Chris Jericho still isn’t sure how it happened.
Three days after beating “Hangman” Adam Page at the “All Out” pay-per-view on Aug. 31 in Chicago to become the inaugural All Elite Wrestling world champion, the title belt went missing as Jericho was eating at a Longhorn Steakhouse in Tallahassee, Fla. Jericho, who said he had the belt in a bag in the back of a limo, eventually reported it stolen to the local police. Six months later, the situation still irks him.
“I’ve probably had over 50 titles over the years, including from the depths of the ghettos of Mexico, I’ve never, ever lost a title,” Jericho told The Post. “It means a lot to me. It’s a big responsibility. So to have it stolen was a huge f–king embarrassment for me because when you’re the champ, your job is to take care of the title.”
According to the version of the police report that leaked online, Jericho had placed the belt, valued at around $30,000, in a rented limo and went to the chain restaurant to eat. Jericho had taken the wrong luggage from the airport and the driver took it back to the terminal, according to the report. When the limo returned to pick him up from the restaurant, the belt was not there.
“Now, did I have it in a bag in what I thought was a locked limousine? Yes, but apparently that wasn’t enough on that day,” said Jericho at the New York Toy Fair, where AEW showed off its new action figures and ring sets that will be available this August. “Still don’t really know exactly what happened.”
It set off a whirlwind few days that included Jericho capitalizing on the fiasco by cutting a promo from a hot tub drinking champagne in which he called for a worldwide manhunt – only adding to speculation the events were part of a wrestling angle. The Tallahassee Police Department even had to take down a social media post claiming it had recovered the belt. The title was eventually turned in. Jericho believes the whole ordeal adds to the legend of the belt.
“It’s almost like it was ‘The Wicker Man’ and the whole town was in on it,” said Jericho, who plans to do an episode of his “Talk is Jericho” podcast on the events in the coming weeks. “Everything that happened just didn’t make any f–king sense. But what do you do? You take a negative and turn it into a positive and we made it the hottest storyline, and a day later it’s suddenly found on the side of the road.”
Jericho’s personal theory is the limo driver took the belt, was unable to sell it and then returned it. He said he hasn’t changed much about how he keeps the belt secure and doesn’t think he could have done much else that day.
“This was kind of out of my control,” Jericho said. “It’s not like I had the title and threw it on the ground. It was in the back of a limousine. That’s safe ground. Unless the limo driver was a thief.”