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  August 21, 1999



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

Wrestling in Jericho's blood
By MIKE SAWATZKY -- For the Winnipeg Sun
Ted Irvine came from the old school.

A 10-year veteran of the NHL in the late '60s and early '70s, Irvine was known as a rugged, defensive-style winger who never scored more than 26 goals in a season.

His 28-year-old son Chris has a more flamboyant approach to sports.

A man with long, flowing blond locks and goatee, the younger Irvine performs as his alter ego, Chris Jericho, the Y2J problem and one of the World Wrestling Federation's newest acts.

Jericho says his parents, including mom Loretta, never tried to talk him out of going into the sordid world of pro wrestling.

"They never did because I think they realized this is what made me happy," said Jericho yesterday during a news conference to promote today's 3 p.m. WWF card at the Arena.

"Doing this -- is kind of following my dream. Never once did they say anything like that. There were a few times when I got injured, but it was typical parental concern."

Nine years ago dad even encouraged Chris, a Westwood Collegiate grad, to take the plunge by training at the Hart family wrestling school in Okotoks, Alta.

"When he was 15 or 16 he started lifting weights," says Ted.

"Then he went to (Red River) community college, and took, of all things, creative communications. And it's been his love and his desire to try this. So when he said he wanted to go, I remember driving him up to Alberta and he was very excited about it."

After a three-month training camp, Jericho spent the next six years on various regional and international wrestling circuits before reaching World Championship Wrestling and the big time in 1996.

In the WCW, his mouth contributed to his rise to prominence as much as his athletic ability.

"His speaking ability is mindboggling -- just how smooth he is," said Ted. "I find him very creative, whether he's my son or not. That's the big difference between me and him."

Ted, a former analyst on Winnipeg Jets broadcasts, may be selling himself short.

About a year ago at a nationally televised WCW Thunder event in Buffalo, N.Y., father and son even got the chance to perform together.

"I was insulting my opponent's father who was an old-time wrestler who was kind of a legend and at one point my dad came out to read me the riot act," recalls Chris.

"Chris gets to be a hot dog once in a while," says Ted, 54, now an estate planner in Winnipeg.

"I had to go out there and tell him to settle down and never come to the house again.

"(He went) right to tears. He said forgive me dad, please come back. Sometimes you have stand up and scold your son so I had to tell him to smarten up.

"It was the most hair-raising thing I've ever done."

Chris adds: "I wasn't crying in the ring. I never cry in the ring. It might have looked like I was going to."

Might Ted reprise his furious father act at some point?

"You never know," said Chris. "Maybe some day."

Jericho denies he turned down an offer of almost $1 million US a year to jump to the WCW.

"No, that's not true," he said.

"That's probably an Internet rumour. There's a lot of rumours going around, some I started myself ... The offers I got from the WCW and the WWF were very close."

More on Chris Jericho




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