He may have spent most of his life living in Winnipeg, but World Wrestling Entertainment writers just didn’t like the idea of wrestling hero Chris Jericho being billed from the Great White North.
“They didn’t want guys to be from Canada if they were good guys,” said Jericho, 37, recalling the policy change about three years ago. “So I said, ‘Why don’t you just say Manhasset?’ That’s at least where I was born.”
Tonight promises to be a homecoming on two different fronts for Jericho. Not only will he be signing copies of his recently published memoirs, “A Lion’s Tale: Around the World in Spandex” at the Carle Place Barnes & Noble at 5 p.m., but he is rumored to be making his return to the ring after a two-year hiatus at the Nassau Coliseum for a taping of WWE’s “Smackdown!” program.
“I never had any intentions of retiring. I just needed to take a step back,” said Jericho, who spent his time off touring with his band, Fozzy, and doing some acting. But Jericho said writing a book, “helped me to remember the passion and the love that I had for the [wrestling] business.”
“A Lion’s Tale,” which details Jericho’s journey from a childhood Hulk Hogan fan through honing his craft in Mexico, Japan and, eventually, making it to the WWE, has drawn solid early reviews, including from Publishers Weekly, which called the book “Funny, insightful and compulsively readable.”
Tonight’s WWE event is the first on Long Island since controversy struck WWE when authorities say Chris Benoit killed his wife, son and himself in June. Jericho writes plenty about his close friend and mentor, in his book, which he completed more than a month before the deaths. In an addendum, Jericho addresses the incident, but otherwise left his remembrances of Benoit intact.
“He was involved so much in my life and especially in my early career, that you couldn’t just edit this guy out,” said Jericho. “It would be compromising my story.”
Jericho, who moved to Canada when he was 5, has few memories of growing up on Long Island, but said performing here is always special.
“It’s still always neat to see these words on a street sign of “Manhasset,” and know that’s what’s on my birth certificate.”