Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Jericho home and he's ready to rock

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WWE superstar Chris Jericho isn't going to let a pile of rocks stop him from grabbing a pizza at D-Jay's Restaurant.

Now based in California, the former Winnipegger says he caught wind of the controversy surrounding his favourite local haunt, which saw the restaurant's neighbour pile tonnes of boulders to prevent patrons from parking on his adjacent lot.

"When you get a place like that that's kind of an institution, people are always going to find a way to go there," Jericho said over the phone from California. "I make a point to go to D-Jay's. That's pretty much the place for me.

"I think I would just walk over the rocks, I don't care. The pizza's too good. Not gonna let a couple rocks stop me."

Jericho may have to order his pizza to go since he's only going to be in town for one day.

After a 15-month hiatus, Jericho suddenly appeared on WWE's Monday Night RAW on Jan. 2. This set the stage for his return to his hometown on Friday night.

The WWE confirmed that Jericho will be a part of the SuperShow at the MTS Centre, and he might be just as excited as the fans themselves.

"Its always great to come back to Winnipeg, its always a blast for me," Jericho said. "That's where I grew up and where I got an appreciation for wrestling, for music and for everything that I'm into. There are great fans in Winnipeg. For everything I've ever done, the fans in Winnipeg have always been there, so it's exciting."

Jericho's return to Winnipeg is just one of two major comebacks to hit the city in the past year and, as someone who grew up here, Jericho was just as much of a Winnipegger as anyone else here on the day the Jets made their triumphant return.

"We all know how crazy Winnipeggers are for hockey, and I'm sure that's the best building in the whole league to play in and it's going to stay that way for years and years and years to come. And the Jets are responding, they're doing great. It's fun to open up the paper every day and see what the standings are, who's scoring and who's doing good. I'm a huge Winnipeg Jets fan, I always have been but now it's bigger than ever, probably."

As for having a favourite Jets player, Jericho said he's got a couple.

"Probably (Evander) Kane, he's my favourite," Jericho said. "I'm still trying to figure out how to pronounce (Byfuglien)'s name, so when I figure that out he'll be one of my favourites, too."

The last time Jericho performed with the WWE in Winnipeg was back in January 2009.

Growing up here, Jericho is used to the harsh weather January brings, but said he enjoys seeing the reactions of some of the other wrestlers who aren't so accustomed to the frigid weather.

"I was laughing my head off last time because I set myself up right by the door, so I could watch everybody walk into the arena and see the varying degrees of pain, shock and astonishment on their faces as they walked through the door," Jericho said. "You don't know anything about cold until you've been to Winnipeg in January."

"I have... one day in Winnipeg, and I was like, 'Well, I'm not gonna bother packing a super warm jacket because I don't have room for it.' I know I'm gonna be paying the price for that 18 hours I'm in The Peg for not bringing a jacket."

Jericho said he always loves the reaction he gets in Winnipeg, but finds that he is well-received no matter where he goes across the country.

"When you go back to Canada, anywhere in Canada, people really cheer for you, it's so typical Canadian," Jericho said. "I could go to Halifax, where I've been probably two times in my life and people will go crazy for you. We're definitely very proud of our own no matter where we are, or what city we're in."

While no opponent has yet been named for Jericho on Friday, he promises that it will be the "greatest night" of the fans' lives. While Jericho has departed from and returned to the WWE a couple times now, he said he's going to be around for a while now.

"I have no intentions of leaving anytime soon, I'm in the best shape of my life I feel great. The thing for me is I always have lots of other stuff going on and I always have. So sometimes I leave to work on other projects, but I'll always come back."

Jericho's band Fozzy just signed a major record deal with Century Media Records, which Jericho said is the result of 12 years of hard work paying off.

"When I was growing up in Winnipeg I wanted to be two things: I wanted to be a wrestler and I wanted to be in a rock and roll band and I've been lucky enough to have both of those dreams come true."

jordan.thompson@freepress.mb.ca

Preview:

WWE SuperShow

MTS Centre

Friday at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets $15.00 to $80.50 at Ticketmaster

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 19, 2012 D3

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