Chris Jericho is one of the most talented performers in wrestling history, but his skills are not just limited to the WWE ring. A budding career in the music industry and a new gig hosting a television show proves that the multi-talented star can conquer a wide range of entertainment.
Y2J took time to sit down with the boys of Ring Rust Radio in an exclusive interview found here (some language NSFW) to discuss his time in the WWE, his latest return at the Royal Rumble, his work with the band Fozzy, his new series on the Syfy channel called Robot Combat League and so much more.
How surprised were you by Chris Jericho's Royal Rumble return?
The future WWE Hall of Famer knows he’s great at what he does in and out of the ring, and it’s that confidence that affords the 42-year-old superstar the ability to juggle all of the interesting projects he is working on.
Not only has Jericho returned to the WWE to be one of the best performers on the show each week, he also has helped build Fozzy into a successful band and will now work to catapult Robot Combat League into the mainstream.
That’s the kind of clout the superstar carries.
Y2J on the WWE
Jericho is a six-time world champion, the first-ever undisputed champion, a nine-time Intercontinental champion and one of the most beloved wrestlers of all time, and the love for the WWE.
The WWE Universe is what keeps the veteran coming back.
While most fans believed Y2J would eventually return, the surprise of hearing his music hit and his jacket light up at the 2013 Royal Rumble was a moment that will go down in wrestling lore as one of the best surprise entries of all time.
When asked about his return at the Rumble and being rewarded for keeping it a secret with a huge ovation from the audience, Jericho was candid about why he believes the crowd reacted the way they did:
I don’t know if it I was rewarded with a huge pop. I think it was the fact that people were genuinely surprised and shocked and kind of rewarding themselves. I think it was cool in this day and age that we can actually still surprise people and fool them, especially with the internet, all the different ways of social media. And the fact that not one person leaked it, I thought it was a real testament to the company, a real testament to how close I kept it to the vest because not a lot of people knew.
There were people in the building that work there for the WWE that didn’t even know until I walked out to the curtain. It was probably one of the best reactions I’ve ever received, besides maybe ’99 when I interrupted The Rock in Chicago, and it was definitely up there as one of top two or three responses I’ve ever received. It was pretty cool.
This commentary from Jericho takes us behind the scenes of what it’s like for the WWE now that the internet has played a part in spoiling many of the company’s major angles. While it is nearly impossible to sneak a huge swerve by the fans, the fact that the WWE kept Y2J’s return quiet made for an amazing moment at the show.
That genuine excitement Jericho was talking about doesn’t happen much in wrestling anymore.
As great as Jericho has been on his latest run, the focus for the veteran has shifted to Fozzy and what is best for the band. While many in the WWE Universe fear that means Y2J will retire soon, the former champion isn’t ready for that yet:
[Playing with Fozzy] doesn’t mean I won’t come and go in the WWE for as long as I can, for as long as I feel I can live up to the standards I set. I was actually pleasantly surprised over the last month. I think it has been one of the best months I’ve ever had as far as performances and match quality. At the risk of sounding too egotistical, I’ve had the best match on the show, or top-two best matches on the show, on every show that I’ve done since I came back, and that was after a six-month layoff.
I’m putting in some time, 45 minutes in the rumble, then 18 minutes with CM Punk and 32 minutes in the chamber. It’s been a pretty cool vibe to know I can go in there and perform at the highest level and put in the time I need to put in. As long as I can continue to do that and feel good about myself and my performance, there is no reason I won’t continue to come back.
Jericho has always been a fitness freak, one of the many WWE stars using the DDP Yoga program, and while his in-ring style has changed a bit to suit his age, Y2J is still capable of putting on great matches whenever he steps between the ropes.
As long as the veteran is willing to come back to the WWE, the fans, and more importantly Vince McMahon and the higher-ups, will be excited to see him return every time.
Y2J on Balancing Wrestling and Fozzy
It’s clear that Jericho has two loves in his life nowadays: the wrestling business and the music industry.
As great as it is to have two very different careers, balancing them and keeping the schedules in harmony is tough. Y2J was asked about prioritizing his time when it comes to the WWE and Fozzy and which takes precedent at this point of his life:
I guess it’s because I’ve always been kind of a career schizo since I was a kid. I wanted to be in a rock band and I wanted to be a wrestler. I didn’t know how I was going to do ether one of those, but I just decided that’s what I want to do. You can’t really do both at the same time. You can juggle. That’s one of the reasons I came back for this run is because I had an open time in Fozzy’s tour schedule. Even still, we're going to tour with Metallica for a couple weeks on the Soundwave Tour. So I mean there is still a little bit of a balance between one and the other, but now my focus and my schedule is always going to be more Fozzy-based at this time in my career rather than WWE-based.
Many of the fans of wrestling are forced to balance several activities and responsibilities in their own everyday lives, and while Jericho’s are on a much more mainstream scale, it’s cool to know that a superstar like Y2J has to find the happy medium at times like everyone else in the world.
As much as wrestling has meant to the superstar over the years, it’s clear that one of his top priorities is his band and the music they put out. With a huge tour on tap with a headlining band like Metallica, Jericho has reached the top of the mountain in another business.
That’s very impressive, but it doesn’t just stop with the music, as Y2J is a television host now too.
Y2J on Robot Combat League
As if Jericho needed to have any more on his plate, the multi-talented entertainment star is now the host of the Syfy channel series Robot Combat League airing Tuesdays at 10 p.m. ET.
After years of being one of the best speakers on WWE programming, Jericho was asked what it was about the offer to do Robot Combat League that made the wrestling legend make the jump to TV host:
When you have a lot of opportunities coming across your desk like I do, some of them are really cool, some of them are really bad and some of them are just mind-blowingly interesting. So when I heard the show that wanted me to host it and it was about eight-foot tall, giant fighting robots, how could you not be interested in that? That’s exactly what it is. The best way to describe it is like a real life Real Steel, if you saw that movie, eight-foot tall, fighting robots controlled by humans. They move fast, they punch hard, they have 2,000 PSI punches that could basically kill you if they hit you in the face. We have created robots that could kill humans, so when in 10 years they take over the world, you’ll know you saw it on the Syfy channel first.
The show does sound amazing, and hosting a television program sounds like something Jericho was born to do—especially after the success of Jericho's Highlight Reel on WWE TV.
Y2J has always been heralded as one of the best mic workers in the wrestling business, so the natural evolution into a television host is not shocking to anyone that has followed his career.
No matter what the future holds for Jericho—whether it be more hosting gigs, more shows with Fozzy or another return in the WWE—he will give the project he is working on his all and give the fans exactly what they want.