Chris Jericho has revealed that the constant evolution of his wresting persona was inspired by music icon and Glam Rock legend David Bowie.
Over the course of his 30-year career, the Chris Jericho name may have stayed the same, but his character has been in a perpetual state of evolution.
From the Sexy Beast to the Ayatollah Of Rock and Rolla, all the way to Y2J, Le Champion and The Painmaker. Jericho has never been afraid to alter and change his character to fit the next stage of his career.
Speaking with Jennifer Eckhart on the Reinvented podcast, Chris Jericho opened about his numerous character changes. The former World Champion explained that idea was inspired by David Bowie, a man who also had a penchant for pushing the creative envelope.
“Obviously, the moves are one thing, but I think it’s more of the look,” Jericho said. “There’s a t-shirt that came out a few years ago. It was called, ‘The Faces of Jericho’, and there was literally like, 12 or 15 different eras. And I always like the type of performers that you could dress up as on Halloween. You knew instantly, oh, okay, that’s Paul Stanley with the star. That’s Hannibal Lecter or whatever. So for me, there’s a lot of different eras of Jericho, and every Halloween, I always have fans sending pictures of their Jericho costumes and that’s all different eras.
“It’s very inspired by David Bowie. Bowie was always different every album, and there’s different characters from Ziggy Stardust to Aladdin Saint, and you can see these different areas. You could always see the difference in the look, and there’ll always be a difference in the sound, but it always boiled down to still David Bowie, and that’s what I wanted to do with Jericho because I realized that we’re on TV every week, 52 weeks a year. If you don’t change something up, it’s very easy for people to just kind of get bored or not be challenged by what you’re doing, and I never wanted that.”
The first ever AEW Champion continued by explaining how he never wanted to become a nostalgia act, and remains determined to keep things fresh.
“So I always wanted to change my look, something different, a move, catchphrase, whatever it may be because once again, that keeps things fresh. I never want to be a nostalgia act just going off of something that I did even three years ago. When people say, ‘Hey, put me on the list List of Jericho!’ Well, that was a fun idea, but it like 1000 years ago. I would never want to do the List of Jericho because it had a great moment in time, and if I bring it back, now it just feels like I’m beating a dead horse. There’s other things I can think of to replace that. That’s kind of what my mindset always is.”
Jericho continued by discussing how his in-ring style has changed as he’s got older. While some stars are forced to completely alter how they wrestle with age, Jericho explained that as he was never super high-flying or super fast, his in-ring work hasn’t involved any huge changes.
“I think just kind of pacing myself,” Jericho stated. “For the last probably five or six years, I’ve only done a handful of matches a year. I think AEW, maybe 17 a year that I have to do, and you change your style a bit. Changed my training regimen a bit and I think that’s just being smarter as a wrestler, using your psychology and your storytelling abilities at 50, which is crazy. I can’t believe I’m f*cking 50. I never would have guessed that.
“I was never super high flying or super fast. I was just kind of good at a lot of things but not really great at one specific thing. So I think my wrestling style now is pretty much what it was 15 years ago. I’m just a lot smarter. So I can use it more to my advantage of telling stories because wrestling is all connecting with the audience, and it’s all storytelling. That’s what it is.
That’s kind of what I can really do is use the experience because you can’t teach experience. Either you have it or you don’t and to me that’s kind of the real beauty of what wrestling is, is that style of the angles and the stories and that sort of thing. So to me that’s why I think I’m still able to perform at a high level because I can use my brain way more than I use my body.”
H/t to Wrestling Inc for the transcription.