Late last week, Chris Jericho sat down with Sports Illustrated to discuss myriad topics. In addition to New Japan Pro Wrestling and Wrestle Kingdom 14, the current All Elite Wrestling World Champion touched on his career evolution. To be more specific, he discussed his ever-changing persona throughout the years.
Those that have followed Chris Jericho throughout the years saw his presentation in wrestling develop in a number of ways.
For example, in World Championship Wrestling, his character shifted from a do-gooder babyface to a whiny heel who believed WCW was out to get him. Jericho changed even more in the World Wrestling Federation and, later, World Wrestling Entertainment. From bombastic rocker to soft-spoken yet dangerous villain, Jericho’s persona evolved not only in WWE but NJPW and, now, AEW.
Jericho likened such changes to a band releasing new songs over time. “I have a great list of hits, but a lot of those will never be played again because I’m too busy concentrating on new hits and performing at the highest level.” He also didn’t want to become a “relic of the past,” citing D-Generation X reuniting in 2019 as an example. Jericho followed up, “If I was still in the WWE, I would still have to be doing the ‘The List’ and it would feel so old.”
In addition to his ongoing work in AEW, Jericho finds himself returning to NJPW. On Night 2 of Wrestle Kingdom 14, ‘Le Champion’ will face Hiroshi Tanahashi. This match has an interesting wrinkle, though; if Tanahashi wins, Jericho will grant him a shot at the AEW World Championship. For fans that have been clamoring for a partnership between NJPW and AEW, stay tuned.
Jericho spoke positively about his upcoming match with ‘The Ace’ of NJPW. “When I attacked Naito in Korakuen Hall, I wanted to attack Tanahashi,” said Jericho. “But Gedo wanted it to be Naito, which turned out to be great. This is a main-event, money match, and there is a lot of buzz about it.” This match can be seen on NJPW World.
This was an excellent read from Sports Illustrated for a number of reasons. In addition to adding hype to the Jericho/Tanahashi match at Wrestle Kingdom 14, readers received insight on Jericho’s longevity in wrestling. In the sport in question, one cannot simply have excellent matches to succeed. They must be able to evolve and change with the times, which Jericho has done expertly. Everyone will have their favorite “iteration” of Jericho, but there’s no denying his ability to adapt.