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In addition to Hart, Irvine also cited Ricky "The Dragon" Steamboat and Shawn Michaels as inspirations for his becoming a professional wrestler.
At the age of 19, he entered the Hart Brothers School of Wrestling, where he met Lance Storm on his first day.
In late 1994, Jericho began competing regularly in Japan for Genichiro Tenryu's Wrestling and Romance (later known as Wrestle Association "R") (WAR) promotion as The Lion Heart.
In November 1994, Último Dragón defeated him for the NWA World Middleweight Championship, which he had won while wrestling in Mexico.
Jericho made his final appearances with WAR in mid-1996, having wrestled a total of twenty-four tours for the company.The stable was nicknamed "Team No Respect" for its members' brash mannerisms.In February 1996, Jericho and Gedo won a tournament for the newly created International Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship, defeating Lance Storm and Yuji Yasuraoka in the final.In the winter of 1992, he travelled to Mexico and competed under the name Leon D'Oro ("Golden Lion", a name that fans voted on for him between "He-Man", "Chris Power", and his preferred choice Leon D'Oro), and later Corazón de León ("Lion Heart"), where he wrestled for several small wrestling companies, as well as the largest in the country, Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre (CMLL).In CMLL, Jericho took on Silver King, Negro Casas, and Último Dragón en route to an eleven-month reign as the NWA Middleweight Champion that began in December 1993.
In addition, Jericho was the 2008 Superstar of the Year Slammy Award winner and (along with Big Show as Jeri-Show) won the 2009 Tag Team of the Year Slammy Award – making him the only winner of both Superstar and Tag Team of the Year in WWE history.