What’s Next for Chris Jericho?

Chris Jericho returns to the WWE for The Greatest Royal Rumble, but he has plenty of other plans for the future.

Chris Jericho could easily make an argument for inheriting James Brown’s nickname as “the hardest working man in show business.” Aside from a storied professional wrestling career that’s lasted more that 25 years, he fronts the rock band Fozzy, writes best-selling books, hosts a popular podcast on Westwood One, and dabbles in acting. He’s devoting much of his energy these days to his own celebrity cruise that sets sail in October to the Bahamas, the Rock ‘N’ Wrestling Rager at Sea. Before that, he’s booked for WWE’s special event The Greatest Royal Rumble on April 27th. 

Despite the diversity of his many projects, it’s Jericho’s work between the ropes that earned him the most fame. Before he was Y2J or the Ayatollah of Rock ‘N’ Rolla, he was one-half of the Thrillseekers with fellow Canadian Lance Storm. Though he had wrestled throughout Canada and in Mexico and Germany, it was his teaming with Storm that first brought him some–albeit small–recognition in the U.S. during their 1995 stint in the southern-based Smoky Mountain Wrestling promotion.

When Den of Geek asked Jericho if he ever revisits those old Smoky Mountain matches, he replied, “No, not really. I’ve seen enough wrestling over my lifetime. Sometimes something will turn up on my Twitter feed of my older stuff, if somebody posts something like a GIF or something along those lines. But most of the time I’ve got far too much stuff going on to hunt through YouTube and old VHS tapes looking for matches of me in Painstville Kentucky.” (He also conceded that he doesn’t actually keep VHS recordings of those old matches.)

Though Smoky Mountain didn’t exactly make him a household name, his days there opened up opportunities for work in Japan before he eventually landed in ECW and then WCW. His career truly skyrocketed once he made his way to WWE in 1999, and the highlights over the years since are too many to mention here. The last run he had is one of his most acclaimed and saw the birth of his “You just made this list!” routine, but he didn’t renew his contract last summer, instead looking to concentrate on Fozzy.

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Since a busy tour schedule seemed likely to keep him on the music stage indefinitely, he surprised many by taking on Kenny Omega at New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom 12 in Tokyo. Before the announcement of the particularly brutal match, which saw Jericho give one of his most villainous performances in years, Jericho and Omega sold their rivalry with a realistic-seeming Twitter feud. Of the use of social media, Jericho commented, “I kind of just wanted to do things the way they go these days, to build something before it started, and it worked out.

Jericho is proud of the match against Omega, though he said he doesn’t have anything planned with New Japan in the imminent future. Right now, he’s focused on music and his cruise, the latter of which features a Ring of Honor tournament, live music, and appearances from the likes of Ricky “The Dragon “Steamboat, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, and many others. Those on board can see Jericho perform with Fozzy on the ship, just don’t expect to watch him wrestle. 

“That was never discussed. I have so much to do on the cruise already,“ he said. “I’ll be sitting there watching with everyone else. That’s exactly the way I wanted it.”

He added, “I’m putting the wrestling side of things on standby, which I’ve basically been telling everybody all year” and that “aside from the Saudi Arabia thing, of course, I’m taking off.”

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The Saudi Arabia event he’s referring to is WWE’s Greatest Royal Rumble. It airs live from Jeddah on April 27th at noon on PPV and on the WWE network and features a 50-man Rumble and a Steel Cage match between Brock Lesnar and Roman Reigns. Despite some recent confusing news, Jericho is still slated to be there. The Undertaker versus Rusev in a Casket Match was first announced before WWE switched the plan to ‘Taker versus Jericho only to then quickly revert to the original plan with Rusev.  During a recent appearance on CBS Sports’ In This Corner podcast, Jericho shrugged off this controversy by saying he’s willing to do whatever WWE wants of him there, even if they asked him to “work against Funaki in a Lingerie Match.”

Nonetheless, he emphasized to Den of Geek that this is a one-off appearance, and fans shouldn’t take it as a sign of another run soon afterward. “WWE offices called me up and asked me if I could do it, and it was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” he said. “I happened to be off that day, and I thought it’d be fun. That’s basically the long and short of it. There’s nothing more planned.”

But don’t think this means he’s hanging up his boots for good. The 47-year-old said he’s still got a lot left in the tank and explained why he plans to keep going, “Well, I guess it’s the same reason why when someone asks Mick Jagger why he still plays for the Stones—because they’re still great. So, I’ve never looked at it by age. I’ve never ever once said I’m an old man, I don’t feel old at all. My production—I don’t wrestle full-time, which is probably one the reasons why, and right now I’m not wrestling. I think that’s the longevity, so when I go back, in good shape, probably in better shape than I was ten years ago.”

“I love doing it. It’s not a job to me. It’s fun,” he continued. “I don’t do anything for money now. I do it because it’s fun. And when you’re stimulated creatively by all these other projects going on, it makes it when I go back to wrestling a refreshing, fun thing. There will probably be a time be a time when I pack it up, but right now I’m enjoying it, and I’m it still great at it. So, why stop now?”

You can read our full interview with Chris Jericho right here.