Chris Jericho’s decision to join All Elite Wrestling has become one of the most talked about moments in recent pro wrestling history. The irony is that he’s yet to even appear in an AEW ring of course. According to him, AEW may not even have a ring yet.
So yes, the company is still in its infancy and no, there’s no way to really understand just how much AEW can accomplish once the wheels start rolling. But judging from the most recent episode of Talk is Jericho, AEW may have its top guy already on deck. That top guy’s name is Chris Jericho.
The episode in question was a one-man show and that’s not the usual format that Jericho uses. But the time had come for him to set the record straight regarding his move to All Elite Wrestling. He wanted to tell the story in his own way and in his own words. Part of that story involved his most recent positioning in WWE, most notably his run against Kevin Owens.
“Jericho versus Kevin Owens was probably the best angle on the show the year that we did it and the payoff was at WrestleMania, where we were the second match on the card. I thought that was very low on the card, I thought I shoulda been a lot higher for the amount of TV time and the amount of interest that we had. When you put something no.2 at WrestleMania, it doesn’t matter how great the match is, you can tell it’s not really a focused upon one.”
Fans may not have realized the importance of that moment at the time, which is understandable. After all, WrestleMania is typically so stacked with talent that booking said talent in featured spots is not always an easy prospect. To WWE, the entire Mania card itself is a featured spot. Maybe that’s how the fans see it as well.
Relive Kevin Owens’ infamous heel turn on Chris Jericho:
But that was not the case to Chris Jericho. Chris is no longer a company man for WWE and that comes across in his words. It’s not that he disrespects the company. He actually makes a point to put WWE over as much as possible, as he really has nothing negative to say towards Vince McMahon or anyone else. But a pro wrestler’s biggest advocate is usually himself and that’s exactly where Chris is right now.
Who can blame him? Jericho has realized just how much money and opportunities lay outside of WWE and he wants to take advantage of both. He’s already put his time in and he’s of course done more than enough to prove that he is a WWE man at his core. He found his biggest success working for McMahon. It’s difficult to believe that anything can take away from what he accomplished in WWE, or that anything can tarnish his Hall of Fame reputation with that company either.
But this isn’t about what Jericho has already done. This is about what he’s going to do. Unlike some of the stars heading to AEW, Jericho has already experienced the world of WWE. He’s already been a top guy on the biggest stage in the world. There are no “what if’s” when it comes to Chris Jericho in a WWE ring. That life is behind him and he’s moving on to do something new.
Watch Jericho shock the world at ALL IN:
So while others are surely seeking to make their fortune in All Elite Wrestling, Jericho is there to offer his expertise. Chris was quick to remind everyone during his show that yes, he is indeed being paid handsomely to come onboard with AEW. But it’s not about the money for him anymore. This is about respect, which he feels that AEW is showing him every step of the way.
However as fans continue to absorb the details of the new company’s birth and subsequent signings, one question has come to the forefront. Who will be AEW’s top star? Jericho is a veteran, he is widely respected and he will indeed be a valuable asset to the brand. But how many believed he would actually be the face of the company?
But this certainly seems to be the case. Cody Rhodes is one of the founders and he’s a top guy in his own right. But to imagine that he would be an owner and the lead man, may be a mistake. Hangman Page is so good and he’s really just scratched the surface of how much better he will be in the future. But would AEW truly put him out in front from the very beginning?
The fact is that Chris Jericho has star power. He has instant name recognition and more importantly, he has the desire to see AEW do much more than just get off the ground. Jericho wants the company to succeed. He knows that it won’t be easy and he knows that the process will take time.
Check out Talk is Jericho:
But if Chris Jericho has proven anything over the past 29 years, it’s that he has the patience to stay the course. Jericho is a master storyteller and that’s become a rare thing on many levels in today’s pro wrestling industry. Chris has the opportunity to do something new, something fresh and he’s reinvigorated because of it.
Jericho is at his best when he’s being tested. He wants the pressure that comes along with being a top guy and he wants AEW to reach the very heights of the industry. Chris Jericho has already been there. With any luck, he’s headed back there once again.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes,YouTube, iHeart Radio, boinkstudios.com and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live