He's a wrestler, writer, actor, musician and podcaster. Yes, Chris Jericho seems to do it all, and now the WWE superstar is looking to do even more.
The host of “Talk is Jericho,” a podcast which airs twice a week, is joining forces with PodcastOne to start a podcast network of his own. The Jericho Network will feature anywhere from 10 to 12 podcasts, and it begins on Thursday, July 7 with the debut of Konnan’s “Keepin IT 100.”
The native of Manhasset, New York, started his podcast in December 2013, featuring guests from all different areas of entertainment. Having spoken to the likes of Paul Stanley, Hulk Hogan and William Shatner, whom Jericho ranks among his favorite guests, the 45-year-old is looking to take the next step in the world of podcasting.
It’s taken Jericho six months to get his network off the ground, and all the while he’s been arguably the best heel in WWE. Making his return to the squared circle in late 2015 as he takes a break from touring with his band, Fozzy, Jericho remains a top performer in his 26th year in the business.
Jericho, who's acting credits include a role in "MacGruber" and "Sharknado 3" spoke with International Business Times about his latest venture, his current run in WWE and much more.
What are your plans for The Jericho Network?
Over the course of the last few years with the success of “Talk is Jericho,” being one of the biggest podcasts in the world and airing that twice a week, I started thinking “how can i expand what 'Talk is Jericho' is all about?” I’m very interested in the podcasting medium. I think there’s a huge, huge future for that. And just knowing how many podcasts I listen to throughout the course of the week, it really has become something that’s replaced listening to music a lot of times. I think the world’s finding that. This bite-sized, hour-long conversation that you can listen to on the way to work, on the way to the gym, at the gym, when you’re mowing your lawn, whatever it may be, very much appealed to me. And obviously looking at the No.1 podcaster in the world being Adam Carolla, how he’s kind of done his business and how he’s grown his podcast empire. One of the things that he does is his own network, something that I started to think about.
It’s going to be a roster of very interesting people that I know are going to be entertaining, that are very good at the medium. Some have done podcasting in the past, some have not. But it’s all about the hosts for me. I don’t care what they talk about. I don’t care what the format of the show is. I just know the people I’m bringing on are very interesting, entertaining people. And it’s not just going to be wrestling, or just music, or paranormal, or pop culture. It’s going to be a mix of all those things. So what I’m trying to do, much like "Talk is Jericho," whether you know who my guest is or not, if you enjoy the show, trust me. You’re going to like every one of my episodes because I don’t have people on that aren’t interesting, no matter whether you’ve heard of them before or not. And it’s the same thing with who I’m choosing to bring aboard as hosts for the people that have their own shows on the Jericho Network.
How big do you expect The Jericho Network to become?
I can’t have podcast after podcast after podcast because it will dilute what I’m doing. So Konnan is the first. I think Konnan is one of the best talkers in the business, very smart, and a diverse array of knowledge for all subjects. So he will be the first, and then I want to roll out a new host and a new show, maybe on a monthly basis after that. I want to start around six to 10 shows at first, definitely no more than 12. And what I’ll do then is decide “ OK, who’s drawing the ratings? who’s making good ad revenue?” Those shows will stay. Which ones are struggling, just like anything else, if you have your own television network, or you have a record company--the bands that are selling stay, the bands that are not move on. And that’s what I’m planning to do with my network, as well. If I can get four to six bonafide hits that are rolling and doing great, and then kind of experiment a little bit for those other four to six shows, I think I’ll have a very versatile, diverse and entertaining network of shows available for people to check out.
You continue to wrestle even though you’ve already done it all in WWE, main eventing WrestleMania and winning the WWE Title. Do you have any goals you still want to accomplish?
Not really. Just to continue to compete at a high level, work with some of the younger guys, which is fun for me to do. And it’s not with the sole intention of just putting everybody over. When it’s time for me to win, I f---ing win. Don’t worry about that. But winning and losing--that’s not putting somebody over. Having great matches and working together and exchanging ideas, and exchanging experiences, concepts and thoughts, that’s putting somebody over. That’s what working together is all about, and for me right now still to be working at a high level, character-wise, in the ring, psychology-wise. Give me a chance to work with these guys who are like 10 years younger than me. From Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens to (Seth) Rollins and (Dean) Ambrose, (Roman) Reigns and those type of guys. And a guy like AJ Styles, even though he’s almost my age, to help him learn what the WWE is all about, he picked it up very quickly. So that to me is the fun part, and that’s why I’m really enjoying this run.
Fozzy, we made a concerted idea to not do anything in 2016. We’re gonna do a new record, it’ll be released early 2017, then it’s full-time back in Fozzy. Until then, I’m having so much fun in the WWE. I plan to continue for the next who knows how long it is. I’d never say, but suffice it to say it’s going to be for a little while longer for sure.
You’re currently doing some of the best work that you’ve ever done in WWE. Where does this run rank for you?
From the moment I came back this was always the plan. So everything that I did, me turning on AJ, that was kind of already written. It was fun for me to go out there as a babyface, knowing that the character is kind of stale, knowing that when I’m leading a rooty-tooty-booty chant it’s not very cool. I don’t know what rooty-tooty-booty means, but I also planted seeds to eventually turn heel. So it is one of my favorite years. It’s definitely my best year since 2008, 2009, no doubt about that. And you never know what’s gonna stick. If I was a band to have two late career top-10 hits, so to speak,cwith "stupid idiot" and "drink it in, man," who would have ever expected that? Who would ever expect that I would make “stupid idiot” a catchphrase?
But that happens, so it really has been a lot of fun from a character standpoint, from a work standpoint, and getting a chance to kind of lock horns with this whole new generation of guys who all have the same mindset that I do. Just wanting to have a great match and just wanting to make their mark in the business. So it’s up there for me for sure. I don’t think anybody expected it, including me, but now that it’s the case, I’m riding it.
Is it harder for you to be a heel these days because you’ve been so popular for so long?
No, not at all. It’s very easy because I know what to do. I can turn a crowd in a second. I can turn babyface in a second and turn heel in a second and probably do it both multiple times on the same night. Because I have 26 years of experience. Most people in the business right now don’t have that.
I’m also not afraid to commit. I know how to come across as a d---, very, very easily. And I still get people that chant for me. Last night, there was a section chanting “Y2J.” I just gave them the finger. Shut them up completely. Did I get in trouble for it? I’m not gonna tell you, but I don’t give a s---. You want to try and go against the script and do what I don’t want you to do? I’ll get you, believe me. It’s very easy. I’ll play you like a f---ing fiddle, man. I’m the master of puppets pulling your strings at all times.
Today’s wrestlers sometimes get criticism for acting like the “cool heel” and trying not to get booed. Do you think that’s the case?
I don’t know about that so much. I do know the concept of what a heel and a babyface is is the grayest that it’s ever been in the history of the business. I don’t think it really matters. I think what’s gonna happen is the business is going to evolve into what happens in the NFL and NHL, where people just cheer for the teams that they like. That’s just the way it goes. And once and a while you’ll get a heel team for whatever reason in football or baseball or hockey, you know the team that has a couple of loudmouths that people just don’t like. I think that’s what you’re gonna have. I think there’s a lot of guys who, I’m not gonna say they don’t try and be heels, but if you’re entertaining, you take a guy like Kevin Owens. He’s a great heel, but he’s also super entertaining, so what’s there to boo?
For me, it’s a little different. I don’t have merch on the stands for you to buy. That’s not my gameplan. I don’t want people sitting there wearing Chris Jericho shirts when they’re supposed to be booing me. So that’s maybe one of the reasons why I can still be a bit more of a heel than others, because I don’t do things the same way. I’m not afraid to flip the script. I’m not afraid to improv. I’m not afraid to get pissed off and have a little tantrum. So I don’t know if it’s guys don’t want to be heels, but I think it’s just because it’s not the same as it used to be as far as real life, red hot heat. That’s harder and harder to get because people know this is showbiz. You can still fool them for a while, but if you’re super entertaining they’re gonna end up liking you no matter what they do.
Are you surprised how much WWE has talked about Roman Reigns’ wellness policy suspension on television?
I think they have to because he’s the top guy in the company and his push over the last few years has been astronomical, and he gets a huge reaction, Whether you like him or not, he’s definitely a polarizing figure, and people make noise for him. So I think by acknowledging it, you own it. You’ve got a big zit on the end of your nose and you say "look at my zit on the end of my nose" and people kind of get disarmed. They can’t use that as ammunition anymore. It’s the elephant in the room. They’ve said it enough times, so I don’t think it really matters.
It’s not like the guy shot somebody or robbed a bank or something like that. There was a suspension and in less than two weeks he’s gonna be back and they’ll be one night of people heckling him probably for a bit and then it’s gonna be gone, move onto the next thing. So I think it was a smart move for them to take ownership of it because if you don’t then you’re almost manifesting it to a bigger thing. It’s like you’re trying to hide it, and they’re not trying to hide it. It shows that the wellness policy is 1,000 percent legit. Because if there was anybody they’d try to protect it would be him.