WWE Superstar Chris Jericho Changing His Image on ABC’s “Downfall”
By Fred Topel
HollywoodNews.com: Chris Jericho is a superstar of the WWE. Even though he’s a “bad guy,” he’s held record championships, including WWE’s first undisputed title. TV viewers will get to see a new side of Jericho on the game show Downfall. He hosts from atop a 100 foot building, while contestants answer questions. Wrong answers lead to prizes, and family members, dropped from the roof (on bungee cables where people are concerned.)
“One of the great things about me being on Downfall is that it does give me a chance to show who I am as a personality,” Jericho said in an exclusive interview with Hollywood News. “Forget about wrestling, Chris Jericho the character, Chris Jericho the personality and the charisma that I have which you hone over the years of working in the WWE. That’s also from acting and from having my own radio show and from being the lead singer of a rock n’ roll band. All that stuff comes in handy when you stand 100 feet off the ground hosting a show in front of millions of people.”
The heights of Downfall bear some comparison to Jericho’s wrestling career. He flies off the top rope to slam into his opponent in the ring. Only the height has increased now. “The first time I ever was in a ring, I was looking up at the top rope and going, ‘That’s not very high at all.’ Then once you get up there looking down, well, it’s a little bit higher up than you think. I think that’s some of the issues that some of the contestants on Downfall had. When you’re standing at the bottom looking up, it doesn’t look too bad. When you’re up there the other way around, it’s a lot more intimidating so it was kind of like being on the top rope when you’re ready to jump off, except the top rope’s only about four feet off the ground in comparison to being 100 feet off the ground for Downfall.”
Remember, a large part of wrestling happens outside the ring. The performers have to trash talk each other and rile up the crowds to set up their dramatic storylines. That prepared Jericho to host a TV show.
“They all stem from the same place. It’s all show business. It’s all about ingratiating yourself with the fans and getting them involved in what you’re doing. So to be the game show host, you’re kind of being the party host. You’re the ringleader of the show. That’s kind of similar to what you do when you’re in the ring. You get them involved whether they love you or they hate you. They have to want to see you and pay money to see you. That’s kind of the same thing you do when you’re acting or when you’re a musician or any of those things. It all comes to just being an entertainer, being charismatic and having a good personality and getting people involved in what you’re doing.”
Other star wrestlers have hosted game shows before too, but Jericho is confident enough to talk smack to them. Now I feel silly for comparing Downfall to American Gladiators. “I’m much better of a game show host than Hulk Hogan ever was and our show is a much better game than Gladiators too so I think that’s kind of a bad analogy.”
In the ring, Jericho usually wears spandex tights to fight, so Downfall will show him in a different fashion presentation. “I wear a fancy pants suit,” Jericho joked.
It’s important for Jericho that people see him in a new way. Even though people understand that wrestling is a performance, they find it hard to separate him from WWE’s Chris Jericho.
“Like I said, it’s show business. Some people still can’t figure out the difference sometimes but that’s kind of half the fun of being good at what you do. You can manipulate people into believing something that isn’t necessarily true, but you want them to believe it because that’s where we’re going in the course of the show.”
If you are interested in learning more about the real Chris Jericho, he has a second autobiography coming out with a third already formulating. The first book, A Lion’s Tale, has been a hit. “It’s not a wrestling book, more than it’s just a follow your dreams coming of age type of a story. I think you can relate to it if you’re a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker. It doesn’t necessarily have to be about wrestling. It’s about this kid who had this dream when he was young and tried to figure out how the hell to make it true. So I get great feedback all across the board from it.”
See Jericho on Downfall, premiering June 22 on ABC.
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