Chris Jericho Explains The Dynamics Of Fans Cheering Heels Until They Turn Babyface

"When I first came to WCW, I was kinda miscast."

Chris Jericho entered WCW at a transitional time for professional wrestling and believes his bright smile and blonde hair made him appear a bit like a relic of the past.


"So when you see a guy coming in and slapping hands and being a good-looking guy," Jericho explained on an episode of "Basic!," noting that even three years prior he'd have female fans in the palm of his hand, but not in 1996; not with the rise of "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and other edgier babyfaces of the era, blurring the black and white morality of wrestling, which led to a cold response from the crowd.

"At this point, they're like, 'Nah, this guy's too squeaky clean.'"

Jericho says that he decided to turn heel so that he could better show off his personality.

"When you're a heel, you don't have to color inside the lines. You can do whatever you want."

Jericho's Peak As A Heel

"It's a lot easier to make people hate you than it is to make people like you, but once they start really hating you that's when they start to really like you," Jericho continued, citing famous movie villains like Darth Vader, The Terminator, and The Joker.


Jericho believes that fans tend to respect the competency of a good villain, noting that horror legend Freddie Krueger soon became the center of the Nightmare on Elm Street franchise, as fans began to relish his kills, "he's way more interesting than the victims."

Jericho says that the peak of his career as a heel was in 2008 when he felt that he'd locked into a much more actorly presence, even getting attacked on the street and called out for his ungrateful attitude by fans, but also noting that it is important to be aware of the fans' responses, as they'll let a wrestler know when it's time to embrace them.

"There's only so far that you can take it and then people start really wanting to like you more, and that's when you've gotta switch."


If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit "Basic!" with an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.