Chris Jericho Interview 2010
Whilst on tour with his band Fozzy in late 2010 Chris Jericho very kindly let Phil Allely meet up with him to discuss wrestling and his future in the sport he has now stepped away from once again. Here are highlights fomr the 30 minute interview Chris gave prior to their storming set at Belfast’s Spring and Airbrake venue.
So Chris will we see you make a return to the WWE anytime soon?
“Firstly I have to say that I’d never wrestle for anyone other than WWE. I’ve never said I’ll go back to wrestling (no matter how many times I‘m asked, which is a lot), the band (Fozzy) and my other interests all lead me there, but I not under pressure to return to the ring. The bands teetering to the next level right now, we‘ve worked very hard to get here. I’m going on a world tour with Fozzy and I’m gearing up for festivals next year, so as you can guess I’m not thinking wrestling right now, I love wrestling (it was my life for 20 years) so what have I to prove there.”
“big thing is I’m just too busy now to go back and do it, other thing is I’ve no one to beat or meet, I really enjoy it and love every moment while there, so unless perhaps I could be a NXT mentor/coach or something like that I‘ll not be back. That could work for me, I could maybe give young guys a push and helping hand, I know my place (always have), I am Chris Jericho, I unified titles, beat the best and never failed to entertain, so there is my answer I’d return, but maybe as a trainer or helper, being in creative, could work too. I mean Fozzy has a place for me right now, wrestling hasn’t and I’m not saying I’ll not return for a one-off spot, Host a Raw or something like that, if I go back it will cos I want to and because I need to or am forced to.
So Chris why did you leave WWE, was there any particular reason or was it time to go?
“it was quite simple, my contract was up so I left, I’m now free to be who I am and do what I want to do, when I want to do it. I’m not a (Ric) Flair, I’m happy to see other spotlights (to stand in) out there, I can act, I can sing, I know can’t be a wrestler in another ten years or so, there have to other things to do and pursue, so that’s what I’m doing. I’m physically great, no major ill-effects form my years in the ring at all. I am lucky to be in the position to have other avenues to approach and tackle, you know lucky to be here, not broken down or beaten, I can return to the WWE if need be. I love the company and right now I have things to explore.”
Was WCW a learning curve for you?, it was the first place many of the highfliers like yourself appeared on mainstream TV and it lead to your WWE run.
“Yeah I think WCW was the place where some of the smaller guys made it more than they did in WWE, I was fortunate to use it a stepping stone to the WWE, a logical position in my mind. It was a great place to be if you had your name, it was tough to move levels though. Once a mid-carder always a mid-carder was the norm there. I progressed because I never really play by the rules and I never will, I disagreed with people saying I was too small etc. and went out there each night to prove I had the whole package and was worth the gamble to put a belt on. I always dreamt of working for the WWE, so WCW was my chance to make it there.”
So is it good to be your own boss now and run your own company (Fozzy) as it where?
“Well we as Fozzy own everything, this tour bus, the rights and everything else here, it’s a long way since our small van tours a few years back. I think we have grown and our fans appreciate the fact that we are not some guys cashing on a star name, we have proved ourselves with real rock fans and real rock bands. We have earnt our place.”
So what’s next for you if it’s not wrestling and the band are on a break between tours say?
“My philosophy is to take on challenges and I enjoy that .Acting could be fun, I’ve been in five movies, I’ve learnt the ropes, wrestling has seen me acting for 20 years (when you think about it) and if the opportunity arises I can be there to do it, my career has helped that (chance) to become a reality. A lot of people won’t know that I worked with The Groundlings for a year (comedy legends like Will Farrell were groundlings), so I have a god pedigree in acting/comedy/performance. The dream would be to make films like (Steve) Austin, the low budget type, but their you are the star, yeah id like that! My one thing is I’m not the guy to be a hero, I’m the guy who is outside of the box, that’s what my time now can bring, out of the WWE box. In the past I had to turn things down due to my WWE commitments, there are no issues with that now.”
You were very lucky in your career and never seemed to be injured or out of action too long, this made you the go-to guy for the WWE and you featured heavily in Title programs and must-see matches.
so im young enough to still return.
“True I’ve never been injured really, a broken arm, torn acl and other little issues, but I’m in a better position than most (of my peers), in reality there’s me Taker and Dustin Rhodes (in the WWE this long) no one else has been in the WWE like I have (those guys have been injured or left for a time). You know I’m young enough to return if I wanted, the current young guys are limited, I can always take my 20 year experience back anytime. It’s just not on my horizon right now.”
Fozzy is evidently where you want to be and what you are focusing on right now, what does Fozzy mean to you?
“It’s a business, a brand even, for all of us it’s rewarding and after our long hard work it’s paying off, I like it and I enjoy my place now. Fozzy is never just about me or Rich, it’s a collective, if we are all not there, we fail. You know I’m not the wrestler who sings (unlike fellow former wrestler Lita who bills herself often using her WWE reputation as a gimmick) with Fozzy it’s the singer who wrestles, which took a lot of work, we went from covers to originals and that helped us make our place. Wrestling fans are welcome and I appreciate that, but I now see they take our songs seriously too, you cant ignore the stigma of wrestling and we take that in our stride. Music fans appreciate the fact that I never used my WWE connections to push Fozzy.The hard work is paying off, we have thousand and thousands of Fozzy fans and the UK is our best market by far. I love the live crowd, I work them and get them involved in the storyline, if I bring them in I’ve got it. I enjoy wrestling and singing and they are both similar and high energy forms of entertainment. I love it the atmosphere helps and we feed off it.”
Do you take time for your fans?
“I always try to make time for my fans and we all try to be there (before or after a gig), but my worry is my voice and I need to be careful and if I’m out too long (especially in the cold or talking at length) my voice is shot. So I need to be careful. We have never cancelled a show, we never will, but fans appreciate what we do and we do give them time where and when we can.”