Chris Jericho on the ‘lunacy’ of 80s wrestling stars and the Dark Side of the Ring

Chris Jericho spoke to RadioTimes.com exclusively about the crazy underbelly of professional wrestling and his new documentary, Dark Side of the Ring

Chris Jericho

Chris Jericho believes modern day wrestling stars ‘don’t hold a candle’ when it comes to the rock and roll lifestyle of iconic 80s heroes.

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A wrestling icon himself, Jericho is fascinated by ‘crazy’ stories of the past explored in Dark Side of the Ring – with the second season about to launch on Vice TV in the UK on Monday (8th June).

Jericho doesn’t think the show, which explores the underbelly of pro wrestling and outrageous moments out of thr ring, could be made about stars in 2020.

He said: “The thing about wrestling is they want to talk about rock and roll and crazy characters, it doesn’t even hold a candle to wrestling in that timeframe of the 80s

“There’s a lot of untapped stories which is why the show has legs and could continue for a long time.

“A lot of the time people don’t know the real stories behind the business. You’re dealing with a bunch of men and women who are gypsies, on the road since we were teenagers in a lot of cases.

“Of course there are going to be crazy stories and characters, in the same way that Keith Moon ran over his chauffer in a car or rock ‘n’ roll stories from that era in the 70s and 80s.

“Guys and girls were just different then, it was a different world, there was a lot more partying, more of this, more of that. You probably couldn’t do a Dark Side of the Ring about what happens in 2020 but in that timeframe there were so many more characters, much more pomp and circumstance going on that it’s fun to focus on.”

While there are plenty of characters to enjoy or watch in disbelief, the series looks at numerous darker events in professional wrestling history, containing tragic tales of broken lives away from the ring – and even fatal situations in it.

He said: “The series is bookended with Benoit and Hart, and they’re probably the two biggest news stories in pro-wrestling history from a sad, tragedy standpoint.

“Of course I know the Benoit story, I was involved quite a bit. To see how they did that one with family members that have never spoken before, it’s the same with the Owen Hart show, I mean that just shows the respect they have as a documentary-making team to get all these people that have not been involved before speaking about all these things.

“But there are a lot of fun ones in there too. The Brawl For All was a lot of fun. What a whole mess that was in retrospect, and what a stupid idea it was. The New Jack show blew my mind, I had no idea. I’ve worked with New Jack before 25 years ago and had no idea to the extent of his lunacy, shall we say. I like those stories.”

Jericho remains in the pro wrestling circuit, appearing on All Elite Wrestling (AEW) as opposed to WWE where he first made his name.

Chris Jericho

The show has continued to roll on despite the coronavirus pandemic, with multiple episodes pre-recorded to span the lockdown gap.

He believes the stars of the show are proud to be putting on a show during these bleak, uncertain times.

“We have to,” he responded when asked why AEW has continued through the pandemic. “It’s one of those things where we have to keep the lights on, we have to keep the show rolling and keep it moving. If nothing else, we were the one form of entertainment that continued in the face of all that’s going on.

“People are excited every week and we gave them something to look forward to, that AEW is still moving on. I watched NASCAR the other day. I’ve never watched NASCAR in my life! But the fact that it was the only thing that was on and new and happening now, I think people are appreciating that.

“It’s tough times, man. When all you have to look forward to is going to grocery store every day, the fact that AEW is doing something new week is a real beacon for people. We are happy and honoured to be able to provide that.”

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The second series of Dark Side of the Ring premieres on VICE TV on June 8th at 10pm.