wrestling / Columns

Ask 411 Wrestling: What Does Chris Jericho Add to AEW?

March 20, 2022 | Posted by Ryan Byers
AEW Rampage Chris Jericho Image Credit: AEW

Welcome guys, gals, and gender non-binary pals, to Ask 411 Wrestling. I am your party host, Ryan Byers, and I am here to answer some of your burning inquiries about professional wrestling.

If you have one of those queries searing a hole in your brain, feel free to send it along to me at [email protected]. Don’t be shy about shooting those over – the more, the merrier.

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Big Al wants to talk about a rooster. No, wait . . . sorry, I misread. He wants to talk about a roster:

With all the ex-WWE wrestlers leaving for AEW it seems like the AEW roster is extremely bloated. So much that faction and faction is being created just to give everyone something to do. So my thought what do the following wrestlers really contribute: Christian Cage, Matt Hardy, and I hate to say this but Chris Jericho. If they had to cut say 5 or 6 wrestler who in your opinion do you think they should be? Also, since they wouldn’t really cut anyone do you think a 3 hour show to showcase more wrestlers would be an option or is 2 hours just right?

Of the three men that you’ve specifically named, I think that Hardy is actually the one with the most present value because the Hardy Boys reunion feels like a big deal and gives the promotion several fresh high profile matches, including bouts against the Young Bucks, the Revival, and the Lucha Brothers, among others. (Yes, I’m aware that Bucks/Hardys has occurred elsewhere, but it was not on nearly as high profile a stage.)

I think that Jericho had brought quite a bit to the promotion when they first started up, as he was a legitimate major league star and lent an air of credibility to things that nobody else on the roster was going to be able to give them. However, two-and-a-half years on, it seems like Jericho has wrestled everybody that you would want to see him wrestle and that he has largely run his course in AEW. He does have roughly another year left on his contract, though, and if I were in Tony Khan’s position, I would probably also leave him on the roster because he is an elite level performer who you can always count on to fill a gap. I don’t know if I would re-sign him when that year is up, though, because at that point the time may be right for him to go away for a while so that he can freshen himself up for an eventual return, assuming he plans to wrestle further into his 50s.

I have to say that I never really understood signing Christian. Yes, he’s an excellent in-ring performer, but he was picked up at a time when the roster was already packed with those, including many who are much closer to their athletic primes. Yes, he’s somebody who has lessons to teach to the younger generation of talent, but you already had tons of guys like that under AEW’s employ, including Arn Anderson, Tully Blanchard, and Dustin Rhodes. It came off to me as though the signing was just a means of taking a shot at WWE, given that Cage had been in their Royal Rumble match less than two months before his AEW debut.

Regarding proposed cuts, I’ve mentioned in the past that I don’t like answering questions of this nature because there are very few people upon whom I want to wish unemployment. However, as I said, Christian’s spot doesn’t make a lot of sense to me, nor does Jay Lethal’s given that he’s one of the better wrestlers in the company but they have chosen to done absolutely nothing worth him. Emi Sakura is similar, as she may legitimately be their most talented female wrestler but is confined to YouTube. Matt Sydal and Jack Evans are also veteran wrestlers who seem painfully underutilized. (And to the “well they have ROH now” crew – they didn’t at the time any of those signings were originally made.)

Regarding a three hour show: NO PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING PROMOTION NEEDS A THREE HOUR LONG WEEKLY SHOW. It’s too much, no matter how good your product is. A well-booked show should leave people wanting more, not feeling like it was a slog to get through.

It really seems like Night Wolf the Wise wants me to write a bunch of listicles instead of Ask 411:

Not a question, but a request. In honor of Scott Hall, could you post his 10 greatest moments in wrestling please?

Well, here’s the thing: Steve Cook already did it.

I can’t say that I take any qualms with Cook’s list. The only thing that I might add (which I guess I could given that Night Wolf asked for a top ten) would be some reference to Hall’s 2001 tours with New Japan Pro Wrestling. After it appeared Hall was totally down and out when his WCW run fizzled, that time in NJPW showed that he had gotten back in ring shape and, at least for minute, gotten his demons under control. It was a glimmer of hope that this talented guy who was his own worst enemy might yet to be able to have the run as the top star of a promotion that had always eluded him. In fact, I doubt you get the 2002 WWE version of the nWo (at least not with Hall) if the “Bad Guy” hadn’t re-proven himself with these runs.

Plus, it gave us a match that I’m always surprised happened no matter how many times I’m reminded it exists . . . Scott Hall vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi:

Beenie is taking me back to my favorite promotion:

Most questions here are about WWE with WCW second. TNA has been around for about 20 years in one form or another so let’s have a question about them.

Who are there greatest champions in terms of number of reigns and total length of reigns? I always think the amount of time a wrestler has the belt says more about the organizations trust in a wrestler than the number of reigns, if they are short.


Which wrestlers have the most world championship reigns?

For this question, we’re talking about reigns with both the NWA World Heavyweight Title when it was under TNA control and the TNA Title since they are functionally the same thing for purposes of the question.

Combining reigns with those two belts, there’s actually a tie, as Kurt Angle and Jeff Jarrett each have six. Interestingly, Angle’s are exclusively with the TNA Title whereas Jarrett’s are exclusively with the NWA Title.

Which wrestlers have spent the most time with belt?

Again, we’re combining the two primary singles championships that the company has had during its existence.

And, again, it’s Jeff Jarrett, with 1,006 days holding the NWA World Heavyweight Title in TNA. Interestingly, Kurt Angle, who was tied with him in terms of number of title reigns, has substantially less time as champ, as his reigns total up to 608 days. That’s still enough to put him in second place overall, though.

Which women have had the most reigns as champ?

We don’t have to worry bout combining reigns from different belts here, as TNA has only ever had one recognized women’s championship . . . though, in an interesting bit of trivia, Leilani Kai did win the NWA World Women’s Title once in a dark match that occurred before a TNA taping during the weekly PPV era on March 12, 2003.

As far as the actual TNA Women’s Championship is concerned, Gail Kim has had the most reigns with seven. Angelina Love follows her with six.

Which women have spent the most time as champ?

Gail Kim is on top again, with her reigns totaling up to 711 days. Second place isn’t even close, as Deonna Purrazzo has 441 days as champion resulting from two separate reigns.

Which tag teams have had the most tag team title reigns?

We’re back to combining reigns here, as TNA initially recognized the NWA World Tag Team Titles as their primary tag championship before creating their own separate tag titles.

Top honors go to America’s Most Wanted with six title wins. Behind them, it’s a tie between the American Wolves and Beer Money, who each have five . . . which means that James Storm finds himself in both first AND second place on this list.

In another bit of trivia, if you were going to combine all of the title reigns of LAX, that team would top the list with seven – though that’s not actually fair since we are talking about two different teams that used the same name, one consisting of Hotstuff Hernandez and Homicide and the other consisting of Angel Ortiz and Mike Santana.

Which tag teams have spent the most time as champs?

Though they only have four title reigns compared to the teams with five and six mentioned above, the record for most total days as champs belongs to Santana & Oritz with 662 days. They’re followed by America’s Most Wanted with 517 days. Though I’ve not been mentioning third place finishers thus far in this answer, I will mention them here because it’s close, as Beer Money is third with 514 days.

Night Wolf the Wise has some serious papercuts:

As a kid growing up in the pre-internet era, I always looked forward to the wrestling magazines that came out every month. What do you think were the top 5 wrestling magazines published for wrestling back in the day?

Honestly, for reasons that I’ll get into below, wrestling magazines are a huge blind spot for me in my experience as a wrestling fan. I don’t even have the knowledge base to do this sort of ranking, but based on what little I do know I would think you’d have to give consideration to Pro Wrestling Illustrated in the United States, Weekly Gong in Japan, Super Luchas in Mexico, and the official WWF Magazine simply because of the promotion’s size and the magazine’s resulting reach.

Did you read wrestling magazines back then? And if so, what was your favorite magazine to read?

No, not really, aside from subscribing to WWF Magazine for a couple of years. I grew up in a small town in an area that did not really have a local wrestling territory that came through on a regular basis. We had only one locally owned grocery store in town with a very small magazine rack, and wrestling mags were a bit too niche for them to stock.

When did dirtsheets first become a thing in wrestling?

The early 1980s. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter printed its first edition in 1982 after growing out of a mailing list for tape traders that Dave Meltzer maintained.

What are your thoughts on dirtsheets? Do they do more harm then good for wrestling and wrestling fans in general.

Given that I cite them all the time in this very column, you can probably predict my answer.

There are plenty of behind-the-scenes publications about the movie industry, the sports industry, and just about every other form of entertainment, and none of them are subject to the level of derision that publications that cover the wrestling industry are. There’s no reason that wrestling should be treated any differently than any of those other forms of sport or entertainment. Anybody who feels differently is just desperately clinging to an outdated notion of the need to “protect” the industry’s backstage happenings.

And if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like the fact that insider wrestling news circulates among fans because it somehow reduces your enjoyment of the product, you can simply not read the sheets. Nobody’s forcing you to subscribe to or click on anything.

Tyler from Winnipeg is blistering:

Who invented the Spanish Fly move?

It’s often difficult to tell who absolutely invented a wrestling hold as opposed to just popularizing it, but in this case it appears that the popularizers are also the inventors. I’m talking about Joel and Jose Maximo, also known as the Spanish Announce Team. More often than not these days, you see the Spanish Fly executed by singles wrestlers, but it actually began as a double team move, which really ups the degree of difficulty given that it involves three wrestlers balancing themselves on the ropes instead of just two.

Lev is searching for his identity:

WWE has the Royal Rumble, Hell in a Cell, and Elimination Chamber, WCW had War Games, and even TNA has Ultimate X. Do you think AEW could benefit from having a regular special attraction match that is unique to them?

I think that they were actually attempting to do that with the Casino Battle Royale for a while, though it’s now been many months since we’ve seen a version involving the four “suits and the “joker” at the end. Plus, aside from the Royal Rumble, fans don’t seem to get too jazzed about battle royale variations these days. (I can’t say that I blame them.)

Would a signature gimmick match benefit AEW? It certainly could under the right circumstances. After all, back when pay per view was still a thing, the Royal Rumble and Money and the Bank were two of WWE’s four or five biggest shows, mostly based on the strength of the gimmicks and fans’ knowledge that the matches will result in something consequential, i.e. a new guaranteed challenger for a major championship.

It’s possible that AEW could build a similar major show around a similar match, but it’s far from necessary. After all, there have been plenty of successful wrestling promotions over the years that have made tons of money without a gimmick of this nature.

Uzoma is headed to the top rope:

Had Billy Kidman not accidentally taken Chavo Guerrero out of action with a botched Shooting Star Press, would he and Paul London had continued teaming?

They would have almost certainly split up at some point given that it’s a very small minority of WWE tag teams that are allowed to exist for years and years on end. However, the botched move and he heel turn that resulted for Kidman almost certainly hastened the breakup given that it would’ve been a helluva coincidence for the two to have had a planned breakup at the exact same time a freak in-ring accident occurred that you could use to justify turning Kidman heel.

That will do it for this week’s installment of the column. We’ll return in seven-ish days, and, as always, you can contribute your questions by emailing [email protected]. You can also leave questions in the comments below, but please note that I do not monitor the comments as closely as I do the email account, so emailing is the better way to get things answered.

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Ryan Byers