Jimmy Jacobs was a recent guest on The DropKick Podcast and discussed his transition from being an in-ring performer to a creative mind behind the scenes. According to Jacobs, the most difficult part about no longer competing inside the ring is trusting others to carry out his visions.
"When you're a performer, the buck stops with you," Jacobs said. "No matter what anybody wants, no matter what they say, no matter what's talked about, the buck stops with you. And as a writer, the buck doesn't stop with you. You have this vision and you're trusting somebody else to carry it out. Now, sometimes that doesn't work out and the end picture isn't how you imagined it."
While his visions don't always work out, Jacobs stressed that he always gets something special when he's paired with great performers.
"Sometimes, you know, when you get with the great performers, when you have a great relationship, you have that co-collaboration," Jacobs said. "You bring one thing to them and then they bring something else out of it. And that's what it was like, you know, working with all the stuff I did with Chris Jericho and Kevin Owens in WWE. It's like [I bring] one thing into it and they maybe brought ideas too, but then whatever the original thing was, they brought it to life in this magnificent way."
Aside from Jericho and Owens, Jacobs says he's seen that co-collaboration magic with some wrestlers from his current company.
"We do have performers like that in Impact Wrestling," Jacobs said. "You know, somebody like Rosemary, I can give her the skeleton of something but I know that they're going to embody it and bring their souls into it to bring forth something that is magic."
Jacobs worked with WWE as a writer from 2015-2017. During his tenure in Stamford, CT, the five-time ROH Tag Team Champion infamously was a driving creative force behind the entire Jericho/Owens storyline, specifically creating the popular 'List of Jericho.' Jacobs says inspiration for the list came from former S.C.U.M. stablemate in ROH, Steve Corino.
"I think we were in Memphis, and [Jericho] is supposed to come out and air his grievances about Mick Foley or something," Jacobs said. "I said, 'well, he should have a list if he does this.' And then I thought of Steve Corino in real life - he has the 'Carino Sh*t List.' What if Chris Jericho had his own list [of] people that crossed him, but he was so petty that it just takes one little thing like and they make his list? And so, I came to Chris with this idea and, you know, Chris brought it to life."
The List of Jericho is another example of Jacobs's ideas on co-collaboration. While he came up with the idea, he said Jericho was the guy behind the theatrics of it.
"I always perceived it as a crumpled up piece of paper he would have [in his pocket]," Jacobs said. "He knew this had to be visual. He came up with the, you know, click of the pen, and the 'You know what happens? Huh? You know what happens when you make fun of my best friend Kevin Owens?' That's just another example of something you conceive one way and then somebody else, you know, collaborates with it, and then the performer goes and they bring it to life in communion with the audience. [They get the] feeling of what the audience wants, and all of a sudden, a click of the pen becomes the loudest reaction on Monday Night RAW."
According to Jacobs, the List of Jericho became so popular and desired by the fans that that it became a main event staple of 2017 live events.
"That's how they used to close the live events towards 2017," Jacobs said. "To some of them, Jericho was a babyface. He would go, 'You know what happens Phoenix, Arizona? You know what happens when you cheer for Chris Jericho? You know what happens you've been a great audience all night? Phoenix, Arizona... you just made the list!' You send them home with the biggest spot."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The DropKick Podcast with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.