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Giant Robots Do Battle in New Syfy Series

PASADENA -- Chris Jericho spent years battling his way to fame and fortune in the WWE, but in recent years, he moved outside the ring. He appeared on season 11 of "Dancing With the Stars," performed as the lead singer of the hard rock band, Fozzy, and is even a two-time New York Times best-selling author.

His latest non-tights-wearing job? Host and play-by-play commentator for the new Syfy channel competition series, "Robot Combat League."

The best way to describe the series is as "The World's Coolest Full-Size Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots Game." On it, 12 teams of two -- an engineer and an athlete -- operate gigantic robots (some 8 feet tall) with one mission: knock the metal block off each other.

It was Jericho's 20-plus years of professional wrestling that prepared him for hosting the show.

"I always called professional wrestling 'show business boot camp.' You learn a little bit about everything," he says. "You're basically in charge of your character, in charge of yourself. It's still being in front of the camera, conducting the audience. You want to take them on a roller coaster ride. You are in charge of the emotions they are feeling."

He'll be doing a lot of cheerleading with "Robot Combat League," which he compares to seeing "a real life terminator."

This is how the show works: Giant robots -- with names like Brimstone, Medieval and Crash -- are guided by their team through an elimination tournament. One member of the team wears electronic armor that links their movements to the robot's. Battles consist of three rounds, with 20-minutes between rounds to make repairs.

"Robot Combat League" is the latest example of how Jericho has selected projects away from wrestling.

With "Dancing With the Stars," he twice turned down invites before finally agreeing to show off his fancy footwork.

"After turning them down twice, I thought if I didn't say yes the third time, they would not ask me again," Jericho says. "It was very scary to do. The first time I danced was in front of 25 million people. Then when I got the review from the judges and they didn't think I was the worst ever, then I knew I could do it.

"Dancing is not that different from wrestling. You have to be light on your feet, there's showmanship, there's choreography."

Jericho would like to do more acting, which he considers a natural transition from wrestling since he spent so many years playing a character in the WWE.

He says the key to being a popular wrestler is knowing how to take your personality and use it to engage an audience. That's the same formula he uses as the host of "Robot Combat League."

"It's been 23 years of wrestling and now it's time to move forward especially when you do something like 'Robot Combat League.' I can do this. I feel this. I know this works. And, when you feel that confidence, it's time to take that next step," Jericho says. "It's the perfect time for me to step away from wrestling."

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Show information

"Robot Combat League," 10 p.m. Tuesday, Syfy

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