Breaking down the "Waltz of Jericho"
He’s the first-ever Undisputed Champion, an accomplished rock star and a New York Times best-selling author. But on Monday, Chris Jericho begins his quest to dominate the dance floor when he makes his debut on ABC’s Dancing with the Stars.
Amidst Jericho’s recent war of words on Twitter with WWE Champion The Miz – during which they criticized one another’s questionable grooming and wardrobe choices throughout the years – WWE.com’s Joey Styles caught up with “the best in the world at what he does” to talk about his dance training with DWTS partner Cheryl Burke, returning to WWE and what he really thinks of The Awesome One.
WWE.com: What made you decide to go on DWTS?
Jericho: This was the third time they gave me the opportunity. Last year they gave me the full-court press, but it was WrestleMania time and as anyone in WWE can tell you, WrestleMania is all consuming. They asked me again in September but I was about to tour Europe with Fozzy. I couldn’t turn them down this time.
I really want to show the Hollywood elites that WWE Superstars are the most entertaining and charismatic people on the planet. The Hollywood elites play down the influence of WWE and the WWE Universe. They are very misinformed and snobbish toward WWE, the WWE Superstars and the WWE Universe and I want to change that for all of us.
WWE.com: Do you have any dancing experience?
Jericho: Who does have ballroom dancing experience? [laughing] I have rhythm from being a singer, balance and leverage from wrestling and experience performing in front of a live audience from being a WWE Superstar.
WWE.com: What is training for DWTS like?
Jericho: Training for DWTS is the hardest training I’ve ever done. Dancing is eight hours a day of yoga, aerobics and calisthenics. Training for DWTS is very similar to my early wrestling training. You have to use balance and leverage in both dancing and wrestling. You need the drive to work hard and be the best you can. Maybe most importantly, you have to entertain everyone in the audience, all the way to the very last row. If you are competing at WrestleMania in front of over 70,000 people at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, you can’t just entertain the fans in the first row. You have to entertain everybody.
WWE.com: Tell us about your partner, Cheryl Burke.
Jericho: Cheryl is the Yoda of DWTS because she’s the best teacher they’ve ever had. Cheryl is also the Shawn Michaels of DWTS because she is the best dancer they’ve ever had and makes everyone she’s performing with look their best, maybe even better than they really are. She’s got a great personality for a teacher. She doesn’t stroke my ego and doesn’t tell me what I want to hear. She pushes me. Dancing is her world and having her as a partner is a huge asset. We are “Team Chericho” and we are going to win DWTS for all of the Cherichoholics.
WWE.com: Are we ever going to see you back in WWE?
Jericho: One of the reasons I’m not in WWE now is DWTS. You have to be 100 percent physically and mentally devoted to one or the other. You can’t do both. I’m sure I’ll be back. I have to return to WWE to take my persona back. I watched Raw on Monday and felt like I was having an out of body experience. I was watching myself on live TV! Then I realized I hadn’t gotten that ugly and become that bad of a wrestler and realized I was actually watching the current WWE Champion, The Miz.
Oh, snap. Speaking of The Miz, The Awesome One’s verbal jabs at Jericho’s attire and hairstyles through the years inspired WWE.com to compile a collection of his “Most Outrageous Looks.” Take a look back at the over-the-top (and often puzzling) coifs and clothing worn by the first-ever Undisputed Champion by clicking here.