Chris Jericho ended a week’s worth of speculation when he introduced his new stable to the world on the October 10 edition of AEW Dynamite. The Inner Circle is not only AEW’s newest faction, it’s also the first.
Fans likely did not see this coming, as The Inner Circle’s formation was indeed a surprise. The group was organized on the premiere episode of Dynamite and even though it came from out of nowhere, the reason behind it was clear. This is Chris Jericho’s protection agency and it’s the perfect move for AEW’s world champion.
It’s a different direction for Chris, as this marks the first time that he’s formed a group of stars around him. For that matter, Jericho has never really worked with any faction in his career. With the exception of various tag team partners, Jericho typically works alone. But why is that?
Chris’s character has never played well with others. Even when he was part of a team, Jericho usually didn’t last long. He either betrayed his partner, or his partner betrayed him. It seemed that he was meant to be a solo act and truth be told, it was probably for the best. When fans look at Chris Jericho, they really don’t see a tag team guy. They see a main event powerhouse.
Relive the formation of The Inner Circle!
Jericho has indeed become one of the most bankable and most reliable top stars of his generation. He’s always on his game and he always delivers. Just when it seems that Jericho is perhaps losing his edge, he reinvents himself and becomes a brand new act once again. He’s true to himself every step of the way and fans know that he’s serious about his craft. Jericho is the master of his own destiny and he continues to prove it in AEW.
But why would this loner, the self-proclaimed “best there is at what he does,” choose to surround himself with four other pro wrestlers in 2019? Jake Hager, Sammy Guevara, Santana and Ortiz are each fully capable of getting over on their own in AEW. From a storyline standpoint, they’re individually established and with the possible exception of Guevara, they’re all recognized as proven talents in the industry.
However, this not just about giving Sammy Guevara the rub. This is about giving Chris Jericho some backup in AEW and the champ needs it now more than ever before. That’s due to the $30,000 gold belt around his waist, which paints a target directly on his back. It’s not that Chris the wrestler needs help, but Chris the character is more than willing to accept a lending hand.
Watch The Inner Circle introduced on AEW Dynamite!
The Inner Circle’s primary goal will be to protect Chris Jericho’s world title reign. It’s clear that the company is going in this direction and it’s also clear that the AEW faithful are already invested in the gimmick. Longtime fans immediately recognized the move and have embraced it. But for everyone else who may only now be coming into the fold, they will soon see why Jericho has a unit behind him.
It serves more than one purpose and that’s likely the intention. Jericho will get some much needed help to shield him from any babyface who wants his title, giving him the chance to escape in the end. It’s a great move because it solidifies Chris as a strong heel in the company. No matter how popular he is and how much he’s cheered, the crowd will turn on him when he uses The Inner Circle to get a win.
But The Inner Circle is also there to keep Dynamite rolling. Fans around the world have reacted extremely positively thus far to AEW on TNT. One of the ways to keep that trend going is to produce exciting storylines which the audience can relate to, causing them to keep coming back for more. What better way to do that than by putting arguably the company’s biggest legend at the forefront of a group that will keep him fresh and on the mic, as much as possible?
Watch Jericho and Cody brawl at the New York Comic Con!
The Inner Circle gives Jericho the opportunity to be on camera on a regular basis without fear of burning him out. His teammates will be there to back him up and each one can cut a promo on his own when the need arises. Then there’s the fact that Chris doesn’t necessarily need to be present every week on TV because some combination of the group can operate in his absence.
It’s a win for Jericho because he will steer the ship and make his team look good simply by doing what he does. It’s a win for the other five because they will get main event exposure due to their relationship with Chris. From The Four Horsemen to The Heenan Family to many others throughout the years, heel factions were staples of their respective territories. This will surely be the same for The Inner Circle in AEW.
Chris Jericho’s character is on top of the industry right now. He’s the AEW World champion, he’s at the forefront of a hot new company and now he has an assembly of associates around him to do his bidding. Jericho was already in a great position but with the addition of The Inner Circle, he’s stronger than ever before. He may have been a loner, but now he’s leading the way and there’s no doubt he will excel in this role, just as he’s always done before.
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