There was big news back in the first week of January when All Elite Wrestling not only announced that they were starting a new wrestling promotion, but they managed to sign wrestling legend Chris Jericho. Even though Jericho is 48 years old (an age where most wrestlers are retired from working for a major promotion), he’s still competing at a very high level with some outstanding matches in New Japan Pro Wrestling the last few years after he left WWE.
Jericho, who is one of the greatest WWE superstars of all time, isn’t shy about giving his honest thoughts on anything in wrestling. This week, he talked to TV Insider’s Scott Fishman about All Elite Wrestling and why he thinks WWE stars should be thanking him for their increases in salaries. Here are some of the comments from Jericho in the article.
Jericho on WWE superstars that should be thanking him and AEW for causing wrestler salaries to go up:
“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.”
Jericho also claimed that we are on the verge of a wrestling war between WWE and AEW:
“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.”
Jericho talked about why it was important to do Jericho vs. Omega II at Double or Nothing on May 25:
“We’ve had this slow build, all of it done without TV. We’re doing it with social media and word of mouth, which is a real testament to the potential and excitement and the buzz surrounding AEW. Double or Nothing is the biggest show in AEW’s existence, probably forever. There will probably be bigger shows, but there is the old saying that you never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
“That’s why we are going with Jericho versus Kenny as the first-ever main event. A lot of people are asking, ‘Why don’t you wait for that and build toward it?’ There is no waiting. There is no assumption there is going to be a second show. We have to come out of the gates with the best show possible to really catch everybody by surprise or to make everybody believe what they already know. That this is going to be a strong, solid, legit contender to be the greatest pro wrestling company in the world.”
Check out more of Jericho’s comments at TV Insider right here.
TJR Thoughts: I agree that Jericho signing with AEW is good for WWE superstars and really, the existence of AEW is good because they have a lot of money, so WWE is going to spend more money on their talent to keep them from leaving.