Jimmy Jacobs Talks About Producing WWE's Festival Of Friendship
Kevin Owens betrayal of Chris Jericho has gone down in WWE folklore
“How come my name’s on this?”
Six simple words uttered by Chris Jericho that broke the hearts of millions of WWE fans, as Kevin Owens destroyed Jericho during the ‘Festival of Friendship’ in 2017.
The segment has gone done as a fan favourite, despite WWE bungling the ending of the story, and former WWE producer Jimmy Jacobs has spoken about his work on the segment.
Appearing on Jofo in the Ring, Jacobs said the following:
“Yeah, I produced that. Some of that was Vince’s [McMahon] vision. I saw a little bit more I wanted different people coming in. I wanted it to be a little bit more like The Rock/Mick Foley This is Your Life, because you need some conflict, right? You need somebody for Jericho to s*** on. I had an idea of like, you bring out like these two old friends ‘Herb and Marv,’ and Jericho is like, ‘See, these guys are amazing friends. They're 90 years old. They've had a friendship for 70 years. We can we could have a friendship like that have. That's like our friendship and Herb goes. ‘Oh, yes, me and Marv are the best of friends.’ Jericho takes offence to that and goes, ‘I'm sorry. But the best of friends. No, no, Kevin and Chris are the best friends. Jericho and Owens are the best of friends. You know what happens when you think you're better friends than Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens…’ Jericho puts like old people on the list. Like that was my vision for it, which I thought would have been a little better.
“Vince's vision was, Chris gives Kevin presents. I thought that was a little like, ‘Huh, what are you gonna do with that?’ Then I go well, so basically, the presents have to not land. Kevin has to not like them because you need conflict in there somewhere. But yeah, so I ended up taking Vince's general vision. Then, you know, writing it and rewriting it.”
Eventually, Owens would present Jericho with a new list, with Jericho’s name at the top of it:
“I don't remember whose idea that was,” continued Jacobs. “That, I think that might have been Kevin's idea. Actually, I think that was Kevin's idea. It's interesting because you say that's the iconic part. I agree. There's some fun stuff in it. But to me, the drama was always going to be when Chris gets excited because ‘Oh, a new list,’ and he looks at the list, and he goes, ‘Why is my name on here?’ Then he turns it around and that moment where he realises his best friend stabbed him in the back. That's the Shakespeare, man. Like that's it. It's that moment, the moment he realises he's about to be betrayed, that is the Shakespeare.”
Not everyone backstage was a fan, however, with Triple H in particular not being sold on the idea:
“We're in Vegas, the day of, Vince wasn't there that day. Triple H was in charge and Triple H did not like all the Chris Jericho/Kevin Owens stuff because Kevin Owens was a Triple H guy, and Jericho was a little goofy for Hunter. You have seen that in NXT when Hunter was in charge, and it was all serious stuff. I think Triple H saw Kevin being muddled in this goofiness as not good for Kevin. So Hunter wanted to just have like, in the middle of, you know, Kevin starts to cut a promo, ‘Hey, Chris, I realise you tried to do all this nice stuff, and I appreciate it,’ and then Kevin just jumps up attacks. Like Hunter hated the whole List of KO, he's like, ‘This is so goofy, wouldn't it be better if he just jumps in.’ I remember being in the production meeting like, wanting to lose it. I was like, I know like Jericho will take care of this. Jericho, he's not gonna stand for this. Even though Hunter’s the boss that day like Jericho will go to Vince. That's what happened.”
“So that was a weird day, there was a lot of tension there. Look, this happens. This isn't to point fingers at Triple H and say, ‘Oh, you're wrong,’ or you're bad or anything like that. It's just to say people have different views on things. It was scary for me creatively. To go, ‘Oh, no, we might lose the moment of the whole thing. Because someone else has a different creative vision.’ I'm glad that, you know, Vince came through and you know, eventually Hunter sort of said, ‘Alright, do what you guys were gonna do.’ It was a frickin' home run. I think Hunter really likes it at the end, I don't think he saw what it was going to be before that. But once he saw it, I mean, it was a frickin’ home run. That was for me - when that promo was over, that was the highlight of my WWE career for sure.”