Jericho, Benoit mastered craft in Hart dungeon
By TY PILSON -- Calgary Sun
DYNAMIC DUO ... Chris Jericho (left) and Chris Benoit are two of many Canadian superstars striking it rich in the World Wrestling Federation. The two homebrews were in action last night at the Saddledome during WWF Attitude. -- Mike Drew, Calgary Sun
Last night was the final chapter in a dream Chris Jericho has had for a very long time.
When he began his career in wrestling, the WWF superstar always envisioned being able to don the tights in five buildings that had special significance to him.
The Saddledome was the last one left on his list.
"There was always five arenas that I wanted to wrestle in," said Jericho, in town for last night's WWF Attitude performance. "The Winnipeg Arena, Madison Square Gardens, the Tokyo Dome, another place in Japan called Korican Hall and the Calgary Saddledome.
"Tonight is the last one. I'm really excited about it."
Unfortunately for Jericho, his debut at the 'Dome was a disappointing one. Jericho lost to Edmonton's Chris Benoit for the Intercontinental Championship.
The two Canadian superstars did however receive an ovation that was second only to the WWF's biggest star -- The Rock -- who came out later.
Jericho and Benoit learned their trade under the tutelage of Stu Hart. Both are graduates of the legendary Dungeon giving their return to Calgary -- the place it all started for them -- even more significance.
"You wrestle a lot of events in a year and the sad thing about being on the road is that sometimes the towns kind of blend together," said Jericho, a Winnipeg native. "This one is special.
"Even though tonight isn't a TV show, I'm still as nervous as I would be if it was."
Jericho spent eight years in Calgary, working odd jobs while learning wrestling's ropes.
"It's an honour to say I trained with the Harts."
Benoit, who spent three years working with the Harts, said coming back to Calgary is always very meaningful.
"It's a bit of a homecoming," said Benoit, who played the part of the heel last night, pointing out to the fans that he was from the hated 'City of Champions'. "It's the place it all started, and that will never change."
The fact both Benoit and Jericho are from Canada shouldn't come as any surprise. Many of the WWF's young guns are from north of the 49th.
"It's kind of funny. It must be something in the Canadian beer that makes you want to become a wrestler, make you grow your hair long," laughed Jericho. "There's about eight guys with long blonde hair from here. I think Benoit is the only one who doesn't.
"Canadians have always had good wrestling bloodlines. It's great to be a part of that too."
"It's a badge of honour. We're Canadians and we're from Calgary," grinned Jericho. "It's two local boys done good -- kind of."