Chris Jericho is one of the greatest wrestlers of all time and has continually reinvented his character to keep it fresh over all these years. He has had a number of gimmicks, each distinct from one another and encompasses a different side of his personality.
Whether he is known as Chris Jericho, Y2J, The Ocho or Le Champion, there is no denying that he is one of the best to ever lace a pair of boots and compete inside the squared circle. However, recently his old gimmick has come into the public consciousness, as “Lion Heart” Chris Jericho made an appearance on AEW Dynamite. But why is Chris Jericho called Lionheart and where did the idea for the name come from?
Why Is Chris Jericho Called Lionheart?
Chris Jericho chose the name Lion Heart when wrestling in Mexico, when part of a tag team with Mike Lozansky. The Calgary-based wrestle invited Jericho to a tour of Mexico and the pair were paired up in a tag team. Realising the name Chris Jericho would not work south of the border, he came up with the name “Lion Heart” to match Lozansky, who was known as “The Canadian Tiger”. The animal-themed tag team was Jericho’s plan to get over, although the booker at the time (Carlos Elizondo) decided on the name “He-Man” instead, after the hit children’s cartoon of the same name.
Jericho would keep the name in the back of his mind and eventually moved on to work for Paco Alonso, whom he named “The Vince McMahon of Mexico” in his first book “A Lions Tale”. The CMLL promoter hired Jericho and Lozansky to wrestle for his promotion (CMLL) put did not want him to use the name he was going by previously.
After He-man fell on deaf ears, Jericho began to wrestle under the moniker León d’Oro, which means Golden Lion in Spanish. Jericho then suggested Lion Heart to the promoter who liked the name. He especially liked the Spanish translation, which is Corazón de León and thus Chris Jericho’s Lion Heart name was born.
Later on after returning to the US and wrestling in Japan, he begun to be billed as “Lion Heart” Chris Jericho. This lasted until his days in ECW, as WCW and WWE neglected to continue to use of the name he went by in Mexico.
Chris Jericho brought back the Lion Heart gimmick for one night only in AEW in 2022. At Quake By The Lake, Moxley defended his AEW Championship against the former champ, requesting to see the return of the man he used to watch on traded taped back when he was a kid. Jericho obliged and came out to his old music and dressed in classic Corazón de León gear, wowing fans of the legend’s 30 year career.
However, on Dark Side of the Ring, Chris Jericho revealed that he chose the name Lion Heart because he was inspired by his former best friends Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero. At the time, the two men were travelling the world and putting on incredible matches in Mexico and Japan under the names Black Tiger and Wild Pegasus. Having not met them yet, Jericho aspired to be just like them, so thought of a name that evoked the animalistic nature of their gimmicks in Japan.
He also wanted to mimic their in-ring style, as they are considered two of the best wrestlers of all time. The duo have since passed away but became best friends with Chis Jericho during the trios runs in WWE and WCW. You can read about Eddie Guerrero’s death here or click below to read about Chris Benoit’s death.