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Chris Jericho on How Close He Got to Being Named He-Man in Mexico, Rejecting His First-Ever Gimmick

July 11, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Chris Jericho

– During his latest Talk is Jericho, Chris Jericho looked back at his time in Mexico while remembering the late Paco Alonso and remembered how he almost became known as He-Man in the country. Jericho recalled the incident in which he was working for Carlos Elizondo, who decided that a fan vote would be held to determine what his ring name would be, and that the Masters of the Universe character was one of the choices — and, in fact, Elizondo’s favorite.

It’s worth noting that Jericho told this tale in his autobiography A Lion’s Tale, though some of the details are different. Notably, the story he related on the podcast featured far fewer votes, as you’ll see in the highlights below (in the autobiography version there were 864 votes, though it still turned out to be an equally close vote).

On having his gimmick be decided by a vote: “There was a contest to decide my name. Because I wanted to be called Lionheart. I thought that was a great name, kind of an offshoot [because] I was from the Hart Brothers’ Dungeon. The Lionheart, I had long hair like a lion, that sort of thing. So they — [Carlos] Elizondo decided to do, like a contest to see what my name was going to be. And you could — I still have it somewhere — you could cut out this little order form like from the newspaper. Entry form, I guess you’d say. ‘What should Chris Jericho’s wrestling name be here in Mexico?’ Picture of me in the paper, you know. Long hair, muscular guy, hot young babyface, whatever I was. And they gave you three choices, where you could be either — I would either be Lionheart, He-Man, or Chris Powre. And that was Power spelled P-O-W-R-E. And Elizondo really wanted to call me He-Man. He was super-convinced that that was the way to go. And I was like, ‘I can’t be He-Man. Like, what am I gonna do, walk to the ring with a sword to slice my opponents in two? Behead them for the three-count?’ And plus, I already had my heart set on Lionheart. I was always that kind of a guy that when I had my mind set on something, I wouldn’t really listen to what the promoters wanted me to. Even though I was a punk kid who knew nothing.”

On protesting his first-ever in-ring gimmick: The very first match I ever had, on the program it said ‘Cowboy’ Chris Jericho from Casper, Wyoming, because the promoter wanted to call me a cowboy. And I was like, ‘I hate cowboys, I don’t want to be a cowboy.’ As a matter of fact, I even told Brett Como, he’s like, ‘What’s wrong?’ I’m like, ‘They want me to be a cowboy, and they want to call me Cowboy Chris Jericho.’ He says, ‘Well, just tell them you don’t wanna do it. Don’t do it.’ And I’m like, ‘What do you mean, don’t do it? I have a choice? I have an option?’ He’s like, ‘Yeah, just don’t do it.’ Can you imagine now, if a guy before his first match told the promoter ‘No’ on a gimmick idea? If the rules were reversed and that was me, I would have made that kid where a giant Dumb and Dumber cowboy hat, and come to the ring on a damned hobby horse with assless chaps like David Lee Roth at the S Festival in 1983. But instead, they didn’t make me be a cowboy, but they had already printed up the programs so I was listed as ‘Cowboy’ Chris Jericho from Casper, Wyoming.”

On the vote for his ring name: “So those were the three names that I was gonna be, was Lionheart, He-Man, or Chris Powre. And they sent me onto this show, it was called Lucha Sabado or something like that. Where every Saturday night they did kind of this local cable company version of a wrestling show, where the commentators wore masks. And I was like, ‘Why are the hosts of the show wearing masks? Are they on the run from the law, or are they gonna take on other masked hosts?’ Little did I know that fast-forward 28 years, I’d be working for a company where the commentator wears a mask in Excalibur in AEW. But at the time, I thought it was really ridiculous. And I sat down at this talk show and they interviewed me, even though I spoke hardly any Spanish and they spoke hardly any English, and ‘there you go.’ And at the end of the show, they had a news, a piece of paper in an envelope. Where they had the results, and it was like American Idol. Like, ‘In this envelope is the result of his name.’ And they did it for real. Because I was just like, ‘Just say that Lionheart wins.’ And Elizondo was like, ‘No. You’re gonna be whatever the fans vote.’ So they open up the letter, and he’s like, ‘And the winner is…Lionheart!’ And these mariachis start playing and confetti flies through the air, and the new hero of Monterrey is crowned in Lionheart.”

On learning how close the vote was: “As the place was getting cleaned up and everyone was walking out, I went over to the piece of paper just to see what the results were. I read, and it was like, ‘Lionheart, 67 votes. He-Man, 65 votes. 14 for Chris Powre.’ And I was like, ‘What’s worse? The fact that 14 people wanted me to be called Chris Powre, the fact that Lionheart won by two votes only, or the fact that you know, only 147 people voted for this thing. [laughs] How un-over am I?”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Talk is Jericho with a h/t to 411mania.com for the transcription.

article topics :

Chris Jericho, Jeremy Thomas