Chris Jericho on Conor McGregor: A “no brainer” in the WWE Roster
Having now made his professional boxing debut, Conor McGregor is in a prime position to complete the mainstream ‘treble’ and enter a WWE ring. The next two years will almost certainly see McGregor stay put, with the Irishman set to contest the UFC lightweight title with either Kevin Lee or Tony Ferguson some time after UFC 216. However, in early September 2017, Chris Jericho became the latest of several WWE stars to voice support for any aspirations McGregor might have for a future in the WWE. Speaking to Sports Ilustrated, he described McGregor as “yappy”, and asserted that for McGregor to join the WWE would be a “no brainer”.
“Will Conor McGregor end up in the WWE? I think it’s a no-brainer. It might not be this year or the year after that because there’s a lot of money that you got to spend to get him in there. But a guy that yappy, who knows the concept of cutting a wrestling promo… I think Conor will definitely end up there, it’s just a matter of when he wants to.”
McGregor debut can echo ‘Y2J’
He rounded off by stating that it was just a question of “when” he wants to move, not if. With Jericho having spent the best part of the last 18 years at the WWE, this is surely the most meaningful endorsement yet from any active wrestler in the roster. Additionally, with Brock Lesnar potentially outward bound, the WWE may need a new breed of MMA powerhouse sooner rather than later. If the Dubliner were to make his WWE debut, it would most certainly be one out of the ordinary, surely thrusting him into immediate conflict with a main carder such as John Cena or Roman Reigns. Given that, it is no surprise that Jericho himself can relate to the “yappy” McGregor. When making his first appearance for the WWE in August 1999, Chris Jericho entered the arena in dramatic fashion with the mysterious ‘Y2J’ appearing on the titantron along with a countdown. For the baying crowd, an unknown face interrupting a speech from The Rock – for many, a key player in WWE’s eventual dominance of rival WCW – was beyond the pale. His boastful claim that he would change the “boring” federation for the better was naturally met with hostility from the crowd.
McGregor’s Instagram shows different gimmicks possible
McGregor might start off on the wrong foot in a similar manner, if he does appear for the WWE, but he already carries the antihero persona well inside the octagon. Such elements of his character can easily translate to the squared circle, and Jericho is not the first athlete to speak out in support of Conor McGregor’s potential induction into the WWE. Just two months ago, McGregor’s countryman Finn Balor also spoke out on the idea of McGregor joining the franchise as a tag partner. However, it is in McGregor’s very nature to go it alone and take no prisoners. This Betway Insider blog post details how McGregor’s Instagram page has the potential to make him an icon, with his increased activity correlated with his growing stardom. The Instagram page itself is dominated by him wearing the UFC attire that most would expect him to adopt in the WWE. There are also designer shirts, which would have no place in a WWE ring – unless he was to make money the overriding theme of his persona, and rip them off in the style of Hulk Hogan upon entering the ring. Meanwhile, his partiality to tweed suits would at least serve him well during promos. It is up to McGregor, and the corporate of the WWE, as to how exactly he would present himself, but McGregor is not the only UFC star to be considered game for the WWE. In contrast to McGregor, it would seem as though there is nothing theoretical about the future induction of Ronda Rousey into the WWE. Earlier this month, former UFC fighter Shayna Bazler appeared in the WWE’s Mae Young Classic tournament. As noted on MMA Fighting, Rousey was seen backstage with several other UFC fighters, when she was confronted by a trio of WWE athletes headed by Charlotte Flair.
Rousey WWE debut “seems imminent”
An imminent match between UFC’s “four horsewomen” against Flair’s own cohort was heavily implied, and the fact that Rousey has already voiced her desire to appear regularly for the WWE. The latest endorsement for Ronda Rousey’s inclusion in the WWE roster came from Nikki Bella, who is currently out of action but still contracted to the franchise. According to this Bleacher Report post, Bella is in fact targeting a future bout with Rousey. Both McGregor and Rousey undoubtedly have the character to make it in the WWE. Conor McGregor’s stock, in particular, has never been higher. The humble plumber from Dublin, who made no significant earnings until as recently as April 2013, now has a raft of opportunities to further expand upon his existing popularity and the WWE is one of several routes that ‘The Notorious’ can now seriously consider.