Pro Wrestling Illustrated is featuring a lengthy interview with Chris Jericho discussing a number of topics including his recent departure from WWE, why it may force the company to build new stars, Kevin Nash’s criticism that only “established talent” draw money and TNA Wrestling’s continued woes.
On his departure from WWE and if he plans to return:
“Who knows? I’ve never judged my life that way, in terms of, “I’m going to do this and I’m going to do that.” I’ve always kind of gone with my heart. As of right now I don’t see myself returning to WWE any time soon. That’s not to say that I’ll never return, but I have no plans, no schedule, no time line for it. Every fan that I see is like, “Hey when are you coming back? What’s going? What are you doing?” And I’ve never really thought that far ahead. As far as I know right now, I don’t have any plans to come back any time in the near future. Sorry if that disappoints anybody! (laughing)”
If he felt guilty leaving when WWE’s roster was a little thing:
“It may sound selfish, but that’s really none of my concern. That’s how it works man… I don’t have any obligation to the company to stay because they don’t have anybody else. That’s their responsibility. That’s their issue. And I think it’s better for them if they lose a lot of top guys, because then they don’t rely on the same thing over and over again. They’re forced to make changes. They’re forced to use new guys. They’re forced to move forward, which is something they could have done a couple years ago, but they really didn’t. So now they have no choice. The business will be fine without Chris Jericho. It was fine when Shawn Michaels left. It was fine when Bret Hart left. Guys move on. That’s how it works. You can’t stay there forever. Not everybody’s going to be a Ric Flair type of guy or a Hogan type of guy that stays there for years and years and years. I know I’m not. I never planned to be. So if leaving put the company in a lurch, it won’t be in a lurch for long. WWE is going to be just fine without Jericho. They were just fine before I got there, and they’ll be just fine after I’ve left there. It forces them to take a chance with some guys. You know, that’s the bad thing about the business nowadays. Before there were always lots of guys in other countries, and guys climbing up the ranks, and guys that had experience who weren’t with WWE. Now the way that it works is that all your guys are in WWE, and that’s it. And a lot of those guys don’t have a lot of experience, but that’s just the way the business has moved nowadays. So they’re forced to take a chance on guys who they might not have taken a chance on before… So good for them. Like I said, when Steve Austin left, the business was strong. When the Rock was left the business was strong. Me leaving is not going to affect it either way.”
On the continued woes of TNA Wrestling:
“I just think a company with that much talent should be doing better than they are. They’ve had the same ratings for the last three years. It’s just unacceptable with the amount of talent they have there, just as a business. I run my own business as well. I run the business of “Fozzy.” And if somebody’s not performing and we’re not getting bigger, than something has to change. So I just wish they would look at it that way, instead of relying on the same old things and the same old people. They’ve been trying different things and something isn’t clicking. They’ve had the same million and a half viewers for the last three years. Just as an outsider looking in—as any business owner looking in—if you had the same return or the same results after three years, maybe you might want to try something different to make it grow. But maybe that’s their ceiling. Maybe that’s what they can get. And if they can make a profit with that and have a successful company with one a half million people, they don’t care about doing anything differently. It’s not my concern. I’m just calling it as I see it as a business owner and as a fan of wrestling. I would love nothing more than for TNA to get 2 million viewers, 3 million viewers, 10 million viewers. Whatever it takes, I’d love to see that happen. I pull for them every time I hear about them.”
Chris Jericho: The Unedited Press Conference