Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Ex-wrestler Jericho to show nice side at event

Ex-wrestler Jericho to show his nice side at event

By Jacob Bennett
Evansville Courier & Press
Thursday, June 21, 2007
Original story link:

If you meet Chris Jericho this weekend, don't expect him to make fun of your name, dis your girlfriend or put you in his signature wrestling hold, the Lion Tamer.

"A lot of people meet me and say, 'Oh, Chris Jericho, you're such a nice guy. We thought you would be a jerk,'" said Jericho, who is a veteran of almost all major U.S. wrestling leagues and is the son of former hockey player Ted Irvine. "That's why it's fun to play a character. Chris Jericho is a jerk. Chris Irvine is not."

Jericho, who called himself "Y2J" around the turn of the century and was famous for clever mockery of other wrestlers, has been out of wrestling for more than a year, since his World Wrestling Entertainment contract expired and he lost a "You're Fired!" match to John Cena.

Since then, he has toured the world with his metal band Fozzy, filmed movies, done improv, written a book and made numerous autograph signing appearances, such as the one scheduled Saturday at the HOOKnSHOOT mixed martial arts event at the Owensboro Sportscenter in Owensboro, Ky.

Jericho said he is a fan of mixed martial arts, but this is the first event he has attended live.
"MMA is the new boxing, it seems, as far as popularity and notoriety," he said. "Being a boxing fan, there just haven't been the personalities of yesteryears. It's really hurt the sport.

"MMA, it's got that kind of boxing excitement to it. It's a little bit, I'm not saying 'barbaric' in a bad way. We're all human beings and we like to see other human beings beat ... each other. There are a lot more personalities you can sink your teeth into."

A few athletes have crossed over in the worlds of pro wrestling and MMA. Former Ultimate Fighting Champion Ken Shamrock was probably the most famous to make the jump to the WWE, and former wrestler Brock Lesnar has just begun an MMA career.

Jericho said he won't compete in an MMA event, but he has been considering a return to wrestling.

"I just needed a break, man, that's all," he said. "I wrestled for 15 years straight. It's a tough schedule, it's a tough grind, both physically, but mostly mentally. I was very burned out on the mental side of things. I needed to get away and clear my head. You never know what might happen over the next six months, the next year or so."

He has had plenty of projects to keep him busy, which he said was another reason he took a wrestling hiatus. He has been a mainstay commentator on various VH1 programs, such as the "I Love the 80s"-type shows.

"They kind of ran out of topics," he said. "They kept just pumping out those shows, probably about 20 of them over the last three or four years. 'I love the '70s,' 'I Love the '80s', 'I Love the '90s,' part 1, 2, 3. Then you go back to 'I Love the '30s.'"

The last one he filmed was "40 Most Softsational Soft Rock Songs," which is an interesting subject for a guy whose wrestling name was inspired by a rock song by Helloween.

"Anything music is my forte," Jericho said. "I just kind of know everything about nothing. It's one of my superpowers."

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