Witnesses say pro wrestler Chris Jericho hit a woman in the face outside Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre after a World Wrestling Entertainment match Saturday afternoon, in a profanity-laced brawl captured by a witness on a cellphone camera and posted on YouTube.
The incident occurred when Jericho, driving away in a white Chevy Tahoe, was surrounded at a stop sign by hundreds of people, who prevented him from leaving. They were heckling him after he lost Saturdays RAW Live WWE bout.
In the video, one man can be heard yelling at Jericho, Youre an insult to Canadians you [expletive]. A blond girl pushes Jericho. The wrestler, wearing dark sunglasses and a leather jacket, stares her down for several seconds, then turns around to get back into the SUV. She pushes him again, and he retaliates with a swing to the face that knocks her to the ground.
A melee ensues where Jericho pushes at least one arena security guard, yelling, Do your [expletive] job get this stupid [expletive] out of here.
Several witnesses said arena security guards were standing around and not doing enough to break up the fight.
One witness said she saw the 225-pound wrestler spit in the blond womans face after she approached his SUV. The woman started hitting Jericho, which is when he punched her, said Darshan Stevens, who watched from about a metre away.
I was really surprised that a pro wrestler would do that with everyone watching, Stevens said. And hit a girl, what are you thinking?
Jericho drove off, she said, just minutes before several Victoria police cruisers arrived.
Victoria police confirmed there was an altercation involving Jericho and two others outside the arena, but said the wrestler left before police had a chance to speak to him. Two fans were taken into police custody but later released.
Investigating officer Const. Brenda Kelly said yesterday that police are trying to contact WWE representatives and Jericho, but have so far been unsuccessful. No charges have been laid and the incident is under investigation. Police want any witnesses to contact them, said Kelly.
The WWE issued a statement yesterday saying that Jericho physically and verbally assaulted after his car was attacked by a mob when he was attempting to leave the parking lot.
WWE spokesman Kevin Hennessy said yesterday in a telephone interview that the female fan provoked the incident. He rejected suggestions that Jericho punched the woman, calling the term a little extreme. I didnt see him actually take a swing, he said, referring to the video.
As for whether Jericho was assaulted, he said, Thats for the cops to decide.
The woman who was hit, 20-year-old Ashley Levey, said the altercation began when her boyfriend, Kalen Johl, heckled Jericho. Jericho got out of his vehicle, Levey said, and made a derogatory comment to Johl, who is South Asian. She said Jericho pushed Kohl first. Levey called Jericho a racist, so he spit on and punched her, she said. Levey said she and Johl were later arrested but released without charge. She wants Jericho charged with assault.
Jericho is a five-time World Heavyweight Champion and the first WWF Undisputed Champion. Raised in Winnipeg, Jericho was inducted into the Canadian Wrestling Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2004, he was awarded Manitobas Order of the Buffalo Hunt for his achievements in wrestling and his work with underprivileged children. The award was previously given to Pope John Paul II, Desmond Tutu and Mother Teresa.