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READER ALERT: For all the latest wrestling happenings, check out our News & Rumours section.

Jericho: Wrestling 'ain't no ballet'
By GREG Di CRESCE -- Winnipeg Sun
 Men and women in tights, choreographed moves, and bodies flying across a well-lighted stage -- it may sound like a ballet but don't tell World Wrestling Federation superstar Chris Jericho that.

 "It ain't no ballet," a soft-spoken Y2J said yesterday, referring to the toughness of his profession.

 The Winnipeg-reared Ayatollah of Rock 'n' Rolla is in town to scrap the champion Stone Cold Steve Austin on Sunday at the Arena.

 However, Jericho's quiet jab at the high art of ballet may have sparked another tussle for the holder of a WWF tag team belt.

 When Johnny Wright, a dancer with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, got wind of the wrestler's comments he laughed and threw out his chest in defiance.

 'WE'RE NOT SOFT'

 "Tell him to come by the studio. We're not soft and I'd be happy to show him that," said Wright, who punctured a lung 11 minutes into a 55-minute performance and completed the show. "Besides, I'm used to lifting women all day," the 6-foot-1, 170-pound dancer said.

 "Anyway, when you think about what WWF wrestlers do -- all their rehearsing of moves in the ring -- it's a lot closer to ballet than people may think," Wright said.

 "Except with ballet dancers their body fat is generally less than their shoe size," he said.

 Jericho is 6-foot-1 and 231 pounds and, according to local WWF representative Bob Holliday, is "the biggest Manitoba export since the Guess Who."

 Given that billing, it's not likely Jericho will have time to grace the Royal Winnipeg Ballet studio for a little high culture-pop culture bout.

 Prior to Sunday's clash, Jericho, a.k.a. Chris Irvine, will be spending the bulk of his time with his parents and his new wife.

 Last summer, the Red River College grad tied the knot and married Jessica Lockhart, his girlfriend of two years.

 More than 150 friends and family attended the outdoor ceremony at St. Charles Country Club on July 30.

 And among those in attendance was former NHLer Ted Irvine, Jericho's dad.

 "Chris got where he is through hard work. He's always had the drive and has never been frightened to analyze where he's at or where he wants to be," the former New York Ranger said yesterday at the Winnipeg airport.

 The senior Irvine said his son played hockey at Westwood Collegiate in Assiniboia but didn't take to the sport like his father.

 "He's loved wrestling since he was 16 or 17 years old. It's his passion and it suits him," he said.

 And certainly the thousands of Jerichoholics, who are expected to pack the Arena for the first WWF tilt to hit the 'Peg in two years, would agree with that.

 Just don't tell them it's ballet.

More on Chris Jericho




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