Jericho Discusses His WWE Departure, Top Prospects to Watch, More

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– Chris Jericho was interviewed by The Austin Chronicle this week to promote the WWE SmackDown tapings and Fozzy’s new album. Here are some highlights:



Austin Chronicle: When you’re thinking, ‘OK, now’s Fozzy time and now’s WWE time,” how do you make that decision?

Chris Jericho: It’s really a decision that’s made for me. Back in the 2000s for the first three Fozzy records, I did the WWE and Fozzy at the same time, which was fine. But when we were doing Chasing the Grail, our last record, in 2009, myself and Rich Ward, my partner in crime, were thinking, ‘We’ve really got to take this to the next level, because this record is great.’ I left WWE when Grail came out, went touring for 16 months, did 15 countries and amassed an even bigger fanbase than we had. It was a real credibility gain for us. Then when we started doing Sin and Bones, as the singer I write the lyrics and I record the vocals, which takes about 15 days. Other than that I had about nine months of doing nothing, so that’s when I decided to come back to the WWE, knowing that when this record came out that I’d be finished for whatever indeterminate amount of time.

AC: How much pressure does that put on you, knowing that this run against Dolph Ziggler will be the last memory of people in the ring for you for a while?

CJ: These guys needs guys to work with. Once again, that’s sounding egotistical, but after 22 years of being in this business, but there’s nobody in this company who’s been in the business longer – except for Undertaker. I’ve been wrestling longer than Kane, I’ve been wrestling longer than Triple H. I didn’t request to work with Ziggler. At first, I thought it was Sheamus, than I was supposed to work with Daniel Bryan, and then they just told me, OK, you’re working with Ziggler. I said, ‘Great.’ I will work with anybody, and I will do the absolute best I can to help that. I’ve been through this before. This will be the third time that I’ve left, and this may make people mad, but I’ve never been just a wrestler. I’m an entertainer. I do a lot of different things in that realm. I don’t put myself in a box when it comes. So when I get a chance to work with a guy like Ziggler, I know what I can do with him. I know how good he is. He just needs somebody to help him. And when I’m putting together matches or doing promos with these guys, things that I just see as basics, they still haven’t figured out yet. That’s not a bad thing. That’s just the experience difference, and that’s why I can help, and I think that’s why I can come and go from the WWE for years to come. I’m in the best shape of my life. I feel great. I’m enjoying this run, and if I didn’t have a tour and a record coming out, I would stay. It’s not like I can’t wait to leave – in fact, it’s the complete opposite. I’m a little sad to leave, in one way, but super-excited by the reason why I’m leaving.

I like the idea of passing the torch along and passing the experience along. That’s the way I was trained. I grew up in Japan, and that’s how they do it. Old guys teach the young guys, and that’s the way it is. The business is more important than any single individual, and I’ve always felt that way. Haven’t always been treated that way, but I’ve always felt that way.

AC: If you had to pick a wrestler and a metal band that you think are the ones to watch, who would you say?

CJ: Avenged Sevenfold is only startin to realize how good they are. I think they’ll be the next Metallica, and I think they’re well on their way. They’re at were Metallica was at Master of Puppets. They’re going to hook up with some producer who is going to make them even bigger. I think Bullet for My Valentine is another band that’s growing. Their singer and guitarist Matt Tuck is another guy that gets it, that understands that it’s not always about how fast and heavy you can be, but about how you groove, and catchy beats and catchy choruses.

As for future guys here, Ziggler’s one of them for sure. The Miz is another. I think Damien Sandow, against anything that I expected, has been doing great, and I think he’s got a great upside. I think there’s quite a few guys where things are looking up, because the WWE is a talent-driven business. Guys are going to come and go, but the ones who are going to stick are the ones who are going to be carrying this company on their backs in the future. There are some good prospects here, and that’s why I’m excited about the prospect of coming back.