The thought of anyone wanting to get into it with Brock Lesnar — a former NCAA Division I Heavyweight Wrestling Champion and former UFC Heavyweight Champion — is a thought hard to fathom. However, this is precisely what Chris Jericho did backstage at WWE SummerSlam 2016.
Not afraid to step up to men much larger than him in the past, Jericho showed, once again, that it’s not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog that matters when standing up for what he feels is right. Here is how it all went down.
The Real-Life Altercation Between Brock Lesnar and Chris Jericho at SummerSlam 2016
Let’s set the scene. It’s SummerSlam 2016, and Brock Lesnar had just won his main event match against Randy Orton, though in a way nobody saw coming — an elbow to the head delivered by Lesnar, which busted up Orton the hard way.
The match was stopped, and Lesnar was declared the winner while Orton remained a bloody mess. As chaotic as that sounds, it doesn’t end there.
Much like many fans watching the pay-per-view live, Jericho was unaware that Lesnar’s devastating elbow strike — one that left Randy Orton with a legitimate concussion — was the planned finish to the match. This prompted Chris Jericho to approach Brock Lesnar backstage, leading to an altercation between the two men.
Rumors about this standoff soon began circulating online once dirt-sheets such as The Wrestling Observer Newsletter got ahold of the story. But how far did things go between the two?
Addressing this matter on the You’re Welcome! With Chael Sonnen podcast, Chis Jericho explained, "I thought the finish of that match was very brutal and very violent. I didn’t know if Randy was okay and I was checking on Randy, my friend."
Jericho continued, "[Randy and I have] always been pretty close. You know, I said something and [Lesnar] said something and the next thing you know we’re nose to nose yelling at each other."
"Listen, lets make no bones about this," Jericho went on to say, "Brock is a trained fighter and he’s a beast, but I’m not the type of person to back down from anybody."
He later jokingly added, "I’m glad he didn’t eat me!"
Additional details were reported by The Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which claimed that the most heated part of the altercation was caused by Brock Lesnar shoving Chris Jericho after Chris allegedly spoke to Michael Hayes about what he had just witnessed happen to his friend Randy.
Hayes never gave Jericho a straight answer, which led to Jericho wanting to confront Lesnar about it.
The Wrestling Observer also reported that Brock Lesnar and Chris Jericho had to be broken up on two occasions that night, once by Triple H and later by Vince McMahon himself.
Jericho reportedly calmed down when Randy Orton assured him that it was the planned finish of their match.
Enzo Amore, appearing on Busted Open Radio, also weighed in on what he witnessed that night.
Earlier in the night, Chris Jericho and Enzo had wrestled each other, with the teams of Enzo and Cass and Jeri-KO wrestling a tag team match in SummerSlam 2016’s main card opener.
Enzo wasted no time confirming the legitimacy of the altercation, saying, "There was a real fight that took place that day in the middle of The Garden."
Enzo then implied that Jericho was the instigator, claiming that he "got into Gorilla [Position] and flipped out, causing a fight between Brock and Vince."
Enzo continued, "In [Jericho’s] mind, he was protecting Randy and the business. He was thinking that Brock was taking liberties on a guy."
Enzo later described the entire situation as "very confusing, because it was real."
Both being veterans of an industry where these things do occur, there appears to be no legitimate animosity between Brock Lesnar and Chris Jericho these days.
Speaking to Justin Barrasso of Sports Illustrated in October 2021, the now AEW star Jericho mentioned the infamous incident by saying, "When you get into that moment, it is what it is."
Jericho continued, "You either go for it, or you put your tail between your legs and hide, and I’ve never been that type of guy. I’m more of the type to die with boots on.
"I’ve had my issues and shoots with MMA guys before, like that one with Brock Lesnar, and I survived by the skin of my teeth."
Brock Lesnar has never publicly addressed the rumors or Jericho’s recollection of the events, but the general consensus years on from the event is that it never got further than just a heated, face-to-face argument. It appears to now be water under the bridge as both men have continued to find success in their respective promotions.
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