AEW World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho recently spoke with SI.com to discuss the ongoing changes his character has seen during his legendary career. Jericho is proud of what he accomplished when he was part of WWE, but he explained how remaining a stagnant character with “The List” is something he doesn’t want.
“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,” said Jericho. “It’s hard to leave all the old gimmicks and catchphrases, and take a chance, but if you don’t do that, it’s like DX coming to the ring in 2019 and yelling ‘Suck it!’ It looks like a relic from the past, and I never wanted to be that.
“If I was still in the WWE, I would still have to be doing ‘The List’ and it would feel so old,” continued Jericho. “I love all the great stuff I did in the past, but to go out there and say ‘RAW is Jericho’ or ‘I’m the Ayatollah of Rock ‘n’ Rolla’ would really feel like a rock and roll band that tours that never puts on a new record and tours every summer.”
Jericho derives inspiration from classic rock artists like David Bowie and The Beatles when thinking about longevity and staying relevant during his career.
“I always appreciate when bands play new songs, because I’ve been playing new songs, too. Otherwise, for me, there’s no reason to continue on. There is a lot of evolving in this character, as there has also been in my own life since I started wrestling,” said Jericho. “David Bowie, that’s the one for me who has been an inspiration. He always changed, and he had so much longevity. The Beatles were around for 10 years, and The Beatles did so much changing in 10 years, it’s ridiculous, but Bowie took that to the next level by doing it for 50 years. I always appreciated and admired that.”
Jericho wants to create new roles and leave the old personas in the past, similar to how actors play different characters in film and television. He’s adamant that certain characters like ‘Y2J’ remain in the past.
“Y2J feels like a lifetime ago,” Jericho said. “There are still people that chant it sometimes, but to me, it’s like going to a Johnny Depp movie and he’s playing Captain Jack Sparrow, but you’re chanting for 21 Jump Street. It’s two completely different characters, played by the same guy, but one character is old and one is new. ‘The List’ was massively popular, and now I’m ‘Le Champion.’ If you like something I do, you better enjoy it. When it’s done, it’s done.”