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COMMENT





Jericho loses roots
'Peg's wrestling star now hailing from N.Y.
By KEVIN ENGSTROM -- Winnipeg Sun




Chris Jericho says he's still a hockey-loving Maple Leafs hoser -- even if his boss says otherwise. The World Wrestling Entertainment star and former St. James resident told The Sun yesterday he still considers Winnipeg home, despite the fact ring announcers are now billing him as being from Manhasset -- a small town just outside New York City.

"It's a big deal initially, just because of the shock of it, but does it really change anything? I still consider myself a Canadian and if anybody asks me where I'm from, I tell them I'm from Winnipeg," Jericho said yesterday from Tampa, Fla., where he resides with his wife and seven-month-old son.

Born in Manhasset

"It really doesn't bother me that they're saying I'm from Manhasset because that is actually where I was born."

Jericho, the son of former New York Ranger Ted Irvine, is one of several fan favourites on Vince McMahon's WWE roster who are no longer being billed from their Canadian hometowns. He had been billed as being from "Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada" since his WWE debut in August 1999.

Jericho, 32, and other Canadian "babyfaces" -- including Edmonton's Chris Benoit and Toronto's Adam "Edge" Copeland -- were told by management of the change about a month ago.

The decision was presumably made with an eye toward American fans embracing Canadian grapplers as their own, but Jericho said he doesn't think the move will have an effect.

"I personally don't think it matters either way where wrestlers are from," he said. "If you were from Mars, people would still like you or hate you based on your work and character."

It isn't the first time Jericho has been billed as being from somewhere other than Winnipeg. When he started wrestling for local promoter Tony Condello more than a decade ago he was billed as being from New York because "the 20 other guys on the show were all from Winnipeg," Jericho said.

"I still represent Canada, everybody who knows me knows I'm proud to be a Winnipegger -- I'm wearing my Jets jersey right now," he said.

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