The wrestling icon takes on a new opponent: the world.
Chris Jericho’s real name is Christopher Keith Irvine, but go with Jericho, because he shakes foundations and crashes through walls in these nine rounds we call a life.
These days, the man has been yelling, “bring it on,” and gunning through the last roadblocks standing in his way.
Formerly a professional wrestler (WWE, WCW, ECW), where he became known as “The Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla,” the American-born Canadian comes from hockey stock (both father and uncle played professionally).
His ambitious plans extended beyond both the border and the confines of the ring, but at every fork in the road there is always one ironic roadblock in his way: his millions of fans, standing strong.
“There are a lot of fans who want to see me do one thing and one thing only,” he says, “which is wrestling. I could post a picture of me and the Pope on Instagram and the first 500 comments would be ‘When you coming back to the WWE?’”
Uh, maybe when the Pope is Polish?
“As of now, I have no plans of coming back [to the WWE],” he says. “I’m very, very busy.”
True that. His podcast, Talk Is Jericho, is recorded as Chris travels all over the world, and among the most listened-to joints on the planet (a million downloads in three weeks).
“A podcast is the modern-era version of a talk show,” he says. “Podcasting is the perfect medium for me because it gives me a chance to talk about whatever I want. I always had that idea in the back of my head to have a talk show. You want to diversify yourself and open the door.”
The door has swung open with a big gust of wind, sailing in guests from the world of wrestling as well as arts, sports and all kinds of pop culture.
How is sitting still, in one spot, working for you, Chris? When the only thing you’re wrestling with is the meaning of life?
“I like to talk about things that you don’t really talk about too much,” he says, “and ask questions about things you really hadn’t thought about in a while. The interview becomes a living, breathing entity of its own. That’s the way to keep it fresh. To let the conversation go where it wants to go.”
In addition to that, he also stars in a hit web series called But I’m Chris Jericho, in which a fictionalized version of himself tries to make it as an actor after a mega-successful wrestling career. Think Curb Your Enthusiasm with more enthusiasm.
The career choices come back, once again, to the fans, including the 1.5 million who follow him on Facebook.
“Fans always expect a lot, so I realize that I should always give my fans a lot,” he says. “I don’t do any projects that I don’t feel will be 100% kickass. I think my fans realize that if I’m doing something, they’re going to like it.”
He’s also referring to another pet project of his: lead singer for the rock band Fozzy. This is no extracurricular activity; he’s been fronting this group since 1999.
“We’re recording our sixth record right now,” he says. “We blasted through 17 countries and 150 shows. It’s been a blast, but it’s not the easiest thing to do. At first, people think, ‘Ah, it’s just a wrestling guy.’”
Ya see? Therein lies the challenge. But dig:
He says, “I’ve been playing in a band since I was 12 and I always wanted to do something in music. I started wrestling when I was 19, but I didn’t stop playing music.
“The Beatles are my favorite band of all time. I love Metallica, KISS, The Stones, and the bands of the ‘70s with four-part harmonies: Journey, Styx, and Foreigner.”
Dude continues to body slam, seemingly appearing out of the left of nowhere. He owes it all to a non-soft upbringing (that’s him on the right, on The Rock, back in the day).
He says, “In Winnipeg, it’s very cold. I grew into a tougher person.”