Chris Jericho believes that re-invention is the key to longevity in the wrestling business.
Since breaking into the wrestling business in the early '90s, Jericho has undergone many transformations in his nearly 30 years in the sport. His most recent WWE run ended with him going around as a comedy heel who put people on his list. Upon entering free agency and appearing for New Japan, Jericho transformed into a more sadistic character who thrives on violence and beatdowns, dropping the comedy act all together.
Speaking to AMBY's Alicia Atout, Jericho discussed the importance of evolving his character to remain fresh.
"If I go back to WWE, there won't be a list. It doesn't feel right anymore," said Jericho. "For me to walk out there with The List and put someone on it, it just feels like, 'Oh, that's so 2016.' People want to do see it, but I can't allow myself to not continue to be creative. That's why I love working in New Japan. Doing this over-the-top, brutal character and these brutal beatdowns on Kenny Omega and [Tetsuya] Naito, wearing a light-up scarf and sparkly underwear didn't seem to fit anymore."
Jericho seemed to come to this "character re-invention realization" in 2007 when he returned after a two-year hiatus as the same character he was when he left.
"When I came back in 07 as the short-haired Y2J, there was a disconnect. It didn't fit. I had been gone for two years. I didn't look like the same guy and going back with the same catchphrases. It felt stale," Jericho stated. "I knew that it wasn't working and that's why I said, 'I have to completely change everything.' That's why I switched from long pants to tights and got rid of the countdown and started wearing the suit and tie and big words. It's all part of the process of realizing...I don't want to be a nostalgia act. And people don't want it either. It doesn't work. You'll never be more over the second time you do something than you did the first time. You can be D-X until the cows come home, but you'll never be as over as 1997 D-X was. So why not think of something new? That's why I change. You'll never be as over the second time as you were the first"
Jericho's latest gimmick involves dressing up as different characters and sneak attacking opponents. Tetsuya Naito recently mocked Jericho for his use of make-up and claimed that no one is talking about the current IWGP Intercontinental Champion. Jericho is scheduled to face Naito at Wrestle Kingdom 13.
You can listen/watch the full interview with Jericho in the video above.