– World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho was interviewed by ESPN.com to promote this weekend’s WrestleMania 26. Here are some of the highlights:
Besides being the champ on “Smackdown,” you’re also featured heavily on WWE’s new development show “NXT.” What made you want to participate in that show and help out some of these younger wresters? Who do you see as the breakout performers?
Chris Jericho: I wasn’t really given a choice in performing. I was basically just told I was going to be on the show and that was it. But I think it’s a good concept. There are still some bugs that need to be worked out in the system, but I like my protégé, Wade Barrett. I think he’s got great presence and a great character. I also think Daniel Bryan, obviously, is an extraordinary performer as well. Those two guys stand out to me right off the bat.
I think your match with Daniel Bryan went a long way in helping make him a star with the WWE crowd. There was a spot in that match, though, where he flew toward you, but you threw him into the announcers’ table and you could see his rib area instantly bruise. What was supposed to happen on that move?
Chris Jericho: Things happen, man. [laughs] You can’t really say what was supposed to happen, but things happen and that’s just the way it is. Going back to your previous question about what sports fans don’t realize about the business, but you never know what is going to happen, you just have a certain plan that you try to go for. It’s like if I’m playing hockey and I take a slap shot, but it ends up bouncing off of somebody’s head and then goes into the net. You never know what could happen. In that situation with Bryan, that’s not exactly what we had planned, but it ended up better than what we planned because it became such a memorable moment.
A few years ago you took a long hiatus from wrestling. How much longer do you see yourself keeping up your current pace and continuing to wrestle?
Chris Jericho: At this stage of the game, I’m doing the best work of my career and I feel physically great and mentally great, so there’s no reason to think about stopping now. We’ll see what happens, but for right now, I see no end in sight. But who knows, tomorrow I can wake up and give you a whole different story. But when I left, I said I wasn’t going to come back until I felt like I could be better than ever, and I think the work I’m doing is the best of my career and I want to continue to do just that for as long as I can.