From TV to wrestling, Chris Jericho is the king of the comeback

(Steve Wilkie)

Despite the show’s long hiatus, it wasn’t hard getting back into the character – after all, it’s an exaggerated version of Jericho himself, not entirely unlike his personas in the wrestling ring. Here we are, two Winnipeggers headlining the Tokyo Dome … It’s like Mayweather versus McGregor in a match you’d never thought was going to happen, because it’s so outside the box.”
To watch season 2 of But I’m Chris Jericho!, go to the CBC TV app or click on cbc.ca/watch. But when you all have the same name it’s kind of difficult. It’s like Tony Danza – all the characters he plays are called Tony. “Every character you play is different. To exclaim, “Do you know who I am?” in earnest is, he says, “the worst thing you can say.”

‘Comedy is very natural for me:’ Chris Jericho2:14

Performer and wrestler

An old pro wrestling adage is that the best way to grab an audience’s attention is to simply play an exaggerated version of yourself – your own self with the volume turned up. It’s kind of funny.”
To those unfamiliar with him, Jericho’s multimedia forays might seem like he’s struggling to define himself as more than simply a wrestler. “I got this call about a year ago that CBC was interested in doing a second season. Their friendship would implode in an outlandish variety show called the Festival of Friendship that wrestling critic Brandon Stroud called “the greatest Raw segment of all time.”

But his most surprising comeback yet will culminate in a match no one thought would ever happen. But he sees the show as the natural extension of his work in the ring. When the idea of a Jericho-Omega match was floated to him, he says he found it “creatively stimulating.”
Wrestlers under contract with WWE almost never compete with rival promotions, but Jericho’s contract ended in May, allowing him to wrestle elsewhere if he wanted. So to me, I’ve always been an entertainer.”
His best-remembered antics in wrestling exemplify this, from debuting in 1999 by immediately pestering their top stars like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, to reading off a supposed list of 1,004 wrestling holds off a giant spool of paper. Take, for example, his return to U.S.-based World Wrestling Entertainment in 2007 after a years-long absence: preceded by weeks of cryptic promotional videos challenging fans to “crack the code,” he arrived to a thunderous applause, wearing a ludicrously ostentatious sequined silver vest. “So I love it. In the second season, he’s a few ladder rungs higher, having landed a supporting gig on a third-tier sci-fi show called Star Crusaders. “It was one of those things that I thought was never going to happen again, so when it did, it was a real blessing and a bonus.”

Jericho and his co-star Michelle (Mayko Nguyen) pose on the set of a low-tier sci-fi show called Star Crusaders in a scene from But I’m Chris Jericho! Every character I play is still called Chris Jericho. I was super, like, blown away and excited, but also, what a surprise,” Jericho told CBC News. This role has Jericho taking himself just a little too seriously, and comedy naturally ensues from thinking he’s too big of a star to deal with the indignities that befall him. YOU MUST WATCH THE SHOWDOWN, LIVE FROM TOKYO, 04 JANUARY 2018, ONLY ON https://t.co/cEFFsYKcrQ pic.twitter.com/xQf5Qpheu6—
@njpwglobal

“When you’re from Winnipeg, you follow the other Winnipeggers. Originally produced in 2013 by Insight Productions, it debuted on CBC last year. The heart of the story is informed by Jericho’s own experience trying to kickstart his acting career. And this is what I’ve been reduced to?'”

Jericho says he’s never crossed the line to become the egomaniac his on-screen character can be. (Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

“[I] would go to these auditions, where there was you know, 15 guys who looked just like me and were saying one line for you know, National Lampoon’s Beer Fest,” he says. “But I’m like, ‘But I’m Chris Jericho! It was all six-foot-eight, three hundred pound guys and I knew I’d never be the biggest guy on the show, but I could be the best character, with the best charisma, the best personality. In the first season, Jericho found himself on the outs of the wrestling business and struggling to find his footing in the film and television industry. This past week, Jericho appeared in a video for New Japan Pro Wrestling to challenge their U.S. Dream match in Japan

Fast forward to the 2010s, and Jericho had largely faded from the main event, having transitioned to other work like hosting his podcast, touring with his heavy metal band Fozzy and competing on Dancing with the Stars. I have a fan base! Champion, Kenny Omega – who also happens to hail from Winnipeg. Jericho’s band emerges from wrestling shadow

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But he again proved he was the master of the comeback with a stellar year in 2016 with the WWE, allying with fellow Canadian Kevin Owens. I have some notoriety! His return to filming a show may be slightly less raucous than that night, but it’s no less exciting, especially for Jericho himself. Chris Jericho has made a career out of surprising comebacks. (Adam Taylor/AP photo/ABC)

If anything, Jericho (real name Chris Irvine, son of former NHL player Ted Irvine) has had to work hard to keep track of all the versions of himself he plays across all media – the struggling actor in But I’m Chris Jericho!, his persona in pro wrestling, which oscillates from plucky hero to maniacal villain on a quarterly basis; and even, he slyly admits, the media-friendly persona he fashions when doing interviews. “When I started out as a wrestler, I wasn’t big enough. It will be his first match outside the WWE in 17 years. Jericho is also a musician and the frontman of the heavy metal band Fozzy, seen here in Los Angeles in 2010. The second season of But I’m Chris Jericho!, a six-episode comedy series streaming on CBC.ca, comes nearly five years after he shot the first season. I knew there was this guy named Kenny Omega that was killing it in New Japan: the top guy, having the greatest matches in the world,” said Jericho. The two will meet January 4 in the Tokyo Dome at Wrestle Kingdom 12. Jericho and Cheryl Burke perform on the celebrity dance competition show Dancing with the Stars in 2011.