WWE star Chris Jericho created an international incident on Thursday during a live WWE wrestling event in Brazil, this according to TMZ. During a match with WWE Champion C.M. Punk, Jericho reportedly grabbed the Brazilian flag, crumpled it up, and kicked the flag out of the ring. Jericho's actions were meant to generate "heat," or to get the crowd to jeer him. However, the occurrence not only incited the raucous crowd, but also the police. The police stopped the match and informed Jericho that desecrating the Brazilian flag was a punishable offense and he either had to apologize to the crowd or be taken to jail. Jericho chose to apologize, and the match was allowed to continue. The WWE later released a statement suspending Jericho from the company indefinitely.
As a wrestling fan for over 20 years, these international incidents always have me scratching my head. I understand the concept of generating heat and trying to get a crowd to hate you. Those are pretty simple notions to grasp. However, there are just some things you don't do. This would include grabbing the nation's flag and kicking it around like it's a soccer ball.
This isn't the first time the WWE has had trouble at an overseas event either. In 2004, pro wrestling superstar John Bradshaw Layfield was performing at an event in Germany when he decided to do the Nazi salute and Goose Step across the ring. The crowd immediately jeered the insensitive actions. The WWE immediately issued an apology for the Layfield stunt, but the harm was already complete. The shocking Nazi Goose Step didn't go unpunished however, as Layfield lost his job with CNBC. In addition to JBL, wrestler Vader also got into hot water in 1997 after threatening a Middle Eastern television host during a live segment. Vader was held in the country for ten days before the issue was resolved.
It always bewilders me how these grown men never seem to learn from the blunders of their predecessors. If Chris Jericho, who is arguably one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, took a minute to think about his behaviors before he engaged in them, he would still have a job this afternoon. Instead, Jericho will have to issue apology after apology for his tasteless actions. But there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Like JBL and Vader, there is a favorable chance the Jericho incident will eventually be swept under the rug and his career in wrestling will live to see another day.
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