Is Chris Jericho the busiest man in showbiz?
From wrestler and musician to actor and podcaster, Chris Jericho is the heavyweight champion of life. We tracked him down to find out how he keeps all his plates spinning...
When we call Chris Jericho, he’s in a car on the way to the airport, living up to his reputation as the busiest man in our world.
He’s taking one of his monthly trips to LA for “a couple of TV shows out there, a couple of podcasts”, before heading to Calgary, Canada, for some WWE shows. There’s simply no stopping Y2J in 2015.
As a child growing up in Winnipeg, Canada, Chris wanted to be two things: a rockstar and a professional wrestler – “music and wrestling have been my passions since I was very young – everyone thought I was insane,” he explains. Now, aged 44, Chris can cross both childhood dreams off his list. But there’s so much more to him than this, from coming up with TV show concepts to playing a rollercoaster operator that runs away from a giant shark. He’s many things to many people, but how does he keep his pursuits in check, and what does it all mean to the former Ayatollah Of Rock And Rolla? We got the man himself to give us the definitive inside story of his crazy, non-stop life.
Formed in 1999, Fozzy have released six albums, and toured the world playing some of the biggest festivals in the UK, the States and beyond...
Chris says: “Fozzy was a side-project, but in 2009 Rich [Ward, guitarist/vocalist] and I decided if we wanted to continue this, we had to have a real go at it. I was done with wrestling, he was done with his projects, but Fozzy became a priority, which is when it began exploding. It was a good move, ’cause that’s when the records started getting better and there was a whole new fanbase.
“It was cool to play on The Kiss Kruise with Kiss, or Soundwave a couple of years ago with Metallica. These guys were heroes at first, and then became peers, then contemporaries. Now it’s our job to go out there and kick their asses every night with our live show. It’s something that I don’t take for granted; I’m really proud of the fact that we’ve worked ourself up into that position.
“I don’t only have one amazingly cool job – I have two. They’re both living, breathing jobs, and if you want to be envious of it I’ll take it, ’cause I worked my ass off to make it happen. Nothing was ever handed to me, but now I’m in this position I’ll gladly accept it, ’cause it is pretty fucking cool when you think about it.”
Since his first match 25 years ago, Chris has wrestled across the globe for WWE, WCW, ECW and NJPW. His nickname, Y2J, given at the turn of the millennium, still sticks to this day...
Chris says: “October 3, 1990, was my first ever match in Ponoka, Alberta, Canada, at the Moose Hall. October 3, 2015 was at Madison Square Garden [for WWE]. That’s a great arc.
“The pinnacle of my career was 2008 and 2009, when I was the most-hated guy in the business. That heel run with the Shawn Michaels story [a long-running, bloody feud] and the Rey Mysterio story [in which Chris tried to take Rey’s sacred lucha mask] was the peak for me. Yes, winning the Undisputed Championship [to unify the WWF and WCW championships in 2001, by defeating The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin in the same night] was amazing. Yes, having the best match at WrestleMania 19 [in 2003] against Shawn Michaels was amazing. But in that period, I was the best in the world at what I do. On certain nights, I was the best sports entertainer in the entire world.
“I’ll never be a full-time wrestler again, but it doesn’t mean I don’t love doing it. As long as I can still wrestle at the standards I’ve set myself, then I’ll continue. At 44 years old, I still have the best match on the show, and that’s my watermark of whether I keep doing it or not. I think any show with Chris Jericho on it is better than any show where I’m not on it.”
After leaving WWE 10 years ago, Chris has featured in a number of movies and TV shows including *The Asylum, cult sequel Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, horror film Albino Farm, and fictionalised reality show* But I’m Chris Jericho...
Chris says: “In 2005, I left WWE and moved to LA to study acting – I wanted to study the craft and kind of give it a go. A lot of the things that happened in But I’m Chris Jericho [a 2013 web series starring Chris as a fictionalised version of himself] actually happened in real life. The pirate audition comes to mind, where I’m doing a serious audition, but all I could hear was a pirate audition screaming next door.
“I did Sharknado 3 and that’s one of the most publicised things I’ve done in the past year. When you do stuff like that, you get a whole new fanbase, which is the most important thing you can do in this day and age. You work on the brand, you work on being Chris Jericho, and if you can do that people will follow you if you do stuff of quality.
“When they said, ’Do you wanna be in Sharknado?’ I said, ’Hell yeah!’ Next thing you know, it’s the biggest thing I’ve done in 10 years. Take everything as it’s offered to you, and if you think it’s something you can really make your mark on, then you do it.”