Former six times World champion Chris Jericho recently did a Q & A with Backsportspage.com where he talked about a lot things including his book, his view on the current WWE locker room, his former colleague Chris Benoit’s shocking death, having a creative input in WWE and a lot interesting stuffs. Here are some highlights:
In the Beginning of Undisputed you stated there was a delay because of a disclaimer of Chris Benoit. Can you talk about that decision and the process of writing King of the World?
No, it was chosen by me personally. There was no real push back from the book company. It was all me. I had to put a little bit of a forward in there because Chris (Benoit) is talked about so much in the book in a favorable way. I had to put a little something in. This wasn’t a major thing to hold the book back. When book one did well, we got the offer from them to do book two and when book two did well then we got an offer for book three. There is no way I can begin the process for another two years for a fourth book. When I wrote the “Best in the World” I could tell you that I just didn’t have enough stories to write within the year time frame. Then I realized I have too many stories and I have to put some aside for a fourth book. That’s why I am so proud of book three because it happened in the shortest of time. It’s the most suffice and story wise the strongest because of things that happened in that time frame.
In the book you had a chapter entitled the Joker. You talked about getting lost in your character and your experiences with Shawn Michaels and Rey Mysterio and how dark you became. Can you go back and describe rehashing that time frame.
Yeah, people don’t understand we play characters on TV and it is acting. When you become very good at what we do, you become attached and into the character you play. I was such an evil role on TV and was doing it so well that I felt I was the best on the planet . I felt I was the best I the world at what I did and a lot of people agreed. Not all the time, but on certain nights and at certain times. Listen you do drop into a character and it is very dark and it’s the type of character that people attacked on the streets for real. People were literally attacking me on the street. People knew that wrestling is a show, but they pointed at me and said that guy was real. When you look at how Heath Ledger passed away with the pills and he couldn’t get out of the darkness of the Joker character. If you are not an actor or performer you might think that it’s a little crazy, but as a performer you drop down so far it’s like inception and you are not really sure how to get back to the real person. It was a really a dark time for me on screen and off as I really started acting like this person. Not completely but elements of that character remained in me at all times.
How involved are you with your creative and the material you are involved with on TV?
You could read about that in “Best in the world”. When you read it you could see how much involvement and input I had with my programs with Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio and CM Punk. I was involved with the creative aspect as they used my ideas, not all of them but I was very involved with them. When I came in to the WWE in 1999 I helped write my own stuff, but over time we bought in more writers. I work with the writers in collaboration. Nobody ever gives me a piece of paper and tell me to say things on the air. For other guys they do that and it works for them. They have to gain a trust on what they do between them and the company. You are able to work out and gain the experience to know what you are doing and know who you are. It takes experience on what you can get across as a performer in your promo and the storyline . Sometimes the boss will go with your suggestions and sometimes he won’t and if he doesn’t want to do it then there is not thing you could do. The more I could interject more of my ideas into my character and add my own personality into my storyline and in my promo the better it’s gonna be. Everybody is in their own case by case basis but in my case everything is in collaboration and it has to be. I cannot do any other way.
Do guys have the option to be hands on and have input?
Some guys don’t have that option because they don’t have the experience. You pretty much have to do what they are told. I am not doing it because I am such a visionary, I do it because I have the experience and the trust and it takes a while to earn that and get that. When you do get the trust then you can branch out on your own. Until you do get that then you have to do what you are too told do like you would at any job. Certain guys will break free and figure it out and become bigger characters and the own that become Hall of Famers.
What is the difference between the WWE and WCW ring style?
Once again there is a certain WWE style which is taking your time and learning what you’re doing, it takes some time to figure it out when you worked in some other organizations a little bit of time to figure it out for yourself. I figured it out in 2008 with the suit and tie Jericho. I know people think there is a mythical WWE style but it is a real thing. It’s not one of those things that hold you down, or chains you down. It teaches you how to work properly, and how to have the best match you could possibly have and I didn’t learn that until I got to the WWE because I was never taught that way.
Do you feel that there is not enough experience now in the WWE locker? You have guys that are in and out. Is it difficult to build new talent?
There is a bunch of young guys now. You can’t just bring in guys who have experience anymore. It’s not the way it used to be. They have guys training these kids from the inside but things have changed. It’s not their fault it’s the way it is. It was a very magical time in the early 2000’s because you had guys who had ten to twenty years experience in this industry all together in the same place. That made it so magical because of guys who had been through trenches already. Sadly you are not going to have that anymore so you have guys learning as they go. They have to create new guys, new stories, new situations but it will take time. The company is in the right direction and in good shape as new talent is currently being developed.