wrestling / News

Chris Jericho Says AEW and WWE Are ‘At War,’ Isn’t Surprised WWE Is Paying Attention

May 16, 2019 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas
Chris Jericho AEW All Elite Wrestling Image Credit: AEW

– Chris Jericho spoke with TV Insider for a new interview promoting AEW’s new TV deal and Double or Nothing. Highlights are below:

On balancing his AEW schedule with his Fozzy tours: “AEW is an important schedule, but it’s not a full-time schedule. As we get up and rolling and get into the weekly TV sort of stuff, we’ll have to structure Fozzy tours accordingly. But it’s not like this is 150 days a year type of deal nor will it ever be. It was one of the reasons why I decided to sign with AEW. The schedule they gave me was very much conducive to still having a busy schedule with Fozzy and continue the run with the band we’ve been building for the last 20 years.”

On WWE paying attention to AEW: “I’m not surprised. I will say this … everyone in WWE owes Chris Jericho a thank you because the moment I signed with AEW, it became legit. That’s when everyone started getting these huge raises to not go. It was very similar to what happened to Bobby Hull in the early 1970s when he signed with the WHA (World Hockey Association) for a million dollars. Every other player got a huge raise to not jump with him. My dad [Ted Irvine] went from a $35,000 to a $100,000 a year because they didn’t want him going to the WHA. It’s the same thing for Vince [McMahon] is doing with WWE. You’re hearing about prelim guys getting $400,000, $500,000 a year deals. Everyone deserves the money they make, but they never would have gotten that before and wouldn’t get it somewhere else. They can be ones who will never draw a dime. It doesn’t matter. Vince doesn’t want anyone coming to AEW. Doesn’t want there to be a mass exodus whether you are an opening match jobber or a main event Roman Reigns. He doesn’t want anybody to go.”

On whether AEW is competing with WWE: “This is a war. Even if you don’t want it to be, it just is. There hasn’t been any competition for WWE on a national basis for 20 years or more. I think this is something they didn’t really want, but it’s great for the fans and great for the guys. I think in the long run it’s going to make a difference because it gives people a choice. And it’s always good to have a choice.”

On AEW’s show giving talent more freedom: “I don’t think you are going to see an over-scripted type of show. We have no intention of being WWE lite. WWE is the best in the world at what they do. We won’t be doing that. We have a different mindset. I think when you look at what goes on during a New Japan show. That might be what the in-ring product looks like when you think about the way it’s shot, and guys have a lot more input in what they’re doing from a creative standpoint and character standpoint.”

On his own creative freedom in AEW: “If I produce something and think it’s good, I don’t have to get it approved by 10 different people before I post it. I’ll have 500,000 people see something, and they say they wish they can see more of that in WWE. The reason for that is because it comes from me. Not five other people. When AEW starts, I’m sure everyone on the show will be getting a little bit of direction. But you have a lot of creative freedom to make your own moves and name for yourself. I think that is a real positive for us. You know your character best. I think that gives everybody involved a lot more confidence and freedom to be that character. I think it’s going to be like the way things used to be in WWE. Not that it’s better or worse, but when I came to WWE the opening promo I did where I interrupted The Rock, I wrote it myself. There was no rehearsal. Nobody going through it first. If you liked it, it was all me. If you didn’t like it, it was all me. That gives you confidence to succeed.”