who helped them turn the tide was Michael Gerard Tyson.
The former undisputed heavyweight champion agreed to work with WWE and performed as a special guest referee at WrestleMania 14 in 1998 in the classic between Shawn Michaels and Stone Cold Steve Austin that saw the latter win his first world title.
Following on from that momentum swinger, Tyson appeared occasionally in WWE. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2012, but in 2010, he actually competed in a match alongside Chris Jericho on RAW.
They faced off against the Unified Tag Team champions, D-Generation-X, the group Tyson had turned his back on when Austin won the title were meeting again, but there was a twist in store
Jericho was the total heel at this point and was obviously going to push Tyson too far on the night.
The guys had devised a spot where Tyson would ‘knock Jericho out’ on RAW, but Jericho was terrified that was actually going to happen. After all, who knew if Tyson had a ‘working’ punch or if he was just legit.
“The moment before he swung at me, I told him, ‘Just wait until I put my hands up in the air, and swing,’” Jericho told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“Time stood still. I am the craziest man on the planet right now, because I’m waiting for Iron Mike Tyson to take a swing at me.
“I thought ‘I’m going to let him do it. Hopefully, he’s going to do it the proper way. But what if he’s mad? What if he misses?’”
Luckily for Jericho, Tyson executed the punch perfectly, but the precision he did it with terrified Jericho even more.
“He barely grazed me, but I felt a wind go by my face,” Jericho said. “That’s how fast he swung. It was like a ‘Swoosh!’ Who swings that hard and leaves a vapour trail?!
“He was so fast and so powerful. I couldn’t imagine how powerful he was 20 years earlier,” Jericho recalls.
Once you agree to get punched by Tyson – real or fake – suddenly you have nothing left to fear, at least in the mind of Jericho.
“Nothing could ever scare me ever again, after standing face-to-face with Mike Tyson, knowing he’s going to swing at me, and giving him 100 per cent trust he’s not going to knock me out and kill me.”
Tyson, now 53, has shown recently that he is still a very, very scary man all things considered.
Jericho actually had Tyson on his podcast in 2017, but Iron Mike had very little to say. He obviously wasn’t in the mood to talk and Jericho was forced to acknowledge this fact with his fans.
“He didn’t want to talk. He was giving me one-word answers. Guess what? I gotta get a show. So you know what I decided? Alright, Mike. You don’t want to talk to me? You can sit there and listen while I talk to you. And that’s what happened.
“Forty minutes of me talking, seven minutes of him giving one-word answers, and we got a show out of it. Was it great? I’m not sure it was great. But was it a great test for me as an interviewer? By far.”
Tyson is now doing plenty of talking – with those fast hands again as he continues to tease a return to the ring albeit for an exhibition bout.
There is talk he could have a third fight with Evander Holyfield, though there is plenty out there who do not wish to see the 53-year-old do it.