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Chris Jericho has always been seen as a “WWE guy”…until he became an AEW guy last week. Jericho inked a deal with the fledgling All Elite Wrestling as arguably its biggest name and he knew the move to the start-up promotion would ruffle some feathers.
As we previously reported, on his Talk is Jericho podcast, Y2J talked about his intentions in signing with AEW and also confirmed that he won’t be appearing at an upcoming WWE event that he had been linked to.
“I knew it would be something that would make a lot of people turn their heads,” Jericho said on signing with AEW. “No more WWE. I still get a lot of people asking if I’ll be in the Royal Rumble. No, I will not be in the Royal Rumble as a surprise entrant which I wouldn’t be anyways [because I had already done it before].”
AEW held their official launch rally earlier this month in Jacksonville, Florida in which they also announced their Double or Nothing event to be held in Las Vegas. There were a couple of issues that occurred at the rally which Jericho addressed.
“There were over 1,000 people there,” Jericho said about the rally. “There was a couple of problems with the rally online when it was broadcast. Obviously we didn’t have great sound as far as the crowd being mic’ed and didn’t show a lot of the overall crowd shots.”
This isn’t the first time that Jericho has made a high-profile move from one promotion to another as he did the same 20 years ago. He compared the jump from WCW to WWE to this latest jump from WWE to AEW.
“I put myself into Chris Jericho’s shoes back in 1998 when I was contemplating leaving WCW and thinking, ‘How much further could I go in WCW under these rules and conditions?’ I realized I couldn’t go much further,” said Jericho. “With WWE coming in and putting their money where their mouth was, in addition to their ideas, attitude and excitement, it wasn’t hard to step away from WCW and go to WWE.”
Jericho put himself in those same shoes when thinking about leaving WWE for AEW.
“Yes, I can do this,” stated Jericho. “What AEW is doing is showing me respect and showing me they have a lot of expectations for me. The cart is on my back. I have to do great work and go the extra mile to make this work….I have to use my 30 years of experience to help build this company.
“And that’s exciting to me.”
Jericho noted that he met with Impact, and he has been impressed with the strides that they made over the past year. Jericho said that Impact made him “a great offer,” but ultimately decided to so with AEW.
Jim Ross has always said that a wrestling promotion needs two things to succeed: talent and TV. AEW has the talent under contract, but they are still working on the TV part and Jericho admits that’s AEW’s No. 1 priority.
“We’ve got the money. We’ve got the talent. We’ve got the momentum. We’ve got the creativity. Now we need the television to match it. Everybody knows it,” said Jericho. “I believe there will be a very big television deal that’s gonna be announced very soon and the roster is going to expand as well. We’ve already started with a great roster, but now it’s time to build it. But we don’t want to give all of our ducks away and surprises away right off the bat. We have a looooooong way to go.”
Jericho then hyped up the current members of AEW’s roster including Cody, The Bucks and especially Hangman Page.
“Hangman Page, I tell you what. That’s a guy who’s gonna be a big star here. I’m salivating at the chance to work with him,” said Jericho.
Y2J then brought up the notion of exclusive contracts with AEW and said the initial goal isn’t to just hand those out left and right.
“I don’t think the idea for AEW is to sign 50 guys to exclusive contracts,” said Jericho. “I think the idea is to use the guys that we want to use that are available in the right positions at the right time.
“It’s January…our first show isn’t until May 25. That’s a long time to get more ducks in a row. There’s a lot of guys out there that haven’t signed yet that I guarantee will be signed. Most importantly, we’ve got a brand new venture, a brand new company – All Elite Wrestling. It’s exciting for the first time since WWE bought WCW, you have a company that has more money than Vince McMahon…
“You need to spend money to make money – that’s been my verdict since I started…That’s what the Khans are going to have to do. That’s what AEW is going to have to do. We’re gonna start and go through some money at first. But if we can continue the momentum started by All In and the [launch] rally, if we can take that to Vegas and sell out within 10 minutes – now we’ve got some steam. Now we’ve got some thunder! So it’s exciting for me.”