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An interview with Wrestler & Rockstar Chris Jericho

By James Drakeford

Posted: 29th October 2014 14:18

Since first breaking onto our television screens in the 1990s, Chris Jericho has gone by many names: Y2J, The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla, King of the World, and, erm, The Sexy Beast? During this time he has established himself as one of the most decorated wrestlers in WWE history.  He was the first ever WWE Undisputed Champion, he holds the record for the most Intercontinental Championship reigns, and overall the future wrestling hall of famer has won over 30 championships between WWE, WCW, and ECW.  Outside the ring he appeared in Season 12 of Dancing with the Stars and has established himself as a bona fide rockstar with his band Fozzy who have graced the stage with the likes of Metallica and performed at the biggest festivals in the world, including Download.

The two-time bestselling author, wrestler and metal rocker returns with another insightful and hilarious memoir of his latest wild adventures in the absurd worlds of pro-wrestling and showbiz.  Picking up where his previous bestseller UNDISPUTED left off, Chris Jericho treats his fans to an all-new, completely uncensored chronicle of his decision to put down his guitar, ease off on the red-carpet appearances in Hollywood and return to the ring.  What followed were the best three years of his wrestling career. 

Ahead of the release of ‘The Best In The World: At What I Have No Idea’ we caught up with Chris Jericho to discuss run-ins with WWE head honcho Vince McMahon, his recent return to battle Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton, along with his travel advice received by the late, great Owen Hart.

You have a new book out this month. Can you tell us about that?

It’s the third in a trilogy, and it covers a collection of ridiculous situations, dumb stories, fun tales and everything in between.  It picks up exactly where the second book left off so if you’ve read the first two you will really enjoy book three.

Have you got one particular story that really stands out for you?

There’s a chapter about my time in Iraq, stranded in an unsecure warzone that was still under Al-Qaeda occupation; that was a little bit scary.  I think the whole tale of the Shawn Michaels feud was unbelievable; it was a very organic feud, the likes of which we will probably never see again.  I love the stories with all the WWE guest hosts getting knocked out by Mike Tyson and the one-on-one confrontation with Bob Barker. Working with Ozzy Osbourne and great Fozzy stories like touring with Metallica; there’s just so much packed in. 

In the book you talk about a couple of occasions where you have had a run in with management. Just how scary is Vince McMahon in real life?

He’s not really scary, he’s just my boss.  You have ups and downs like with any other good boss – sometimes we agree and sometimes we don’t.  When you are in the world of entertainment sometimes you make decisions that you think are best for the show and best for the situation that you are in; sometimes it’s the right decision and sometimes it’s not the right decision.  When you’re on the front lines leading the charge, fighting the war and putting on the shows, you don’t need to ask permission to do things, you just do them. 

Have you always been allowed to go off-the-cuff or is it more a matter of having built up a level of trust and respect?

Well its showbusiness so there are obviously certain scripts that you adhere to, but it’s also live.  Whenever you introduce the live element things are going to happen throughout the course of the show that you can’t predict.  It’s not like you’re writing a movie script and can say “this happens and then you walk to the door”.  When you go out there to do a promo or to have a match you have a guideline, but if someone throws a smoke bomb into the ring or whatever… you can’t script that, you have to just go along with it.  If fans start chanting “you suck” or “we love you”, or a fight breaks out in the crowd, or someone throws a glowstick that hits you in the head - you’ve gotta react to it and go from there .There’s always that element and  I think sometimes people don’t realise that .  They think it’s all scripted but it’s a live audience – much like improv comedy or a jazz band – and things are gonna go a certain way sometimes depending on which way the audience takes them.

You’ve recently completed your latest stint in WWE. Can I just say, we really enjoyed your feuds with Bray Wyatt and Randy Orton.

I have a great relationship with the WWE and I hear from them time and time again asking when I will come back. Sometimes I’m available and sometimes I’m not, but I’m at the point now where I’m like “I could be available, what do you want me to do?”  If it’s something I’m interested in then I’ll come back for it.  Sometimes we agree on what it is I’m doing, sometimes we don’t. This situation with Bray Wyatt was at a time when I happened to have three months off and they had the idea for me to work with him; it just kinda worked out for everybody.  I really enjoyed it, it was a lot of fun.

If the creative team come up to you and said “you can have anyone you want at Wrestlemania” who would it be?

It’s hard to say, I mean, I’ve worked with everybody.  I guess to me it’s always the storyline and what kind of a storyline you would have.  I worked with Seth Rollins, he was a lot of fun to work with; any of the Shield guys; Roman Reigns; Dean Ambrose.  I’ve never worked with The Undertaker at Wrestlemania - streak or no streak. I’ve never worked with Brock Lesnar with any real focus on it.  There are some new guys to work with; Kenta, Prince Devitt, or those type of guys on NXT. I’ll work with anybody. I really enjoyed this latest run and if I didn’t have a tour with Fozzy I would probably stay for another three months, but the bottom line is whenever I’m around and there’s somebody who I think I can have some fun with then I’m up for it.

It is quite an exciting time at the minute for the WWE with guys like the Wyatt Family and The Shield and then obviously last week at RAW with the NXT guys really turning people’s heads.

There are a lot of good guys coming up within the system.  My days of being a full time wrestler are over, I’ll never work for three years straight again.  It’s not on the cards with other things that I have going on and it seems to be one of the reasons that I can still wrestle at a high level I still jump off cages at 43 years old and do moonsaults every night because I’m picking and choosing my spots.  If I was doing this every night in and out I don’t know how long I could continue to work the way I work.  But to come in for three months, give you 30-40 performances at the highest Chris Jericho level and then go away and take a couple of months off to heal up allows me to come back again.  It’s a good system that I have, it’s a good timeframe to do it in and I still enjoy it so I expect to continue it.  If I didn’t enjoy it I wouldn’t be doing it.

There’s some people who will know Chris Jericho as the wrestler and some that know you from Fozzy, and then there’s those who just absolutely love all aspects of it.

The interesting thing about doing this is that people are Chris Jericho fans, more and more so every day. More people are becoming Fozzy fans that never really gave us a chance before because they thought it was just a wrestling thing.  Year in year out we keep putting on quality shows and we keep putting out quality records so there’s a great buzz about the band. Every day, someone will say “Listen, I’ve never checked out Fozzy before, I can’t believe I haven’t, it’s great, I love this band” and we’re trying to work twice as hard you get respect because once you have that respect you’ve got it for life, so it is really cool.  Whether they’re a Jericho fan, a Fozzy fan, a Stuck Mojo fan, a WWE fan, a Talk Is Jericho fan or whatever it is, I have a great fanbase that trusts what I do, enjoys what I do and believes in what I do.  That’s part of the longevity of Chris Jericho and that is why that I’m able to write three books. Each one has been better than the last and with ‘The Best in the World…” I really think it is the best of the three. 

On a final note, do you have any travel advice for our readers, or anything that you do particularly when you are on the road touring either with WWE or with the band?

Travelling is the hardest part of being on the road.  The shows themselves are usually the fun part, the easy part; it’s the travelling that winds you down.  I think my best advice is to get to the airport early enough, it’s something that the late Owen Hart told me on one of our few brief meetings.  I’d rather get there half an hour early and have a coffee and relax, than get there 10 minutes late.  I still get burned, it happened last week:  I got there seven minutes after check-in time and no dice, I missed the flight.  This was going to RAW in Baltimore, I had a big cage match that day with Wyatt and I missed my flight.  The airlines just don’t care so get to the airport early and if you think traffic is going to be bad leave half an hour early.  It’ll save you a lot of stress and it’ll probably put years on your life.

The Best In The World: At What I Have No Idea’ is available in Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle and Audio CD. Click here to order your copy now.

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