Chris Irvine, better known as Chris Jericho, the World Wrestling Entertainment star, received a warm welcome from his hometown Friday.
Although he came to wow Winnipeggers at the WWE Raw event held at the MTS Centre Friday night, he also entertained Creative Communications students at Red River College, as the school paid tribute to one of its most distinguished alumni.
A crowd of more than 50 people gathered in the CGA Manitoba room at the Princess Street campus to listen to the charismatic bestselling author, wrestler, actor, and radio personality receive the 2008 Distinguished Alumni Award.
Before he went on to wrestling stardom, Jericho learned to produce things like music videos at Red River College in the Creative Communications program.
For a class assignment, Jericho and his group shot a video to the song Kings of Metal by the classic, leather-clad, sometimes nearly nude metal band Manowar.
"So we all walked around the streets of Winnipeg in loin cloths, walking down the median of the street with the cars going by, with Burger King crowns on our head because we're the kings of metal," Jericho reminisced.
When his class watched the video, the reaction was unanimous.
"The whole class was howling in laughter because it was so preposterous," Jericho said.
Larry Partap, now the chairman for the Creative Arts department at the Princess St. campus, recalls interviewing the 17 year-old Jericho for the program.
"Normally, I play the bad cop in these (interviews)," Partap said.
But to Jericho's credit, he beat the odds to get one of the 50 seats out of roughly 150 applicants at the time.
"The fact he got in says something about him at that age," Partap said.
Jericho graduated in 1990 from the Creative Communications program, before he became the first undisputed heavyweight champion in both the WWE and World Championship Wrestling.
The Creative Communications program was initially just an idea a friend gave him to kill time before going into wrestling, but Jericho said it was a great way to learn some skills he would need later in life.
"It was a perfect class to take," Jericho said. "It gave me a chance to get confidence on camera."