Chris Jericho had on Sonny Kiss on the latest edition of the Talk Is Jericho podcast where the two had an open conversation about gender fluidity and diversity in wrestling. Kiss has spoken before about wanting to give people authenticity, but Kiss has received ignorant comments about him and the LGBTQ community. Jericho pointed out that WWE producer Pat Patterson is one of the most influential people in wrestling who is also gay.
"If you go through the pantheon of wrestling, my mentor, Pat Patterson, he is so smart. He's like the Yoda of wrestling," Jericho said. "I learned 90% about what I know about putting together a match and ring psychology from Patterson.
"He is 100% gay and could give two s--ts about what you think about him, but if you were a wrestling fan, why would you care either way, and if you knew anything about the business, that's the guy that taught Jericho, [Steve] Austin, The Rock, Shawn [Michaels] and Bret [Hart]. That's the guy."
Jericho has talked about before about knowing that his friend, the late Chris Kanyon, was gay and how he tried to hide it. Jericho talked about how no one in their circle of friends would not have judged Kanyon if he did come out publicly to them.
"So this '96-'99, and we all had a gang like Chris Kanyon, Disco Inferno, [Billy] Kidman, [Chris] Benoit, [Eddie] Guerrero, Dean [Malenko] and [Rey] Mysterio," Jericho explained. "I pretty much knew that Chris was gay, but he never said it. Back then, everyone was going after the chicks, and he never went after a girl. Nobody cared, but he would never say it, and that ended up leading to his suicide."
"Obviously, here's not here to speak for himself," Jericho prefaced. "He could never come to terms with 'coming out,' and that made him very depressed. I read his book that came out after he passed away about how lonely he was because he would have to go meet a guy at a bar and not tell anybody. I just wish he would have told us because nobody cared. We wouldn't have given a s--t."
Kiss noted that even if Kanyon knew that his friends would not have cared, it would not have been simple. Even as the LGBTQ community has been more welcomed by society, Kiss notes that even now, it's difficult for some gay men to maintain the same kind of friendship after coming out to their close friends.
"I get that too," Kiss said. "We're in a different age especially in the era we're in now. It's a lot different now, but people still feel like my boys are gonna think less of me. They're not gonna want to share the same room as me. They're gonna change subtle things.
"Quite frankly, it does happen. I think a lot of men tend to be like, 'OK, my boy's gay' but certain subtle movements are not the same. You don't do the very playful things that you used to do. So I feel like a lot of people get discouraged because they feel like that stuff can happen."
As the Black Lives Matter movement started to gain more recognition around the world after the death of George Floyd, Jericho revealed that AEW had a large Zoom call with everyone discussing the movement and the issues surrounding it. Kiss said that he appreciates the dialogue they are able to have at AEW that is led by AEW President Tony Khan.
"When Black Lives Matter was starting, we had a big Zoom call with 110 people, and I thought that was so great. I worked for WWE for 20 years, and we never had anything like that," Jericho remarked. "Just all of us on the call to discuss, which I think is very important."
"Vickie [Guerrero] talks about that all the time too," Kiss added. "There's a different kind of dialogue here. It's great. It's very hands-on. There needs to be more of that. There needs to be a dialogue when these things happen. There's something to be said about all of that stuff. I love that T.K. does that."
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.