Chris Jericho Frequently Changed His Hair, Ring Gear For More Marketing Opportunities Like Action Figures
Photo Credit: WWE
Chris Jericho says it’s all about how you market yourself as a professional wrestler.
Chris Jericho appeared on Sports Media with Richard Deitsch and talked about how he’s always made a conscious effort to reinvent himself and stay relevant in the wrestling business. Jericho noted that he was a fan of The Beatles and David Bowie, but that admiration was less about the music and more about the way those acts could change the game with how they presented themselves in the public eye.
“When I first started working on TV every week in WCW and more specifically, in WWE when SmackDown started, and we used to do both shows [before the roster split/brand drafts]. I said people are going to get bored of me pretty quickly if I am on TV twice a week and I look the same and have the same rap, shall we say? ‘We’ve got to change it up.’ I remember the late, great Pat Patterson said to me, ‘You always have different facial hair every week.’ And one of the reasons for that was because it was always something different. Subtly, it was something different,” he added. “I had different tights that I changed every week, and then I noticed that they would make an action figure for every set of tights that I wore and every set of facial hair that I had. So now you’re making more money too, because there’s more diversity of what people can market from you.
“All of those things kind of came from show business, from rock ‘n’ roll, and [asking myself] ‘What I need to do to constantly stay ahead of the curve, to go where the puck is going and not stay where the puck has been,’ because then you fall behind,” Jericho noted, “and I never, even in my early 30s, never wanted to be a nostalgia act in any way, shape or form. And that’s kind of where the whole mindset came from.”
Chris Jericho was then asked if that same mindset could be applied to everyday life, or if it was specific to show business. Jericho said that anyone could do it and cited KISS bassist/frontman Gene Simmons’ advice to him about never being stagnant.
“No, that goes for life. I mean, [KISS bassist/frontman] Gene Simmons told me once, ‘if you are a standing pool of water, you stagnate. The water constantly has to be moving, it constantly has to be refiguring itself and reinventing itself.’ So this is not just for show business, this is a life lesson. I wrote a book — my fourth book is called No Is a Four-Letter Word and it’s basically a self-help book that anybody can read. How I did things in my vocation and in my world, but they can be applicable if you’re a pharmacist or, like you said, an accountant. Challenge yourself. Don’t always be complacent, be happy with what you have. Always be happy with what you have,” Jericho explained, “but don’t be happy in the place that you’re in if you think you can do more because there’s always a way to make it happen.
“You just also have to take a chance sometimes, Richard, like that’s another thing. It’s such a little thing now, but it was a big moment for my career in 2008 when I switched from the Y2J character to this new bad guy character [his suit-wearing character inspired No Country For Old Men]. I switched from long tights to short tights. It was a big deal, and I got rid of Y2J,” he explained, “I got rid of the countdown [Titantron], I got rid of everything that I was known for and said, ‘Do not call me Y2J on commentary. Don’t refer to me as Y2J in any media or any marketing. No more countdown and no more pictures with the long tights, it’s all about this new look and this new image.’
“And once again, KISS is another great example, [my transformation] was like when KISS took off their makeup in 1983. You’re basically changing everything that people know about you and betting on yourself. So you have to bet on yourself and if you bet on yourself and you really believe what you’re doing can be accomplished and be done,” Jericho pointed out, “then I’d say nine times out of ten you’re going to win. That’s what I did and that’s what I’ve done many times.”
Chris Jericho also spoke about why the key demo figures are more important than overall viewership; read his full breakdown on the ratings situation at this link.
Shawn Michaels also recently appeared on WWE’s The Bump and put over how special it is to be still getting action figures a decade after retiring as an in-ring wrestler for WWE; check out his comments about being immortalized in collectibles at this link.
If you use this transcription, credit WrestleZone and link back to this post.